Singing His praise and a taste of spring already!

“Bless the Lord, O my soul!

O Lord my God, you are very great!

You are clothed with splendor and majesty,

covering yourself with light as with a garment,

stretching out the heavens like a tent…

He set the earth on its foundation,

so that it should never be moved…

O Lord, how manifold are your works!

In wisdom have you made them all;

the earth is full of your creatures.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;

May the Lord rejoice in his works,

who looks on the earth and it trembles,

who touches the mountains and they smoke!

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;

I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

May my meditation be pleasing to him,

for I rejoice in the Lord.”

Psalm 104:1-2, 5, 24, 31-34

May you hear God’s creation singing His praises this week, and

May you sing as long as you have your being!

Japanese Magnolia outside of “The Bakery”

Mississippi State University

(…if only I could live and serve here on this campus forever ! )

February 8, 2012

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At the heart of worship is surrender.

I am so excited that I wish I could shout this from my rooftop:  I have an Internet connection!!!  Imagine this: since July, I haven’t had access to this blog, email, my school’s website with our classes’ websites, guitar music, iTunes music store, etc.  For some, this may not sound that monumental, but for a 2o year old in this day and age, that’s huge!  With this small victory, I write to you from the comfort of my couch with a cup of coffee in my hand and a great story of worship on my heart…

.hillsong live.

This past Monday night, I lost myself in a night of worship.  The Hillsong- New York City’s pastor cried out, “Don’t leave this place the same way as you were when you walked in here tonight!” And I didn’t…

———-

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:

take your everyday, ordinary life

–your sleeping, your eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–

and place it before God as an offering…

Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.

Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.”

Romans 12:1-2 (the Message)

———-

What is true worship?

It is this…

…surrendering to God.

Some may be reading now and say, “Oh, but I’m not one of those enthusiastic believers that breaks out into dance, waves my hands in the air, etc.”  And honestly, I haven’t been.  I lacked courage to raise my hand even above my heart as if doing the pledge of allegiance.

But we have so much more to offer God than a pledge of allegiance.

While standing at the foot of the stage, I listened to songs like “With Us” and felt the words sinking into even the deepest places of my heart… “There’s no end to your love.  There’s no end to your love,” they sang, “You’re with us.  You’re with us.”  With closed eyes, I relished the sweetness of those words, the truth of them even sweeter than last week’s Thanksgiving dessert.  “…There’s nothing in this world/ That could take you away/ You’re with us/ You’re with us…”  In that moment, I drew near to God, and just as James promised in James 4:8, God drew near me.

What I learned Monday night is this: worship isn’t just listening to Christian radio in the car, nor is it just going to church and enjoying the solo during the offertory.  Worship–true worship of the Father and Creator of this Universe whose Son, Jesus Christ, lived as a human, died on the cross and overcame the world when he defeated even death itself–is encountering God and responding to Him.  It’s the crying out of your heart after casting your burden on Him and feeling Him not only take your burden onto His back, but take you up into His arms, as well.

Today, my prayer for you is that you offer up your everyday, ordinary life to God and ask Him to meet you in every moment.  Whether it’s a prayer that He helps you be patient with a coworker or customer, a prayer to have a greater desire for Him, a prayer to give your life over to Him, God is able.  God is able…

So what is worship?  It’s the proper response to an encounter with the One that knitted you together in the womb (Psalm 139:13), the Son that has gone before you (Hebrews 6:20) on your behalf.

Worship is surrender.

Compelled’s Leap of Faith: A New Look and Style!

Would you like to hear some exciting news?  Compelled is over a year old now!  With this being said, it’s time to take a step out into “the blogging world.”    It’s time for a new look and a new style!

While this blog will still have devotionals and testimonies of God’s work in my life and the lives of friends and family, there are so many other ways that He is present in our lives.  There are many ways in which God’s love compels us–through music, art, quotes, books, photography, cooking for others, funny stories, etc.  In this new era of my blog, these are the areas which I will explore.  As you continue to visit (please 😉 ), you’ll discover that I will be posting more regularly, too!

Thank you so much for following me and Compelled while I have been testing the waters of writing and blogging.  It’s going to be much more work now, especially while balancing work and school, but I trust that God will provide!  Now that I am diving in headfirst, I pray that you will enjoy and feel compelled by God’s love in the ripples that follow this leap of faith.  What a leap it will be!

Thanks again so much.  Always remember that God is love, and He is always good.

Praying your day is filled with Sonshine,

sweet sarah 🙂

Encouragement for the days ahead

This past Friday, we celebrated the life of my PawPaw, LS Hollinger.  The service was so special and sentimental.  Today, I just want to thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers.  They have been the perfect source of comfort during this hard time.  Below, I have included more pictures and some of the verses that were read during his funeral and graveside services.  I hope that you will find just as much encouragement from them as my family and I have and will continue to find through them in the days to come.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to

comfort those who are in any affliction,

with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings,

so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

“So we are always of good courage.

We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,

for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body

and at home with the Lord.

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.”

2 Corinthians 5:6-9


Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his,

we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;

his steadfast love endures forever,

and his faithfulness to all generations.”

Psalm 100


 

Remembering the Reason

For the past couple of days, I’ve really been thinking about the purpose of this blog.  What are all of the posts supposed to point back to?  What theme?  What Person?

The whole purpose of this blog is to point us back to Christ and how when His love is present within, we are compelled to live our lives fully for and fully from Him.  He’s our everything, our absolute everything!

It’s so much easier to say these words rather than to live them out, isn’t it?  I’m in a dating relationship, and especially in this, I see just how easy it is to not live fully for (my complete focus on enlarging God’s Kingdom and glorifying Him) and fully from God (Him being my source of strength, encouragement, and passion).

And that scares me.  It scares me to see just how easy it is to get distracted and to forget just how much God loves us.  It scares me just how easy it is to turn away from the One that loves us the most, even when we think we are still focusing on Him.  What scares me most though, is how easy it is to forget about the cross and the new life that Christ died for in order that we may have it and live in it fully.

We have to be reminded constantly.  We must remember what 1 Peter 3:15 tells us:

“But in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy,

always being prepared to make

a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for

the hope that is in you.”

Whether it’s a necklace, a post-it note on your mirror, carrying your Bible with you, or even a small tattoo: we must be reminded of reason for the hope that we have.  That reason is Christ, and above all else, we should pray and pray that He is always, always, the Person of our true affections, the object of our praise, and the only One from which we find life.

“My son, do not forget my teaching;

but let your heart keep my commandments,

for length of days and years of life

and peace, they will be added to you.

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;

bind them around your neck;

write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Psalm 3:2-3