Thursday Tune #39: Clear the Stage by Jimmy Needham

“I want to hear Your voice. Lord, I only want to hear Your voice.”

I whispered this to God while I was sobbing one morning this week. I reached a point in my life where decisions and pressures have been terribly overwhelming. Not to mention the additional stress I put on myself and the various opinions and ideas that I receive from others who sincerely mean well. I’m at a crossroad in almost every aspect of my life and it really hasn’t been a breeze for me.

Yet, in my distress and confusion, I could see how God is still allowing me to develop a hunger for Him and His Word. By God’s grace, this chaos in my mind and heart is bringing me to my knees; helping me dig deeper in His promises and truths; and inspiring me to know and trust Him more.


A few hours ago, I had the privilege of studying Psalm 42 and this song struck a chord in my heart. The Psalmist expressed the struggles in his life and reminded himself of the hope that he had in God. I usually remember some of the verses in this Psalm because of an old song we used to sing at church which includes the lines, “Why so downcast, O my soul? Put your hope in God!” But, as I was reading this chapter, another verse caught my attention. In verse 8, it says: “By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.”

In the middle of the Psalmist’s lament, he acknowledges God’s love by day and decides to sing in the evening. He sang not just any song, but a prayer to the God of his life! What a humbling moment that was! But then again, isn’t this what the Lord desires from us? To seek Him with all of our hearts, to worship Him even in the difficult moments of our lives, and to trust our Father God, as we lay our requests before Him?


I like how Jimmy Needham expressed what worship is through his song, “Clear the Stage”. I pray that you and I will be able to spend undivided, quality time with Jesus each day. I pray that more than anything or anyone else, we will hear and listen intently to His voice. Lastly, I pray that the words of our mouths and meditation of our hearts would be pleasing to Him (Psalm 19:14).

“Take a break from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper
Beg him please to open up his mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister”

 

Thursday Tune #38: Natutulog Ba Ang Diyos by Gary V

Two of the many things that I thank the Lord for today are my Bible study group with colleagues and the huge trees that protected me from getting wet. I was on my way back from the park to the basement parking when it started to rain. I didn’t have an umbrella with me and the nearest shaded area was quite far from where I was. So, I quickly walked towards the closest tree and stayed under it until the rain softened.

It was just me and a huge snail in that small area under the tree. I couldn’t help but thank the Lord for His provision even for that moment. Who knew that leaves and branches could give you such a relief! But, the main reason why I loved that moment so much was because our Bible study group just studied Psalm 121 tonight. In this chapter, we were encouraged by God and reminded of how He: 1) is our Creator who is greater than our problems, and 2) continues to watch over us.

My colleagues and I enjoyed our time sharing both our highlights and hurdles for the past week. We also learned new trivia on the stars, the sun, moon, earth, and galaxies, as we studied Psalm 121. I remember looking at the faces of my colleagues as we pondered on how amazing and indescribable God is. Even though we are just a speck here on earth, He chooses to love and pursue us still. One of my colleagues even shared: “Oh wow! If this is how great our God and Creator is, then this problem that I’m facing right now is very tiny! Why should I worry and stress about this knowing that He sees and knows everything; that I can trust in Him?”

Another colleague mentioned that through Psalm 121 and Isaiah 40:28-31 (another passage we read), she learned that we can never comprehend or fathom how God thinks or works. And this humbled her deeply. To which my other colleague responded, “It’s good that God IS our God, right? And not someone else.”

I still can’t believe that I get to spend one night a week with my colleagues outside the office where we get to learn who God is and who we are in Him. This is really by the grace of God and I can’t express the joy in my heart for rainy nights like this. For the past two months, we finished our “True Identity” series (as seen in the photo collage above). If it’s the Lord’s will, I’ll be facilitating a new Bible study series with them again starting next week. Please do continue to pray for us as we dig deep in His word and seek Him.

For this Thursday’s tune, I decided to share a Tagalog song sung by Gary V. It’s one of the songs that reminds me of Psalm 121.

Thank You, Lord, that we can find rest in You knowing that You created us, You care for us, and You will continue to watch over us forevermore.

Thursday Tune #37: I Am by Influence Music

A colleague asked if I could pray for her this afternoon. She was struggling with a number of concerns and her anxieties were already piling up. My heart ached because I knew that battling with anxieties isn’t an easy thing to do. In fact, in the recent days, I’ve had my own share too! Sometimes, I wish that there was an off button for worries and anxieties in life. Can’t I just erase them from my mind the moment I have them?

Two days ago, I struggled with it so much that I spent the whole day at work going through my tasks with a blank look on my face. It was as if my default mode was set to being melancholic. I was filling my mind with so many “What If’s” and this hindered me from intentionally laying my concerns before the Lord. Instead of having faith, I was nurturing fear in my heart. Instead of trusting in God’s sovereignty and love for me, I was trying to solve things on my own wisdom and strength.

That night, as I drove home, I took a deep sigh at the sight of the heavy traffic ahead of me. I only had two choices: 1) Spend the next hour grumbling on the road, or 2) Seek the Lord and listen to His Word. By God’s grace, I did the second option and I chose to listen to one of Chip Ingram’s podcasts about what to do when we are overwhelmed with anxiety. Yes, I specifically chose this topic. The main passage that Chip dwelt on was Philippians 4:6-7, which says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

My heart was crushed while I was listening to Chip Ingram’s podcast. Even if I’ve already read these verses a lot of times before, I was still moved by how intentional and gracious the Lord is with us. He knew that we would struggle with anxiety waaaay before we did and His sovereign hand has been guiding us all along through His Word. I was encouraged to develop a lifestyle of praying Biblically and specifically, more so when I encounter anxieties and worries.

Instead of just whining about my concerns and telling them to the Lord, I am reminded to remember who He is in my life. This is because my view of God will affect how I think, feel, and respond to different situations. It will also affect the way I seek Him and pray to Him. Here are some of the characteristics of God that I am encouraged to think about tonight:

“God is greater than all of my fears combined.

God is in control and is always on time.

God deeply cares for you and me.

God is faithful and He will continue to be.

God is merciful over and over again.

God is able to do more than we can imagine.

God desires that we grow in Christlikeness

God loves us — no more, no less.”

In relation to knowing who He is in our lives, I would like to share this song that I discovered on Spotify a few weeks ago. It is called “I Am” by Influence Music. I pray that it would strengthen our hearts as we seek the Lord and His Word even as we deal with anxieties.

 

Thursday Tune #36: Why God by Austin French

We live in a condominium that allows dogs, which is perfect for our family because we love our Pomeranian and Schnauzer, Copper and Clue! However, taking care of dogs inside a condominium can be tiring too, especially since they need to be regularly walked outside so they can enjoy nature and do their business. On most days, I really do not mind walking them because I enjoy their company. But, there are just those tiring nights when I wish that they could just walk themselves without causing any trouble. This struggle usually gets triggered whenever it rains or the elevator in our condominium stops working… just like tonight.

Despite feeling so lazy and weak, of course, I still walked the dogs because of my love for them. Haha! I brought Clue down to the ground floor first and we walked around the garden. On our way back to the unit, I noticed how he struggled going up the wooden stairs. He didn’t struggle as much when we went up the other staircase made out of stone and cement. I guess he felt that the wooden one was more unstable.

It was cute, at first, because he was doing his best to stay still like a statue, while I was softly tugging at his leash and calling him up the stairs. But, after a few minutes, I wanted to rest already, so I attempted to lift his body one step at a time. Although, halfway through, I thought it would be better to teach him how to do it on his own. He carefully lifted one paw up, took one step, and then backed up immediately. He did this for a couple of times. Sometimes, taking two steps up and three to four steps backward. I was beside him the whole time. I even blocked the side of the stairs where it was overlooking the floor below, so that he wouldn’t be scared. But still, he kept on shaking and looking down.


“It’s okay, Clue! I’m here. You can do it. One step at a time!” “I know it looks scary, but don’t look down. Let’s go up, Clue!” This scenario went on for five minutes while I kept tapping on the wooden steps, to signal him to keep on going up. Finally, he made his way up and I told him he did a good job while his tail vigorously wagged.

As soon as I entered our place, I wondered why Clue was so afraid of heights and the seemingly unstable staircase. Maybe he had a traumatic experience before which still scares him today. How I wish Clue understood that he didn’t have to be afraid because I was with him. I was and still am able to block the scary view, protect him from falling down the stairs, give him rubs every time he takes one step, and train him to learn climbing up on his own. Doesn’t he trust me?

Somehow, this moment reminded me of what it is like to also not trust in God, especially when I go through challenging, unwanted, and painful situations in life. I saw myself in Clue while he was taking steps forward and backward, while keeping his eyes on the scary height and distance below. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I knew that it was one of the ways that God was using to humble me.

I remembered a song that I listened to recently which encouraged me to be real before the Lord and to trust that His presence and grace in my life are more than enough for me. It has simple lyrics but it strikes a chord in my heart as I am reminded of the ff. verses about God being our powerful Emmanuel: Psalm 23:4, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 139:7, and Matthew 28:20.

I pray that these verses and this song, “Why God” by Austin French, will encourage us to keep seeking and trusting in the Lord in whatever situation we are in. Yes, He may not always answer the Why’s that we have. But, we can rest in knowing that whatever He reveals to us is enough for His wonderful plans to be fulfilled in our lives… according to His will and for His glory alone.

“Give me a faith stronger than I have
I need to know when it hurts this bad
That You hold my heart when it breaks
And I’m not alone in this place

That’s why God I need You
Why God I run to Your arms
Over and over again

It’s why God I cling to Your love and hold on for dear life
And I find You are right by my side
Always right by my side
Even here in the why… God.”

 

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About Me

My name is Nicole Obligacion and I started this blog because I was inspired by Hebrews 10:24 and Hebrews 3:13. I love to eat, cook, bake, read the Bible, and encourage. :)

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