I’m a lazy cheater

This month’s Live Dead Kingdom Fast was produced music. No music for the month. But if one did it right, there shouldn’t have been much silence. This fast was about using our own words to express praise to Jesus. Rather than turning to someone else’s words of praise to Jesus, we were encouraged to sing our own song to Jesus.

What I discovered about myself this month: I’m a lazy cheater.

At first, I sang songs that I could actually remember the words to (my brother-in-law will be pleased to know these were often hymns). But that felt like cheating. I was supposed to be expressing my own words.

So I turned inward to find my own words of praise to Jesus. That wasn’t so hard. I’m a writer. I string words together all the time—for a living. God made a career of it for me. But I found I just thought about them or wrote them down—I was too lazy (and/or self-conscious) to vocalize them.

Not good enough. So I took those words from my thoughts or my notes to sing them. Didn’t matter that no human being was in the same room listening to me—it was awkward at first. But after a few times, it wasn’t so much. It was sweet.

I usually start or end my abiding time by opening Spotify on one of my electrical devices and selecting one of several worship playlists that I’ve created to match my mood or a certain topic. By the end of this month, I discovered how meaningful it was to put my own “random” songs together. It’s another good practice to integrate into my all day abiding with Jesus.

I read this quote two days ago in Live Dead Joy and it’s a good reminder to leave April with: “Let verbal praise be the punctuation of a life that continually magnifies the Lord—out loud!” When I express my praise out loud continually throughout the day, not only does it do my soul good, but others around me also hear the praise of Jesus.

Next up in the Kingdom Fasts: Games
With airport, airplane and road trip time ahead in May, it looks like I’ll have time for more reading or writing or daydreaming or…[gasp] talking to people, instead of playing games on the iPad.

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Starting vs. Quitting

Christians are not to be so much quitters as starters. They do not endear themselves to God because of all they lay aside at conversion. Rather, it is what they take up that catches heaven’s esteem. It is the newness of life that causes them to bless each new dawn and the possible beginning of a new and closer walk. Spiritual growth occurs by ever starting, starting, starting every day some creative new thing that will sponsor a creative, never boring walk with Christ.

Calvin Miller // The Disciplined Life

Mark Batterson sums up my story…

I received a copy of Draw the Circle, a 40-day prayer book by Mark Batterson, while visiting Valley Forge Christian College last month. I started reading it for Lent. The very first entry, Day 1, the first two paragraphs really sum up the truth of my journey.

Five words tell me everything I need to know about Cornelius: He prayed to God regularly. Scripture doesn’t record exactly when or where or how he prayed. It doesn’t reveal whether he prayed in the morning or the evening. It doesn’t tells us what he said or the posture he prayed in. It just says he prayed regularly. And when you pray to God regularly, irregular things happen on a regular basis. You never know when or where or how God will invade the routine of your life, but you can live in holy anticipation, knowing that God is orchestrating supernatural synchronicities.

Life a grandmaster who strategically positions chess pieces on a chessboard, God is always preparing us and positioning us for divine appointments. And prayer is the way we discern the next move. The plans of God are only revealed in the presence of God. We don’t get our marching orders until we get on our knees! But if we hit our knees, God will take us places we never imagined going by paths we didn’t even know existed.” (Page 15)