Browsing Category "Practicing Praise"
28 Feb
2014
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A Thick Spreading of Praise

20140228-084706.jpgThis kitchen,
my temple.
This sink,
my alter.
These dishes,
my sacrifice of praise.
Good Shepherd, take my worship and spread it throughout this day, this good day that You have made and given.
A thick spreading, my Lord; do not stretch it thin.
Keep Your words ever present today.
Might they toss and turn in my head,
Until I hear You.
Sustain me with Your word,
My vision,
Your voice.

“…but His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up within my bones…” Jeremiah 20:9

18 Dec
2013
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Just a Little Sign from the Divine

20131218-073321.jpgAs I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been buying and selling vintage for a profit on eBay and Etsy. I hope to see half of whatever profit comes from this activity go to things that are important to God but out of my reach, such as starving, abandoned children in Africa.

eBay automatically sends donations to my chosen charity so I haven’t been keeping track of the accounting like I should have for the past 6 months. Feeling convicted about this, over the past two days, I’ve spent hours on tracking the accounting. I was dumbfounded by the results.

Our income was the exact same dollar amount as the amount given to charity, half and half, just as I had prayed and desired months ago. It was as if I had been keeping perfect track of the accounting when in reality I hadn’t touched it for six months.

You alone are the Almighty, and I am amazed. For just as You watch over and track every snowflake that falls to the ground, You also watch and track every dollar that passes from our hands.

17 Dec
2013
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Snowflakes from Heaven

You,
You know every thought, word, and deed, just as You know the complexity of each snowflake. Each one a delicate white messenger from heaven declaring Your glory.

You,
You are near the downcast and You lift up the oppressed. I marvel that You care at all.

Almighty, All Knowing, All Righteous.

Why are You so intimately concerned with us? Why send us your snowflakes?

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2 Oct
2013
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Seen as Unseen, Unseen as Seen

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Yeshua, my Lord, my Savior,

Give me eyes to see the seen as unseen, and the unseen as the seen.

You have given me this fall day, the falling leaves, red vines climbing up the trees, and the old abandoned barn with the door hanging loose on its hinges. You have given me this day, my breath, my life, my family, my home.

I meditate heavily of your mercy and compassion, your every day grace like falling leaves, because I was made to praise your Name and so it gives me joy like nothing else can.

Take this day, and make it Yours. I follow you. I do not ask you to follow me. Give me opportunity this day to do something on your heart, which Is not on mine.

Give me eyes this day to see the the seen as unseen, and the unseen as the seen.

2 Corinthians 4:18
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ”

17 Aug
2013
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The Joy of Worship

My son is singing in a local worship arts festival today, so I prayed heavily during my morning devotions for him and their band, ‘Ascention’ (yes, the ‘t’ instead of the ‘s’ is intentional).  I asked the Lord to be my son’s sole focus, that all he does would be out of love and adoration of his Redeemer.  In His goodness, God chose to respond with Nehemiah 12, which I providentially read immediately after praying heavily for the worship event today.   I believe God’s hand is on these kids. 

Nehemiah 12:27-29, “Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps.  And the sons of the singers gathered together from the countryside around Jerusalem, from the villages of the Netophathites, from the house of Gilgal, and from the fields of Geba and Azmaveth; for the singers had built themselves villages all around Jerusalem.”

Nehemiah 12:36, “and his brethren, Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God. Ezra the scribe went before them.”

Nehemiah 12:40-43, “So the two thanksgiving choirs stood in the house of God, …. The singers sang loudly with Jezrahiah the director. Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.”

Nehemiah 12:46-47, “For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chiefs of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. In the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah all Israel gave the portions for the singers and the gatekeepers, a portion for each day.”

After reading Nehemiah chapter 12, I noticed I missed something in my morning prayer.  I never asked the Lord that the kids would take great joy in their worship.  Nehemiah chapter 12 is all about loud and mighty rejoicing with singing and instruments.  God wants these kids to have an awesome time praising Him!  This doesn’t seem very deep and spiritual, but it’s fun to thank God!

God is interested in our little, seemingly insignificant, lives. When He shows His interest in my little life, or, in this case, the life of my son and the other kids, I look up, and I can’t help but wonder why He cares at all.  Then I fall down in praise because, day by day, as I seek Him with diligence and faith, day by day, He reminds me of His great care.

16 Aug
2013
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Every Moment An Opportunity

Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Eph 5:15-17

I can not write this post right now because I must get my daughter ready for her soccer game, which starts at 9:00 am.  It is 8:05 am.  I must make the most of this moment, understanding what the Lord’s will is.  It is for me to stop writing, yet I greatly wish to continue because there is so much to say and perhaps I’ll forget it later.  Trust in the Lord; He will provide exactly what He means to provide.

It’s been days since starting this post and that’s quite okay only because God holds time, and all that I have comes from His hand.  Therefore if I am frustrated with time, I am actually frustrated with its Creator.  Time is not a burden, nor a hurdle, nor a crutch, or a brick wall, and it is not a cruel master.

Acknowledging and submitting to my limitations makes me rich with opportunity each hour to sacrifice to the Lord; laying down my plans for the moment to gladly accept His can be a beautiful act of worship to the Creator of time and limitations.  He called the day ‘good’.  “And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.”  Gen 1:4

Is the day good?  Do I welcome limitations as opportunities to consecrate what is “mine” as holy unto the Lord?  Perhaps these questions would be better answered by my children.  Does mom agree with God on Sunday morning, just before church?  Does she get panicked and frantic about the time?  Are you shipped from one thing to the next?

Can you picture Christ rushing around, frantically getting from one thing to the next? Absolutely not! Jesus was, and is, Lord of time, and all other limitations, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Mark 4:41.

Each of us have the same number of moments in our day; the hours equalize us, level us out, we are all subject to time, whether peasant or king.  I have little money that I am able to give to my Lord, but I have just as many moments in my 24 hours as a rich man.  I can freely and cheerfully give all my moments to my God.  In practice, though, I find my attempts to give each moment to God to be difficult at best. “The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak” Mat 26:41b.  I am tired, I am cold, I am hungry, I have a headache, I need to get somewhere, I need to sit down, I need, I want, I am.  I am what?  I am my stomach and I am sick of me.

I am a worm.  You, oh God, You Are.  Today, be Lord of all my moments.  I desire to die to myself right now, in this moment, and give it to you, God of my salvation.  Jesus, today, might my dull thoughts be turned heavenward.  Might I welcome manual labor as opportunity to sing praises to you, might I see each colored leaf as a gift from above, and might my smile and laugh be born out of thanksgiving.  When my children ‘interrupt’ my work, might I recognize the appointment to be a divine.  May my words be few and carefully spoken, might they always build and mend and praise.  Keep complaining thoughts and a dull mind far from me, Lord.

Heavenly Father, I ask for opportunity to give to others, to sacrifice my own needs for the needs of others.  I desire to show your kindness where ever I am, be it at the grocery store, or here at home with my family, or on the road, or at church.  Might I have eyes to see, and ears to hear your still small voice.  Might I realize today when you’ve gifted me with moments to be low and humble, to prayerfully mourn, to hunger for righteousness and keep close your holy Word, to have mercy on others, to uphold purity, to make peace, and to be rejected for your sake.  And when you’ve answered this cry, might I understand your providence, so your glory and my joy can multiply all the more.

Beautiful ‘God Things’ Between You and Your Savior

 

Prase God‘God Thing’ # 1, A Call to Study the Book of Daniel: Saturday, June 8, 2013

I don’t understand the book of Daniel.   Yesterday morning I read Daniel 9:26 and decided I needed to better understand it, especially the part about a flood.  “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”  I decided to start a bible study in Daniel at my own pace, thought this one by It Is Written might fit the bill.  I printed up the first lesson, ready to come back to it at the right time.

Providentially, the following morning at church, our pastor left the book we were working on (Revelation) and preached on the book of Daniel, quoting the above verse.   …Okay, Lord, I’m listening, but I’m very slow to understand so it will take time to digest this book, but you have my attention.  This will be my first serious attempt to study biblical prophecy.

‘God Thing’ # 2,  Answered Prayer at Church: Sunday, June 9, 2013

On to another “God thing” from this morning, as many call it in my circles.   Months ago I asked a woman at our church if we could get together for a meal.  We exchanged phone numbers, then I promptly lost the number, and haven’t seen her at church since (we go to a big church).  Over the past few days I’ve been feeling convicted about this and so this morning, before church, I prayed for her and wrote her name in my to-do list, fully intending to look for her number even if it meant cleaning out my entire closet.  If you have ever seen my closet, you know just the thought is a grand undertaking.   Then, while at church, though I barely recognized her because it has been a while since I saw her last, there she was right in my path.  I told her I had just prayed for her that morning.  We exchanged phone numbers again and this time I recorded her number in my day planner right away.  Thank you, Lord.

‘God Thing’ # 3, Better Health by God’s Hand: Sunday, June 9, 2013

And another “God thing” that just happened.  I’ve been praying for a friend at the nursing home, who is paralyzed from the neck down from a terrible disease.  Over the past month, I’ve had the privilege to see God grant her better health after years of going down hill.  At one point her health was so bad she had to have all her food mashed up and she could only get out approximately two sentences within a half hour of my visiting.  Her mind was all there but she had no way of communicating, it was terrible.

She loves the Lord and she’s thrilled about feeling better.  Though still paralyzed from the neck down, now she can communicate far better and it feels so good.   My daughter had her bible class praying for her, and, of course, she prays for herself, and I pray for her regularly.  I believe prayer moved the Lord to heal her as much as He did because the disease only goes one way, and that is downhill.  It is a gift from God that she can communicate again, it’s another ‘God thing’.

She has a lot of faith & it is beautiful.  Since we saw so much improvement over the past month, she thinks God will do a miracle and give her the ability to walk, “I’m going to do cartwheels” is what she tells me.  She insists that I help her get out of bed, and I go along with it until I feel like its gone too far & she could get hurt.  If God’s going to do a miracle, He won’t need me to help her.   We then discuss God’s will, and praise God that Kathy will most certainly be doing her cartwheels in heaven, because of the work of Christ on the cross.

‘God Thing’ # 4, God’s Encouragement to Walk Circumspectly: Monday, June 10, 2013

Light ShineAnyway, Kathy and I speak on spiritual matters and yesterday she asked me about sin in my own life.  I told her that I am always learning, and growing in Christ.  That I strive to ‘walk circumspectly’ with the help of the Holy Spirit.  When that word came out of my mouth, I thought it a strange choice, then I was privately amazed it somehow got from my mind to my mouth without it being butchered because I’ve never actually said it before, and I’m not a gifted speaker by any means.  Okay.  I just used the word circumspectly.  Cool.

Before this morning could not have told you where ‘circumspectly’ was in the bible.  Though I probably could have told you it was somewhere in the epistles, it certainly isn’t a favorite verse or a well worn page.  And though I wasn’t thinking about what I said yesterday, this morning I opened my bible to Ephesians 5, and when I got to 5:15, “See, then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise…”, I recalled the word falling from my mouth yesterday.  Curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to look up the word on Blue Letter Bible to see how often it is in Scripture.  “Circumspectly” is only used in Ephesians 5:15.  Cool.  Another ‘God thing’.

Best not to over analyze about what the Lord is ‘trying’ to say to me when He does this kind of thing.  Best not to read hidden messages into a very simple and obvious one.  He is the Good Shepherd, and He guides us with loving encouragement, or, sometimes, sharp rebuke.  I’ve learned to just smile, and look to heaven, thanking the Lord of creation that He should be mindful of man, of me, and then look for the next good thing He has already prepared for me to do.  He’s amazing.

Looking for Your Own Wonderful ‘God Things’

If I were to only tell you one of these ‘God things’ you might brush it off as just coincidence, and I would understand because I would do the same with only one such experience.  That is why, dear friend, I am trying to maintain this journal.  But I can’t keep up with God, I simply cannot write down all the ‘God – things’ that happen each day.  This entry is nothing special, it is a typical daily walk with the Lord.  There was a time when I was a believer but I didn’t see God at work in my every moment.  At that time I could go a week without praying or reading Scripture, and think I was just fine, though maybe I’d feel a little guilty because I neglected my Lord.  If I were to do that now, I know I would miss so much!  My eyesight would become dull, God would let me go my way, and oh, how I’d miss His guidance!  Ours is a walk with God.  Ours is an intimacy with God, this is our claim as children of the Most High.  “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost…”  Heb 6:4  It is impossible for the believer to go any other direction but toward God because it is such a wonderful journey!  If you haven’t seen God in your daily life, then, by all means, jump on board and seek Him with everything you’ve got!

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”  Heb 11:6.  God still rewards those who diligently seek Him in faith.  And the best part is that often His rewards are simply reminders that you are walking with Him, He rewards faith with Himself.  I write these things down because it is my prayer that you would read this and start to believe that if Hebrews 11:6 is relevant for a simple stay-at-home mother of 4, it is also relevant for you.  I sincerely hope you will get excited about the Lord and want to seek His will with all that is within you.  And as you seek first the Kingdom, with opened eyes ready to see God at work, I am confident God will reward you with your own seemingly little ‘God – things’.  Wonderful things that will remind you God is there, that you are walking with Him, that He is your friend, beautiful ‘God – things’ that are just between you and your Savior.

19 Feb
2013

So It Is With Everyone Who Is Born Of The Spirit

Christian, don’t make the mistake of missing one morning without a quiet conversation with your Savior.   What joy you forfeit, what peace you dismiss for a few more minutes of sleep, or yet another Facebook check.  These things pale in comparison to the riches found in your quiet moments with Jesus. 

outstretched armsThis morning I read Christ’s words in John 8:14, “but you do not know where I come from and where I am going.”   Then, suddenly, a great gust of wind shook my cozy house, affectionately reminding me of the ways of the Holy Spirit as written in John 3:8.  So I turned there to savor these words of Christ about the Spirit, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.”  And then another forceful gust of wind rattled the house.  It is marvelous, Lord; the wind outside, the Spirit inside, Your voice resting on my table.  

“So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  You hear the sound of the wind, but you can not tell from where is comes and where it goes.  Like Christ, the Spirit comes from heaven, and will eventually go to heaven, delivering up the born again soul that has clung to Him.  This is why we must be born of the Spirit; the Spirit is of God and will return to God, but the flesh will wither and rot.  Worship wells up in me and streams out my eyes because the One who commands the wind is even mindful of me, and Psalm 8:4 is tossing in my mind, and Mark 4:41 holds my heart still, “who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” 

Christian, do not miss your morning conversations.  He waits to speak to you, He rises to greet you!  “Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you”  Isaiah 30:18.

What Does the Bible Say About Why We Exist?

God so Loved the WorldWhy do we exist?  Because of three little words.  We exist because “God is love” 1 John 4:8b.  Love is a complex concept but I will discuss two attributes of love that greatly pertain to our creation.

One attribute of love is that it must have exchange; love involves more than one party; it involves both a giver and a receiver. God created us because He is who He is.  He is love, and we are an outpouring of Him, created in His image; He is the giver and we are the receivers. 

1 John 4:8b, “God is love” also answers why we were created in His image, yet immeasurably inferior to Hiim, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you visit him?” Psalm 147:4.  He is great and we are not, yet because He is so rich in love He is still mindful of us.  God Almighty created us because it glorified Him to do so; our creation, and our humble frame, fits ideally within His attributes.  He is love and we are an expression of His love. “For I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yes, I have made him” Isaiah 43:7.

Another important element of love is that it involves choice, without choice it is simply not love but a series of robotic mechanics.  If God made man to automatically love God, the world would be peaches and cream but love would not exist.  And this is an impossibility since the Reality is that ‘God is love’, and praise Him for it, since perfect love is far greater in glory than a loveless utopia.  And so, 1 John 4:8b can also explain why evil exists.  God is perfect and love is perfect, therefore love exists.  Love must have exchange and choice; man did not return God’s love, but instead chose hatred toward God, therefore evil exists.

So what is an appropriate response to all this love from the Creator?  Love and worship.  The bible says we exist to glorify God and to love Him forever. “…for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” Revelations 4:11. ”Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment’” Matthew 22:37,38.

If this seems unbelievable or unattractive, perhaps you haven’t personally experienced God’s love.  Man chose emnity toward God from the very beginning, and so there is great suffering and corruption today “by man came death” 1 Corin 15:21, so much so that many look around at all the destruction and blame God, doubting the goodness and love of the Almighty.  But where man (the receiver) failed to return His love, God (the Giver) found a way to love greater still, to give even more.  Find out how to personally experience God’s love by continuing this article here.

The Gospel: The Greater Thing

 
Son of Man“Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”  Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”  John 1: 48-51

On January 3rd, 2013, during my morning devotions, I opened to the last part of John, verses 1:48-51.  These verses struck me as very significant and applicable, though I didn’t fully know why.   It seemed as though Jesus was encouraging my belief that He speaks directly to me through His word.  As if He were saying, “because I said unto thee” (John 1:50)… then fill in the blank with all these various ways which I have noticed the Lord speaking through His word…”believest thou?”.   And then He said, “Thou shalt see greater things than these”. 

I knew I would see greater things than the Lord speaking through His word.  But this is really something to consider because I am absolutely stunned that the Lord speaks to His people through His word.  Why do I think He’s saying I’ll see anything greater?  And what is possibly greater than that?

I read John 1:51, “hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man,”  but I didn’t really gather what it meant.  I was out of time so figured I’d come back to it later. 

The Wonder of God

After my morning devotions, my girls and I worked on their devotional books for church.  I was amazed to find out what the prescribed verses for that day was in their workbooks.  It was John 1: 47-48.  Then, driving my son to His doctor’s appointment, we passed a church with a sign that said, “Greater Things”, I think it was publicizing a series of sermons or something.  I tried to think nothing of it but I know God too well for that.  God is so cool.

Writing this out sounds crazy, but God is amazing and I am only writing what happened as it happened.  Interpret it as you like, but remember God knows every detail, every single hair on our heads, and He documents every single word ever spoken and He knows every single thought ever thought from every single person in all of history.  “He tells the number of the stars” Psalm 147.  Though I don’t understand why He would be mindful of man, I see no bounds to what He can and can not do. 

The Greater Thing

Came To ServeDays passed and I realized that I was heavily thinking about the Gospel, day in and day out, more than ever.  That great event when God became man and chose death by torture for Himself, thereby paying our sin-debt.  I am amazed by it; utterly stunned.  It is the central thought in my waking moments and the driving force behind my prayers.  I am thinking about it while I do dishes, while I make the bed, while I am shopping.  These meditations of the gospel produce abundant thanksgiving and worship and compassion.  

Compassion for those who have not heard of this life-giving and eternal event which fills my heart, mind, and soul.  This joy and wonder about God’s plan of salvation drives me to memorize scripture and prepare my own gospel presentation to anyone and everyone that would listen.  I only need 5 or 6 minutes of their time.  I have been a Christian for 23 years and never before have I been so driven by the Gospel. 

John 1:51

I have since realized with awe-struck wonder what John 1:51 means; “hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” It is speaking about the Gospel; Jesus is the bridge between man and God.  I believe God opened this thought to me: God has bridged the gap between Himself and mankind through His Son, Christ Jesus, and that is even greater than God speaking to man through His word. 

The Gospel is the greater thing, and God has graciously increased my understanding of the magnitude of His mighty work at Calvary, I understand a little better my part and privilege to share that understanding to the world He so dearly loves, in His good timing, in His good ways, and for the glory of His good name.  Praise be to God.