Tie Dye Shirts

Last week was a crazy week between my work, Dennis’ schedule at the Studio, and Mary Katherine’s events/meetings after school. When Friday finally rolled around, we were looking forward to a family night. The new movie, The Shack, was just released and Dennis and I decided that would be our family night. Get some supper and see The Shack. (Side note: Great movie! Definitely a must see! We try to support the faith based movies as much as we can.) However, Mary Katherine wasn’t too crazy about that idea. She was good with supper (or dinner as she insist on calling it) but she didn’t want to do the movie.

Part of MK’s week consisted of practicing for an event called Kidz Zone Live that happened last night at her church. It was a big drama/music production – like vacation Bible school on steroids. She was part of the worship dance group that lead the kids during the high energy songs that they did during the program. Mary Katherine had volunteered to make tie dye shirts for everyone on the dance team and the supplies were being delivered on Friday. So, naturally she wanted to stay home and work on the shirts…not go to a movie.

However, the parents prevailed and we all went to see The Shack and got a bite to eat afterwards…even added in a trip to Starbucks for a coffee and some conversation. We did an early movie so we were back home by 8:00 p.m. MK got started on the tie dye shirts (8 of them).  Around 10:45 p.m. she was still working on the shirts and Dennis and I went to bed.

Fast forward to Saturday morning.

I get up earlier than everyone else at my house and I love my 1-2 hours of quiet time (like now) when I can drink my coffee, look out the window, read my Bible, write in my journal, think about the day, etc. Lately when I get up my mind is a whirlwind of thoughts and it has affected my ability to rest. So, I decided to go to the Word and talk to God because I know all of this chaos and busyness in my head is not normal.  I also love books and resources that I can use and Battlefield of the Mind (Joyce Meyer) is a great topical reference that directs me to scripture and gives practical examples.

During my reading and praying, the Holy Spirit gently nudged me and showed me something that I wasn’t searching for…I guess you could say I got corrected. I had been so caught up in my “grown up things” from my week that I failed to see the act of service that Mary Katherine was doing.  I put down my books and went into her bathroom tieand-die-2where she had been working on the tie dye shirts to take a look at her progress. In the bathtub were 8 super colorful neon tie dye shirts that were rolled up and rubber banded in a cool pattern. If you know anything about doing tie dye, it is a time consuming process. You have to roll the shirts and rubber band them according to how you want the pattern to look when you are done. You mix up colors and add the dye one color at a time in a pattern. Then, they have to sit overnight before you can wash and dry them to get them ready to wear.

Of course, the bathroom was a mess but sometimes we have to look beyond the mess to appreciate and see the potential in a project (or a person). As I stood there looking at everything, I thought how creative and how cool that she knows how to do this at 15 years old. I thought how proud I was that she was willing to do this act of service for her team and now they all would have matching tie dye shirts that would glow under the black lights for the program on Sunday night. I had no idea what time she went to bed but she stayed with it until she got it done (found out later she went to bed at 1:00 a.m.).

I had totally missed the value of the service that Mary Katherine was doing because I was so focused on my own thing. No wonder she was giving me “push back” the previous night. Needless to say, I knew what I needed to do…apologize to her and tell her how proud I was of her willingness to serve and how impressed I was with her creativity.  It was early, but I woke her up and told her and it was well received. Of course, she went back to sleep.

It can be so easy to get on “auto pilot” or in “survival mode” and focus on everything going on in our little circle that sometimes we miss the opportunity to appreciate and recognize others (even in our own house). I fell into that trap but I am so thankful for the prompting of the Holy Spirit to guide and correct me.

As my daughter is growing into a young adult, I want to be mindful not to discount the ways she serves others just because she is young. God is no respecter of age when it comes to serving Him and he used some pretty young folks in the Bible to do some amazing things (David, Esther, Mary, etc). I want to encourage that servant’s heart in MK.

I also think it is so important as a parent to apologize to your child and ask for forgiveness when you have been wrong. I don’t mean saying “I’m sorry” every time you do something your child doesn’t like, but when you have been wrong you should apologize and seek forgiveness. This is a great way to teach grace and demonstrate the relationship that God wants with us as His children. When we mess up, we need to put our pride aside and be willing to confess and ask forgiveness.

So…the next time you see a tie dye shirt maybe you will remember the lesson I shared and it will encourage you to turn off “auto pilot” for a bit and take a moment to look around at what you may be missing. Share some encouragement with others!

Verses for Encouragement:

Rejoice always and delight in our faith; be unceasing and persistent in prayer; in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. – I Thessalonians 5:16-18 AMP

Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing. – I Thessalonians 5:11 AMPC

Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ. – Ephesians 4:32 CEV



Do You Trust Me? – God

On Monday of last week (4th of July) as I was getting ready, I bent over to put on my right sock and I felt it.  My right hip and low back moved and the muscle spasm took over. As it was happening, I was saying, “No, no, no….not today!”  However, it was going to be on that day that my back decided to “go out”.

I see a chiropractor on a fairly regular basis…not quite once a month but more like once every couple of months.  I am a huge fan of chiropractic care for me and I understand it may not be for everyone. However, God has used my Christian chiropractor in a great way. I suffered for years with low back issues. Most mornings or nights when I would get up or lay down I’d have hold my breath and wait just a few minutes so my low back and hip joints could move into place and then I’d get relief. Long story short, I found out that was exactly what was happening and there wasn’t enough room for my nerves to fit comfortably between my vertebrae. When I finally started seeing the chiropractor, the relief was almost immediate and I became a huge believer in that form of medicine.

I tell you all of that to paint a picture of the distress I felt on July 4th when my back “went out”. For any of you that have had this experience you know that almost immediately swelling starts and stiffness begins to happen.  So, I am scrambling for ibuprofen, ice, and heat (I know…I probably should only do the ice, but the heat really feels good and it seems to work for me).  I also knew that there wasn’t any sense in going to see the chiropractor until I could get the inflammation and swelling down in my back. So, I nursed myself for the next 4 days and did a lot of praying and quoting scriptures.

On Friday, I called the chiropractor’s office to schedule an appointment to see the doctor and THEY WERE CLOSED!  To top it off, we were leaving Saturday morning to do a Singing/Music engagement on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Singing/Music engagements for Dennis and I mean being able to load and unload equipment and instruments and merchandise. There was NO WAY I was going to be able to help Dennis.

At that point, I think God got my attention. I realized then that I was going to solely have to depend on Him to get me through the weekend.  I’ll just be open here…that was a sobering thought for me.  Did I really trust Him to get me through the weekend? I think lots of times we say we trust God, but we have a Plan B in the back of our mind. My being able to call and get in to see the chiropractor whenever it fit my schedule was my Plan B just in case things didn’t get better between Monday and Thursday. However, Plan B got pulled out from under me. In hindsight, I think He was saying, “Leslie, do you really believe the prayers you have been praying for healing? Do you really believe the verses you have been quoting? Do you trust ME?”

Saturday was really tough.  We drove 4 hours and I laid on the couch in the motor coach trying to rest while Dennis drove. It hurt to sit and it hurt to lay down. The only relief was in standing up. When we arrived at our destination, it was even tough to stand up and get started walking, but once I got going it wasn’t too bad. You may be thinking, “Why didn’t y’all just cancel?”. Well, that was not an option that ever crossed my mind. Yes, it was painful and tough, but we were not giving up and staying home. We believe God has given us this ministry and we know that it is bigger than us…we just play a part. So, when we have the opportunity to go and share in Gospel music and the Word we know there is a greater purpose and God has a bigger plan that isn’t just about us.

Saturday night was wonderful. The people were so hospitable and we just had a good time sharing. It was fun!  Before we ended the evening, Dennis shared from the stage about my back pain and asked them to pray for us as we headed to our next destination to minister the next morning. As we were visiting with the folks, a precious lady came up and asked me if she could pray with me. She said she felt like God was leading her to come and pray for me and my back pain. She laid her hands on me and prayed the sweetest prayer and graciously reminded God of his Word and asked for healing. As she prayed, I felt the Holy Spirit all over me (those Holy Ghost doo-dads as Dennis calls it).  We – actually Dennis – finished tearing everything down and loaded up and headed down the road to our next destination about 3 hours away. We rolled in at 2:00 a.m. and hit the bed knowing we had to be up at 7:00 a.m. to setup and get ready for the morning service.

I slept really well and felt good when we got up. I felt remarkably well…just some very mild stiffness. Dennis asked me, “How’s your back this morning?” and I replied, “I’m going to be ok”.  It was a statement of faith…not a statement of hope, but a statement of faith.

Sunday morning worship was great!  We were at a church that enjoys a real freedom to worship and it was energizing. We did a few songs and then Dennis preached an “on time” message. It was about being obedient to God and doing the personal sacrifice that He may call you to do without worrying what others are or are not doing. Then, we had an amazing lunch and came back and shared and sang for another hour and a half.  In the middle of the singing, Dennis shared with the folks about my back and it just hit me – I wasn’t hurting. I was so excited that I interrupted him and shared about the lady praying for me the previous night and told them that I wasn’t in pain anymore. I just realized at that moment that I was pain free. Thank you God!   We finished up and this time I was able to help Dennis tear down and load up and we headed home. God is good!

This morning as I sat in my chair drinking coffee and listening for the Holy Spirit in the quiet. He brought me back to the events of the weekend. I think my lesson was in trusting God without a Plan B. And because He is a good God…He blessed me with healing. I am still going to call and make an appointment to see the chiropractor because it is good preventive medicine, but I am not depending on the chiropractor for my healing because God already took care of that this weekend.

Holding On Too Tightly

I love our home and it has always been very important to me as a mom and a wife to make sure our home is comfortable and a sanctuary for my family.  I want my family to look forward to coming home and spending time here. It means a lot to me to create a feeling of warmth and safety and peace. I try to do that by creating an environment that is pleasant – warm lighting, comfortable seating, good smelling candles, music, a clean home, etc. Of course, we have to have good relationships with each other and like being around one another too. Family members can face some crazy stuff out in the world and it can be stressful and tough at times. I want the thought of coming home to bring up warm and fuzzy feelings for my family.

For me, my home is also the location of my office. I’ve been working from home for almost two years now and I love it!  I enjoy having my coffee, turning on my Classical for Studying station on Pandora, and working on my computer throughout the day. Occasionally, I’ll work outside on the back patio when the weather is nice as long as my WiFi signal is cooperating. It’s virtually stress free; and did I mention?….I love it!

One day a few weeks ago, I had gone to the kitchen to get a refill on my coffee and I was walking through the living room headed back to the office when I just stopped and looked around.  The Holy Spirit prompted me with this thought, “If Jesus were to come back right now and you were just gone, all of this stuff would be left behind.” I looked around my living room and tried to imagine what that is going to be like – an empty house, lights still on, clothes in the washing machine, music playing, food in the fridge, debit card and money in my purse, car in the garage, etc.  As I was taking a mental inventory of my stuff the Holy Spirit prompted me again, “Is there anything you would really hate to give up or do without? If so, then maybe you are holding on too tightly or its holding you too tightly.”

Ouch!  Talk about putting things in perspective.  I love the Holy Spirit and the guidance that He gives. He loves me enough to chasten me when I get out of line but it is up to me to listen. It is so easy to get caught up in our stuff and hold on too tightly to those things that are going to fade away. I’m not against stuff at all, but I think we have to check ourselves to make sure our stuff doesn’t have control over us. Is the god of stuff ruling my heart or is the God of heaven ruling my heart?

You know…it’s spring cleaning time so maybe it’s time to look at giving away some stuff.

Proverbs 11:28 (AMP): He who leans on and trusts in and is confident in his riches will fall,But the righteous [who trust in God’s provision] will flourish like a green leaf.
Matthew 6: 19-21 (AMP): “Do not store up for yourselves [material] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.”

Lord, you are a wonderful, giving Father. Thank you for all your many blessings in my life. Help me to keep my eyes on You and hold loosely the material things that are in my life.

Integrity…Speak Up or Keep Silent?

Recently I was driving “the back way” to my daughter’s school. The road has a railroad crossing that doesn’t have a signal light…just a Stop sign. It’s a rural road that experiences most of its traffic before school and after school each weekday. It is an active railroad track with a train that comes through at least 2-3 times a day. On this particular day as I stopped at the Stop sign and then crossed the railroad tracks, the word “integrity” came to mind. I wondered, “How many people actually Stop at the Stop sign when no one else is watching?”

C.S. Lewis described Integrity as…

 “Doing the right thing even when no one is watching”.

Ever Been There?

You break something in a store (or your kid does). Do you look around to see who saw it and if you are in the clear you quietly walk away or do you go to the clerk or manager and tell them what happened?

You get too much change back when you check out at the restaurant. Do you pocket the “blessing” and keep going or do you bring it to the attention of your server?

You realize your teacher or instructor entered the wrong grade in the system for your test – a better grade than what you actually made on the test. Do you say a little “thank you prayer” and hope she doesn’t realize the mistake or do you tell her about the mistake?

I love to listen to Joyce Meyer because she shoots you straight. Recently I heard her say something that the Holy Spirit used to hit me square in the face about those “blessing” scenarios I described. She said (and I paraphrase) that they are not “blessings” because God isn’t going to help us steal or lie. Honestly, I had never thought of it that way before. I’ve been guilty of that “blessing” thinking and maybe you have been too.  I was giving God credit for my lies or theft and we all know He doesn’t sin. I had to ask forgiveness and for wisdom and awareness going forward to do the right thing.

On the flip side, if any of the above situations arise and you do the right thing by speaking up and the business or individual says “don’t worry about it” or “keep the change” THEN it becomes a real blessing.

With the culture we live in that pushes “if it feels good, do it” or “look out for #1”, it can be tough to stand firm and choose to do the right thing no matter what the outcome.

So Why is Integrity Important?

Having integrity is really between you and God because it’s about doing the right thing many times when no one but God sees you. Of course, there are those times when you decide to do the right thing and people notice because you have to speak up. However, acting with Integrity so others see how “good” we are isn’t why we exercise Integrity. As Christians we are called to strive for lives that are holy and righteous. We choose to do the right thing because it honors God and glorifies Him. I believe when we do the right thing God smiles and says, “That’s my kid”.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity.- Psalm 84:11 (HCSB)

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.-Proverbs 28:6 (ESV)

What Would God Say About My Integrity?

In the 31st chapter of Job, Job is examining himself and asking questions about his behavior – have I lied, have I strayed away from God and sinned, have I treated my employees wrongly, have I ignored the poor, have I used my money to take advantage of the unfortunate, did I worship my wealth and money, was I happy when my enemies failed, etc.

In verse 4 he says, “doesn’t God see all my steps?” Then in verse 6 he says, “let God weigh me and judge my actions and He will know and see my integrity”.

So I got to thinking, what would God say about my Integrity level?  I think one of the toughest things to do is stop and examine myself – take an honest look at my actions and behavior in light of what God says or who He wants me to become. Who wants to do that? After all, we all like to believe we are pretty good just like we are.

I like the way the Message puts Psalm 26:2: “Examine me, God, from head to foot, order your battery of tests. Make sure I’m fit inside and out.”

If I want to grow spiritually and become more like Christ things have to change and that can be painful and not fun, but the end result is worth it. God has a plan and purpose for me that is bigger and better than my imagination.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:11-13

How Do I Ramp Up My Integrity?

I believe it has to start in the heart. As I mentioned above, we have to take an honest look at ourselves. If you already know there are areas where you haven’t exercised Integrity then ask for forgiveness from God. Next, ask God to reveal any other areas where you haven’t been honest and ethical the way He wants you to be.

“God, create a pure heart in me. Give me a new spirit that is faithful to you.”-Psalm 51:10 (NIRV)

Then, decide that you will be committed to do whatever He asks of you no matter how uncomfortable it may be and get ready to act.

This isn’t a one-time fix though. It is a daily commitment. I believe we have to get up every day and say, “Holy Spirit, help me do the right thing today.”

Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.-Colossians 3:17 (CEB)



Source for featured image: https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/p/7/005/06a/18c/3445a42.jpg

Socks N Souls Update & More

The first year for Socks N Souls was a huge success in 2015!  God blessed and multiplied beyond what we ever imagined.  As a result of your generosity, we delivered approximately 1,500 pairs of socks to Galen and Peggy Van Deren of Church on the Street America in October. Thanks so much to everyone that caught the vision and gave both socks and money. We were so excited to see what God made possible through the body of Christ coming together to help others! Take a look at this video as Peggy shares what the socks meant to her.Leslie-Galen-Peggy

When you think of being “called by God”, how many of us think that means something huge like preaching or teaching or missionary work?  I learned a couple of wonderful truths through Socks N Souls last year that I hope I never forget. I want to share those with you in case you are sensing the Holy Spirit leading you to do something for Him.

Truth #1: When God calls us to do something no matter how little or big it may seem at the time, he is looking for our obedience and willingness. He wants us to trust Him and just say, “yes”.

In my case, He just asked us to be willing to ask people for socks. A pack of socks cost about $6. For the price of a combo at McDonalds or the cost of a grande size drink at Starbucks, we could change and impact someone else’s life. I am not boasting on our efforts or “spiritualness” (if that is even a word), but what if I had just blown that off and thought, “That is so small and won’t matter. Give me something else, God”.

I am reminded of this scripture: “He that is faithful with little things is faithful with big things also. He that is not honest with little things is not honest with big things.”- Luke 16:9 (NLV)

Not only do we have to be willing to trust God when He calls us, but He needs to know that we can be trusted as well to be faithful no matter what the job.

Truth #2: When He calls us to do something, He isn’t asking us to make sure it is successful….that is His department. Obviously, we have to put “boots on the ground” to carry out whatever it is He has called us to do. He has given us creativity and He expects us to be good stewards of the resources. I am saying that He doesn’t need our help in the blessing and multiplying department. It isn’t up to us. We just have to remain faithful to what He called us to do.

Had I blown off the idea of Socks N Souls, I would have missed out on a year filled with IMG_5784blessing…my blessing.  We collected socks and were able to make a big delivery to Galen and Peggy, but I was the one that was blessed over and over again throughout the year.  My heart would get SO full and at times my eyes would get SO full of tears each time we would go to minister somewhere and be presented with a box or bags full of socks. At our conventions last year, we put out a Socks N Souls box and I would get so tickled when I realized someone had dropped off some socks in our box. People cared and they wanted to help out. The Holy Spirit moved and impressed on so many people to get involved. That wasn’t anything Dennis and I could have done by ourselves. God handled the blessing and the multiplying and I am so glad He did because He is so much better at it than we could ever be.

Paul puts it so simply in I Corinthians 3:7 – “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” I Corinthians 3:7 (HCSB)

So, thank you again to everyone that caught the vision for Socks N Souls in 2015. And…YES…we are getting ready to gear up again for 2016 Socks N Souls as we head out on the road in March. We are trusting God once again to bless and multiply.

You can read more about Socks N Souls and get some background info by looking at Mission Project: Socks N Souls on this blog. You can also view some of the videos that were posted throughout the year by going to our Facebook page: McKay Project and looking at the Socks N Souls folder in our Videos and Photos.

A Keurig Kind of Blessing

In my opinion, the hottest trend and the neatest invention in the coffee world has been the Keurig coffee maker. I think most everyone knows what a Keurig is and what it does. However, we haven’t bought a Keurig coffee maker or any version of the Keurig. We are “pot drinkers” and always have been.  We drink a lot of coffee and our 14 year old daughter, Mary Katherine, knows we like coffee…a lot. I want to share something that happened around the Christmas holidays that I am calling “A Keurig kind of blessing”.

During the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle as we were out shopping, Mary Katherine would often see a Keurig and say, “Mom, y’all need to get a Keurig” or “Mom, they have Keurigs on sale”. To which I would reply, “We drink too much coffee for a Keurig, but it would be nice for tea and hot chocolate or a cup of coffee on the go”. She has always thought it would be awesome to have a Keurig. We would be cool. After all, even Mamaw and Papaw have a Keurig.

A few days before Christmas, Dennis and I attended my work Christmas party for Exceed Technologies. We always play the gift exchange game called “Dirty Santa” and there are some awesome gifts. If you have played the game you know it is a mix of “stealing” gifts from others or opening a wrapped gift and there are limits to the number of times a Keurig1gift can be “stolen”, etc.  This year, my turn in the game didn’t happen until close to the end and you guessed it…there was a Keurig mini that had been opened and it was alive for the taking.  So, I “stole” it.

When I got the Keurig, my thoughts immediately went to Mary Katherine. As we were waiting for the game to end, I took a picture of the box and text it to her with the caption, “Look what I got!”

She was very excited and mentioned it being fate, but I responded with “A blessing”. Keurig2She text back, “God wanted us to have it”. I reminded her that He cares about the details and even the “small” things.

For MK, it was clear to her that God worked that out. To me, it was so cool because He showed himself to my daughter in a real, tangible and yet unexpected way.  To many that may seem like a trivial thing because we get so caught up in our “big” problems or wants related to “adult and more mature” situations, but to a 14 year old girl (and to me), that was an unexpected blessing straight from God the Father.  My mind keeps going back to that scripture in Matthew that says, “ If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! – Matthew 7:11.

It just shows that our God is not far away and He is not too busy to know us and care about us in all things….even taking time to give us a “Keurig kind of blessing”.


Let’s Do Battle – Speak Your Way to Victory!

“Hey, I’m In A Battle”

How Do You Know?

We are experiencing a battle this week and I don’t mean a battle between me and Dennis or me and Mary Katherine. I am talking about one of those unseen battles with the devil and his minions. I woke up Thursday morning and realized…we are doing battle this week. When you battle with evil, sometimes you are well into the thick of things and stuff has already started going unexpectedly wrong before it dawns on you and you realize, “Hey, I’m in a battle”.

I am just starting this writing thing and the Holy Spirit has been giving me some good stuff. I have another post I am working on that is almost finished so I know the devil doesn’t want me to share. Isn’t that how it goes? If you are trying to do something for God or you are getting ready to do something for God you really have just painted a bull’s eye on your back for the devil.

Here is just a brief rundown of what I mean by getting into a battle this week:

Dennis had to handle something that came up related to my past. Not a big secret or anything he didn’t know about, but just something annoying that hardly ever comes up. However, this week it was 2 days in a row from 2 different people. Everyone has a past and thank God it is the past. Then, before the week was out there was an issue with a family member. The devil will do what he can to stir up something and try to bring division, especially in a marriage or between family members.

On Wednesday, I just bent over to pick up something out of the floor and my back went out…nothing really major but enough to need ice and ibuprofen and a trip to the chiropractor. Then, Dennis was washing his Harley and twisted funny and really messed up his back. He made a trip to the chiropractor followed by several menthol alcohol/Epsom salt soak baths. Friday night I found a knot in my left breast that was really sore and rather large and it just came up quickly. (Update 6/17/15: Went to the breast surgeon and it is a cyst- nothing serious). The devil will attack us physically to try and get us discouraged and off track with God.

Scripture tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”. Verse 13 goes on to tell us, “Therefore, take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand”.
Verses 14-17 continue on describing the armor of God. Specifically in Verse 17 it says, “And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” That is the Bible and it is my favorite one! So, I got out of bed today praising God and quoting scripture. I like to do it out loud because I want to make sure that the devil and his minions hear me.

Get Happy

Praise Him

Praise should be one of the first weapons that we use as Christians against the devil. We are commanded in Philippians to “Rejoice in the Lord always and again, I say Rejoice”. It is not really optional and it isn’t about how you feel. When you don’t “feel” like praising God then that is the time you really need to dig in and do it. Praising God is important for accessing the power that is ours through Jesus Christ. When we praise God, we usher in His presence and it changes our environment including our attitudes and our hearts. To praise God means that you declare to Him who He is and you tell Him how awesome He is.

Satan used to be the worship leader in heaven before he rebelled and God threw him out. In Ezekiel 33:13-19 and Isaiah 14:12-15, there is a description of Satan before he rebelled. He was the one that was responsible for the praise and worship of God in heaven.

He lost that position when he rebelled against God. Now, we as humans have the awesome responsibility and honor of praising and worshipping God. Satan doesn’t like it when we praise God, because he knows that was once his job and he is jealous of the attention we gain from the Creator.

If praise is so important that we will do it for all eternity then I believe it is crucial to our walk with God while here on Earth.

He understands the importance of praise and worship to God. Throughout the whole book of Revelation, it tells us that for all of eternity we will be around the throne of God praising Him and worshipping Him forever. If praise is so important that we will do it for all eternity then I believe it is crucial to our walk with God while we are here on Earth.

In 2 Chronicles 5, Solomon has finished the temple and there was a great celebration. As part of the ceremony, the priests of Israel placed the Ark of the Covenant into the Most Holy Place in the temple. If you don’t know, the Ark of the Covenant was where the presence of God resided with the children of Israel. As the priests came out of the Most Holy Place, they were playing instruments (stringed ones, cymbals, trumpets) and praising and thanking the Lord. In verse 14, the scripture tells us that the presence of God became so strong and filled the place so heavily that the priests could not continue to minister. Wow! That is amazing to think that we can actually praise God so much and with such a purity of heart that His presence becomes so strong that we cannot continue. We would have to stop and just bask in the presence of Almighty God.

The Bible gives us a few examples of times when the actual “boots on the ground” battle was won by praise and not a finger was lifted physically to engage the enemy.

One such example is found in 2 Chronicles 20, when Jehoshaphat (the king of Judah) was going to war against Ammon, Moab, and Mt Seir. Jehoshaphat did not want to go to battle against these people. They were a formidable opponent. Verse 3 says Jehoshaphat feared and he set himself to seek the Lord. However, God sent word through a prophet (Jahaziel) and told him not to be afraid because the battle was not his but God’s (verse 15).

Then God tells Jehoshaphat that he won’t even have to fight, but to position himself for battle and then stand still and see God work (verse 17). Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah praised God with “voices loud and high” when they got this good news. On the day of the battle, singers were appointed to go out before the army. When they began to sing and praise God, the Lord set ambushes before the enemy and they turned on one another and killed each other.

That is just amazing! If God will do that for Jehoshaphat then He will do that for me…that is just the nature of our God. We can have that kind of victory over our enemies.

I know I have had times in my life when I knew a battle was brewing in some area of my life (like what I described earlier). It caused fear and a sense of dread. I’d like to say that every time I have turned on my praise music and started quoting scriptures, but that is not true. My flesh rises up and I have trouble seeing past the natural circumstances. However, there are those times when I have met the battle head on with praise and thanksgiving to my God and He shows up and shows out.

That is the way I want to always handle the battles. When they arise, I have a choice…choose to give in or choose to praise my way to victory.

Do You Have A Set of “Who God Is” & Praise Scriptures In Your Arsenal?

The Bible has some great scripture to use when praising God. Do you have a set of “who God is” and praise scriptures in your arsenal that you can pull out whenever you need to? If not, here are some to get you started:

  • Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
  • You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You. Ps 118:28
  • “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. Isaiah 44:6
  • For the Lord is the great God, And the great King above all gods. Ps 95:3
  • Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Rev 4:8
  • “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created. Rev 4:11
  • The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood, and the Lord sits as King forever. Ps 29:10
  • The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Ps 27:1
  • He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. Ps 62:2

Speak It

Scripture – Know It & Quote It

Knowing and quoting scripture is the other powerful weapon that we should be able to use against the devil. How many of us would go into a presentation at work or a championship game or an exam at school or a music performance without any preparation and expect it to be successful? That would be crazy. We prepare and we practice so we are ready. It is the same with the Word of God. How can we expect to be successful in this lifelong war with the devil if we never study or prepare…we can’t.

Knowing the Word of God remind us who we are in Christ and the promises we can count on from our God. Jesus used scripture against Satan when He was in the wilderness (Luke 4). He quoted from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy and Psalms). Jesus was also challenged by the Pharisees on numerous occasions regarding the Law of Moses and what it said about how to treat people. He was able to rightly answer because He knew the scripture.

Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

There is power in the Word of God…there is power in scripture and that power can be ours if we just use it. Unused scripture, is like having a priceless gift that we leave sitting on our coffee table unopened or one that we carry in our pocket but never open it. For now, the Bible is readily available at our fingertips through the Internet and apps on our phones. There may come a day when that is not the case. What then?

There is power in the Word of God…there is power in scripture & that power can be ours if we just use it.

2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to study the Word of God to show ourselves approved so we don’t have to be ashamed – rightly dividing the word of truth.

Romans 12: 2 tells us not to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind so you can prove the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The Word of God serves as our guide and gives us direction. If we want to know God’s will for our lives then we have to study the Bible. That is the guidebook for being a Christian. You should not depend on anyone else to tell you what the Bible says. You should know it for yourself.

When you speak scripture it influences the environment around you internally and externally. As you take in the Word, it will shine a light on areas of your life that need to be changed. You will find your desires begin to change and then your behavior and attitudes will begin to adjust and change.

When I gave my life to Jesus, I started really diving into the Word. One area that really got a big spiritual spotlight was my wardrobe. I got really convicted about the way I was dressing. My clothes were not God honoring. There was a lot of skin that showed in my wardrobe. I found that my “audience” changed when it came to picking out my clothes. It changed from “who can I attract and impress” to “will this offend anyone and is God honored”. Needless to say, I cleaned out my closet and went shopping for some new clothes. The cool thing was that it wasn’t like anyone forced me to make that change. Because of the Word of God coming into my life, my desires changed and I wanted to make that change because I wanted to honor God.

Isaiah 55:11 tells us that God’s Word will go out and it will not return void…it will accomplish what He pleases and it will prosper.

Therefore, take every opportunity to speak His Word for yourself and for others and for situations around you. God does not lie and He is always faithful. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Do You Have A Set of “Power” Scriptures In Your Arsenal?

If you don’t have an arsenal of scriptures that you can pull out at any time and speak them when you need them, here are a few to get you started:

  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Phil 4: 13
  • You are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. I John 4:4
  • What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
  • No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37
  • No weapon formed against me shall prosper. Isaiah 54:17
  • For God has not given me a spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind. II Tim 1:7
  • But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19
  • And the peace that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7
  • For God is not the author of confusion but of peace… I Cor 14:33
  • By His stripes we were healed. Isaiah 53:5 and I Peter 2:24
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Prov 3:5-6
  • Submit yourself to God; Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7
  • For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11

How Do I Get Started?

When I decided that I was going to learn scripture for praise and for battle, I started with just a few…like 2 or 3. I grew up going to Sunday school so I pulled out and dusted off a few of those scriptures I had learned through Vacation Bible School and other activities. I started with what was familiar.

I bought one of those spiral bound index card holders…like the ones that my daughter has used to make science vocabulary flash cards for school. I wrote my 3 verses on the first 3 cards. I put that in my purse and each day while I was waiting somewhere – we all have 5 minutes of wait time somewhere – I would pull it out and read the verses and then try to say them from memory. Then I would add more as I got comfortable. At church or on the radio or even on Facebook, if I heard or saw a scripture that I liked then I would make a note on paper or in my phone and then add that to my notecards and start working on that one.

Later, I started trying to say what I knew first thing in the morning before I got out of bed – especially the praise verses. When I wake up in the mornings, I usually lay there for a bit before I decide to get out of bed. I start my day thinking of scripture which makes for a great way to kick off the day. Likewise, it makes for a great way to end the day as you are trying to go to sleep.

Before long you will realize that you have a good collection of scriptures that you can quote. You will find yourself turning to those scriptures often throughout your day to encourage yourself or to encourage others.

Don’t give in to Satan and let him convince you that there is no hope. Use what God has given you in His Word and let’s live in Victory!