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RubyMARCH2017


Jesus

Sing out! It’s good for your health.

 
Hi, friends!
 
A while ago, I wrote about being in a funk. I took my own advice, picked up singing again, and joined the Lakeland Choral Society. Rehearsal night is one of the highlights of my week.
 
I love everything that comes with singing in a group.

  • Interacting with people of all ages and lifestyles.
  • Feeling accomplished when I hit the notes in a difficult section of music.
  • Watching others enjoy singing.
  • Absorbing our director’s passion.
  • Following his precise cues.
  • Practicing different styles of music.
  • Doing the warm-up exercises–deep breathing, stretching, massaging.
  • Singing scales with different vowel sounds.
  • Feeling refreshed at the end of it all.

 
All of these reasons–and plenty more–have scooped me out of my funk. I love to sing out!
 

 
As if singing in the choral group weren’t enough, shortly after joining LCS, our director informed us of an opportunity to sing in an opera with the Imperial Symphony Orchestra. Who would’ve guessed that singing in an opera–one of my bucket list items–could become a reality! Without a second thought, I–along with several other choral members–volunteered to be in the cast of the ISO’s presentation of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.
 

Sometimes, I felt way out of my league, and I wanted to quit, but I remembered why I volunteered–not just to sing, but to sing deeply, to feel the intensity of emotions in an operatic presentation. This was way more than singing opera in my living room, which I do regularly. This was singing opera with professionals and other people who love opera. This was experiencing the highs and lows of every aria. Many times while we were on stage, we forgot we were acting. Emotion overwhelmed us as we sang out.
 
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience–one I’ll never forget. I treasure the intensity of it all.
 
It might seem an exaggeration, but to someone who struggles with depression, singing in general–and opera, specifically–has helped me release a host of pent-up emotions–sadness, anger, jealousy, internal strife, joy, mania. Whether it’s our weekly rehearsal or an opera performance, within two hours, I’ve exhausted my entire being in the most refreshing way. I sleep soundly.
 
Hard to believe?
 
Research shows music and singing have many benefits. Singing improves physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health. Singing in a group amplifies those benefits.
 
Even the Bible is filled with references to singing, commands to sing, and the power of singing.
 

Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. (Psalm 47:6)
 
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. (Psalm 95:1)
 
When they began to sing, the Lord threw the invading armies into a panic. (2 Chronicles 20:22)
 
I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. (Psalm 104:33)
 

 
All of God’s creation sings out.
 

All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name. (Psalm 66:4)
 
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)
 
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. (Psalm 96:12)
 

 
God sings!
 

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
 

 
Even Jesus sang.

So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve…. When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:17-30)
 

 
You might not be interested in joining a choral group, much less singing in an opera. You might think you’re not even a good singer. Whatever your reservation, sing! Sing out! Incorporate singing into your life.

  • Crank up the car stereo and sing along.
  • Try karaoke.
  • Sing in the shower.
  • Practice singing the musical scales.
  • Play singing games with your family. Instead of speaking to each other, sing!
  • Sing the Psalms in the Bible.
  • Sit in on a choral rehearsal.
  • Take voice lessons.
  • Sing along to operas like Pagliacci. Here’s a list of the top 50 operas.
  • Join a choral group. (Have I convinced you yet?) 😉

 
Whatever you do, whatever you feel, sing out! Sing for your health. Sing out for God. You were made to sing out!
 

 
 
Come alongside… Do you like to sing? Why or why not? What would it take for you to sing out? How can you incorporate singing into your life? What health benefits have you experienced as a result of your singing out? Comment in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.
 
 

Can’t Shake That Craving?

 
shakecravingHi, friends!
 
 
Have you ever wanted something so badly but when you got it, you weren’t as satisfied as you thought you would be? The high, the exhilaration, the joy you thought you’d feel turned out to be a downer, blah, anticlimactic.
 
 
It could be a…

  • Job
  • Relationship
  • Car
  • Vacation
  • Cute dress
  • Addiction
  • Anything

 
 
 
We long for so many things, most of which aren’t necessarily wrong. But many times, we become so fixed on them as the thing that will make everything right in our lives–at least, for a little while.
 
 

If I had X, then I would be happy.

 
 
Something to consider… The cravings we can’t seem to shake? The ones we try to fill with a variety of things? Those aren’t what we truly long for. We might not realize it, but at our very core, we crave Jesus.
 

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1)
 

 
We crave the One who created us, the One whom nothing or no one can replace.
 

All things are tiresome. They are more tiresome than anyone can say. But our eyes never see enough of anything. Our ears never hear enough. (Ecclesiastes 1:8)
 
A man lived all by himself. He didn’t have any sons or brothers. His hard work never ended. But he wasn’t happy with what he had. “Who am I working so hard for?” he asked. “Why don’t I get the things I enjoy?” That doesn’t have any meaning either. In fact, it’s a very bad deal! (Ecclesiastes 4:8)
 
You also committed shameful acts with the people of Assyria. Nothing ever seemed to satisfy you. You could never get enough. Then you offered yourself to the people of Babylonia. But that did not satisfy you either. (Ezekiel 16:28-29)
 

 
When the lure of earthly things comes up lacking, Jesus promises to satisfy our longings.
 

 
Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst – not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.” (John 4:13-14)
 
Then Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever go hungry. And no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty. (John 6:35)
 
You will have plenty to eat. It will satisfy you completely. Then you will praise me. I am the LORD your God. (Joel 2:26)
 
I will always guide you. I will satisfy your needs in a land that is baked by the sun. I will make you stronger. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water. You will be like a spring whose water never runs dry. (Isaiah 58:11)
 

 
No one and nothing else can deliver on their promises. Only Jesus. Our Lord knows what we want. When we look for Him above all else, we enjoy the peacefulness of a satisfied life both morning and night (Psalm 90:14).
 
 
Today, I invite you: Come to Him and drink (John 7:37). Come and take His gift of life (Revelation 22:17). He gives it freely (Isaiah 55:1).
 
 

 
 
Come alongside… What have you been craving? What are you hoping will satisfy those cravings? Do you agree or disagree that Jesus is really what we crave? What other verses would you add to this list? Please share with us in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Include your name or comment anonymously.
 
 
 
 
 


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No. Final answer.

NoFinalREV
 
Hi, friends!
 
 
I tend to overextend myself–do more than what I should do or have time to do. (Haven’t we talked about this before?) 😉
 
 
 
This week, I’m reminding myself–and you–that God has specific plans for each of us. Let’s remember to focus on what God has given each of us to do. Let’s remember to set boundaries–to say “No.” Let’s remember Jesus.
 
 

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:1-5)
 

 
 
Jesus said no to his mother?!?! 😮 He sure did.
 
 
Others might try to pressure us to do what they want us to do. Or to get involved in things God doesn’t want us to do at that time. Jesus knew his purpose. He stayed true to God’s plan for Him. He didn’t rush God’s timing, and He didn’t let others sway Him from it.
 
 
Jesus had the authority to say, “No.” He was, after all, God in the flesh. We too have the authority to say, “No.” Here are some tips:
 
 

Start small.

It’s easier to say no to a glass of water than to say no to yet another request to volunteer at your child’s soccer games. So practice with the little things first. It might seem quirky, but it will get you practicing. And it will help you see that “no” isn’t such a bad word.
 

Don’t ramble.

Sometimes I feel I have to explain my “No.” I think I have to tell the other person why I don’t have time to participate in another project, work on weekends, or even join the choir. (Yes, I’m a people-pleaser.) Remember: No is a complete sentence. You don’t have to explain your choice to anyone else. If you know your boundaries, then your “No” should be enough for you–and for anyone else. 🙂
 

Remember your purpose.

What has God called you to do? Are you doing it? If you’re not, then “No” might not be the best response–especially to Him. But if you are walking in your purpose, doing what He has called you to do, then don’t let other things–or people–distract you. There are plenty of good activities out there to participate in, but you don’t have to take part in all of them. Who are you? Be you!
 

Let go of the guilt.

This goes along with knowing your boundaries and your purpose. You know how much you can–or can’t–add to your plate. If you are being honest with yourself and God, then guilt has no place or power over you. If you do feel guilt, it is false guilt–from others, the enemy, or even your critical self. (That’s the person inside you that keeps telling you, “You should be doing…”) If you feel like someone is beating you up over your decision, that’s not God. Remember: When God convicts you–or places a weight on your chest to let you know you’ve done something wrong, that’s when you should reconsider your decision.
 

Be nice.

Sometimes, “No” brings up images of conflict and aggression. Change that image in your mind by changing your approach. You might be nervous or even upset the person is trying to monopolize your time, money, or attention. Being kind shows you’re comfortable with who you are, where you want to focus your attention, and that you care about the other person and his/her feelings. Again, practice is key. Start small. 🙂
 

Rock on.

When you say “No” to one thing, you say “Yes” to something else. That something else can be your purpose, the things you know you’re called to do, the people you’re called to invest in, the passion you’re meant to pursue. Isn’t that freeing? To know you get to take part in the things that God designed specifically for you? It is to me! That is reason enough to rock on!
 
 
 
These are just a few tips to get you started on the path to slowing down and focusing on the things God has for you. I pray you have the freedom to say “No” and to live your life to the fullest. Blessings to you today as you walk within the boundaries God has set for you.
 
 
Big hugs,
Daphne
 
 
Come alongside… Do you have any other tips to saying, “No?” How has saying “No” helped you? Are you still struggling to say, “No?” What can you do to start setting those boundaries? Please comment in the box below. Remember, you can post anonymously.
 


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Miley, The Morning After

 

I didn’t catch the Video Music Awards (VMAs), but after all the chatter the morning after, curiosity got the best of me. So I headed over to YouTube to find out what all the fuss was about. (No, I’m not going to link to it.)

 

After my eyes and heart recovered from Miley Cyrus’ highly inappropriate dance routine in front of millions of people—children included, the thousands of comments from viewers and readers made sense.

 

Many comments, in my opinion, were as distasteful as Miley’s performance itself. But as I wrote in my post about Whitney Houston, we’re all some version of Miley, whether we admit it or not.

 

Miley, The Morning After

 

How many times have we made irrational decisions? Choices that seemed fun at the moment, but the morning after, maybe even hours or seconds after, felt regret, guilt, and shame.

 

  • Erupting in anger.
  • Pulling up the porn just one more time.
  • Binging on fat-laden foods.
  • Downing just one more drink.
  • Having just one more affair.
  • Telling a “little white lie.”

 

I myself have plopped my face into my hands the morning after saying, “What the H-E-double hockey sticks was I thinking?”

 

Miley Cyrus might not be saying that just yet, but I assure you: In time, she will. We all will.

 

We all seek that one thing that will make us feel alive—truly free. And not just free for a moment, but free for a lifetime. We can’t find it on a stage in front of millions of people or in the corner of a dark room with nothing but our conscience. We find it in Jesus.

 

Jesus is what we’re all looking for. Jesus is the only one who grants us freedom with open arms. We won’t be perfect, by any means, and consequences surely will follow. But when we can grasp that He loves us and He delights in us—His beautiful creations, we have no need for the harmful anger, the porn, the binging, the drinks, the affairs, the lies, or the inappropriate dance routines. We know He loves us! And that’s all that matters.

 

The night before—and the morning after.

 

 

Come alongside… When have you made a poor decision? How did you feel afterward? How did you recover? Remember, you can post anonymously.

 
 

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My Declaration of (In)Dependence

 
 

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

 
 
In the course of my life’s events, it became necessary for me to dissolve the emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual bands that connected themselves to me, and to receive the power of Almighty God which He freely offered me.
 

 
I now hold the truths of the Bible to be self-evident, that I am created in the image of God and that He has endowed me with certain inalienable rights. Among these are eternal life, earthly freedom, and the pursuit of Him, which leads to true happiness.
 
 

Such was my suffering, which led me to declare my independence:
 
 
 

For my 33 years, I struggled with whether I was truly saved. I had done all the “right” things in my Christian life—I had always been in church, but that’s all I remember. I had gone through seasons of certainty, where I said, “Yep, I’m good.” To seasons of uncertainty, “I’m not so sure.” Every time, I rationalized it away.
 
In 2009, I admitted I was not 100% certain I was saved. This troubled me more than ever, especially given all the growth and freedom I had experienced the previous five years in recovery. Still, I did not want to continue with this inner restlessness any longer. I wanted to be certain. I wanted to have the assurance and the memory that I had truly accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
 
On that Sunday afternoon, I realized that through all my life struggles, I had come to love God so much that it grieved my heart to even consider the possibility that He could look at me at the end of my days and say, “I don’t know you.” That thought alone was enough for me to take the biggest step in my recovery from codependency. I ignored all the self-criticism in those moments and the “What would people say?” Once and for all, I did it. I prayed to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior – at the age of 33, with my accountability partner by my side. I am now 100% certain that I will spend eternity with the Lover of my soul.
 
I believe that from the moment I was born to April 5th, 2009, God had been wooing me with his grace – that undeserved favor toward me, a sinner. On that day, I was finally at a place where I had come to love him more than anything. Swallowing my pride and making it official – no matter how foolish it might appear having grown up in the church – was my way of showing Him. The very next Sunday, I was proud and humbled to have my Pastor – Pastor Jay – baptize me as a public profession of my faith.
 

 
Therefore, I, Daphne Tarango, appealing to Almighty God in the name of my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, declare I am free and absolved from all allegiance to the enemy of my soul. All emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual connection between us is totally dissolved. I am a free person, and I pledge my life and my dependence to the One who came to set the captives free—Jesus, the Christ!
 
 

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). 

 
 
Come alongside… Tell us about the moment you declared your independence. What led you to make that decision?
 
 

Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Life is Good, Positive Promotions, BloomThat, CesarsWay, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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