*Singing* “Sometimes you wanna go, where everybody knows your naaaame. And they're always glad you caaame. You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same. You wanna be where everybody knows your name”
Oh, singing the theme song to Cheers today is so befitting, I’ll tell you why =)
I stopped into my favorite neighborhood Starbucks early this morning and spent the day with them. (So much work to do) It's been a while since I've been here and so I was greeted with the question, “Where you been?” by several different baristas.
They checked in with me, they knew my usual, and they showed they cared even if they really didn't. Lol.
When I ordered something different than my norm they looked at me crazy and said, “What's wrong with you, what are you going thru, this ain't normal for you."
This is after a good six months of NOT coming to this particular location. No other Starbucks has taken the time to get to know me like this one. No matter how many times I've frequented.
Here's the point...True community, it always brings you back!
We are all looking for people to relate with, to trust, to share with even if we are consciously attempting to
Today is kind of a big deal for me. Ok, it is a big deal and here is why.
Earlier this year I started writing yet another book. Through my pain, my low moments, and my frustrations with ministry and life I found myself actively searching for reasons to praise God in the midst. Giving up was an option moving higher up on my list, and that has NEVER been how I rolled. I needed to pull it together! I conquer, so this defeated mindset trying to grow, had to go!
I was tired of offering up generic praises that I was basically doing out of habit to fulfill the charge to bless the Lord at all times (Psalm 34:1). But it was becoming a checkbox on my "stay saved to-do list."
HEAR ME CLEAR: I'm very aware that salvation is free, and I am saved by grace and faith alone (Ephesians 2:8). There are no amounts of work that can change that (Ephesians 2:9). But I found myself just trying to fulfill a praise requirement to show God I was still with Him. Or maybe, to prove to myself I was still with Him.
But I needed more. I needed more sound reasons to go behind my praise. I needed word, which I do believe is truth, to set me free so I could experience and actually receive the joy, peace, revelation, love, and grace that was constantly being poured out by God. I was so stuck in what was going wrong I couldn't receive any of these things in full. So I cried out to God, "Please, just give me reasons to praise. Just give me 30 reasons I have to praise you."
Because I know He is worthy of true worship, I needed to be in a place where I could do so in spirit and truth. Not my carnal mind and vain repetition. And over the next couple of weeks, He poured out way more than 30 reasons, and I received them all.
For every situation, tearful moment, anger-filled interaction, broken moment, grief-filled night I gave to Him, He showed me how to find the praiseworthy moment in it. He taught me to have Philippians 4:8 thoughts in the midst of my greatest lows, and He proved to me where a spirit of praise could take me mentally, spiritually, and in the physical.
And this is what I am finally able to share with the world in my first published book, Thirty-One Reasons to Praise: A 31-Day devotion and journal!
This is why today is a big deal to me! This book is finally ready and is officially on sale for pre-order through my online store right now!!!
I still have moments of struggle, but I now have an arsenal of Scriptures that overflow from the recesses of my heart to give me what I need to press forward in the moment; Scriptures that keep praise in my mouth. Scriptures and passages that still speak to my new situations with the same integrity and authority it did the day God placed those words on the pages. Scriptures that lead me to new Scriptures in the Word and fill me up with God to the point of overflow!
Today, if I can encourage you to do one thing it would be to find your reasons to praise! No matter what you are facing, no matter what you are witnessing, no matter who is around you, there is always a reason to praise!!!
There are always reasons to give God glory and as we keep our minds stayed on Him, He promises to keep us in perfect peace, peace that guards our hearts and minds (Isaiah 26:1; Philippians 4:7). With peace comes clarity and the ability to hear and see God clearly.
Revelation, wisdom, and abundant living await and praise is an avenue you can use to put you on the right path with the right mindset to receive them in full!
Find your reason to praise today child of God! If you want some help, like I said earlier, my book is now available for pre-order in my online store.
It officially releases on www.ItsMelanieLee.com & Amazon on September 23, 2016, but you can claim your copy right here, right now!
In this devotion and journal, you will get transparency, but you will also receive:
The main Scripture appears at the top of your devotion introducing the topic of the day. At the end of your devotion is a list of other Scriptures included in the passage for additional study.
The devotion is the primary subject matter for the day. They are written to inspire you and get you thinking about why you can praise God in the midst of things that might not feel praiseworthy.
Although Thirty-One Reasons to Praise is designed to be read one devotion per day to give you time to meditate and apply what you have learned, that may not be your style. You can read this book in whatever way gives you the greatest sense of help.
A Prayer of Thanksgiving/Praise
At the end of each devotion, you are encouraged to pray and praise!
Prayers of thanksgiving are used to speak God’s Word into our lives. Read them to yourself or read them aloud! Not only does speaking and hearing the word increase our faith, but God hears the prayers of His children and is willing to respond to us (Romans: 10:17, John 14:14)!
One thing I love about the Bible is that when we utilize it, it works! Speaking the word over your life with praise on your lips will have wonderfully positive effects on your mental, emotional, and physical world! I cannot wait for you to see the manifestation.
Journaling can be a helpful tool in solidifying what you have read or learned. Application is the whole point of these sections, so the word comes alive for you. It can be a freeing experience! I pray God will speak to you throughout the entire devotion but especially during your journaling time!
I know it will be a help to all those who open its pages if you allow it to!
God is faithful. Do you trust Him? If so, praise Him in advance for never leaving or forsaking you as He carries you to better in Him!
Have an awesome week!
Don’t you hate when you’re giving your all to help someone or complete a project with others, and it feels like you’re working 10x harder than them? You feel like you’re about to burn out, and it feels like they are on some mental island vacationing.
You might think, “I’m going to stop caring more about their “thing,” than they do.” Or, “if they don’t care, or aren’t showing up, then I’m not either.”
And that’s all fine and well UNLESS God has called you to that person, place, or thing to do something specific. If this is the case, you don’t get to decrease your commitment, I’m sorry.
The Bible says, whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)
This means, if you’re decreasing your commitment or the way that you have been asked to serve in this particular area, you are reacting towards God, not the person, place, or thing.
We cannot allow other people’s commitment to affect ours!
Sure, it can be exhausting, but you must remember to rely on God’s strength. In His strength, we will find rest and relief.
Sure, it can be frustrating, but you have to remember you’re doing the work of the Lord, and I’m sure Jesus was frustrated many of days. You’re in good company!
There is a reward on the other side of all of this. Some of them will be immediate, and others will take more time to
And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3 NKJV
In this season of my life one of the greatest lessons I have been taught have been on grace and humility. It has taught me to become less critical of others but it has also taught me that there is a thin line between that and compromise. That’s a whole different post. This morning verse three (our key verse) stood out to me because of how important introspection is. I’ve always been good at finding my faults and beating myself over the head with them. A pro actually! But at this point in my life I am learning to sit with God, look at my planks, hand them over to Him, and see how I can rid of them, and help others after I do without the shaming.
There is much that needs to happen as far as introspection goes. It doesn’t mean that I can’t see or discern when others
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James 4:8 NKJV
It’s late afternoon and I’m just getting to my laptop. Judging by the way I felt when I woke up this morning I knew the one mandatory thing I needed to do today was lay at the Master’s feet. There was no way around it. I was reminded of how important it is to spend real honest time in Him to be restored, renewed, refreshed, redirected, and have some goals redefined.
We all have seasons of our lives where we are consistent with our quiet time with God. Then there are others where we allow distractions to pull us away from the consistency. While I was still in my word I hadn’t spent time with God the way I’m accustomed to and whenever an intimate relationship switches up you definitely feel the difference.
One of the first things I told God was that I apologize for it taking so much for me to be drawn back to Him. What I meant by “so much” was all the things causing stress and exhaustion were given too much power and pulling me from
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
John 4:23-24 NKJV
Last night our church hosted the final night worship service of our Summer Nights Worship Series. The entire summer has been a blessing for me watching God manifest Himself in so many different ways. Last night made a lasting impact on me for several reasons but I wanted to share a little of what I shared last night with you all today. I hope it will encourage you a little or a lotta bit =)
What we have learned or been reminded of during this entire series is what worship is. Worship is simply thanking God for who He is. It’s that relational piece that focuses on who we know Him to be to us and to those that we love. We are able to use every moment of our lives to thank God for Him being a healer, protector, provider, keeper, mind regulator, fair judge, shield, and lover of our souls…We worship Him because He is able, reliable, long lasting, consistent, and a miracle worker even in the nastiest of situations. He is Sovereign and in His providential care He can do all things giving us the ability to do all things through Him.
I believe the ultimate act of worship is when we allow God to be who He says He is to us! To be exactly what we need Him to be in the very moment that we are in. The issue that we face as humans is that we think we need something
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
I Corinthians 10:13 NKJV
Our key Scripture tells us that with temptation God will also make a way of escape. In this particular context the word temptation in the Greek means, "attempt, trial, testing, experience, proof; to try, tempt; temptation, trial, testing".
So what the writer is literally saying is that tests and trials are sure to come, not just in your life but in the life of everyone around you but we serve a faithful God that will give us a way out so we are able to deal with each trial we face.
Too many of us are overwhelmed by the things we might encounter each day. A house full of overactive children (or shoot maybe just one), mounting bills with no insight on how to pay them, trouble on your job, inconsiderate professors, unfavorable health diagnoses, hurt from people you love, feeling stuck in unhealthy and unhappy relationships this list could go on forever.
But we only become overwhelmed when we have not allowed ourselves to come and rest in Jesus. We become overwhelmed when we attempt to make our own ways of escape even when the Scripture tells us that He "will also make THE WAY of escape" so we can handle what we're dealing with. There is a way to deal with the struggles of today and that is through the way, the truth, and the life...Jesus Christ. If you are in your word you will get direction specific to your situation. If you are communicating with God through prayer you will get the answers specific to your situation. Go to Him first let Him show you the escape necessary to lighten your load.
The lyrics of one particular song continue to rise in my spirit. It's the Matt Maher's song I Need You, covered by Lauren Daigle. She sings, "Teach my song to rise to you. When temptation comes my way. When I cannot stand I'll fall on you. Cause Jesus you're my hope and stay."
Here's the prayer for today...Lord teach our spirits, souls, every portion of our being to rise to you whenever we face trials that would normally bring us down. When it feels like we cannot stand may we not fall into the trap of the enemy but onto you, the one who saved us, the one who intercedes for us, the one who loves us, the one who is consistent, and who our hope resides in. We release every burden to you. In Jesus' name, amen.
Melanie N. Lee/New Standard © 2015 All Rights Reserved
casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 NKJV
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
1 Peter 5:7 NLT
If I could be honest, the last 16 hours of my life have been far less than stellar. Almost debilitating. It’s in moments like these that we must come to the throne room of our Heavenly Father and lay bare…naked before Him.
Our key Scripture for the day is one of my favorites. A couple of years ago I started using an activity called Cast Your Cares. Before starting our study we would write down everything bothering us, put it in an envelope, and cast them to Jesus so that we could properly receive Him that evening.
This activity is something that I have to constantly employ in my own life. Early this morning it was nothing different. I woke up from my very short sleep, short of breath because of the weight of my cares, teary eyed with the reality of life fighting against my faith, and just purely exhausted.
I pulled myself from bed and into a position to give my heart’s cries to my Father, the lover of my soul, my protector, my redeemer. I just so happened to write them out to Him because I couldn’t formulate the words any other way. This honesty with Him was something that had been lacking the last week as I tried to handle things myself and deal with these weights alone. As a result the words on my paper surprised me. The way I was feeling surprised me. The pain
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NKJV
Rest…refreshing ease, tranquility, relief or freedom from things that trouble or bother you, mental or spiritual calm. These are all definitions of the word rest according to the dictionary and a lot of us are missing out on it!
In this Scripture, God promises rest to all those who come to Him. The problem is, some of us are avoiding God today and therefore are avoiding His peaceful rest. If you have been feeling heavy, worn, stressed, tired, just plain not right then may I encourage you to rest in God today. Spend a little more time in your word, in prayer, in silence, or journaling and allow for Him to minister to your soul. If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do this pray for God to open up your schedule. Don’t stress out about not getting everything done today, God will restore your time. I don’t know what has been keeping you from coming to Him but whatever it is, it’s not worth it!
Find your rest in Him. It’s necessary!
Melanie N. Lee/New Standard © 2015 All Rights Reserved
Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40 NKJV
These were the words Jesus spoke to Martha before He raised her brother Lazarus from the dead!
If we would just believe, we would have an opportunity to see God's glory manifested in us, through us, and around us! If we believe that God is everything His word says He is, a healer, mind regulator, a Father and so much more, then we have put ourselves in position to experience His glory manifested in healing, peace of mind, and the ability to rest in Our Father's love.
If we would believe that He could indeed meet each of our various needs we would see the glory of God like never before.
If you want to experience the glory of God then you must BELIEVE!
Are you picking up what I'm putting down? :)
Your faith will indeed make you whole! Walk in a mindset of expectation today and watch what God does!
Melanie N. Lee
I just REALLY love Jesus!!!
Get blogs straight to your inbox