Eternity in Our Hearts

Bringing what endures into everyday life

The Best Song You Can Sing

22 Comments

I’ve thought and written a lot recently about my “one-word” – receive – as I’m learning (again and again) to rest in my Father’s unconditional love.  His grace invites us to come to Him in a posture of receiving, not achieving. Nothing we do can add to or take away from His love.

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And as I study what the Bible says about receiving from God, I notice a pattern like this:

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love (Ephesians 5:2).

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God (1 John 4:7).

This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away (2 Corinthians 9:10, The Message).

Do you see the pattern? As we receive love, we’re not meant to keep it for ourselves. Love comes to us that we can release it back into love for God and love for a needful world. So I’m thinking that perhaps my “one-word” has turned into 2 words: Receive and Release are a package deal.

Friends, as beloved children of God, we are the receivers. And we grow more fully in God’s image when we are also the releasers. When we give bountifully out of our resources and our hearts, we reflect the generous character of Him who gave His Son. As Romans 5 says, God pours His love into our hearts, not only to satisfy us but to spill from us. Think of how different our world might be if our homes and communities were soaked with the overflow of God’s love.

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On her beautiful site, Abiding Love, Abounding Grace, Karrilee expresses what releasing looks like:

I feel Him all around and I breathe Him in!
The temptation is to hold my breath…
to keep Him in…
To fill my lungs and try to push Him down…
To swallow Gulps of God.
 But Always, He was meant to be let out!

Last year I wrote a series on speaking life, being deeply inspired by these words:

Each of us is the beloved of God. Helping others claim and realize their belovedness is a privilege and sacred responsibility. This means we learn to be “for” our friends and family and not against them. Being for people means that we believe they are God’s beloved. (Stephen W. Smith)

To me, this being “for people,” this speaking for the belovedness of every person, especially those who cannot speak for themselves, is my sacred responsibility to release love.

This coming Sunday – January 18 – is Sanctity of Human life Sunday, and being “pro-life” is much more than taking sides and resigning this perspective to a political platform. It’s a worldview that embraces each person that God has created, from “womb to tomb” as our pastor says. It’s “a way of looking at life that transcends culture, class, race, age, and opinion, knowing that we are all uniquely created in the image of God” (The Dignity of Human Life video).

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Friend, you are created in God’s image. You are fashioned uniquely by Him for a purpose. He longs for you to receive His love and then to release it into your world. When you and I understand ourselves as the Beloved and the Image-Bearers, there is no limit to the difference we can make through our receiving and releasing.

As I wrote about speaking life, I learned many things, especially that it is not a solo effort. Rather it is a symphony of voices, each uniquely gifted, rising in reverence for Imago Dei in every person.

Fellow Image-Bearer, God created you with something to offer, and you – with your encouraging word, smile, prayer, open door, or gesture of forgiveness – add to a chorus that can change a world one life at a time.  YOU have something to say, someone to bless, and your receiving and releasing gives glory to God, like breathing in God’s grace and breathing out His praiseIt’s the best song you can sing.

As Sarah Bessey beautifully says, “If there is one soul in your care, one face in your loving gaze, one hand in yours, then you are loving the world … And so the work today, the love we give and receive and lavish on the seemingly small tasks and choices of our days can tip the scales of justice and mercy in our world.”

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May the following words inspire us to present our unique offerings, embrace the ordained ordinary, see weaknesses not as obstacles but as opportunities, and surrender the outcomes as our opened bag of loaves and fishes:

Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those who sang best. Henry Van Dyke

“If your personal genome sequence were written out longhand, it would be a three-billion-word book. The King James Version has 783,137 words, so your genetic code is the equivalent of approximately four thousand Bibles … My point? You aren’t just surrounded by miracles.  You are one.” Mark Batterson, The Grave Robber

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“There are many false ways of achieving uniqueness. These all result from attempts to create a self rather than receive the gift of myself in Christ. . . Identity is never simply a creation. It is always a discovery.” {Thank you, Emily Freeman, for sharing these words from David G. Benner. I’m eager to read his book, The Gift of Being Yourself}

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Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out;
yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.
~ Saint Teresa of Avila

Releasing God’s love and our art in a way that reflects His glory is our highest purpose and greatest joy.

Join me in the song?

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Thank you, Lisa of {www.lisanotes.com} for introducing me to some truly inspiring thoughts from Sarah Bessey. Lisa’s post on Women in the Kingdom is filled with encouraging words about receiving and releasing for the sake of the Kingdom.

Linking with Beloved Brews Thursday @ Faith Barista. Fellow writers in Bonnie’s community are sharing their “one-words” for 2015. Bonnie’s offering a giveaway too, worth $100!

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Linking with Lyli and her friends who offer challenging, encouraging, and inspiring words @ Thought-Provoking Thursday.

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Linking today with Kelly and her encouraging community at Purposeful Faith and the #RaRaLinkUp. Find inspiration by clicking {here}.

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Does your heart need a pick-me-up? Join us over at Holley’s Coffee for Your Heart by clicking {here}. Holley is offering a giveaway today too 🙂

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Author: Renee Ratcliffe

Http://About.me/reneeratcliffe/#

22 thoughts on “The Best Song You Can Sing

  1. I am joining you in the song. I want to breathe in God’s love and release it. Release it in my words. Release it in my actions. Oh, that God would be glorified. Great encouragement for me today. I’m visiting from the raralinkup.

  2. Oh friend… how you bless! I am joining in with you… maybe a little off key but at the top of my lungs with the wind blowing through my hair!!!

  3. Let me just inhale and exhale love today. Let me love all of God’s creation. Give me a heart greater than my often heart of stone. Thank you for these words. Blessed by you!

  4. Glad I came by from the #RaRaLinkup. Your lyrical words have my heart dancing. My one word for 2014 was release and it follows me still. Looking forward to releasing His love today. My prayer is that I be a conduit of His love.

  5. Hi Renee,
    Stopping by from Holley’s link-up today. Your words are a calm reminder and a perfect way to start my day!

  6. Thank you, Valerie. Your post today is so thoughtful and ‘comfortable.’ Sounds as if your home and heart are grace-filled places!

  7. I absolutely love your one word “receive.” How can we release to others if we haven’t first received? Beautiful. As an Image-Bearer, I want to make a difference here today. These quotes are so moving. Thanks for your encouragement! Good stuff.

  8. Thank you. There is a lot to mull over here. Not going solo, being part of a symphony, a chorus of many voices all singing together. I like that.

    visiting from #ThoughtProvokingThursday link up

    • Thank you, Donna, for visiting and taking time to comment. It’s nice to meet you through the link-up. Your site is a inspiring place. As I read some of your posts, I loved, loved this thought – “Three things: to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God gives me the focus I need to succeed.” So true, such good words to live by – thank you!! Gratefully, Renee

  9. Receive was my word two years ago so I know you are in for a most blessed year of well, receiving some great insights from the Lord. I am sure your heart is wide open to receive and I bless you as you live and move and have your being in Him. Visiting from Beloved Brews.

    • Thank you, Jeannie. I’m so glad that you stopped by and shared this with me. I’ve heard from several people who have had “receive” as their one word – pretty cool! I’m grateful for your lovely words of blessing – May you receive richly from the Lord too. Gratefully, Renee

  10. I love the evolution of your word. Receive opening and expanding to release. The work god does with these words is always transformative. Blessings a s you continue to eat the meat of your word. Visiting from Thought Provoking Friday.

  11. Your words that you have shared today are so encouraging. Thank you! I discovered you on beloved brew link up today!!!! I had to share your post on face book and I am a new follower. I look forward to reading your posts. I love Emily Freeman!!!! I am starting a series on fridays from her book – A Million Little Ways. Love the book!!!! Its not so much about her book – it is more about my growth in Christ as I uncover the art inside of me. Love your post and I know I will be reading it again – such great insight.

    • Wow, thank you, Lisa! Meeting a new friend and like-hearted sister makes my day! Yes, Emily Freeman is a gift – and A Million Little Ways is a huge influence in my life. You are truly an artist, Lisa – May God’s image shine brightly through your offerings! Thank you for sharing.
      Gratefully ~ Renee

  12. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this. The first paragraph really caught my attention: “I’ve thought and written a lot recently about my “one-word” – receive – as I’m learning to rest in my Father’s unconditional love. As a good girl who has long struggled with perfectionism, I need to learn this lesson over and over again – His grace invites us to come to Him in a posture of receiving, not achieving. Nothing we do can add to or take away from His love.” It goes very good with my word for 2015 – Yield. Yield to Him and receive from Him, and as you say, give from Him. 🙂 Yield to Jesus and release that which is not of Father God in our lives. It all goes together. Hope this makes sense to you and your readers, Renee! God continue to bless you richly!

    • Hi Cindy, thanks so much for visiting and taking time to share with me. Yes – “yield” and “receive” are sisters 🙂 I like your thought of “release that which is not of Father God in our lives.” True! Cindy, may 2015 take you deeper with Christ as you yield to Him. Gratefully, Renee

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