Faith and Blinders

One day Jesus asked Peter, James and John to take a hike. Mark 9:2 describes it as a high mountain, and the purpose was to be alone. I wonder what their conversation was like as they hiked the path. Did they admire the flowers and view? Did they discuss the amazing healings and other miracles they had seen? Did they feel “special” because Jesus selected them to go on this outing? We don’t know. What we know is that when they reached the stopping place, something strange happened.

As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. Wow, what a surprise. But that wasn’t the end. Moses and Elijah showed up and began talking with Jesus while the other three stood watching in amazement. Peter interrupts the conversation, Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified. (Bless dear Peter, I often fill in silly things when I don’t know what else to say too!)

But there is still more of this bizarre story! Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘this is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.’ Suddenly, when they looked around, Mose and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them. Whew, to hear God, the Father’s voice declaring, ‘This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him‘. How amazing. I believe that experience changed forever those three fellows. How do you hear the Father when He speaks these loving words? Do you hear His pride and concern that these men really get the heart of who and why Jesus came? I imagine they carried the words and tone of this voice forever. Do you think the Father is still trying to get His children to “listen to Him“? As they walked back down the mountain, Jesus asked them not to share the story until after His resurrection, leading them to even more pondering.

They were privileged to witness an aspect of who Jesus really is. They saw the holy power side of Him I often forget. Unless I need Him to work some miracles for me, I often forget He truly is, His Majesty. He had recently shared with them about his impending death and resurrection, but they didn’t comprehend it. The Jewish leaders taught the scriptures about the coming Messiah in the Synagogue, but I wonder if they focused on His power and might. Did they, like me, overlook the parts that told of his suffering? That is why I entitled this writing “Faith and Blinders”, because I believe there are areas where His followers still do not see clearly. We read His Word selectively. It is time to eat the whole plate. Not just the parts we like. His transfiguration showed forth His holiness and purity. It also talks about persecution, suffering and endurance for the believer. Are we prepared if that is where we find ourselves?

Philippians 2:10 declares at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. I believe that the transfigured Jesus is the one we will bow to. We will comprehend who it is that we call Lord, and have no other reaction than to bow to His Lordship, humbling ourselves before Him. We don’t have to wait till then, let’s start today.

Faith and Stopping

This weekend in our area, most things came to a screeching stop. We had an unusual snowstorm that dropped over one foot of snow. This is very remarkable for our area. The weather service sent many alerts, warning people to stay off the road to stay safe. I determined to heed their warnings, cozying up and watching the wonder of God’s creation called snow.

Because of the intensity of the storm, it wasn’t hard to understand the need to stop. But sometimes we miss it. Life gets moving. Our agenda runs our schedule and we just keep going. We might miss some important God stops along the way if we are not listening carefully to the Holy Spirit.

I don’t want to get too analytical concerning all starts and stops in our life. But they happen. My daughter is experiencing a slowdown because of hernia repair surgery. She is recovering well, but for six weeks she has to be careful of her activities. Difficult for a busy mom of three. Because of her surgery, the entire family changed their routine. It was a forced stop for them all. God is using this time to help her children grow and the family to become a stronger team. This was a needed stop.

There are many stops described in the scriptures. The Israelites stopped to celebrate! When they crossed into the Promised Land, they rejoiced to see their enemies overthrown. God ordained the Passover celebrations, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of the Harvest to name a few. These declared stops encouraged them to remember what God did for them. Jesus instituted communion or the breaking of bread as a stop to take time to remember the power of the cross and what His sacrifice brought us.

When was the last time you took time to enjoy a Sabbath rest? I am old enough to remember when all stores were closed on Sundays, which forced people to change their pace. As we’ve grown to a speedy 24/7 lifestyle, we must take ownership of that precious God ordained stop. No one is going to force you to take a Sabbath rest. It is must be an intentional choice, choosing to release faith that you will get as much done in six days as you would in seven. An outside culture does not require it, but our body and soul still need that rest. Maybe if we take more truly Sabbath rests, we won’t need as many forced rests to let our body heal!

Sometimes our stops are made on the behalf of others..Read through the gospels, note how often He was interrupted! He used those interruptions to teach, touch and train not only His disciples, but all who were listening. He even had interruptions during many of His teachings. He took the time to stop and meet the immediate needs of those around Him. I wonder if I can learn to be that sensitive. As I am hosting four of my grandchildren this week, I am re-discovering how challenging it is to take time to stop and listen and respond to their wants and needs. It changes my routine, and that is not always easy.Unexpected phone calls or visitors often reveal our heart toward stops. Will we take that call? Will we welcome our guests? Do we hear of a need and ignore our part in helping meet that need? Growing in sensitivity about the needs of others is difficult when our culture is all about me. Jesus was aware of the needs of others, and He did not let His agenda interfere with meeting those needs, nor should we.

Learning to heed the stops of the Lord is just that a learning process. As we learn to watch and listen to the Holy Spirit, our lives will be fuller and actually more peaceful. It is difficult, but it is so worth it. I regret not listening to these stops in the past.

Father, I ask that you help us learn to be aware of all the stops that come our way. I thank you for helping us respond to the forced stops with expectation and joy, trusting you are working all things together for my good.. I thank you for helping us learn to celebrate communion wholeheartedly, reminding us of your loving sacrifice for us. Father, I choose to receive the stops that come from interruptions as an opportunity to grow in patience and long-suffering. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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Faith and Help

I have been joining with many women of our church in a Bible study called “Amen”. It is subtitled, “the story of Scripture from Eden to Eternity”. The goal is to gain a deeper comprehension of God’s purpose and plan for history as it’s presented in the entire Bible. As we journey through this overview of the greatest story on earth, I am reminded once again how humanity need/needed a Savior. Reading about the shortcomings of Saul, David, Solomon reminds me of my own. I am so grateful we have one. That His name is Jesus, and we can know him.

If you struggle today; please remind yourself that you, too, have a Savior. Look to Him. Do not do life on your own. No matter what the struggle, He is there. Ready to help, ready to walk through any storm, difficulty and situation. But I want to remind you, He is a perfect gentleman. He does not come in, unless we ask Him. Yes, He, as a good Father, watches over our life, but to receive the most of His care, we must ask, seek and pursue Him and His ways. We must be honest to ourselves and to Him. This is not always easy, because we don’t always want to admit our needs.

Lessons I’ve learned in receiving help from the Savior.

  1. Go to Him sooner than later. Don’t wait until you are feeling overwhelmed, learn to go to Him with the smaller issues, before they become large,
  2. Don’t let your delays stop you from going when they are large!
  3. Admit you need His help.
  4. Repent if you need to. Receive His forgiveness. Forgive yourself.
  5. Remind yourself of Bible stories where He helped others, or of your own past help stories.
  6. Obey His advice, even if it means humbling yourself.
  7. Trust His direction.
  8. Be patient for His answers.
  9. Keep on walking in His ways, let His peace guard your heart.

Reminders:

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 34:17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

Psalm 94:19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Philippians 4:6-7 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 minds in Christ Jesus.

Faith and a Simple God Story

Today I am writing to share how thankful I am for God and how He answers personal prayer. This past week has been challenging for me, not only physically, but emotionally. I received news my old friend’s daughter passed away and there are so many others with their own pain that really affected me. I am trying to finish an enormous project, at least to me and I felt very insufficient.

I woke up determined to get a lot accomplished. My list was long, but my energy was low. I spent the day fighting discouragement. Feeling inadequate, I couldn’t focus and got very little done. As I prepared to go to bed that night, I simply sat in my chair and shared with the Lord how I was feeling. To be honest, I shed some tears. But as I sat and honestly poured out my heart to Him, I felt His loving comfort surround me. All I could do was respond with thanksgiving and peaceful worship. There is nothing more humbling and restorative than honestly sharing with the Lord. No topic is off limits. His peace, hope and comes and the troubles seem to fade away. I could feel the limiting paralysis dissipate and liberty and joy quietly taking its place. I sat and soaked in His loving presence, just enjoying being with Him. I prayed for my friends and their needs. I prayed with faith, knowing He could and would comfort and supply whatever they needed. 

After that encounter, I just knew I could go ahead. He would give me the things I needed to accomplish His purpose. His grace is totally sufficient to cover all my weaknesses. Oh, my friends, as I think back on what caused the shift, I realize that although I had been asking for help, I still tried to do it; I was relying more on my strength than His. Kind of silly, isn’t it?

I say with David in Psalm 18. I love you, Lord; you are my strength. 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. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. Yes, he saved me once again from the enemy of me. My attempts to accomplish something on my own weren’t working. I thought I was leaning on Hm, but all my thoughts were on me, not Him, but when I came to the end of myself, once again He was there. I am so grateful. I wish I wish I was better at communicating just how amazing this interaction was. His presence literally freed me from myself and showed me a better way.

Are you like me, once again, trying to live this Christian life in your own strength? Are you trying to do it on your own? If so, the wonderful news is that He is no respecter of persons. Yes, He is waiting for you to take a break. Sit and have an honest heart to heart talk with the Lover of your soul. Once again, I needed that reminder, and I am so grateful I heeded it! Is there anything you need to share with Him? Don’t waste time—do it now.

Faith and Purchases

Do you ever differentiate between buying something or purchasing something? I find most people use the word “buy” when they do their normal shopping, like groceries or gasoline. When I hear the word “purchase” they usually use it for larger ticket items like a car or a home. The word purchase means to gain something by paying for it. The archaic meaning includes to get or achieve with effort or suffering. In Matthew 13, Jesus is busy teaching several parables which involve purchasing.

In the parable of the hidden treasure, he describes a man who discovered a hidden treasure in a field. Some translations describe him as a trespasser. No matter how he found the treasure, he recognized it for what it was. He carefully hid it again. Then he went and sold all he had to purchase the field, just so he could have the treasure.

Next Jesus shares the parable of the precious pearl. A merchant (maybe a jeweler?) was looking for choice pearls. When he found one, he sold all he had to purchase that precious pearl. He knew the value of that pearl. As a young believer, I always thought that this parable was to encourage us to give up our life for the Lord. We were purchasing Him! But now, I see Jesus is the jeweler! We are the precious pearls that He is seeking. The purchase price was high. It cost Him His life. He and His Father decided we were worth it. Amazing, isn’t it? Read the following scriptures and focus not only that He purchased us, but the rest of the included package!

He purchased our salvation. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. Ephesians 1:7 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. Ephesians 1: 14 Colossians 1:14 For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

He purchased us for a purpose. If you are feeling small, inadequate or invisible; please know you are precious to Him. As the days grow darker, we must remember this truth. As I read the story of the pearl, I pictured the man putting this pearl in a very safe spot. We are safe in His embrace. As I meditate on the value He gives me, I also must accept the valuation He gives to my brothers and sisters. He purchased them for the same price.

We can trust Him when He asks us to make a purchase for His kingdom with our time, treasure or talent as well. It will always be worth it in the end, no matter what it seems like initially.

Father, I thank you for constantly reminding us of your love and care. I ask that you help us remember you purchased us for our forgiveness of sins, freedom from those sins, to become your own people who glorify your name. Help us view others in that same light. We are your precious pearls and we are so grateful.

Faith and Trusting Obedience

This year, my focus word is obedience. Not normally a word that evokes warm fuzzy feelings. But having walked with the Lord for 62+ years, I have learned from experience that obedience is the safest and best place to be. If you struggle in this area, do not simply focus on what He asks, but look at who is asking you. Please know I am not claiming perfection in this area, but I think I am quicker to obey than ever before.

Deuteronomy 32:1-4 is so encouraging. It is a song of Moses, recited to the assembly of Israel. Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! Hear, O earth, the words that I say. Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on your plants. I will proclaim the name of the Lord; how glorious is our God! He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!

When doubt or fear try to thwart my obedience, it often is because I am looking at myself, including my insecurities and weaknesses. Re-focusing on Who is asking helps me change my thoughts and release my fears. I admit, I have been a slower learner in grasping this simple lesson. Last week, I watched my son working with his son. He was trying to get him to try a food he had liked before, but wasn’t wanting to eat that night. He said, “Son, do you trust me?” Our sweet four-year-old Tobi boy answered, “I don’t know”. What an honest answer! He eventually ate the Taquito, and I think he liked it. I could see the struggle in his own heart about wanting to trust his day, but then looking at this bite and being unsure. Isn’t that what often happens to us? We focus more on the task than we do our loving Savior. Scripture encourages us to come as a little child, but even little children grow in their trust.

Another way we grow into trusting obedience is by just doing it! Taking a deep breath and jumping in and going, “I trust you Lord”. No matter the outcome, the timing, or the journey, I will trust you. In Psalm 13, David cries out to the Lord, “how long?” God gets it. He gets that we often wonder where He is during our crisis. O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, O Lord my God; Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. But David kept on trusting. He kept on praying. He kept on rejoicing. He reminded himself of God’s salvation. But I trust your unfailing love, I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me. As we follow David’s example, we will experience His salvation in the land of the living.

Remind yourself, like Peter, “who else has the words of eternal life?” Please, dear ones, do not grow weary in trusting Him. Do not grow weary of walking in obedience to your Savior.

Faith and “The Word of the Year”

At the beginning of every new year, often my ministry friends would seek the Lord for a “word” or focus for the coming year. Amazingly, often, they were very similar in their intent, if not the same word.   One year the word the Lord gave me was weakness! Not something I would have expected, but one that really added grace and mercy to my life. I may have been the only one with that word!

This year, when I wasn’t even asking! He spoke a word very quietly in my spirit. That word is “obedience”. He spoke with such love, care and peace that I could only receive it with joy. Of course obedience should be something we walk in all the time. A mind set every mature believer incorporates into their daily lives. But to be honest, there are times we self debate, over think, procrastinate or just plain ignore those promptings made by His Holy Spirit.

Often our reluctance to obey quickly is our fear of the cost. The cost we fear can be emotional, spiritual, relational or even financial. Imagine our friend Noah, receiving His assignment to build the ark. I wonder how long he debated in his heart before he told Mrs. Noah and the family? How long before they went public with the build? Yet, something in Noah caused him to overthrow all his concerns, and he obeyed. God’s will and purpose accomplished. Every rainbow we enjoy testifies to Noah’s obedience.

As you read through the Bible, notice the fruits of obedience. They abound. We are reaping the results of others’ obedience. Especially those who wrote all the original books of the Bible. Esther, Jeremiah, and Elijah left an inspiring legacy for us to follow. The New Testament has its heros too. Paul, of course, not only in his writings, but his example of teaching, preaching, traveling, even while suffering beatings, shipwrecks , and imprisonments. Timothy, as a young man, established churches. John, the revelator, living in exile on Patmos, encountered many visions and “revelations” by the Spirit of God. We benefit from his isolation even today. Yes, the cost of obedience can be high. It can cost our life. But it also leads to life. Living a life of obedience is a life that leaves a legacy for others. It is not a selfish life. It is a selfless life. It is a life that cultivates the laying down of “what about me?” mindset. It is a decision to live for Him, and not for ourselves.

It really comes down to our relationship with Him. If you love me, keep my commandments. John 14:15. Maybe we won’t be asked to build an ark, or safe a nation; but we may, by our obedience, bring life, hope and grace to someone else. Minimally, the fruit of our obedience will be a closer walk with Jesus. Do not stress about hearing His voice in these matters. As every good parent, He will make His will known to you. Just ask Him to speak, open your ears, eyes and heart. He is a good Father and will lead and guide us. When in doubt, remember, charity never fails, so simply do whatever you feel you are inspired to do with and in His love.

If we walk in obedience, we will surely hear “well done, my servant and friend”. How amazing that will be!

Faith and Our God Most High

As I read through scripture, I choose to focus on the amazing names of God. With the craziness happening in our world—how encouraging it is to read “God Most High”. The Hebrew word for most high is Elyon. Combing it with El Elyon, it becomes the divine title our God deserves. He is the ruler of not only the universe but of everything that touches us. There is no other God that reigns over Him. He is the MOST HIGH God! Yesterday, amid some stormy situations, I called on my Most High God. It brought such peace and trust. My mind calmed as I rehearsed many of the things that are under His feet.

Often in the Psalms we find the phrase the Lord of Heaven’s Armies (Jehovah Sabaoth). When Hannah prays for a son in 1 Samuel 1: 10, she uses this name to cry out to Him. It expresses the infinite power and resources which God acts for His people. Her situation had gone on too long and she needed to make her God bigger. He answered. When I read and meditate on this title, God becomes bigger and more firmly established as the Most High God. Psalm 80:19 Turn us again to yourself, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved. He is in charge, my friends, no matter what things may look like. When you are feeling small, call out to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. It will stir your soul. No demon in hell can stand against Him. He is Lord.

Need healing? Cry out to Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals. Jehovah Jireh is the God who provides. All these titles describe an aspect of our amazing Lord and Savior. The most precious name of all to me is Abba Father. Adopted into His family, by the shedding of His blood, opened the door to a relationship with this Most High God! Add these titles to your prayer communication and you will grow in faith and maturity. There is nothing better than curling up in the Father’s Presence during struggles and disappointments. His Comfort is there. However, I can’t stay there and see things change. I must join with Him, using His powerful Word to bring the needed change. During these darker and difficult times, we must grow in our understanding of God’s power and the authority we have as His children. Through prayer we can watch things change, but only if we release our faith and cry out to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!

Let us join to pray for our world. Do not let discouragement take over your life. Stand strong as a member of His Army. No victims here, but victors. Pulling down strongholds. Watching doors open, and lives changed and healed, in His Name.

Faith and Our Light Afflictions

We all will agree that 2020 has been quite a year. Those longing for this year to be over and done with think differently than me. I have never been one to think things miraculously change just because the date does. The tests and trials will continue, they just may be different. And for many, the tests and trials of this year are continuing. I have three dear friends in the hospital right now. One in Nevada in an ICU due to Covid complications. She has been there for several weeks. Praying and believing for life and not death, that she will awake from her coma and come back to us. In Tennessee, another friend was just moved from ICU to a regular room with severe head trauma and bleeding in the brain. A third friend is in Arizona, also in ICU with doctors trying to sort out his situation. None of these situations are “light” to us or their family members, but 2 Corinthians 4:17 describes our light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. The New Living translation: for our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.

Affliction: something that causes pain or suffering. My friends and their families are enduring the pain and suffering of watching their loved ones endure these hospital stays. We are standing and believing for God’s intervention and healing to be manifest for all of them. I have been there. When my husband suffered his heart attack and subsequent stroke, it did not feel “light” or “momentary”. It shattered my world. However, I kept on looking up. Looking to Him, the author and finisher of my faith. I felt weak and insufficient to the task, but through God’s grace and the body of Christ help, we made it day by day. That situation revealed areas of strengths and my weaknesses.

I believe God desires to use all the tests of 2020 to show off the good work He has done in us. They also revealed any areas of immaturity, fear, and childishness. The “I don’t want to wear a mask”, “I don’t want to do on-line learning” or have my kids home 24/7 etc. The really difficult issues were deaths, lost jobs and businesses that were forced to close. But even those are considered “light” afflictions in the light of eternity. As we battled through “it’s not fair” or “it’s too inconvenient” we either matured, or fell into anger, frustration and resentment. It was easy to fall into the “what about me” syndrome; forgetting that this was a world wide pandemic and many had it worse than we did.

Revelation 14 describes the pouring out of God’s wrath on those who worshipped the beast and his statue and the ongoing torment that follows. Not a pretty sight. But the scripture that comes next is: This means God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. (Rev 14:12) Living through the COVID pandemic was not persecution, but if we could not walk it out in faith and trust, how will we do when real persecution happens. No matter what we face this coming year; we need to walk patiently in obedience and maintain our faith in Jesus. He is still on the throne. We are still here to manifest His glory through how we endure hardships. It is not easy, but doable.

I for one, am thankful for the lessons I learned in 2020. I am grateful for His mercy and answered prayers. I feel the Holy Spirit is getting His people out of the hot house and into the field where we will be even more fruitful. Keep on looking to Him, my friends. He is the only one who has the words of eternal life. Let’s choose to put away childish behaviors and attitudes and simply walk patiently with Him, our Lord and Savior.

Faith and Faith-filled Adaptions

We encounter situations where we need to adapt. This Covid season has given us many opportunities to adapt. A year ago, none of us would have considered mask wearing when we leave our homes. But we adapted. A few weeks ago our Governor made changes in mandates due to the rise in Covid cases here in Washington. One of those changes affected religious gatherings, was the mandate that there be no congregational singing. We could have one person on the platform singing, but that was all. Many many people grumbled, complained and felt discriminated against. However, our church leadership decided to submit to these rulings–not with mumblings and grumblings, but with faith. I can feel hackles rising in many as you read this, but please read on.

We need to remember worship is much more than singing. The focus of worship is to bring honor to the Lord. We are free to do it in many many ways. Raising hands, clapping, kneeling in His Presence, bringing an offering are all good ways to bring honor to our Great God. The first Sunday, I admit, was a bit unusual. But the presence of the Lord came. Pastor Michael Hurley (our lead pastor) set a great tone with his message. He left the submission choice up to each person, allowing us to follow God’s leading in each of our lives. He asked our worship director to pray about singing a prophetic song over the congregation at end of the service, based on Zephaniah 3:17. It was beautifully encouraging. God touched all who let go of the preconceived idea of what a worship service should look like. Each week there has been a prophetic song shared and it is wonderful.

God is using these temporary restrictions to release new freedoms and exploration on what it means to truly worship. The raising of hands has taken on new meaning. I have found myself focusing on the words of the songs that are being sung. Meditation and contemplation have deepened my love for the Lord. Quietly praying for those around me keeps me in touch with Him and them. I have, personally, begun to sing more out loud at my home and in my car on the way to church. Due to illness, when I haven’t been able to attend, the presence of the Lord overflows into my home via the online service.

We have discovered that God’s Spirit is not bound. He is free to move in our lives, even when we can’t do things as usual. I am sure these restrictions will be lifted soon and we will all be excited and blessed. But once again, God is using natural situations to teach and expand our thinking about what a real relationship with Him looks like. There are many in the body who physically can’t sing due to muteness or deafness. They have discovered how to worship in spite of those personal restrictions. Having these limitations has helped me better understand their situations.

I know other churches may ignore those restrictions and continue to sing and praise as normal. That is up to them and their conscience, no judgement. I am grateful that our church leaders chose to walk in faith in the midst of the restrictions, for it has been a learning experience for me. Romans 14:23 For whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. We choose not to sing in faith, not fear. We choose to submit to our leaders in faith, not fear. We choose to exercise our worship muscles in new ways, and that is good!

God is not bound, I am free to worship Him at any time with my voice raised high. And I do.