Tag Archives: Praise

Leviticus 26; Psalm 33; Ecclesiastes 9; Titus 1

Having just celebrated Easter, it’s easier to be focused on praising God.  I walked through the events that led up to Good Friday with my children, helping them understand once again how incredibly “good” that Friday was.  Jesus paid our debt!

Reading through Psalm 33, a hymn of praise, helps me continue this focus on praising Him for what He did for us, what He did for ME.

Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones; Praise is

    Becoming to the upright.  Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;

    Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.  Sing to Him a

    New song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.” (v. 1-3 NASB)

He created everything and the earth proclaims it.

“By the word of the Lord the Heavens were made, and by the

    Breath of His mouth all their host.  He gathers the waters of the

    Sea together as a heap; He lays the deeps in the storehouses.

    Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all inhabitants of the world

    Stand in awe of Him.  For He spoke and it was done; He

    Commanded it and it stood fast.” (v. 6-9)

He is our hope when the world seems hopeless.

“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.

    For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy

    Name.  Let your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us,

    According as we have hoped in You.” (v. 20-22)

Lord,

We praise You because You paid our debt that we owed for being sinners.  Truly we can say that Friday was a “good” day for us.  Easter is our wonderful surprise when you rose from the grave to prove You reign over death and that we who believe have the hope of life for all eternity.  Let us always praise You for what You did for us no matter what date is on the calendar.

Kellie

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Leviticus 23; Psalm 30; Ecclesiastes 6; 2 Timothy 2

Holidays interrupt the ordinary activities of my life and give me an opportunity to revitalize my commitment to God or holidays can draw my spirit into contemplating my recurrent need to depend on God. Such interruptions can lead to restoration and hope of blessings. Leviticus 23 lists the times of many God-ordained holidays, reminders of God’s deliverance, provision, forgiveness, and mercy. His presence is the gift in the midst of community, and the same is true during Christian holidays. I didn’t know how much I missed community until this past Easter. I have felt like a nomad these last 10 years, moving from state to state, changing jobs, changing churches, leaving the bones of loved ones in strange lands.

Ecclesiastes 6:2, written by my soulmate, Solomon, says, “A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it…this is vanity, and it is an evil affliction.” Solomon contrasts this scenario with his earlier statement that every man to whom God prospers and gives the divine gift of enjoyment receives blessings, indeed. Holidays have a way of slowing down my soul’s race to acquire the object and turning my eyes toward the Giver of my soul’s redeemed desires.

Interruptions in my work week can illuminate the threads of discontent or the tears in the fabricated beliefs I’ve entertained. The simplicity of following Christ needs no interpretation – if I am faithless, Christ remains faithful; he cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). I am therefore unafraid of the future, and I am free to “pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart.”

So Lord Jesus Christ, resurrected Savior and lover of my soul, I am pleased to be interrupted with holy days that urge me to focus on You. Like King David, I can praise (Psalm 30:11, 12).

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my        sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise            to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”

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Job 1-3; Psalm 29; Revelation 10

Psalm 29 (ICB)
God in the Thunderstorm
A song of David.

1Praise the Lord, you angels.
Praise the Lord’s glory and power.
2Praise the Lord for the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord because he is holy.

Yesappa,

You are glorious, full of power. I’m in awe of You. You are worthy to be praised. You are good. You are holy. You are full of righteousness. I lift my eyes to You and raise my hands in worship. I open my ears and my heart to You, trusting in Your grace, Your mercy, Your love.

3The Lord’s voice is heard over the sea.
The glorious God thunders.
The Lord thunders over the great ocean.
4The Lord’s voice is powerful.
The Lord’s voice is majestic.

I listen for Your voice in everything. I listen in the midst of moments of stillness. I listen in the midst of the tempests of life. I can find You in the quiet, yet Your voice is loud. I can find You in the thunder, yet Your voice is tranquil. Your voice can be heard no matter where I am. Your voice reverberates truth in my heart. Your powerful voice gives strength to me in my weakness and comforts me when I am feeling low, reminding me that I am Yours, I am the daughter of the King.

5The Lord’s voice breaks the trees.
The Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6He makes the land of Lebanon dance like a calf.
He makes Mount Hermon jump like a baby bull.
7The Lord’s voice makes the lightning flash.
8The Lord’s voice shakes the desert.
The Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9The Lord’s voice shakes the oaks.
The leaves fall off the trees.
In his Temple everyone says, “Glory to God!”

Your voice makes the earth respond to Your commands. With one word, You can build up. With one word, You can tear down. Your voice changes things; it changes the world around me. Your voice changes me, changes my heart.

10The Lord controls the flood.
The Lord will be King forever.
11The Lord gives strength to his people.
The Lord blesses his people with peace.

You are in control. Nothing is too big or too small. You are King. You will reign forever in the heavens and on the earth. Your name will ever be praised by Your creations.

You are more powerful than the storms in my life, thunderstorms that threaten my safety. You give me strength to withstand. You give me strength to overcome. Your peace that surpasses my understanding rests on me and Your truth brings triumph.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings,
Julie (juliet2912)

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Ezekiel 19-21, Psalm 84, John 7

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise! Selah

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.[b]
As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed!

10 For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you!

 

 

Recently, I have had some strange feelings. Feelings of homesickness even though I am not away from my home. I am feeling unsettled and distant from this world, my friends and my community. The longing in my heart for my heavenly home increases each and every day, a longing placed there by my Master.  As I look around at the sin in the world I am heartbroken. I long for days of old, even further back than when I grew up. I know each generations has its fears and challenges but just a few decades ago, our children did not have to worry about school shootings and girls knew they were girls and boys knew they were boys. Fifty years ago the overall standard of morality was at a much higher level (or covered up to look good) and people actually cared. Today, anything goes for anyone. Even among believers, the lines between Christian freedom and moral license are very gray.

The words of Psalm 84 are so beautifully penned from the heart of a believer longing to experience the presence and glory of the Lord. In His courts we find security, protection and satisfaction. The worst job on the worst day in His presence is far better than the best day I can imagine on the most beautiful beach.

These words are speaking of an experience that I have a hard time imagining but they are also words to take comfort in while I am still in this world walking through day to day struggles and even more difficult times. I can walk away from reading this passage knowing in my weakest and darkest moments, God will sustain me with his strength. He is my shield and protector providing me with what I need at the very moment I need it. And ultimately, I am favored by him because of the blood of Jesus. I am anointed- a child of God! There isn’t anything that happens that isn’t for my good.

Dear Lord, create in me a true desire to long for a deeper relationship with you. May my heart and flesh cry out for you and sing for joy, Living God. You are my shield, protector and sustainer. I look forward to the day we meet face to face but what a joy and an honor to serve you while I wait expectantly. Amen.

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Isaiah 49-52; Psalm 69; I Corinthians 14

Sleepless these days? Wrestling with ghosts or having nightmares of lonely struggles? From all the turmoil in our personal, national, and worldly concerns, we have become a people dependent on medication, meditation, sleep contraptions, and sound reducing earbuds to insulate ourselves from the escaping shards of rest and peace. Yet, trying to drown out the sounds of cacophony can lead to self-reliance. Isaiah 50:10 says, “Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God.” The next verse expresses this thought negatively, again reinforcing the admonition to rely on God. “Look, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with sparks: Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled –This you shall have from My hand: You shall lie down in torment” (v 11).

Recently I watched a movie, The Road, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy which won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The setting is post-apocalyptic, and the two main characters, a father and his young son, are on a journey south to escape the encroaching cold while avoiding cannibalistic remnants of society. The horrific and heartbreaking scenes are precariously balanced by the father’s assurance to his son that they are the “good guys” who are “carrying the fire.” As I heard the repeated assertion by father and son, I could not help but wonder how the heaviness of self-reliance can eclipse the only true Light of the World. When all we have left is ourselves to look to, we will (like this father and son) certainly lie down in torment. Yet, we who believe, how can we forget what Jesus Christ said? “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28).

And how does reliance on God help others? It begins with a simple supplication as in Psalm 69:16. “Hear me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good; Turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies.”  To testify that God is good and that He is merciful establishes trust that he will intervene on our behalf. Maybe nothing dramatic happens, and maybe this act of reliance will take the shape of patient waiting. There is a change, however, to the troubled mind and restful sleep comes. Sleep rejuvenates the spirit and energizes our praise to God. Regardless of how or when God answers prayer, our steadfast hope in God’s lovingkindess encourages others who also are ‘poor in spirit.’ Psalm 69:32 says, “The humble shall see this and be glad; And you who seek God, your hearts shall live.” Yet, it is not our actions that bring down the peace that passes all understanding. To believe that is to again become self-reliant. Rather, our help comes from the God who asks, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you [my italics]. The verb used implies that God is saying, “As for Me, I am unable to forget you!” (commentary; New King James Version). So let us pass on to our children and our Christian brothers and sisters the assurance that the God who never sleeps (He doesn’t need to in order to have perfect peace!) is our help in troubled times. Let us seek to lift each other up by coming together, each “…has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” Instead of teaching each other to depend on self; we must encourage one another to rely on God if we are to enjoy peace and rest in our Lord.

We thank You, Lord, for You are the Light of the World and the burning flame that we carry to others. Light the way, we ask You, Lord Jesus, and please give the weary soul rest, if even for a night.

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2 Kings 20; Isaiah 38-40; Psalm 68; 1 Corinthians 11

29The Lord gives strength to those who are tired.

He gives more power to those who are weak…

31But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again.

They will be able to rise up as an eagle in the sky.

They will run without needing rest.

They will walk without becoming tired.

Isaiah 40:29-31

I. AM. EXHAUSTED.

My roles as solo mama to three under the age of six, house cleaner for my own home (well, I’m trying) and for three others, sole breadwinner, daughter, friend, leader, studier of the Word…and on top of that never sleeping for more than 3-4 hours straight due to kids having nightmares or the insomnia brought on by thinking about my ever-growing to do list, has made me truly understand what it means to be sleep deprived.

And yet, I can’t stop. I can barely slow down; though there are days that I force myself, because I can’t afford to get benched by illness, and the cleanliness of my house suffers or we have cereal for dinner for the third night in a row. As much as I’ve pared down and said “No” to as much as possible, just the basics of life completely take it out of me…and unfortunately, there are way too many things left that if I don’t do them, they don’t get done.

I am desperate for strength and power. I am desperate to walk and run and rise up like the eagle. I am desperate to thrive and not just (barely) survive. I am desperate to live. I am desperate for God.

2Hezekiah turned toward the wall and prayed to the Lord. He said, 3“Lord, please remember that I have always obeyed you. I have given myself completely to you. I have done what you said was right.” And Hezekiah cried loudly. 2 Kings 20:2-3

Hezekiah’s situation was different; he was literally on his death bed. He was desperate. And so, he cried out to Jesus, he cried loudly, unashamed. God heard his cry, honored his faithfulness, and restored his health.

To survive this season, all seasons of my life, it is so important to call on Jesus. Every day. Every moment. It is necessary to seek His presence, His, strength, His grace, His mercy. I can’t do it on my own.

3But those who do right should be glad.

They should rejoice before God.

They should be happy and glad.

4Sing to God. Sing praises to his name.

Prepare the way for him

who rides through the desert.

His name is the Lord.

Rejoice before him. Psalm 68: 3-4

When I take the focus off myself, my struggles and difficulties, my needs, and put the focus back on God’s goodness, I am immediately refreshed. When I praise Him through song, lifting His name to the heavens, I am strengthened, because I am reminded that He never leaver nor forsakes me. When I rejoice, I am encouraged in the ways He provides for my needs in the midst of my struggles, my fatigue, my overwhelm, and He meets me where ever I am.

Yesappa, Thank You for hearing me and being bigger that my circumstances. Thank You for meeting me where I am, despite my fatigue and my overstretched to do list. Thank You for Your strength and Your rest. Thank You for healing my body, my mind, my heart when I cry out to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Isaiah 26-29; Psalm 65; I Corinthians 4

Do you have problems with trust? I often say that I trust others to do what they say they will do, only to think silently that I doubt they will adequately fulfill the promise made or complete the requested task. Just yesterday, I spoke on the phone with someone who asked if I wanted to cancel my services since I moved. This is the third time I have “cancelled” the services by phone, and I just knew there would be some extra charge. After droning on about the inefficiency of the company, my unwillingness to accept further charges, etc., the agent repeated, “Would you like to cancel the service today?” Polite but frozen calmness and the use of fragmented sentences and monotone voice relayed my irritation. Ever the diplomat, the agent cancelled the service and assured me there were no further charges on my account. This is just one example of how I step in to gain control, become overwhelmed, and realize too late that I have failed at doing what someone else was really capable and more qualified to do. This pattern of thinking and behavior has infected personal and working relationships, but mostly my relationship with God. It all boils down to trust.

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” If I am stressed, worried, or anxious, then do I really trust in God? And does my cynicism about the state of this world interfere with the belief that “With my soul I have desired You in the night; yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; for when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9)? Do I really trust that the judgments of God will one day right the world? Also, do I trust in my abilities and knowledge to affect change in others, open those proverbial doors and set me in high places? Or do I seek the source of all good counsel? Isaiah 28:29 says, “This [wisdom] also comes from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.”

Psalm 65:9 reminds us that God visits the earth and waters it, and that God greatly enriches it, so that “The pastures are clothed with flocks; The valleys also are covered with grain,” (v13), yet I toy with thoughts that the good we receive in life is circumstantial and coincidental. I say that God is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance, yet do I boast about what I have received and judge others (and even myself) for what we lack?

I could go on with evidence of lacking trust…but beating me up for a lack of trust serves no other purpose than confessing my weakness. I Corinthians 4:5 says, “Therefore judge nothing before the time until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” Come, let us learn to hand over the need for control to the One who with absolute perfection will accomplish His will in our lives.

God, I will trust You today to teach me how to be a faithful servant in the field You have provided me to tend. Though, as the Apostle Paul said, I might have a thousand teachers, only You, Lord Jesus, are rightfully called the Wonderful Counselor. I will not judge others by my standards nor interfere when Your righteousness is being poured out. I will trust that You know my needs (and those of all Your creation), and that You will increase the fruit of our labor and drop, as from an overflowing cart, abundance. Thank You Almighty God and Lord Jesus Christ for providing me opportunities to trust You today as I dwell in Your presence.  Amen.

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