Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

By: Melissa Baker


In the city we live in, each school in the district has a phrase or slogan that they use to represent the school. Our oldest son started middle school this year. In starting this new adventure, I learned that the middle school's slogan is "your vibe attracts your tribe". At first I thought it was kind of weird. But as I thought about this saying more and more, I have come to love it! And it is so fitting, not only for middle schoolers but for every person, men and women alike. The vibe or attitude that we put off, will affect who we attract. If we are constantly negative, the people around us will be negative. The situations we find ourselves in, will also be negative. If we are constantly positive and happy, guess what? We will suddenly find ourselves surrounded by friendly people and more positive situations. We human beings, feed off of eachother. So we should want to attract people that will bring the best out of us. 


As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

The same works with who we chose to put in our lives. If we surround ourselves with a bad or negative crowd, we are slowly going to turn into the people that they are. So as christians we must be careful who we chose to let in our lives. We must imitate Christs humility in our relationships, so that we can live more positive and joyful lives. We should want to attract Christ-like people, but in order to do that, we need to be Christ-like as well.


Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus..
Philippians 2:2-5

So just a friendly reminder "Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe". Be careful as to what vibe you are putting off. 


Have a great day!





Monday, September 17, 2018

Tori Kelly's “Hiding Places" CD- Review & Giveaway!!



Our family is a musical family. My husband is on our church worship team and plays drums, piano, and bass guitar. Our oldest son plays trumpet. Our middle son plays the drums. You can say, music is a huge part of our lives. So when I get a chance to listen to something new, I get extremely excited.

I had heard of Tori Kelly and I immediately wanted to listen to her music. And let’s just say I was NOT disappointed! If you are looking for a fresh new gospel sound, look no further! Tori Kelly has teamed up with Kirk Franklin to produce an amazing album. Tori has an incredibly soothing and soulful voice. This album has an R&B feel to it, and you can definitely relate to her heart and soul as you listen to her music. I really enjoyed listening to her new CD “Hiding Places”. Go out and get a copy today!

About Tori Kelly:

While working on the follow-up to her debut album Unbreakable Smile—a 2015 release that premiered at #2 on the Billboard 200—Tori Kelly felt compelled to include a track that honored her lifelong passion for gospel music. With the help of her manager, Scooter Braun, the L.A.-based singer/songwriter soon connected with Kirk Franklin, a 12-time Grammy Award-winning gospel artist and one of Kelly’s musical idols. “I flew to Dallas and Kirk showed me a few songs he’d written, and I fell in love with all of them,” says Kelly, a 2016 Grammy Award nominee for Best New Artist. “Next thing you know, one song turned into us doing a whole album together. It just took on a life of its own.”

With its R&B-infused, deeply melodic take on classic gospel, Hiding Place offers up what Franklin refers to as “hope-pop”—a classification that fully resonates with Kelly. “One of the things I want for this album is for people to feel uplifted and encouraged when they listen,” she says. “I want them to know that, no matter what they’re going through, there’s a God who loves them so much and so unconditionally, and there’s always a reason to feel hope. That’s what I really believe in, and I want everyone out there to hear my heart.”

As Kelly explains, the title to Hiding Place draws inspiration from a line in one of her favorite psalms (“You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with songs of deliverance”). “That always stuck with me: this idea of God being a place of safety, a place where you can hide from all the crazy things that this world can throw at us,” she notes. Produced by Franklin, Hiding Place unfolds with a lush yet simply adorned sound beautifully suited to Kelly’s incomparable voice. “I’ve worked with Mary J. Blige, Bono, Yolanda Adams, and I’ve never seen anyone that’s a monster behind the microphone like Tori Kelly,” says Franklin. “She’d nail one song in three takes, and all those takes were amazing. It set the bar higher for my whole career.”

While half of the songs on Hiding Place were penned solely by Franklin, the remaining tracks came from a collaboration between him and Kelly—the first time that Franklin’s ever co-written in a decades-long career that’s seen his songs performed by legends like Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston. (“It blew me away that she wanted us to co-write, because she’s a phenomenal songwriter and could’ve easily done it herself,” Franklin says.) And at Franklin’s urging, Hiding Place was mostly recorded at his studio just outside Dallas. “The most important thing to me was that if Tori wanted to do a gospel album—a real, authentic, heart-throbbing gospel album—she’d have to come to the South,” he says. “Then she showed up at my studio with no entourage, no handlers—just Tori and her guitar, standing at my front door.”

With its sonic palette gracefully rooted in live instrumentation, Hiding Place first reveals its unbridled spirit on the album-opening “Masterpiece” (featuring Houston-bred hip-hop artist Lecrae)—a joyfully uptempo track that instantly sweeps the listener into a more radiant state of mind. From there, Kelly delivers her slow-burning lead single “Help Us to Love,” whose breathtaking harmonies feature the famed HamilTones (official background vocalists for Grammy Award-winner Anthony Hamilton). Proving her versatility as an artist and musician, Hiding Place then shifts seamlessly from the silky groove and playful scat singing of “Sunday” to the sweetly ethereal soul of “Just As Sure” (a duet with chart-topping gospel star Jonathan McReynolds) to the quiet intensity of “Psalm 42.” “So many of the songs on this album are so intricate, I wanted a song that I could play completely stripped-down, just me and my guitar,” says Kelly of the tender piano ballad.

One of the most profound moments on Hiding Place, the hushed yet urgent ballad “Questions” finds Kelly tearfully examining the current state of the world (sample lyric: “What happens when the healing never comes?”). “It’s about trying to make sense of all the dark and heavy things that keep happening, sort of crying out to God and asking, ‘What’s going on? I don’t like what I see down here,’” says Kelly. Then, on the subtly determined “Never Alone,” Kelly recollects her own struggles (“I’ve cried many rivers/I’ve walked through some pain/Seen my world crumble”) and ultimately re-discovers comfort and peace through her faith. On “Soul’s Anthem,” Kelly closes out Hiding Place with an a cappella, full-choir-driven rendition of the beloved hymn “It Is Well.” Perhaps the most powerfully captivating track on the album, “Soul’s Anthem” also gave way to what Kelly considers a landmark moment in her musical career. “Before we started, Kirk said to me, ‘Don’t look at me or the choir, just look down and get into your own world,’” says Kelly, who recorded “Soul’s Anthem” at the iconic Capitol Studios. “So I sang it all the way through, and at one point there’s a part where the choir takes over. I looked up and saw all these incredible singers, and it finally hit me that this was really happening. You can’t hear it on the recording, but I’m crying at the end of the song.”

Looking back on the making of Hiding Place, Kelly still marvels at the experience. “I always thought I would do something like this, but I thought it would be much further down the line,” she says. “It’s been in my heart for some time, but the timing didn’t feel right until now. I didn’t think I’d get the chance to work with someone like Kirk just yet, and that people would be so excited and accepting.” And though the album marks a stylistic departure from her work in the pop world, a commitment to uncompromising artistry carries through all of Kelly’s music. “No matter what genre you’re working in, there should be a level of excellence, and Tori definitely brought that excellence to this album,” says Franklin. “A lot of artists out there will rely on Auto-Tune or studio tricks, but there’s no button you can push for emotion, and there’s no button for skill. Tori is excellent in everything she does, because she’s a real, pure artist.” As she gets ready to share Hiding Place with the world, Kelly hopes that it might give others the same sense of solace and joy she’s found in gospel in her entire life. And as the album’s creator, one of the most rewarding aspects of Hiding Place was embracing gospel’s boundless intensity, and pushing her vocal performance like never before. “With gospel music, you can’t sing without all your heart being in it,” says Kelly. “This album was an opportunity to not only express my faith and my love for God, but to do what I felt and never hold back. I could just be free and let the song take me over.”


Buy your own copy of “Hiding Places” Here.



Below is a video of one of the songs on the album titled "Never Alone".  Enjoy!



And now for the giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Remembering 9/11

By: Melissa Baker

Today September 11th. It is the anniversary of one of the most tragic and horrible events in US history. The terrorist attack on our country 17 years ago turned our world upside down. I remember being in Theater class in high school, when I heard (and saw) the news on TV. Everyone was in shock. We just couldn't fathom the horror that was taking place. Thinking back on the events of that day, my heart is still broken for those that were lost, and for the families that have to deal with this tragic time. However, I am also hopeful and my spirit is lifted when I think about all that God has pulled us through, not only as individuals, but as a nation as well.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

The Bible tells us that God is close to the brokenhearted, that is will never leave us, and that we are loved by God. We have to hold onto those promises in times like these. I know we were all deeply impacted by 9/11, some more than others, so I can't speak for everyone. However, I do know that my God is bigger than any tragedy that we will ever face. So today, if you are grieving yet another anniversary of a loved one lost, or just reliving the heartbreak of this day, know that God is always with us, carrying us through our hardest moments.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

I have posted a video below of a song about 9/11. It puts things in perspective and helps me to reflect. And it is a reminder to never take each day for granted. Its called "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)" by Alan Jackson.


"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  
Jeremiah 29:11




For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
 John 3:16



Have a great day!



Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Be The Light!

By: Melissa Baker



It is really important to reflect and walk in who we are. Our faith in God is strengthened when we remember how perfect His love is for us. Once we know who we are, we must choose to do something with it. God has equipped us to be a light and to share His love with others. God strengthens our faith when we seek Him, so that others can experience His love through us. 
I know, it's extremely difficult to be the light of Jesus in EVERY situation, but we must strive to do so. Even if we are having a bad day, or just don't feel like being nice, people are looking to christians to show them Jesus. If we fail to show them Jesus, they won't even want to know Him. We have to show the love of Jesus to others, even when we don't feel like it, and ESPECIALLY when we think someone doesn't deserve it!
We have to allow God’s Word to reveal our identity in Christ. In Ephesians 2:10, it explains to us who we are created to be and what we were created for. God identifies us as "His masterpiece, created for good works." The Bible says to be generous with our lives and actions, so we need to be learning and growing in how and why we serve. 

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10
You can spread the light by telling a friend or someone you know about what God is doing in your life. Be extra kind to someone who is not so nice. Try to do something a little extra for someone who normally does things for you. Love the unlovable. In this world of darkness, be the light of Christ!

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Matthew 5:14-16



Have a great day and be the light!


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.


Everyone wants to feel loved, appreciated and respected. Sometimes we forget the importance of not only respecting ourselves, but respecting others as well. The definition of respect is as follows:

Respect:

1:
 a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation
remarks having respect to an earlier plan

2: an act of giving particular attention : consideration

3 a: high or special regard : esteem


b: the quality or state of being esteemed
c: respects plural : expressions of high or special regard or deference
paid our respects


4: particulardetail
a good plan in some respects


The Bible mentions "respect" in multiple verses. So it must be important to God that we treat each other with respect. 


Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God 

and respect the king.
1 Peter 2:17 NLT

Each of you must show great respect for your mother and father, and you must always observe my Sabbath days of rest. I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 19:3 NLT

God commands that we love and respect each other. There is so much hate in this world and there is a lack of respect for human life in general. Everyone demands respect but yet no one is willing to give it. But my God says we MUST love and respect one another! 

"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

John 13:34-35

We are also commanded to respect our husbands and wives. Sometimes this can be extremely hard, especially if you have been hurt or have lost respect for your spouse. Regardless of what has happened in your marriage/relationship, we must strive to show respect to our loved ones. It's important to God, so it should be important to us. A marriage simply cannot survive without mutual respect. Wives are commanded to submit to their husbands. How many of you know, you cannot submit to someone whom you have no respect for! Submission is a form of respect, and we must do so in love.

For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:22 NLT


So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:33 NLT



Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.
Colossians 3:18

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

1 Peter 3:7 NLT




I truly believe that we have a severe "respect for authority" problem in our world today, especially in the Unites States of America. Everyone is spewing hate left and right, especially when it comes to our president and our government. The Bible has something to say on this matter as well. 

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 
Romans 13:1


Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

Romans 13:7

Respect has became a lost art. My hope and prayer is that we as human beings, learn to respect one another again, no matter how different we are or what political stance we take. We have to teach our kids to have a proper respect for authority and for all of mankind. And the best way to teach our kids to respect others, is to lead by example. So I encourage you, weather it be friends, family, spouses, or even those that God has put in authority, let's give respect where it is due.  


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Work Willingly At Whatever You Do

By: Melissa Baker

The laundry is piling up AGAIN! It seems like just last night you had it all caught up, and now the laundry hampers are filled to the brim with dirty laundry. 

The dishes are overflowing in the sink. You ask yourself, "how do we use so many dishes within a 24 hour period?"


The house is a complete mess. There are toys everywhere, trash and clutter lingering around every corner, and no one else seems to notice (or care for that matter). 


We have all had those days. Days where it seems like no matter what you do or how often you clean something, five minutes later, you are repeating the same task again and again. You are drowning in household chores and errands, and you just want to throw in the towel. I get it. That is my life most days. I drag myself to do each tedious thing that needs done, picking up after everyone, doing literally everything without any help whatsoever. As a stay at home mom, I often find myself complaining under my breath about having to take care of everything. But then I am reminded that God doesn't want me to go about my day dreading everything on my to-do list. Nor does He want me to expect a "pat on the back" for taking care of things. I should be doing things not for my family's approval but for God's approval. Yes, it's great to be appreciated! But the work we do, it should be for God, not man.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord 
rather than for people.
Colossians 3:23

I also don't think Jesus was going around grumbling about having to do His Father's business. He had a willing and joyful attitude. The very definition of a christian is to be "Christ-like". But if we are constantly down in the dumps, complaining about everything we do, how are we being christians? We are to do our best to be like Jesus! 


And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:17

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.
Philippians 2:14

We also must remember, that what we put in is what we are going to get out of it. If we put in the hard work, we are going to get the "crop" we long for. If we try our best to do everything to the best of our ability, we will get the best results. This not only applies to chores, but to just about everything in life! From work to fitness, relationships, etc. If we invest in something, only then will we reap it's benefits.


.....A man reaps what he sows. 
Galatians 6:7


Have a great day!



Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Slow Fade

By: Melissa Baker

There is an old children's song that says "be careful little eyes what you see, oh be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love, oh be careful little eyes what you see." The song goes on to say little ears, little hands, little feet, etc. It may sound silly, but we as adults, need to listen to that song often, as a reminder that we need to be careful what we let in. The world is constantly trying to get into our mind, heart and spirit. If we are not careful, little by little, the world will make its way in completely and consume our whole being. We will slowly fade into what the world wants us to be instead of what God wants us to be. We will slowly be filled up with worldly things instead of Godly things. We will slowly be filled with hate, anger, resentment, and bitterness. It will be a slow fade.

But as we look back at our lives, we will see how this slow fade took place, little by little. For instance, you get busy so you skip your daily Bible reading. You wake up late and forget to pray before starting your day. You go throughout your day, not even thinking of God, let alone thanking him for your blessings. Before you know it, you will realize just how much you have been missing out on your time with God. Putting busy schedules, activities, sleep and other things before spending time with God, is a disaster waiting to happen. It's easy to skip a day here or there, but before you know it, you haven't read your Bible all week. Then that becomes all month. It's a slow fade.

Or how about our bad habits or not so great choices, that lead to addiction. You tell yourself, it will be ok, I'll just do it once. Then that one time turns into a couple times. Then it becomes a full blown addiction and you didn't even realize it. The enemy now has a hold on you. And you are stuck! That one bad choice, that one look, that one drink, led to the biggest mistake of your life that may cost you everything. Everytime you partake in this addiction, you don't realize how much of your life it consumes. It's a slow fade.

Casting Crowns has a song called "Slow Fade". It is mostly dealing with marriage issues, but it really paints the picture of how a christian can easily fade away into the world. If we are not careful, we will not only live IN the world, but we will become OF the world. We will drown ourselves in our own sin! We have to be intentional about protecting what comes in our minds, hearts and bodies. Our bodies are the Lord's temple, and we should treat it as such. The Holy Spirit has to have a pleasant and Godly place to live inside of us. So I encourage you, take a look at your life. Take a look at your activities, hobbies, etc. and be aware of what or who you let in, to prevent another slow fade.