Reflections

I Corinthians 13:12--Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Welcome to my blog. This is where I muse about biblical truths that I uncover as I flit about my life as a wife, mom, daughter, friend, and natural-born dreamer. I’m fascinated by how things here on earth, both the tangible and intangible, reflect God’s nature and glory. I’m convinced that atheists have to work at not believing, because to me, it couldn’t be more obvious that HE IS.




July 31st, 2018

Begin to Praise
Words and Music by Karen Burkhart and Felix Weber

Wake up oh soul it’s time to praise the Lord
Bow down before Him worship and adore
For He is worthy of your praise outpoured
Begin to praise
Soul begin to praise

I’m going to move my worry to worship
Give up my fear to faith
I’m going to lay down every distraction
Lift up my hands
And begin to praise
I’m going to set my eyes on the unseen
Breathe in the Wind of Grace
I’m going to lead sorrow into surrender
Lift up my hands
And begin to praise

Praise is the plough that stirs my hardened heart
It reaches deep and breaks up every part
That stands against the very truth of God
Begin to praise
Soul begin to praise

I’m going to move my worry to worship
Give up my fear to faith
I’m going to lay down every distraction
Lift up my hands
And begin to praise
I’m going to set my eyes on the unseen
Breathe in the Wind of Grace
I’m going to lead sorrow into surrender
Lift up my hands
And begin to praise

Hallelujah
Worthy is the Lamb
You are the King of Glory
You are the Great I AM
Hallelujah
Worthy is the Lamb
Hallelujah
You are the King of Glory
Hallelujah 
You are the Great I Am
Hallelujah
Worthy is the Lamb

I received the Facebook message on April l3, 2017, just a few days after the tragic passing of a much-loved member of my church's youth group.  My teenage son was grieving especially hard and struggling to cope with the loss of his friend.  The message came from an old college friend who worked for Chris Tomlin’s Night of Worship in America Tour that would be coming to Dayton, Ohio a couple days later.  He had been looking for friends who lived nearby so he could give some tickets away.  When my name appeared on his area search he noticed a post about our heartache and this confirmed that he would offer the tickets to me.  The gift of tickets lifted our spirits and was most appreciated by my son because he had requested to go to the concert weeks earlier, but I had declined.  Little did I know at that time how much his young spirit would need to worship with the Body of Christ that night. 

As the music began to play, we lifted our voices and hands in praise; I think we all felt God's healing balm begin to be poured out on us.   Many of the familiar songs took on new significance as we, for the first time, embarked on this unwanted family journey through the valley of the shadow of death.  

About half-way through the concert, Chris Tomlin's pastor, Darren Whitehead, spoke about the seven Hebrew words that are translated into the one English word, praise.  As a worship leader, I was drawn in and eager to learn more about this thing that Scripture has repeatedly commanded us to do.  At one point, Pastor Whitehead said the words, "We've got to move our worry to worship," and I immediately took note.  I had a feeling—like one I've had before—that this phrase might well be the hook for a new song.  I was filled with anticipation. 

The concert closed with songs that I could tell were ministering to my broken-hearted son, including Great Are You Lord, which was the last song my son had played in church with his now deceased friend.  They say the Devil is in the details, but how much more is that true of our great God!  It was clear we were to be at that concert, both for the moment and what was to come.  

A short time after the concert, inspired by the words I had jotted down that night, I wrote the lyrics and the chorus melody to a song that would eventually be called, "Begin to Praise."  My co-writer and producer, Felix Weber, later chimed in with a melody for the verses, and together we crafted the bridge.  When we were finished, we both sensed that this was a special song and we prayed that God might use it to inspire praise and worship near and far.  

On the morning of the recording, I read the familiar 150th Psalm, so I could begin to meditate on the idea of praise.  Twelve times I read the directive to PRAISE!  At first glance, I thought, someone might wonder just how egotistical our God is—I mean, what kind of God commands praise for themselves?  Looking closer, one understands that God's character is perfect and that He is the ultimate servant and therefore He doesn't command praise because His fragile ego needs it, He commands it because He knows it's good for us! He knows that, "praise is the plough that stirs our hardened heart (and that) it reaches deep to break up every part that stands against the very truth of God!"  In a sense, praise sets the record on our hearts straight. 

May this song inspire you to praise the Lord in every circumstance! 



July 5th, 2018

 

Since becoming a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries in 2012, I have traveled a ton of miles off the beaten path to reach Christian women clubs in small town Ohio and neighboring states.  Remarkably, I have never gotten lost.   While I’d love to attribute that accomplishment to my keen sense of direction and astute listening skills, all the credit belongs to my trusted driving companion, Samantha.  Samantha definitely knows her way around Ohio and is never frazzled by roadblocks or detours.  She always has an alternate route in her back pocket that she’s able to whip out in the time it takes for her to say, “recalculating.”   You guessed it, Samantha is my GPS.  And I never leave home without her.  Samantha has allowed me to give up counting stop signs and keeping my eyes peeled for the alpaca farm on the left that is supposed to cue me to “keep going.”   Having Samantha along for the ride frees me to enjoy the scenery and think more deeply. 

On a recent trip to the Cleveland area I got to thinking how Samantha and God are similar:  both are doggedly committed to helping me reach the final destination.  Samantha isn’t thrown for a loop when I follow my nose four miles to hunt down a Skinny Peppermint Mocha and God isn’t wringing his hands when I wander into old patterns for a season.  They simply recalculate. They leave it up to me to choose the ups and downs of country roads or cruise the fresh pavement of the interstate.  They don’t quit working once my odometer reaches a pre-determined number of miles, or my when my steering wheel has performed the precise number of right turns.  They are committed to the final destination—whatever it takes!

I just want to let out a huge sigh of relief.  I, for one, do not want the pressure of having to do everything right all the time in order to be assured of reaching my destination.  Sometimes I get jamming to a song and I drown out Samantha’s smooth voice announcing an upcoming turn.  Sometimes I get caught up in pride and turn a deaf ear to God’s whisper leading me back to the cross.  I need both my GPS and my GOD to be unrelenting and willing to say, “recalculating,” seventy-times seven, until I finally tune in. 

It’s interesting, even when I tell people that I have a GPS, well-meaning folks still proceed to give me very specific directions.  Some even pull out a paper map and begin tracing the route I should take.  While I appreciate the consideration and concern that I not get lost, their efforts are often wasted because I’m not usually listening very closely.    I’m perfectly comfortable not knowing in advance every turn I should make.  You see, I trust Samantha. She’s never failed me yet--well maybe mildly once or twice.   

While I wish people would stop giving me directions, I often wish God would unfold a map on my kitchen table and walk me through His recommended route.  I think I’d enjoy the scenery more, especially on those back, hilly, roads, if I knew my exit was coming.  But, God wants me to trust Him, even more than I trust Samantha.  He has truly never failed me.  I don’t know how He does it but somehow He has always been able to work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  No one recalculates better than God!