praise and worship to change the atmosphere

Praise and worship arrest the atmosphere that is constantly whispering fear, failure and regret.  Lisa Bevere

These past few weeks, God has been whispering to me to listen before I speak, even more He ever has before.

When I get that email which causes my anxiety level to soar in an instant.

When I remember something I had forgotten to do, and am unsure how to handle my disappointment with myself.

When I knew I blew it, and the enemy blows a sense of heightened fear onto the reality that I failed.

Maybe you too can relate.

Instead of immediately reacting, I have been stepping into a new way to handle these kind of situations, which inevitably happen to all of us at one time or another. (Even more if you live, work or hang out with people on a daily basis. Which is most of us!)

I put on my praise and worship pants.

I step into the wonder and awe of my More than Enough, and leave the atmosphere of failure and not enough in my rearview mirror:

  • I proclaim God for who He is.
  • I keep my eyes fixed on His ways.
  • I set my heart to seek His heart for me, His heart for those I interact with or encounter.
  • I choose to focus on what I do know instead of the what ifs and all the other questions which tend to pop into our mind in stressful situations.
  • I sing, write, draw, sit in quiet as I feel lead, and listen for His direction and prompts.

But first and foremost, i remind myself who is with me.

Who lives within me and walks with me.

And as His temple, I don’t want to willingly partner with anything that will make me less of a host to the Holy Ghost.

So I proclaim I am His, and I am refusing to allow anything that does not come through His hands into my temple.

And I send it back to where it has come from.

As I do, He shifts the atmosphere to that of His Kingdom.

And fear, worry, anxiety, lies, failure and regret ebb away in the light He brings with His presence into the immediate situation where He has been invited.

I pray if you too need to shift the atmosphere about you, that you will clearly hear His voice guiding you as you invite Him to move on your behalf in the moment.


Sunday Psalm: Fierce Love


Your love?!
I can barely explain my awe and wonder at its beautiful ferocity!
Part of me shivers
at the thrill of being pursued
By such devotion
In its purest form
All consuming
With me
its targeted recipient

Like a tidal wave
Crashing over me
Rushing into meet me here
Your love is fierce

The certainty
that I am the one whom You love
Hits my fear and insecurity
With such strength
And intensity
That only faith
And trust remain
As my Living Hope
Floods me with the
Ever present reminder
I am loved
By the King of kings
By the Risen Savior
By Holiness
By love which breaks down
All the borders guards
I tried to erect
Before I knew
Just how good
You are
And the magnitude
of the depths of Your love
For me
for the world

Like a hurricane
That I can’t escape
Tearing through the atmosphere
Your love is fierce

Each part of Your bride,
Your Beloved,
As treasured
As if we were each the only one
Your love
It’s fierce
In all its wonderfulness!


☆Quoted lyrics from the single ‘Your Love is Fierce’ by Jesus Culture.

When the day goes awry

Today has not turned out to be the day I thought it would.

Some of my work didn’t get posted as usual, helping meditate between a child and their emotions, and the unwelcome addition of fleas moving in on my cat has jumped my stress level beyond its usual for a Monday.

There was one blip of a moment where I was about to let all of the above bring me a bit down.

But I was ready.

For I woke up this morning, immediately put on worship music, and read some verses in the Word which stirred my soul, reigniting my hope.

He reminded me before I needed it of His wonder, so i I wouldn’t  wonder at where He might be this morning.

For He is, was and always will be with me.

The wonder of Christmas isn’t meant to ebb when the holidays are over, the parties die down and the new year begins to unravel.

Christmas is only one part of His story to remind us He is with us.

As we journey into 2016, with all the highs and lows to come, may we never lose that wonder of her first time we grasped God was with us.

For the promise of God to come has arrived, and lives within us, every day.

Even the days with piled up laundry, emails left unanswered and a sad looking cat post bath!


Angels from the Realms of Glory

One of my all time favorite carols, this classic proclamation of the Good News beautifully covers the main players in the Christmas story.

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story,
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King!

God knew that the world might miss out on His timing, so He sent the angels to proclaim the Good News. The Creator came to His creation!!

Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant Light;
Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King!

The first people the angels spoke to were those who were the loneliest and who needed to know they weren’t forgotten: the shepherds, living on the outskirts with their flocks.  The Good News had arrived!

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great desire of nations,
Ye have seen His natal star;
Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Not only did the angels proclaim the Good News to the shepherds, but the star over Bethlehem attracted the attention of several wise men in a far off land, who had studied the prophecies and understood the King was being born.

His timing is such that He not only sent an angel to Mary to let her know she would bear the Messiah, but set a star alignment in the sky which would draw seekers outside of the Jewish faith to come to Him.

God was already letting us know He was coming for all:

Those who were in the family, those who were on the outskirts, and those seeking from afar.

Saints before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear:
Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King!

I love this Carol in part because of the fourth verse. We are part of the Christmas story, saints. 

All of Christmas was done with us in mind.

To draw attention to the reality that God had always had us on His mind, and was always willing to pour out His heart of love for His Beloved.

What a carol to proclaim to the world, indeed!

All of us have one song to sing, this Christmas and every day: Come and worship Him!

May His song arise within you, and pour out in His praise again today!

He is the Song we are to sing, always!

Historical Background:
Irishman James Montgomery penned the words, and Henry Smart composed the music for “Angels from the Realms of Glory” in 1816.

Fun Fact: In the UK, “Angels we have Heard on High” is also sung to this tune!

See Amid the Winter’s Snow

this carol in the hymnal I sang it from this past Sunday night!

See amid the winter’s snow
Born for us on earth below
See the tender Lamb appears
Promised from eternal years

Hail, thou ever-blessed morn
Hail, redemption’s happy dawn
Sing through all Jerusalem
Christ is born in Bethlehem

I have two favorite ways I love to experience this carol.

The first is to sing it live. The hair raising wonder I get from the chorus stirs me each and every time I proclaim Him born.

But the second? Hearing Annie Lennox sing it in the way I only dreamed it could be sung.

A slice of heaven here on earth.

There are moments when we are struck dumb with wonder, and hearing this song on her latest Christmas album was one of them.

Because I know (last time I heard) that she is not a believer.

And she, along with many hundreds of other artists, record these carols on their Christmas albums, proclaiming the newborn King to be born.  Even though they don’t personally believe it.

Somehow, the wonder of who He is has leaked into the songs He has gifted to His people, and the world continues to proclaim Him despite not intimately knowing Him.

This only serves to reflect our humanity, doesn’t it?  How many times has someone spoken the expected response, when you know they don’t believe it for themselves?

We can be the same when it comes to our worship.

These words contain the Word Himself, and with His birth, we too are born anew, remade as His Beloved.

We are to enter the Christmas story, not as observers, but as part of the heavenly chorus proclaiming His arrival and kingship!

Today, if you hear one of the familiar carols, tune your mind to sing or hum along as your act of worship.  Savor the moment, even if you are standing in line for a gift or in the coffee shop taking a sip of sanity.


Historical Background:
See Amid the Winter’s Snow” was first published in England in 1871 under its alternate name “Hymn for Christmas Morn.” Words by Edward Caswell, music by Sir John Goss.

Rejoice & be merry

Rejoice and be merry
in songs and in mirth!
O praise our Redeemer;
all mortals on earth!
For this is the birthday
of Jesus our King,
Who brought us salvation,
His praises we’ll sing!

With the announcement of the season of Christmas, many of us first think of all the extra tasks or jobs we have associated with what is to be one of the most joyous occasions of the year.

Instead of focusing on the wonder wrapped about the miracle Christmas is.

It took a death, then a birth to restore my vision.

My sister in law passed away suddenly at the beginning of winter a few years ago, and the weight of grief hung heavy over my heart.  I knew we were to be celebrating Jesus has come, but all I could feel was the loss.

I allowed it to overshadow the gain.

For Jesus isn’t just a gift doll we pull off of the shelf each Christmas, playing with him for a bit then putting him away with the other ornaments until the next.

He is the gift itself.

He is Present.
He is Love.
God with us, through it all.

One of my coworkers had a baby the next Christmas, and the excitement His arrival brought into my heart made me realize the miracle of God coming to us as one of us.

But the story doesn’t just stop with His birth.

It begins.

This Christmas, choose to rejoice.

Not because you have to, but because you choose to.

You may be under the weight of loss, pain, weariness.

He knows, and He came to join you right where you are at.

Not in the castle of the rich and famous, but in the humble shed of a working man, surrounded by the works of his hands.

To a woman who’s priority was serving God before all else. Her reputation, her engagement, her family ties.

To a man who although he started off shaking with doubt, came through when she needed him most.

Love was the undercurrent of the Christmas story, and the story He is continuing to write in our lives.

For the sky may be dark and the fog blocking our sight, but He is there to lovingly guide us as He Himself is our Light.

Because He never lets us go, we can rejoice.

Because He is always with us, we can be merry.

Because of who He is, we can always have a song to sing in praise!


Historical Background:
This carol is also referred to as the Gallery Carol, one of the traditional pieces sung by many choirs in their church galleries before the invention of the organ, in the early 19th century. It is believed to have been written in the 18th century, and is considered to be a Dorset Carol.

let His praise break out

Are you letting your chains break your praise or is your praise breaking your chains?

-Word of Life Church

Yesterday I almost let my praise be swallowed by my circumstances.

Almost nothing frustrates me more at work than technical difficulties, especially after several hours spent getting them resolved.

I was so irritated by the problem, I momentarily lost my peace.

Then i realized if He is with me at all times, He is with me even in those technical difficulties.

Even when all I want to do is lay my head down on my desk and cry.

Not only because I had had it with the tech problems, but because I have had it up to here with myself allowing my peace to be swayed by outside circumstances. Again.

God reminded me through a song and an image that He was with me. Right then and there.

Those few precious moments, only a blip in my day, were enough for me to grab onto Him for dear life and restore my perspective.

It doesn’t take much to cause us to slip, and it takes even less for us to be restored to solid ground.

It takes believing in the Rock, and resting in Him through all coming our way.

Your storm may be relational. It may be technical. It may be emotional. It may be sudden or take a long time brewing.

It doesn’t matter.

Whatever the circumstances which are trying to chain you down, God’s for you. He’s got you.
He’s with you.

Because of who He is and what He has done, we can continue to praise Him through and in all circumstances. Always.

May you praise Him loud and proud, no matter what, always. May the chains of fear and timidity break off and forever be broken off of you as you lift His Name higher above every situation you encounter.

Allow who He is to rise up from within you and proclaim His Kingdom over your life. In every situation. In all circumstances.

Watch Him break your chains as He releases Himself mightily on your behalf!

He is worthy of our praise, and wants us to walk into the full freedom He has for us bear on earth.

Let His praise resound and hear the snapping of the chains trying to keep you down. Your freedom matters to Him, and He has given you a mighty weapon to add to your arsenal. It may appear to be redundant or miniscule compared to what you are facing, but He is sooo much larger and mightier and holier and stronger and freeing than we can imagine or see encased in our humanity.

Raise His praise, Beloved, and watch in awe at what He will do when you lift Him above all things!


comfort in community

Hi chicks! (that’s what I call my girlfriends in Christ) If you are a bro, welcome.

I know some of you are single, separated, divorced or in a hard place in your marriages.  I know it can and does hurt. I know sometimes you feel you can’t ask people to pray for your spouse, for reconciliation and/or healing.  For you to become whole when you feel ripped apart.

Please do.

Being single does not mean God has abandoned you.  It does not mean His plans for you are always to be without a partner to love beside you on this earth.  He may draw you so deep into Him that you will sense Him as your partner through it all.

You are beloved just as you are, whether you are single, married, divorced, separated, a mom or not. God adores you, and will not leave you or fail to give you hope in your heart’s cry.

Please know its okay to be hurting and say so. We need to be able to be real with one another in the safety of supportive relationship.

I will caution you. Not everyone else believes as you do. Because we are all so different, we may need to share where you are at by starting with “This is where my heart is at. I am inviting you to pray for me as I have requested. I am not asking for answers, but comfort in community.”

Coz we don’t need to speak the answers to support one another, sisters & brothers. 

We need to leave the answers in His hands to be spoken in His timing to our hearts.

Sometimes we just need to know we have been heard, accepted for where we are at, and loved in that moment.

We all need to know we are not alone, and loved as we are. We were meant to find comfort in community.

I pray we will all learn to be better keepers of one another’s deepest longings when they are shared, and continue to point one another to God as we love up on each other right where we are at.

If you are in a state of singleness, and hurting over it, please hear you are not alone.

My suggested best to-do list when you are single, not by choice?

1. Spend more time with God than ever before in prayer, worship and His Word. Press in to Him for your needs, all of them. Ask Him to bring the right people into your life to be part of….

2.  Put together your support group: of sisters (brothers if you are a guy) in Christ, health professionals if you need them, and people who can give you wise counsel. 

3. Allow yourself to be real, but not wallow in your lowest points. 

4. Practice being positive. Speak His Promises out loud over your life.

5. Believe He has good plans for you and they will come to pass, even if you can’t see beyond the pain of today.

6. Remember you are never alone. Stop isolating yourself. Make sure you to be in contact with someone in your support group every day.

Keep pursuing health for yourself in the midst of your hard season. How you make it through can impact you for the better if you seek Him, surround yourself with support and always remember you are not alone.

I also invite you to pop by Whole Magazine to be encouraged as you read:


Sunday Psalm: Bless the Lord

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being,
praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all His benefits.
Psalm 103:1-2 NIV

Oh the thousands of ways
I could bless Your Holy Name
as I look back at my life,
the one I have had
only because of Your hands.

All I have comes from You,
each and every blessing
flows through Your heart
of love before You send it my way.

With every breath,
I choose to thank You
and bless You.

Whether I am standing in the desert or the ocean of plenty,
whatever my season
I bless You Lord.

When my heart is overwhelmed
and I cannot speak what is
captured within, I will still choose
to bless You Lord.

When my lips ring with grateful song, or cry with the pain of loss,
I will bless You Lord.

In the quiet of this moment,
or the loud shouts of corporation praise, I will always choose to bless You Lord.

For You deserve all the blessings
honor, glory and praise Your children can offer You,
24/7, 365, for eternity.

We join the angels in
proclaiming Your
forever song of praise
as we bless You,
over and over and over again Lord.

Bless You Lord, my soul cries, as I worship You, Worthy and Holy One!



O my soul, bless God.
From head to toe,
I’ll bless His holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
don’t forget a single blessing!
Psalm 103:1-2 MSG

for the days you need extra grace

This morning, a delay due to a family member (who although needs the sleep caused me to leave 50 min late this morning) lead to to prime time traffic jam on the only day this week I had a vehicle to drive to work, versus usually taking the bus.

It became very apparent with three narrowing down to one lane heading in my direction that it was going to be a long congested ride.

God promptly met me there.

A new CD popped into the CD player, and my vehicle became a worship concert on the way to work.  Me offering up my worship in a concert of praise, adoration & proclamation.

Quite honestly, I didn’t want the ride to end when I got there.

When I got into work, I knew why He had prepared me with the longer hang out time this morning.

But I got today’s to do list completed, and a deeper appreciation of learning to go with His flow despite road jams, traffic snarls & drivers with missing signal lights.

He is with us each step, each drive we take. 

And especially today, as I head into rush hour traffic on my way home, I am so thankful He is heading out there with me.

Yesterday I drove through Toronto, and happened to catch a brief glimpse over my right shoulder of something shinishy glimmery there. I choose to believe He allowed me a glimpse of one of the angels He has assigned to keep me covered.

Soon after, the engine light came on.

Without panicking, and despite the major foot cramp which hit my driving foot, He kept me focused and calm as I drove my hubby home from a procedure at the hospital.

Yesterday evening, He spoke through one of small group members to remind me He has me covered, through a red umbrella image. His love both protects & covers us. 😉

He so goes before, behind and all around us, not just beside us, Beloved.

Ask Him for a closer glimpse, a fresh Word, or a deeper sense of His Presence today.

He longs to give good gift to those He loves, for He is a good good God!