Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Word of the Week: Exalt


Come let us tell of the LORD’s greatness;
let us exalt His name together.
Psalm 34:3 NLT

As we exalt the name of God together, we give honor to Who He is, What He has done, What He can do, and Why He cares for us.

I wrote this song to give honor and glory to the name of God.

As I penned each verse various names came to mind from the Word. When I finished the song I went back and counted the names of God that I had used.

I was astonished to discover 25 names of God in the song.

That means that there are:
25 ways to tell of His greatness.
25 ways ways to tell of Who He is.
25 ways to get to know Him more intimately.
25 ways to exalt Him!

Each time I sing this song, each time I talk about this song, my desire is to exalt Him. My desire is to know Him more deeply and make Him known.

How well do you know Him?

He is:

Almighty God
Way Maker
Rock of Salvation
Ancient of Days
Anointed One
Consuming Fire
High Priest
Lord of Lords

Let’s aim to know Him intimately and exalt His name together!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Eyes of Compassion

Head tilted back with sunglasses balanced on his upper lip appeared to be a new game he’d just discovered.

A nudge and a sharp look from his sister and immediately he put the glasses back in their proper place.

He couldn’t have been much older than four. Running to catch up to their mother, whose eyes were also hidden behind dark glasses, they slipped into an office.

It wasn’t long before they were escorted back outside and told to wait. Their deception was unacceptable. Those with pink eye will not be attended to.

My stomach sank. There were two empty seats beside me.

The mother took one and the girl pulled her brother onto her lap and took the seat closest to me. I reached for my hand sanitizer as the red-tainted eyes of the little boy followed my every move.

One by one the security guard questioned each person in the crowd wearing sunglasses. He made it clear that anyone with pink eye should leave now and not come back until their eyes were clear.

My attention went back to the red-eyed boy. I saw his pain and his sadness. I sanitized my hands again, smiled politely, and went back to reading my book.

I’m against public shaming and should have felt some degree of empathy for them. But with the thousands of cases of pink eye here in Belize my compassion has worn thin and I felt angry that the mother put everyone around her at risk.

My mantra has been “keep your hands clean and don’t touch your eyes”. So far I’ve been successful in avoiding this modern day plague.

I long to be like Christ and look at others with eyes of compassion. But, some days are harder than others. And I have to confess that day was hard. A five hour wait at a government office drained all the compassion out of me.

Before the pink eye family sat down near me I was wedged in between my sleeping husband on the right and an American woman who was talking loudly while clearing her throat of phlegm every third sentence on my left. Behind me was a Spanish speaking gentleman who kept bumping my chair. Each time we go to the Immigration Department it’s a lesson in endurance, humility, and patience.

I’m grateful that God’s love is unfailing, that His grace is sufficient in my times of weakness, and that His mercies are new each morning.

I’m grateful that no matter what illness, bad attitude, or frustrating situation I find myself in, God’s compassion is still available for me.

And just as I used sanitizer to cleanse my hands from germs, I can confess my sins, be made clean, and find peace in His presence once again.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Word of the Week: Treasure

What do you treasure?

I’ve been thinking about this lately.

Have you ever wandered around a store looking for something to catch your eye? Maybe that's just me!

A few weeks ago I found a treasure box. I wasn't sure what to do with it. So of course I went back to the store and purchased a second one.

I began to use one treasure box to hold some note cards that have different names of God on them that I want to study. It made me think about what other things I treasure. So I started to make a list.

I treasure the word of God. I love quietly reading my Bible and making notes of the treasures I find within its pages.

I treasure jewelry. I have pieces that were handed down. Ones made by local designers. And things that my husband and children have gifted me...each item is priceless in my heart.

I treasure chatting with friends. As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another. I love gleaning wisdom and insight from the people in my life.

I treasure music. I love to listen to music and I love to sing it!

I treasure artistic creativity. Artwork in all of its forms amazing me. From jewelry designing to painting and drawing to spoken word, I love it all!

I treasure laughter. My granddaughter’s laughter fills my heart with joy!

I treasure books. I’ve spent many nights up way too late trying to finish one more chapter.

I treasure time spent in quiet. I truly value having extended times of peace and quiet in my day.

I treasure memories of special moments. With each year that passes I value my memories of events, time with family and friends, traveling with my husband. Making memories is one of my greatest treasures!

I can’t put all of those things in the second treasure box. But, I am gathering up some of my favorite things to give away!

Take a look at the video and follow along on Facebook and Instagram to search for clues that could lead to you be a winner of #AlidasTreasure!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Lessons Learned From Looking Back

“Forty is the
old age of youth,
fifty is the
youth of old age.”

These words of Victor Hugo came to mind today as I was working on a new song for a Christmas project.

Each time I step up to the microphone I realize I’m no longer a skinny little 10 year old standing in front of the mirror singing into a hairbrush.

Childhood fantasies become realities
when you jump at opportunities.

I wrote my first song at age 50 after crying out to God in despair. My children’s childhoods had officially come to an end. Both are now adults making their own choices and living out their own dreams. The time had come for me to find my way back to mine.

Being in the youth of old age means that I can look ahead and know that the time is short. And at the same time I can look back and benefit from lessons that only experience can teach.

The benefit of looking back is found in a few of the lessons learned along the way.

1. Life is short, it’s up to you to make it sweet.

Each one of us is responsible for our own lives. God has a plan and a path for each one of us. There are times when He will use someone else to open a door or provide a helping hand. But, He expects each one of His children to pick up their own spoon and taste Him for themselves. My husband’s favorite baked treat is cinnamon rolls but mine is sweet potato pie. If I eat from his plate I’m not getting the sweetness I crave, I have to accept what he’s chosen.

2. Life is hard, but God is good.

The New Testament makes it clear that we will have troubles in this world. But, we can take heart and have the courage to face whatever comes our way because Jesus overcame every weight that has the power to hold us back from the life God designed for us.

3. Life is not a competition, it’s about connection.

Each one of us has our own race to run. Social media causes us to criticize, compete & compare. We have a tendency to compare our worst to someone else’s best. All of those activities are distractions that can lead us to veer out of our own lane. We must connect with what God has gifted us to do and not with someone else’s calling.

I wrote a song last year that I thought would be perfect for this Christmas project I’m currently working on with my friend Mervin. He writes songs that get people to jump up and down. I confess that I have compared myself to him. I even tried to put together a song similar to his style but I fell short. My husband listened to it and didn’t get it. It wasn’t me and I had to let it go.

I have a new song coming out near the end of the month. It’s a reggae worship song. I remember telling a dj about it and she said, “sometimes you want to move from side to side instead of jump up and down”. Since that conversation I've noticed that each time I’ve performed the reggae song I see people swaying side to side! Her words opened my eyes.

Serving God should not be a competition.

If we connect with God, with ourselves, and with others, we can all move forward in cooperation with one another.

Mervin and I both have goals of pointing others to God. And we’ll be more successful in reaching our goals through connecting and cooperating with one another.

I’m grateful for the lessons He’s given to me. What lessons have you learned from Him?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Word of the Week: Girls

What would you say to your younger self?

At age 14 every emotion is...SO...INTENSE!

According to a study involving over 19,000 children at age 14 in the UK: 24% of the girls and 9% of the boys experience depression.

As part of the study the children were asked if they felt statements were true, sometimes true or not true regarding how they felt in the previous two weeks:
  • I felt miserable or unhappy.

  • I didn't enjoy anything at all.

  • I felt so tired I just sat around and did nothing.

  • I was very restless.

  • I felt I was no good anymore.

  • I cried a lot.

  • I found it hard to think properly or concentrate.

  • I hated myself.

  • I was a bad person.

  • I felt lonely.

  • I thought nobody really loved me.

  • I thought I could never be as good as other kids.

  • I did everything wrong.

How would you answer for yourself?

Cyber bullying, stress over school, home life, peer pressure, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and negative thinking are driving forces for these feelings during adolescence.

What transpires during a girl’s teenage years shapes the direction of her life.  

The onset of puberty marks a time of heightened vulnerability. Some girls may have to discontinue their education due to lack of finances or early pregnancy, sexual exploitation, coercion or violence. Each of these traumas can lead to depression.

This past week I have sensed a spirit of despair in the young people who’ve reached out to me. As I pray for them scripture floods my mind.

Every sigh of the soul finds a home in Psalms.

Psalm 69:20 says, “Their insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. If only one person would show some pity; if only one would turn and comfort me.”

In the office I hear how often girls have to face the sting of harsh words, side eyed glances, and unrealistic expectations that all serve to break not only the heart but the spirit.

Every girl needs a safe person to confide in, lean on, and be comforted by.

Those who seek help in counseling are like the psalmist in Psalm 130:1 “From the depths of despair, O Lord, I call for your help.”

And in Psalm 40:2 we read, “He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.”

For those girls who know the Lord, I can direct them to find healing in His love and care. For those who don’t I can pray for them.

I pray that the girls of Belize overcome despair.

I pray that the girls of Belize find comfort from the Comforter.  

I pray that the girls of Belize find hope and healing.

I pray that the girls of Belize find deep abiding joy and will pass it on to others.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

6 Core Longings of the Soul

Psalm 42:1
As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.

The night of our grandchild’s birth in Australia we were 9675 miles away in Belize.

We had to settle for online updates through Messenger and Whatsapp.

I cried and prayed all through the night as we waited for the next message to arrive.

She was 9 months old before we could afford plane tickets to Australia. And it’s been two years since we last held her in our arms.

We don’t long for the things we have right near us.

We long for those things we are distant from.

We long for those things we don’t have.

According to Robert Shaw the core longings of our souls are: love, safety, understanding, belonging, purpose, and significance.

As I considered each of the six longings I found myself asking questions and searching for the answers in His word.

Does God love me?

Psalm 23:6                                                                            "Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever."

Answer: YES. God’s unfailing love pursues me!

Will God keep me safe?

Psalm 18:2
"The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety."

Answer: YES. He’s my shield and a place of safety for me!

Does God get what I’m going through?

Psalm 147:5
"How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!"

Answer: YES. Nobody's understanding comes close to His!

Do I fit in God's Kingdom?

Psalm 100:3                                                    "Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture."

Answer: YES. He made me and I belong to Him!

Does God have a purpose for me?

Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."

Answer: YES. He planned work for me before I was created!                                                

Am I significant in God’s eyes?

1 Peter 2:5
"And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple. What’s more, you are His holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God."

Answer: YES. I am being built into the temple of God!

No matter what culture you come from, what ethnic group you belong to, what your age is, or what gender you are, these core longings exist in every human spirit.

Many of us try over and over to get these longings fulfilled through emotional attachments with people. But we continue feeling unfulfilled because our spiritual longings cannot be filled by earthy sources, they can only be fulfilled by God.

There are answers in the Word to meet
the deepest desires of our souls.

Dig into the soil of His word to deepen your knowledge of Him so that He can meet all of the longings of your heart!