Good Gifts and a Giveaway

Thursday, April 16, 2020  ::  

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?

15 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Nicky said...

I have also been reading the Psalms. I am only on Psalm 3 but I love it.

1. I am thankful for my kids. To be honest quarantine would be so much easier without 6 kids and somedays are really really hard. I am thankful for the extra time we get together.

2. I am thankful for Starbucks tea as a special treat.

3. I am thankful for church and community group and other things online as an intentional way to stay connected to people.

Candace K said...

I’m thankful for the extra time we’ve been able to spend as an entire family. I’m thankful for the cool evenings. I’m thankful for houseplants and natural light. I’m thankful for the habit I’ve created to spend time in the Word each morning. I’m thankful for all the forms of communication with family and friends so social distancing hasn’t felt so isolating.
— Candace K

Emily said...

Gosh, I love and miss you so much! This has been a hard, hard season for someone who hates to cry, but I'm thankful for my slower mornings working from home. I have gotten so much more time to dig deep into Matthew and whatever passage Chad preached the Sunday before. Jesus is literally the only thing getting me through. Happy birthday, friend!

Unknown said...

I really enjoy reading your posts. I’m actually reading Get Out of Your Head too; it’s been a good read but also a tough one. I’m thankful I still have quite a few books on my own reading list. I think it’s really sweet that you give to others on your birthdays. I hope you feel celebrated on yours even on the midst of everything. I’m also thankful that people are still encouraging and caring for others in new ways.

Unknown said...

-Kayla Miller

Jenna said...

Thanks so much for all this encouragement (and gently pushing me to grow in so many ways), Angel! I am so thankful for extended time with my family and in the word. Also, I’m thankful for my morning workouts with my brother followed by a fresh homemade smoothie! And long prayer walks with my golden retriever!
-Jenna Inman

Jessica said...

Geeze, I’m so thankful for you and your sweet reminders. I miss seeing your smile on Sunday mornings. These days, I find myself being thankful and enjoying seeing Gwen for little moments throughout the day. It’s been difficult not working, but I’ve also found joy in her saying “mama” or clinging to me just because she feels like it. Thank you again for the post and the chance at a giveaway �� happy birthday week!
- Jessica Black

Ashley Chap... said...

I’m thankful for giveaways (see what I did there, hehe). No, I’m truly thankful for a swift ushering out of all the extra in our lives and being forced on a whole new level to “be more” to my kids and husband than I was previously. My first call to do this was back in the Fall when we decided to homeschool and this is like a second unexpected wave of it. I’m finding that I’m much more capable than I give myself credit and my insecurities are taking a backseat out of necessity. We are all learning to speak kinder to one another and to serve each other more. I’ve already told Patrick we need to self quarantine once a year to reset how we function as a family unit/team. Don’t get me wrong, I’m exhausted physically, but the fruits of my labor are direct, rich, and plentiful.

Katie said...

I am thankful for the quiet stillness of the mornings when I get to really meet with Jesus. I’m thankful for so much more family time and sunshine. I’m thankful for my husband and his intense way of stepping up and stepping in when we are in crisis-mode. I am thankful that I can work from home and that I have coworkers who are kind and relationship focused. And I am so so thankful for our 2M family.
- Katie Southard

Erin Anderelli said...

I have actually been enjoying a lot about having a largely empty schedule, although I really miss my people and worshipping together! We have been able to go on bike rides/walks everyday, we jump on the trampoline as a family everyday, Phil and I have been getting up early everyday to enjoy the stillness and seek God's presence, studying Ephesians has been so rich, reading Maturity has paired so well with my study of Ephesians, not going to the grocery store has made me a lot better at meal planning and creative cooking, we are getting into a new practice of gratitude to fight the doldrums... I've also really enjoyed watching others come up with creative ways to love each other, I've taken suggestions from others on how they are engaging... All of this has also lead me to pray more fervently for those who don't know Jesus and don't have the hope he offers or the community. Thank you, Angel, for leading us faithfully and creatively!

Andrea Brobeck said...

Philip and I are going to watch those movies! I don't know why, but I'm really excited to watch those movies! Maybe because good conversations and change will come from something that hard and challenging. I'm so thankful for how God's timing is so perfect. Madeleine was born right before everything shut down. We were able to be stocked up on supplies, fed by family and friends, and have an easy recovery. I'm especially thankful that my long term sub was not afraid to take on teaching through the Internet as well as home schooling her own children so that I could still have a maternity leave. God has provided for us in so many ways! Thank you for your blog! I miss seeing your face!

Karen said...

I am soooo grateful for many things this year:

1. Just before the end of 2019, I decided that 2020 would be THE YEAR that I read all the way through the Bible in one year. I found a reading plan on You Version and I've stuck with it. What great time.
2. I joined a gym. Good for me. Not good timing, since now I'm paying for a gym that I can't go to. I hated it anyway. (Why would I think I needed to learn boxing and kickboxing?)
3. I had carpal tunnel surgery on March 11, so I've been isolated since March 9. Byrd and I both are high-risk, so this has been very good.
4. My sister and I have agreed: we've been practicing for this time for our whole lives. My mom thought that Y2K was going to be the end of the world, so she stocked up even more than she normally stocked up. My dad quit a lot of jobs, so my mom was always prepared -- we learned to keep a really good pantry and lots of supplies on hand. There was really NOTHING I needed to go out and get when we were all asked to stay home.

I am grateful for the time to slow down. When I went on my first mission trip to Mexico, I remember feeling -- and stating -- that it was the first time in my life that I felt like days really did have 24 hours in them. I've had that same feeling since early March. There's truly enough time to read the Bible and talk to God for an hour in the morning. There's time to sleep enough to get well-rested. There's time to make masks for everybody who needs them. AND there's time to make sourdough bread that takes about 3 days to be ready to bake. I've been a baking fool. There's time to 'attend' four services on Sundays, feet propped up on the coffee table and a good hot cup of coffee while I worship with a much larger Body of Christ than I used to. Life is good.

Thank you for calling us to reflect on Gratitude. It should be our every day first thought. I do look forward to the time when we can get together and have a cup of coffee, face to face. Love you.

Karen said...

And I should ask: need a mask? Need any bread? :-)

Ally said...

Lately I've been thankful for the courses on The Gospel Coalition!! I just discovered that they have courses on different theology topics and 12-week courses on all the books of the Bible. They've been a great way to add some structure to my time and an opportunity to reach out to sisters in Christ around the country to work through the studies with. My favorite ones so far are a study on joy and one on "tracing the storyline of the Bible"!

-Ally Mitchell

Unknown said...

I'm enjoying longer and more frequent conversations with my family. I'm not living with them right now, but we are able to call and FaceTime much more often these days. They just finished reading Love Does as a family (at my recommendation) and are now reading Everybody Always. I have LOVED, LOVED calling and talking to them about the latest of Bob's stories that they've read and how it applies to our lives. A young friend I had the opportunity to mentor last summer called out of the blue last week, and at one point in our 2 hour conversation she also brought up one of Bob's stories I had read her from Everybody Always.
I am soaking up the opportunity to catch up with sooo many distant friends while we all have a little extra time on our hands. :) Prayer meetings with Friends from Ukraine, calls with grandparents, texts from hurting friends. I'm treasuring the privilege to be part of all of it.

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