Monday, December 30, 2013

~Thoughts to Ponder~

Do we truly seek the Kingdom of God first? Is He really our every day satisfaction? Do we truly delight in Him and His Word? By the way we spend our time, what would others say are priorities in our lives? We make time for what's important to us! If the Creator of the Universe wanted to meet with you, would you make time for Him? Because He does! James 4:8 says, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you...". Where do we find pleasure or find our rest? Where do we find fulfillment, peace and joy? Is it in the King of Kings? Or do we look to other things or people? These things may give us temporary happiness but were never intended to be our all. We may have longings and desires but these will never fully satisfy. There is only One who can truly fill our every need and be our all and all and that is Jesus! Philippians 4:19 tells us that God promises to "supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.". He's our everything! Jesus said “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13). Where do we go to quench our thirst? 
We are here for a moment and then gone. Life is short, But did we really just evolve into existence somehow for no specific purpose to just live for a little while and then die? Or were we created intentionally-for a purpose-and is there more to life than a brief existence? If life is based on the first, what's really the point to life? What's our purpose? Where do morals and standards come from? Have we no ultimate authority? Is life really just a free for all to figure out and do as we please? What meaning is there? But if the latter be true, we were created on purpose for a reason. And if the Creator of us and the entire universe, which we still don't even know everything about, wanted to have a personal and intimately close relationship with you-would you bother? He wants to know you, to love you, to guide you! Will you follow? He wants to speak to you personally-will you listen? He desires to show and reveal to you treasures from His Word and about life-will you take the time to see? He wants to fill you with His love and mercy-will you receive it or throw it away? He wants to guide, teach and lead you in the right way (Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him-John 14:6). Will you receive His direction or do your own thing? (Do we really want to make choices on our own in life-when our Creator is offering to be our personal guide? After all, the One Who made us and the world might know a little about how to maneuver through it!) 
         He allowed us free choice and because of the choices made in the Garden of Eden-sin entered the world. Rules are not merely made for our unhappiness and restriction! Just as a fence holds things in, it also acts as a protection and keeps things out. Are we willing to receive God's grace into our lives to instruct "us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age." (Titus 2:12). What's guiding our thoughts and desires? Why do we find what we find attractive? Why do we think the way we think? Is it in line with our Creators purpose and will for our lives? Or is it self-pleasing and self-made? If we are in Christ, we have been bought with a price and should therefore glorify Him (1 Corinthians 6:20)!  Is that really bounding or freeing? Living in sin is not free! With it comes guilt, shame, hardship and heart-ache. Sin may be fun for a season (Hebrews 11:25) but it's end leads to destruction. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Living for Christ is not free from suffering, but if there is hardship living sinfully or righteously, wouldn't you rather follow the path that leads to life? Rather than death? Disobedience to God may seem freeing because you are "free" to do everything as you please and live how you see best and do what you want to. But 1 Peter 2:16 tells us, "Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.". On our own we have no light! God's Word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path." (Psalm 119:105). "...God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5).  Not any at all! I'm SO thankful God is a good God! If you are in complete darkness how will you find your way? How will you see if there is a thorn bush, a snare or a cliff? How will you see a predator and be armed to avoid it? God provides us with light and armor too! And He acts as our personal guide, friend and protector!
When we're gone how do we want to be remembered? What do we want to be known for? Will we have made a positive impact on the world and those around us or a negative one? And by whose standards? Where are these standards based? 
God gave us the gift of life and breath on this earth-will we yield it back to Him to be used for His purposes and glory? Or will we squander it on selfish pleasures and desires? He also provided a way to receive eternal life through Jesus, His Son. When sin entered the world we all received a death sentence. God is holy, pure and clean-He has no sin or darkness in Him. We have all fallen short of God's glory through our sinful nature (Romans 3:23). God loved us enough to give us a second chance! He took our sin upon Himself that we might be restored with Him and be free from sin! But that's exactly what He did! We must die to sin and live righteously now, so that when we physically die we will live with Him! Will you receive Him? Will you live for Him? It's the least we can do! What will your choice be?

"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 
~Deuteronomy 30:19~

"If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." ~Joshua 24:15~

Sunday, September 15, 2013

~The Heart of Worship~

Greetings all! :) 

I've kind of been swept away with college and life as of late, but below is a paper I had to write recently for a class I'm in. :) My dad suggested I post here it is! Hope it's an encouragement to you! :)

Many Blessings! 

~Church Music Philosophy~

Church music is a venue used to make a connection with the Creator of the Universe. Through worship we may both enter into God’s courts with praise and receive from Him as well. This kind of correspondence may be led, but I believe it should also include congregational involvement. Just as it’s needful for each one of us to have a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, worship also requires some personal involvement.

Quality should be of upmost importance; however, I don’t believe it should be the main focus. Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” ("Bible" 1995). We should strive to do our very best and use our musical giftings and talents to the best of our abilities, striving to continue to improve and develop them. However, worship should go far beyond words or a song, it should be an offering of our entire lives.

Music is very influential, thus, we as music leaders, must choose carefully and consider the direction that we might lead or influence the congregation towards. In 1 Samuel, we read how Saul’s troubled spirit was calmed when David played the harp. ("Bible" 1995) Because of music’s strong impact, I believe music within the church should be pointing others towards Christ and allowing His presence to enter in.

Organization and flexibility are needed in church music. Time and preparation are required for a service to come off smoothly; however, sensitivity to the Lord’s leading during a worship time, is important too. Planning is necessary, but if the Lord is dealing with hearts on a matter, there may be a need to adjust the initial plan at times. Also, as congregation members are likely to have many differing exposures to music and their attendance may vary, patience and flexibility are a must in working towards musical goals within the group.

I believe it is imperative for the church musician to get away to spend time with the Father. As worship leaders, we need to be filled and refreshed in the Lord so that He is our focus and is being poured out, rather than pulling from our own strength. If we take the time to put Christ as the center of our lives, to sit at His feet and to learn from Him, our ministry opportunities will be much more profitable, as He is our focus and the basis from which we gain our inspiration and direction.

If our focus is on Christ and we yield our talents and efforts to Him to be used for His purposes and glory, then, we can leave the end results to Him as to what He will accomplish in the lives of the church, His body. If we work hard to do our very best, and come before Him with our whole heart, softened and ready to receive and meet with Him, then I believe, He will bless our efforts and lead the ministry in ways far greater than we could ever hope or dream to accomplish on our own.


Bible, (1995) (accessed September 15, 2013), Colossians 3:17.

Bible, (1995) (accessed September 15, 2013), 1 Samuel 16:23.

Friday, March 22, 2013

~A Matter of the Heart~

This study was inspired when upon waking up this morning, this quote was floating through my mind. :)

"And don't just follow your heart, man; 'cause your heart can be deceived. 
But you gotta lead your heart." 
~Fireproof-the movie

 I picked up my Bible and found the word "heart" jumping out at me! Then I opened up a book titled "The Resolution for Women" and it was on a chapter titled, "Underneath It All" which just "happened" to be guessed it, the "heart". ( Doesn't sound much like a coincidence to me! ;) I love it when the Lord does that and guides you through a topical study of His choosing! :D ) The chapter talked about a crack in the ceiling being painted over but how that didn't really fix the root of the problem, which actually started with the foundation. She then compared this to our mouths potentially reveling "cracks" in our hearts. 

What we allow a place for in our hearts, can then result in the outflow of our thoughts, ideas, attitudes and eventually our actions. I enjoyed using to see other verses related to the heart and below is a collection of some of what I gleaned through Genesis to Proverbs alone! God's Word has a LOT to teach us on this topic. By contrasting what characteristics of a fleshly/sinful heart looks like and then taking a look at a heart molded by God, we are able to do a heart check to see what things we might need to ask the Lord to help us adjust in our lives, so that we might be more closely conformed to His perfect image and so we might be vessels useful for Him and for His glory!  I hope this study might be a blessing to it also was to me! :)

This information was gathered from Websters 1828 online dictionary.


HEART, n. [L. cor, cordis, and allied to Eng.core, or named from motion, pulsation.]

1. A muscular viscus, which is the primary organ of the blood's motion in an animal body, situated in the thorax. From this organ all the arteries arise, and in it all the veins terminate. By its alternate dilatation and contraction, the blood is received from the veins, and returned through the arteries, by which means the circulation is carried on and life preserved.
2. The inner part of any thing; the middle part or interior; as the heart of a country, kingdom or empire; the heart of a town; the heart of a tree.
3. The chief part; the vital part; the vigorous or efficacious part.
4. The seat of the affections and passions, as of love, joy, grief, enmity, courage, pleasure &c.
The heart is deceitful above all things. Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart is evil continually. We read of an honest and good heart, and an evil heart of unbelief, a willing heart, a heavy heart, sorrow of heart, a hard heart, a proud heart, a pure heart. The heart faints in adversity, or under discouragement, that is, courage fails; the heart is deceived, enlarged, reproved, lifted up, fixed, established, moved, &c.
5. By a metonymy, heart is used for an affection or passion, and particularly for love.
The king's heart was towards Absalom. 2 Sam. 14.
6. The seat of the understanding; as an understanding heart.
We read of men wise in heart, and slow of heart.
7. The seat of the will; hence, secret purposes, intentions or designs. There are many devices in a man's heart. The heart of kings is unsearchable. The Lord tries and searches the heart. David had it in his heart to build a house of rest for the ark.
Sometimes heart is used for the will, or determined purpose.

My Reflections:
From this we may gather that our spiritual heart is the primary organ of our motion, and it is essential to be in good working condition and health to sustain life. We know that Jesus is the way the truth and the life. I've heard it said that the life is in the blood. Jesus is our life! He being spotless from sin himself, died on the cross, in our place, for all of our sins! He shed His blood that we might have life and have it abundantly! Without Him, though we are living, we are dead. We need Him to enter our spiritual hearts so that we may have life!

Also, in the above definition we find that the heart is the middle part or interior. Notice that it's not a sideline, minor part. It is at our core and it is center! In this way too, we should set Christ as the center of our lives! He should influence our thoughts, attitudes, actions and every decision. We should strive to see things as He sees them! We should seek His will and direction and yield ourselves entirely to Him!

And if our hearts are the chief part of our being, and that is yielded to Him, then He is to be the one in charge, not us! We are not our own, we are bought with a price! He has set an example that we should follow in His steps and we are to imitate Him and reflect Him. He is referred to as our Shepherd and our King. He guides and directs us in the way we should go, we must learn to hear His voice and honor His Word. 

The heart is defined as the seat of the affections. If we give our hearts to Him, we will allow Him to shape and mold those affections as He will. He will be our delight and we will take pleasure in His word. When we think of the heart we may also think of love. God is love. If He fills us we then may experience His love and love as He loves. (1 Cor. 13)

But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.

“Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul...

Characteristics of a Fleshly Heart
hardened, decieved, fainthearded, blindness and with bewilderment of heart, trembling, dread, turns away, stubbornness, melt with fear, insolence and the wickedness, heart fail, troubled heart, heart died within him so that he became as a stone, afraid and his heart trembled greatly, despised, stole away the hearts, lose heart, troubled, turn your heart away, heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, heart was turned away from the Lord, despised him in her heart, He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the Lord, yet not with a whole heart, heart has become proud in boasting, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God, But he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord God of Israel, sinned and cursed God in their hearts, godless in heart, For, behold, the wicked bend the bow, They make ready their arrow upon the string To shoot in darkness at the upright in heart, With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak, The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”, closed their unfeeling heart, troubles of my heart are enlarged, evil is in their hearts, Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart, His heart gathers wickedness to itself, regard wickedness in my heart, Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick, perverse heart, arrogant heart, despondent in heart, heart is wounded, devise evil things in their hearts, heart is appalled, heart spurned reproof, perversity in his heart continually devises evil, Who spreads strife, heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, cunning of heart, perverse in heart, Deceit is in the heart, heart of fools proclaims folly, Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, heart knows its own bitterness, even in laughter the heart may be in pain, backslider in heart, Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, he foolishness of man ruins his way, And his heart rages against the Lord, deceit in his heart, abominations in his heart, he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity, who trusts in his own heart is a fool

Characterictics of Heart alinged by Christ
joy and a glad heart, heart to knowcircumcise, love the Lord, Take to your heart, serve Him with all your heart, know in all your hearts, incline your hearts to the Lordheart exults, return to the Lord with all your heart, direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him alone, after His own heartheart of a lion, truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart, understanding heart to judge, to discern between good and evil, wise and discerning, return to, incline our hearts to Himself, wholly devoted to the Lord our God, integrity of heart,  followed Me with all his heart, turned their heart back again, Is your heart right, heart prompts him, heart was tender and you humbled, set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God, a perfect heart to keep Your commandments, rejoicing and happy of heart, wisdom which God had put in his heart, set their hearts on seeking the Lord God of Israel, heart was blameless all his days, For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His, set your heart to seek God, heart to make a covenant with the Lord God, humbled the pride of his heart,  For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel, found his heart faithful before You, direct your heart right, And establish His words in your heart, uprightness of my heart, wise of heart, Meditate in your heart, You will strengthen their heart, speaks truth in his heart, Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer, a pure heart, My heart will not fear, When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.” let your heart take courage, My heart trusts in Him, For our heart rejoices in Him, The law of his God is in his heart, I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”, Our heart has not turned back, And our steps have not deviated from Your way, My heart overflows with a good theme, Create in me a clean heart, O God, A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise, My heart is steadfast, O God, Pour out your heart before Him, You who seek God, let your heart revive, heart of wisdom, heart is upheld, Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You, heart be blameless, heart stands in awe, my heart is not proud, I will give You thanks with all my heart, wisdom will enter your heart, let your heart keep my commandments, Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding, Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live, in the midst of your heart, Watch over your heart with all diligence, Do not let your heart turn aside, tranquil heart, cheerful heart has a continual feast, heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, Bright eyes gladden the heart, A joyful heart is good medicine, I have cleansed my heart, The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes, Apply your heart to discipline, Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the Lord always, direct your heart in the way

Other Characterics (uncatagorized)
hearts of the people melted and became as water. resolves of heart, the Lord looks at the heart, words to heart, inclined, turned the hearts, take it to heart, acknowledge in your heart, affliction of his own heart, devised in his own heart, enraged, heart has become proud, heart shall be united with you, undivided heart, with a perfect heart, intentions of the heart, directed their hearts, to give them one heart, prepares his heart to seek God, sadness of heart, glad and pleased of heart, “Wise in heart, concealed in Your heart, your heart carry you away, wishes of my heart, heart faints within me, heart became secretly enticed, heart is as hard as a stone, heart’s desire, sorrow in my heart, heart’s desire, heart is like wax; It is melted within me, agitation of my heart, My heart throbs, My heart was hot within me, My heart is in anguish within me, If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them, For the inward thought and the heart of a man are deep, heart was embittered, cried with all my heart, when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken, plans of the heart, As in water face reflects face, So the heart of man reflects man.

The Lord and Our Hearts
the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts, You try the heart, for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men, God left him alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heartExamine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heartHe who fashions the hearts of them all, Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart, Search me, O God, and know my heart, But the Lord tests hearts, But the Lord weighs the hearts

Saturday, January 05, 2013

~A Tribute To My Granddad~

My precious granddad passed away on Wednesday, early afternoon. Since then, it's been a bit of a whirlwind. Granddad  was a wonderful man and has been honored in many different ways regarding his many contributions during his stay here on earth.  We have all been extremely blessed by all the sweet outpouring of love and the prayers being sent up on our behalf during this time.

~Always In Our Hearts~
(♥ Written by Chloe Henry, in loving memory of an amazing, wonderful and precious man...
Doyle Gene Standridge, 5-21-1932-1-2-13. I love you Granddad!!! ♥)
So many hearts, so many lives you've touched throughout the years,
what joy it's been to share with you through laughter, miles and tears.
You've been a faithful husband, provider and a friend,
willing to supply aid to others by lending out a helping and ready hand.
Having held many a position, by serving as a soldier, mechanic and fire chief,
in addition to towing cars and selling parts, you've brought to many a great service and much needed relief.
You've also been a loving father, uncle, father-in-law, granddad and so much more!
The influence you've had has been much and the impact you've made has been a great one, that's for sure!
All the precious memories that were made with you and the love that filled our hearts,
will be held dear, forever near, never to depart.
Though we love you dearly and miss you so, we are greatly comforted by knowing,
that someday soon we'll meet again, in heaven with warm hugs and bright smiles glowing.

I love you Granddad and am SO privileged to have gotten to share in your life and to be your granddaughter. You will be greatly missed and your memory will be forever treasured in our hearts!

The name of a righteous person remains blessed...” 
 ~Proverbs 10:7~

(The two last pictures are courtesy of my Aunt who is a photographer. :) )