Song Lists

Hymn Of Heaven Devotional

We received a text from our mother at 9:31 am on July 30th, 2020. "I think Dad died!" He died in his workshop. His death was shocking. This weekend we will gather as a family to remember him -- one year later. Dad lived life on his own terms and left deep, tender impressions on our hearts.    For you, the words may have been different, but the pain is familiar. Grief comes in waves. Sometimes it is expected and sometimes it comes out of nowhere. Some waves feel manageable, bumping us around with flashes of memory -- even bringing a soft smile to our face.  Like the moment you find a picture of your loved one that reminds you of the years gone by. It is tenderly sweet and sad all at the same time. Other waves pick you up and slam you underwater, trapping you in an undertow that threatens your very next breath.   What have been the words that left your world forever altered? Your mom has Alzheimer's. Your dad has cancer.  Your daughter's baby died before she took her first breath. Your husband wants a divorce.    Heartache. No one escapes it. Our experiences just look different, but suffering is the human condition. A mark of our frailty. All are at risk to feel pain. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6,7) I wrestle with the scripture inviting me to rejoice in my grief. In the moment when waves of pain crash over me, the last thing I think about is rejoicing. I am more focused on breathing through the unbearable ache that comes with loss.  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:3) Phil Wickham's song, Hymn of Heaven, offers words that we can sing while being tossed by the waves of sadness. The song acknowledges our vulnerability and desperation, inviting our hearts to lean into the end of the story when death and suffering are no more. Whatever your experience with suffering, whatever waves crash around you today, there is a promise waiting. The breath of Heaven is coming.  When He returns to wipe away our tearsOh, there will be a day when all will bow before HimThere will be a day when death will be no more Maybe there is room for hope and grief to co-exist? One that grieves and one that rejoices as we look towards a future with Jesus. It doesn't have to be an either/or option ... maybe it is a both/and journey. Not "either I grieve or I rejoice," but "I can grieve and rejoice in my suffering." We don't have to deny our pain to prove our faith.  The songs of faith we sang through doubt and fearIn the end, we'll see that it was worth itWhen He returns to wipe away our tears Thank you, Phil Wickham, for writing music that invites our humanity to exist side by side with the heart of Heaven. This is the kind of worship we can sing with all the pieces of us -- harmonizing the places that ache and the parts that celebrate! Hymn Of Heaven was written by Phil Wickham, from the album Hymn Of Heaven.Tracey Dahl, M.A. is a writer and Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) at Shoreline Counselling in Langley, BC (Canada). She is married to Ryan Dahl (Founder of PraiseCharts) and the mother of four grown children. 

Song List
House Of The Lord Devotional

Phil Wickham's House of the Lord is a celebration shouting out praise to our God who made a way for us. His presence and provision billow up and overflow from grateful hearts. When you experience His joy, or when you have been rescued and set free, it is hard not to shout out with joy from the mountaintops.  Is there joy in your house? A joy that bubbles up, spills over, and leaves your world just right. Maybe you glimpse joy walking along a forest trail, watching your kids play outside, or having that first-morning cup of coffee. Possibly, it is sunsets, sunrises or walking along the beach that does it for you; the moments we feel like our most authentic selves and right there in the middle of this moment, we feel it - deep and steady as a heartbeat - joy.  There's joy in the house of the LordThere's joy in the house of the Lord todayAnd we won't be quietWe shout out Your praise But, have you noticed that it doesn't take much to steal your joy? How quickly deep contentment like this can be snatched away?  Slipping from your soul the moment you see "that" look from the store clerk and realize you forgot to lift your mask up to cover your nose. You know the look: the judgy eyes, furrowed brows, the look of deep disapproval.   Sometimes joy is stolen in moments when family or friends comment or question your decisions, their words laced with sarcasm, passive aggression or explicit judgment. Ever disagreed with a friend and then been ghosted, unfollowed or blocked? And one of the biggest dangers lurks on social media platforms—conversation threads enticing responses and disrupting contentment and joy both for the reader and the ones who post. We don't even have to post a comment to be and feel disturbed by what we read. Joy, peace, and provision. In His house, there will be joy. In His house, we will experience peace. In His house,  we will have all that we need. If there is joy in the House of the Lord, we should expect to experience it.  The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. (Psalm 28:7, NIV) If we have confident assurance that our God is near, that He heals, and that He saves, why isn't joy plastered like wallpaper all over our social media platforms, filling our feeds? Because our lives are messy, complicated and we are easily prone to distraction and disappointment. The most common presenting issue in my counseling office is anxiety. Anxiety (fear) and joy rarely co-exist.  The emotional marathon of 2020 left some of us depleted with a lingering sense of dread for the next hard thing. Maybe we are having trouble concentrating or feeling stuck and unsure how to get moving again. Some are not excited to re-engage socially when given the freedom to do so. Others report feeling aimless, like wandering through the day looking through a foggy window. With so many unknowns in the days ahead, hope for change is waning. There is a word to describe this -- it is called languishing.  Someone described it to me like this: "It's been like hitting a dead end at every turn in a cornfield maze. In the beginning, it was a game, and we were set on winning and persevering. There was all this adrenaline to make it through and to overcome the obstacles. One dead-end isn't discouraging because you've only been in the maze for a short while, and you have a lot of energy to keep pressing through. But now, hitting one detour after another ... having to pivot and change directions has become tiresome. I want to stop playing and have someone rescue me. If I could shoot up some flares and have someone lift me to safety, I'd do that."   The thought of experiencing life as a maze is so dark and heavy compared to the contagious joyful expression of praise in the "House of the Lord." What do we have to shift in order to have more sustainable joy? At any given moment, you can respond in one of two ways: Either your authentic best self may show up, or your more compromised version of yourself may appear. Think of being overtired, hungry, distracted, or frustrated, and suddenly someone cuts you off in traffic or drops the entire carton of milk all over your paperwork sitting on the kitchen island. Sidestepping all grace, words and gestures fly from your body quickly without much thought. You react rather than reflect, and your compromised self shows up strong and powerful.  Though the fig tree does not budand there are no grapes on the vines,though the olive crop failsand the fields produce no food,though there are no sheep in the penand no cattle in the stalls,yet I will rejoice in the Lord,I will be joyful in God my Savior.(Habakkuk 3:17-19) Or maybe this is more you. Scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, you land upon a post from a "friend." It is outlandish, offensive and flies in complete contradiction to all your values. In fact, you can't imagine how you didn't know this "friend" felt this way. Thoughts rush in: "what an ignorant comment to make," and "how can they call themselves Christian?" or "how can they believe that garbage is true?"  Think about the last time you read something online that annoyed you, rattled you with such intensity that you reacted and responded rashly, or maybe you just muddled it over and over for days after. And, we keep going back to check that post to see what new absurd comments are being made, further disturbing our thoughts and disrupting our sense of calm.  Criticism, judgment, seeing myself as the expert, name-calling, and hiding behind anonymity.  These joy-robbers, peace-stealers, and grace-dismantling thoughts lead us directly into disappointment, anxiety and impulsiveness. We react rather than reflect. Our behavior becomes quick and prickly. Our compromised selves have sharp edges and tend not to respond well to correction from others. Not surprisingly, you may find yourself irritable, distracted, and sensitive to criticism and judgment in this state. So what can we do when we find ourselves in a prickly, reactive, critical way?   Take a social media break and tend to the garden of your heart. Resist the pull to respond.  "Whatever momentary self-satisfaction we experience when we entertain it leaves behind darkness and a hardness of heart — like cement that begins to cure while we're standing in it up to our knees." (The Chosen Book Two: 40 Days with Jesus. Day 8 Love) Lift your eyes above your circumstances and reconnect with the Prince of Peace. Sing praise and worship, allowing His truth to wash over you. He heals, He saves, and He is still rolling away stones. He makes a way through every dark valley or risky mountain climb. He will give you what you need to face the tricky places you find yourself in. But His direction, leading, and heart will not be easy to hear or find if you have not attuned to Him. We grow close to those we spend the most time with, and intimacy is cultivated intentionally, mindfully and with consistency over time.  We sing to the God who healsWe sing to the God who savesWe sing to the God who always makes a way Come back to the revelation that we are the house of the Lord. We are the body. We are not a building. We are a people. How we engage with the world reflects how deeply His presence has touched us. Tracey Dahl, M.A. is a writer and Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) at Shoreline Counselling in Langley, BC (Canada). She is married to Ryan Dahl (Founder of PraiseCharts) and the mother of four grown children. House Of The Lord was written by Phil Wickham and Jonathan Smith. 

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Thank You Jesus For The Blood Devotional

Do you remember the worst moments of your life? Burning recollections that flare up, taunting you with a sense of failure and shortcoming. Wretched moments. Do you remember feeling a sense of hope after a long winter season? Times when grace and peace brought you to your knees in gratitude. Salvation moments. Moments when you were rescued from the miry clay, and delivered safely to solid ground on the other side of the raging rivers. We are wretched. Standing rigid by someone you love, unwilling to acknowledge your mistake when you betrayed their trust. Seeing the pained expression on your child's face when you lost your cool, holding fast to your right to discipline.  Letting that hurtful, harsh criticism fly from your mouth without regard for how it cut through the heart of a friend. We are wretched. Maybe you don't see glimmers of yourself in the scenes above. Maybe you have been the one hurt. Your spouse cheated. Your parents screamed at you. Your friend betrayed your trust. The disappointment and pain held weighed down, pulling you into the darkness of despair. You longed for relief -- but the relief didn't come -- in desperation, you looked for an escape from the pain.  We are wretched, but the story does not end there. Charity Gail's, Thank You Jesus For The Blood is a powerful reminder of how Jesus has rescued us. He plucks out of the pit where there is loneliness and heartache. The words of this song put a layer of truth on top of our pain, making us whole again. When I was lost, Jesus "broke my chains, freed my soul. For the first time, I had hope."  Sometimes the lyrics of a song reach deep down inside, and we recognize ourselves as the melody moves through each verse. We all have a rescue story. Maybe for you it is addiction, or like me, despair. Perhaps you are still trapped behind a curtain of anxiety or doubt. Maybe you come from a long history of broken relationships or epic failures in life. When we find ourselves stuck in the muck, wounded on the battlefield, scarred by hurt from those around us, we need rescuing. I know a thing or two about being rescued. Almost 20 years ago, my world shifted dangerously. My darkest days came after the birth of our fourth child. Hopelessness descended on me like a dark, heavy curtain. Imagine the inner conflict, holding a brand new life and simultaneously wanting to run away from it all. I experienced what felt like an unyielding sorrow -- my heart breaking into a million pieces. No one could see my pain. No one could help. I felt all alone. My secret strength and shield around me,You are salvation's ray of brightness shining on the hillside,Always the champion of my cause.So all I need to do is call out to You,Singing to You, the praise-worthy God.And every time I do, I'm safe and sound in You.When the spirit of death wrapped chains around meWhen terrifying torrents of destruction overwhelmed meAnd took me to death's door, to doom's domain;I cried to Him in my distress, the delivering God,And from His temple-throne He heard my troubled cry. My sobs came right into His heartAs He turned His face to rescue me.-“Psalms: Poetry on Fire,” Psalm 18:1-6, Brian Simmons  My journey through the winter season of depression was a road of darkness I would rather not travel again. However, that painful journey took me to places with Jesus that I may have otherwise missed -- this is my experience of the Kingdom like a double-edged sword. My heart both ached and soared as I turned to God and God alone. I learned the upside-down truth that even in my distress, God is good, faithful, and He is for me.  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:2-5, NIV) I have journals filled with scripture -- the truth of the Word written out letter by letter. Writing scripture and soaking in worship helped me create a roadmap through the dark nights of my soul. I experienced God's goodness as He healed places deep inside me. He is the faithful God who stayed in the boat with me through all the stormy seas and never left me to drown.  Is your current season dark and heavy around you? Are you more connected to being wretched than hopeful? Settle in and take a moment to let the words of worship wash over you. Be encouraged by the tender-hearted truth of Jesus. He is for you. Thank You Jesus, for the blood appliedThank You Jesus, it has washed me whiteThank You Jesus, You have saved my lifeBrought me from the darkness into glorious light We all need rescuing. We all have dark, wretched moments. There is nothing more powerful than the blood of Jesus poured over the stormy seas of our own disasters. Thank you, Jesus, for the "wonder-working power of your blood.” See the full interview behind the song Thank You Jesus For The Blood here.  Tracey Dahl, M.A. is a writer and Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) at Shoreline Counselling in Langley, BC (Canada). She is married to Ryan Dahl (Founder of PraiseCharts) and the mother of four grown children. Thank You Jesus For The Blood was written by Charity Gayle, David Gentiles, Steven Musso, Ryan Kennedy, and Bryan McCleery.    

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