Truth to Stand On

It’s the same story. Just as for Cade and Elle, 2020 was a rough year for Christian singer/songwriter Leanna Crawford.

‘It was a wild for everyone, but I’m grateful. For me, not being able to play live shows was very weird. I learned a lot in 2020, but it was definitely hard.’ Leanna laughs about some of the activities she tried during lockdown, like baking and taking up tennis. ’I love anything outdoors. In the end, I went home and spent three months with my family. It was so sweet, and I’m so very thankful for that time.’

Leanna shares a bit of her journey and how God led her to becoming a singer and songwriter. ‘Ever since I can remember, I loved singing. As a kid I was always making songs up. It’s just a part of me. When I joined the local Youth Group, I made friends on the worship team and I just fell in love with music.’

Leanna recalls writing her first song at age 15. ‘I was actually on a mission trip to Haiti, when I felt God call me to do music. From then on I just kept walking through the doors that God opened.’

‘One of those incredible experiences was meeting Matthew West at a conference. They had an open mic the first night, and my name was called, and I had to sing. It was such a God moment. Matthew heard me sing and really felt that God was calling him to mentor me. Now we are writing and singing together and it’s like a dream. He invited me out on tour, and I was signed to his label in 2019.’

Leanna loves to see how God works things out, knowing He always has a bigger picture in mind. She believes there are some things we’ll never understand at the time, but it’s fun to look back.

With the release of her self-titled album, Leanna has a message she wants to get out. ‘In many ways, it’s aimed at young girls. I want to remind them that they’re not alone, and I want to encourage them wherever they’re at. The songs are about the power of words. Words can hurt, and it’s so hard not to compare ourselves. But we need to know that the only words that matter are the words of God and Scripture. God can use whatever we’ve been through.’

Her song, Mean Girls, was born from her own experience as someone who is a ‘words of affirmation’ person. ‘Hurtful words have a painful impact for a lot longer, so we need to be careful what we say. At 8 years old a friend made a comment about my weight, and I didn’t understand why. We all have experiences that stick with us.’

‘I’ve learnt that sometimes the meanest person is actually myself. The things I say to myself I would never say to anyone else. God wouldn’t want us saying those things to ourselves either. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and we are worthy because He died on the cross for us.’

Leanna says the response to the song has been very humbling. ‘Lots of people have dealt with bullying in a real way. This song is about the hope that your worth is so much more than those words. It’s a reminder that our worth is in God, and I want to encourage girls and give them perspective. This has nothing to do with me, but everything to do with God.’

The song Photoshop is in a similar vein but attempts a lighthearted look at a serious issue. ‘We constantly compare ourselves, but we don’t need any photoshop. This has such a negative impact on girls, it gives them such a distorted idea of what perfection is. We need to think about what we are projecting and be authentic and real. We are not all perfect but that‘s a beautiful thing. My heart is that you see yourself as beautiful just the way you are.’

Leanna’s album also includes Truth I’m Standing On, a song which is the story of a woman walking through her husband’s battle with cancer.

‘During her journey, this lady would post a Scripture every day. Even though she was walking through the hardest season, she encouraged others and knew where her truth came from.’

‘I was going through a season of anxiety at that time, and I was so encouraged by her story. I wrote the song because I really needed it too. A lot of people need that reminder when they’re scared and in doubt.’

We definitely have a truth and a hope in God’s word. Open your hands and your heart and be excited to see what God will do next.

Leanna Crawford Vision180 Interview – 06 March 2021

Power to Change

‘I will strengthen you and help you.’ Isaiah 41:10 NIV

We go to seminars and conferences looking for a painless cure by which our lives can be zapped and changed. We go on diets. We join gyms and our enthusiasm runs strong for about two weeks. Then we fall back into the same old rut. We don’t change. We read self-help books, but the problem with self-help books is that they tell us what to do but can’t give us the power to do it. We are told things like: ‘Get rid of all your bad habits. Be positive; don’t be negative.’ But how? Where do we get the power to change?

The Greek word dunamis, meaning ‘power’, occurs 120 times in the New Testament. It is used to describe the most powerful event that ever happened—the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And that resurrection power is available to change your life today. The most important thing in life is knowing Christ and experiencing the power of His resurrection.

Paul writes, ‘I want to know Christ—yes to know the power of His resurrection.’ (Philippians 3:10 NIV) Again he writes, ‘I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe in Him. It is that same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead.’ (Ephesians 1:19–20 TLB)

The Greek word dunamis can be understood in two ways:

(1) ‘dynamite’, which is an explosive force, or

(2) ‘dynamo’, which is a constant flow of power.

And in Christ, you have both. Through Him you can break the chains that bind you and the limits that pull you back, and walk victoriously in His power today.

SoulFood: 1 Tim 1–3, John 5:16–30, Ps 5, Pr 24:8–9

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021

Today’s Readings

1 Timothy 1–3

1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

3:1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

  He was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated by the Spirit,
      seen by angels,
  proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
      taken up in glory.

John 5:16–30

16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

Psalm 5

To the choirmaster: for the flutes. A Psalm of David.

5:1   Give ear to my words, O LORD;
    consider my groaning.
  Give attention to the sound of my cry,
    my King and my God,
    for to you do I pray.
  O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice;
    in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
  For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
    evil may not dwell with you.
  The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
    you hate all evildoers.
  You destroy those who speak lies;
    the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
  But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
    will enter your house.
  I will bow down toward your holy temple
    in the fear of you.
  Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies;
    make your way straight before me.
  For there is no truth in their mouth;
    their inmost self is destruction;
  their throat is an open grave;
    they flatter with their tongue.
10   Make them bear their guilt, O God;
    let them fall by their own counsels;
  because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
    for they have rebelled against you.
11   But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them ever sing for joy,
  and spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may exult in you.
12   For you bless the righteous, O LORD;
    you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Proverbs 24:8–9

  Whoever plans to do evil
    will be called a schemer.
  The devising of folly is sin,
    and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.

Thu 21 October, 2021


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