Good Gifts and a Giveaway

Thursday, April 16, 2020  ::   15 important comments

I've put off writing this post for awhile now. I had the idea and then everything flipped upside down and it just didn't seem cool to write about what I had been enjoying.

But, my birthday is this week, so this is my birthday gift to you all: Some things that bring me joy mixed with a pretty good giveaway that THREE people can win. Based on comments and entries in my past giveaways, the odds are truly in your favor so go ahead and participate.
Blooming flowers in our church building's courtyard. Oh how I miss gathering with my people. 
The truth is I've been pretty sad over the last five weeks. Can anyone relate? This sadness presses my body down and makes me feel tired most of the time. My daily prayer is that joy will outweigh the sadness and that I will cling to Jesus through Scripture, music, and being outside. Which leads me to the first thing I've been enjoying: The Psalms. I read a few each day and let the emotion, struggle, and God-focusedness wash over me. The words of each Psalm ring so, so true for our lives right now. I'm praying Psalm 20 for you, my friends:
 May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
    May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
 May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and give you support from Zion!
 May he remember all your offerings
    and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
 May he grant you your heart's desire
    and fulfill all your plans!
 May we shout for joy over your salvation,
    and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!
 Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
    he will answer him from his holy heaven
    with the saving might of his right hand.
 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

They collapse and fall,

    but we rise and stand upright.

Lord, save the king!

    May he answer us when we call.
Amen! May we call on the Lord our God and may we faithfully wait for him. Don't make excuses to not seek him. We must open our Bibles whether we feel like it or not. He's all we truly have, so let's cling to him.

Worship music reorients my mind in good ways. There are two new albums I play over and over. They've been out for a couple of months now so maybe you've heard of them. I want to share anyway, just in case you haven't. And, please feel free to send me your favorite worship songs or albums. My friend, Sara, regularly sends me new music and I love it.

The first is Matt Redman's Let There Be Wonder. Here is the link to listen to it through your preferred streaming service. Funny story: I found myself humming one of the catchy songs on this album fairly regularly. It was always in my head, but I couldn't really learn the words because it is in Spanish. I asked Kyle to listen to it because I'm that annoying mom who is super proud of his language abilities so I push all Spanish stuff his way, especially if it is Jesus Spanish stuff. He looooves it, only he probably doesn't. One day I was listening to the whole album, focusing on each song so I could learn them and sing along. Guess what I discovered! The Spanish song is also in English! I had just never noticed. I'm so good at details, you know. Why I noticed the Spanish version and not the English, we shall never know the mysteries of my brain.

The next album I'd like to recommend is Shane & Shane's newest one, Hymns in the Round. Here it is on Apple Music and Spotify. Every song is excellent. We recently started singing Ancient of Days over our Sunday livestream gatherings. It's been an important song in my life for over a year now. Every word is a balm for my weary soul. If you aren't sure where 'Ancient of Days' comes from, what it means, or why it is important, please take time to read Daniel 7, specifically verses 13 and 14. We must keep Jesus our focus. His dominion is an everlasting dominion and his kingdom shall not be destroyed.

To be honest, the next thing I'd like to tell you about may be a little much for some of you. It's intense and needed for this generation which my intense, prophet heart loves, but it is no joke. Have you heard of or watched American Gospel? There are two movies and they are total butt kickers. If you are able to watch, prepare yourself. The first movie, Christ Alone, tears down America's love of prosperity. If you think you don't fall in this category, think again. Something in it will convict you. It certainly did for me. The second Movie, Christ Crucified, goes after all the ways American culture waters down the cross. If you want to know more about how to discern false teaching, this movie will help. It truly angered me how susceptible we all are to terrible teaching. Sound like a fun series to watch? Well, good isn't always fun. Sometimes good is also difficult. They are long movies, so it may take awhile to get through them, but as it turns out, we've got some time on our hands.

Now we enter the giveaway portion of this post. See what I did there? Made you read all that other stuff to get to the goods.

You all know I like books. I had my spring list ready to go, but to be honest, reading takes hard work for me these days. Sadness that leads to tiredness and reading takes focus so it isn't compelling right now. To top it off, I was reading Lore Ferguson Wilbert's new book, Handle with Care: How Jesus Redeems the Power of Touch in Life and Ministry when life flipped upside down. To read about touch in a time when we are not even supposed to be close to one another sucked, but I finished it. It was a good read and I look forward to healing hugs again. Here are the books on my spring list. I've read all but two and will start another one today.
I'm not going to link them all. You can easily find them where ever you purchase your books. 
I'm giving away two copies of Beth Moore's Chasing Vines and one copy of Audacious, also written by her (which is out of stock so bonus for you). Both are excellent books, compelling, deep, and easy to read.

If you win a book you will also receive a $25 gift card to Lovely Enterprises or Why I Love Where I Live. If you are from Tucson, you already know and love Why I Love Where I Live. I'm always happy to support them as they continue to inspire people to love the city I so dearly love. Lovely Enterprises is associated with Jesus Said Love in Waco, Tx. They seek to change the lives of people impacted by the commercial sex industry. I'm wearing my new favorite shirt from their shop in this photo:
Lovely Enterprises Shop
It's my birthday month, so this is my gift to three happy winners. You will each win a book plus one $25 gift card to your choice of Lovely Enterprises or WILWIL. All you have to do is comment on this post, on Facebook, or on Instagram. Tell me something you are enjoying during these days. That's it. I'll choose the winners sometime next week.

Thanks for reading. As you all know, it is a weird, weird time in our world. In my opinion, there is no better time to be lifting our faces to Jesus, waiting on him, and making our gratitude lists. What are you thankful for today?