August 21, 2017

Joy

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You’ve turned it all around
Where I was hurting, now I’m rejoicing
In Your love I’m found and I have joy

You took away my pain
You turned my mourning into dancing
I can smile again ‘cause I have joy

Let the celebration begin
Make a joyful noise unto Him
Come on everybody
Let’s give Him praise for He is good

You have given me a joy that won’t stop
And will never leave
So I will praise You with gladness
For You are good

You’ve turned my sadness into gladness
You’ve turned my sorrow into joy
Now I’m singing and I’m dancing
And I will shout for joy

Songwriter: Joth Hunt  ~ Performed by PlanetShakers

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Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!  Come into His Presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, He is God!  It is He who made us, and we are His;
we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise!
Give thanks to Him; bless His name!
For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever,
and His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100

‘Make a joyful noise!’  Oh, you don’t have to tell me twice!  (And sometimes it is just that—a joyful noise.)  Do we not just love to sing our praises to the Lord God?!?  We have so many, many reasons to praise Him, to thank Him, to bless His Holy Name.

Here in Psalm 100, verse 5 offers three extremely compelling reasons to praise Him:

He is good

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for  those who trust in Him.
Nahum 1:7

This we know…in fact, isn’t there a praise chorus that we love to sing: ‘God is good ALL the time!  And ALL the time, God is good!’

His love endures forever

Give thanks to the God of Heaven for His steadfast love endures forever.
Psalms 136:26

Twenty-six (yes, 26!) times in Psalm 136, this praise is exclaimed!  (Here’s a link to read the whole psalm.)  Throughout the entire history of mankind—from Adam & Eve and all the way along through the Scriptures—we read of the myriad of ways that our Great God has manifested His steadfast love.  AND He has made promise after promise to His children (us! you and me!) that His love will endure for eternity!

He is faithful to all generations

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.
Deuteronomy 7:9

What a promise of hope He has made—His covenant of love to those who love Him and obey!  Our God always brings His promises to pass!  What a faithful God!

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Dear Lord,
We love to make a joyful noise, Lord, singing Your praises!  You are the Almighty God Who deserves all the praise there is to give!  Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your goodness, and Your love!  HalleluJAH!  Amen.

God’s Goodness

SeekingHimLogo

Praise the LORD.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.
Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare His praise?
Psalms 106:1-2

I love the Lord for His love endures forever. In verse 2 of Psalm 106, the psalmist had come to a point of failing to understand the manner of love the Lord has for His people.

Why all that love? It is because He is good.

The goodness of God endureth continually
Psalm 52:1

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5

The “goodness” of God refers to the perfection of His nature.  There is such an absolute perfection in God’s nature and being that nothing is wanting in it or defective in it; and nothing can be added to it to make it better.

He is originally good —good of Himself—which nothing else is; for all creatures are good only by participation and communication from God.  He is essentially good; not only good, but goodness itself.  The creature’s good is a super-added quality, but the goodness of God—it is His essence.  He is infinitely good; the creature’s good is but a little drop, but in God there is an infinite ocean or gathering together of good.  He is eternally and immutably good, for He cannot be less good than He is.

The goodness of God appeared most illustriously when He sent forth His Son “…made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might received the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4, 5). Then it was that multitude of the heavenly host praising their Maker and said, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good-will toward men” (Luke 2:14).

The goodness of God is the life of the believer’s trust. It is this excellency in God which most appeals to our hearts. Because His goodness endures forever, we ought never to be discouraged.

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knoweth them that trust in Him.
Nahum 1:7

When others behave badly to us, it should only stir us up the more heartily to give thanks unto the Lord, because He is good.  And when we ourselves are conscious that we are far from being good, we should only the more reverently bless Him because He is good.  We must never tolerate even an instant’s unbelief as to the goodness of the Lord; whatever else may be questioned, this is absolutely certain—that Jehovah is good; His dispensations may vary, but His nature is always the same.

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Father, we thank You for Your goodness.  The love that You show us is so great that we always give You honor.  May You receive all the praise and honor in Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen!!

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Changing Your Heart from Critical to Caring

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Dear Coach Megan,

God has really been working in my heart lately and, whether I like it or not, He has shown me that I have a really critical spirit with the people closest to me. I don’t like it and I want to do my part to change, but I’m not sure where to begin. Can you help?

~ DJ

Dearest DJ…

In my experience, anyone with a critical spirit is an expert at finding fault and focusing on it! Bless you for not only admitting this, but being willing to let God in and work on your precious heart to make an impact {in a good way} on all the lives you touch!  I pray that this blog post will be a blessing to you and your family, and I would love to hear how God fills your heart with His supernatural caring!

A critical spirit does not reflect the heart of the wise, nor does it reflect the heart of God.  Jesus said, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man  brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him”  {Matthew 12:34-35}.

A critical spirit is an excessively negative attitude with harshness in judging.  A person with a critical spirit gives unfair criticism by fault-finding, nit-picking, carping, quibbling, and complaining.  The Bible is clear about those who are judgmental:

Romans 14:10

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister?  Or why do you treat them with contempt?
For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

On the flip side… a caring spirit is a thoughtful, attentive attitude with a heart to help.  One of the most important needs we all have is for someone to care about us; someone to be attentive to our dreams and disappointments, our joys and sorrows, our successes and failures, our strengths and weaknesses, our vices and virtues.  How blessed we are when we have caring people in our lives!  Those who have a caring spirit reflect the heart of our caring Savior.

Nahum 1:7

 The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him

How to change your heart from critical to caring:

Identify your shortcomings {Psalms 139:23-24}

  • Humble your heart to see your own sin, your imperfections, and your immense need for God’s mercy.
  • Help others see their significance in God’s eyes.
  • Pray: “Lord, may I see my sin as You see it…may I hate my sin as You hate it.”

Practice compassion for others {Colossians 3:12}

  • Look closely at the life of Christ to learn His compassionate way of confronting the truth.
  • Pray that you will not be a critical stone thrower, but a compassionate need-meeter.

Draw out the heartfelt needs of others {Proverbs 20:5}

  • Don’t listen to only what people say on the surface. Listen for the needs and feelings beneath the surface… feelings of being unloved or feeling insignificant or insecure.
  • Pray that God will give you a discerning spirit as you seek to draw others out.

Offer acceptance to others {Romans 15:7}

  • Realize that everyone has an innate fear of rejection and a deep yearning for acceptance.
  • Choose to be a channel through which God extends His acceptance to others.

See the God-given worth in others {Luke 12:6-7}

  • Treat every person, especially the one most problematic to you, as someone with God-given worth.  The truth judges our hearts, attitudes, and actions towards others.
  • Pray that the Lord will not allow you to despise anyone whom He created and loves.

Praise the positives in others {Philippians 4:8}

  • Avoid the temptation to try to catch people doing something wrong.  Instead, comment on what they are doing right.
  • Pray that you will see something positive in every person, then faithfully make that your focus.
  • Pray that you would see others as God sees them and value them as He values them.

Refuse to wound others with words {Colossians 3:16}

  • Consider the fallacy of the saying “talk is cheap.” Talk is costly when it tears others down. Prayerfully consider the possibility that what you are criticizing in someone may be something God wants to deal with directly, and that God may want you to pray and remain silent.
  • Before speaking words of criticism, ask a wise friend to evaluate the content and tone of your words.  Realize that after critical words are spoken, you can never take them back.
  • Inspire those who need to change by sharing with them your belief that they can change. Encourage them by saying “Don’t give up. Trust God to guide you in the way you should go. I know you can make the right decisions. I believe you can experience God’s best!”
  • Present your words to God as His instrument for good, and pray that He will put His words into your mouth.

See the unmet needs of others {Philippians 4:19}

  • Instead of judging the inappropriate actions of others, seek to understand the need behind each action.
  • Realize that people who speak forth cutting words reveal that they have unmet inner needs {for love, significance, or security.}
  • Realize that people don’t always mean what they say nor understand their own deepest needs.
  • Pray that your critics will allow the Lord to meet their deepest inner needs.

Rely on God’s Word and God’s Spirit for wisdom

  • Seek God’s wisdom by reading a chapter a day from the Book of Proverbs.
  • Write down every verse from Proverbs that pertains to the tongue.  Check your words against this list and see if you are being wise with what you say.
  • See God at work in every circumstance and trust Him for wisdom to know how to respond {wisdom is the ability to look at life from God’s point of view.}
  • Pray that God’s Spirit will teach you spiritual truths and lead you to speak these truths in love.

1 Corinthians 2:13

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom 
but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂 

Make a Joyful Noise

SeekingHimLogo

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!  Come into His Presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, He is God!  It is He who made us, and we are His;
we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise!
Give thanks to Him; bless His name!
For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever,
and His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100

‘Make a joyful noise!’  Oh, you don’t have to tell me twice!  (And sometimes it is just that—a joyful noise.)  Do we not just love to sing our praises to the Lord God?!?  We have so many, many reasons to praise Him, to thank Him, to bless His Holy Name.

Here in Psalm 100, verse 5 offers three extremely compelling reasons to praise Him:

He is good

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for  those who trust in Him.
Nahum 1:7

This we know…in fact, isn’t there a praise chorus that we love to sing: ‘God is good ALL the time!  And ALL the time, God is good!’

His love endures forever

Give thanks to the God of Heaven for His steadfast love endures forever.
Psalms 136:26

Twenty-six (yes, 26!) times in Psalm 136, this praise is exclaimed!  (Here’s a link to read the whole psalm.)  Throughout the entire history of mankind from Adam & Eve, all the way along through the Scriptures, we read of the myriad of ways that our Great God has manifested His steadfast love.  AND He has made promise after promise to His children (us! you and me!) that His love will endure for eternity!

He is faithful to all generations

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.
Deuteronomy 7:9

What a promise of hope He has made—His covenant of love to those who love Him and obey!  Our God always brings to pass His promises!  What a faithful God!

Dear Lord,
We love to make a joyful noise, Lord, singing Your praises!  You are the Almighty God Who deserves all the praise there is to give!  Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your goodness, and Your love!  HalleluJAH!  Amen.

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Today’s devotional has been written by Coleen Hayden.

“I AM” Chapter 3 – Day 3: God’s Judgment

Memory Verse

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

Habakkuk 3:19

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Three different prophets…yet all three present similar messages of judgment to the people.

Obadiah – He shares with the Edomites that disaster is coming, due to their blatant arrogance toward God and persecution of God’s children. He told them in verse 15 that all their evil deeds will fall back on their own heads.

Micah – He shares with the people of Israel that judgment will come because of the sins and rebellion of Israel and Judah and he lists their sins (fraud, greed, debauchery, oppression, hypocrisy, heresy, injustice, extortion, lying, murder and many others). Micah does give them hope and consolation as he describes God’s love, when he says the truth is that judgment comes only after countless opportunities to repent, to turn back to true worship and obedience. His message to them was simple:

  • Do what is right
  • Love Mercy
  • Walk Humbly with your God

God shows His anger in action as He judges and punishes sin, but He also shows His love in action as He offers eternal life to all who repent and believe.

Nahum – Nahum’s message is one of judgment against Nineveh and the Assyrians. The Assyrians were a continual thorn in Judah’s flesh. The oppression Judah experienced seemed never ending. In the midst of Nahum’s pronouncement of judgment came a word of comfort, a vivid reminder to Judah of God’s relationship with them.

As I studied these three books dealing with this lesson today many thoughts were racing through my mind, but the one for us to focus on today is this word “judgment.”   Most people don’t like this word.  They find it harsh and basically a “finger pointing” kind of word.Girlfriends Coffee Hour

This word judgment is used in many different ways in the Bible.   Some references teach us it has to do with being judged for doing bad things to other people. Other references pertain to exercising sound judgment or showing a lack of judgment.

This word judgment has a function:  the Bible says that, “When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world,” so judgment is actually to save us rather than to condemn us (1 Corinthians 11:32).

This word judgment also gives us caution/warning:  we are warned in the Bible to be careful about judging others. When we do, we are condemning ourselves because we do the same things to others whom we are passing judgment onto (Romans 2:1).  Society typically judges by appearances rather than by the things that truly matter (John 7:24). The Bible says that “God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14), so we do not need to sit in judgment of one another.

This word judgment will also provide us with solutions/remedies:  It tells us to “stop passing judgment on one another. Don’t put stumbling blocks or obstacles in our brother’s way” (Romans 14:13). Instead, we should judge ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:31).  Mercy triumphs over judgment: “So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. (James 2:12-13).

I studied a little deeper in the book of Nahum during today’s lesson probably more than others, as this prophet of comfort gave us three truths in Chapter 1, verse 7 about God’s relationship with us:

  •  “The Lord is good”   I believe Nahum wanted the people to remember that God knew what they were experiencing. He wasn’t oblivious to their sufferings, and He had always been and would continue to be faithful to them. God is not oblivious to what is going on in our lives either, and we must remember that God is absolutely faithful to us everyday.
  • God is “a stronghold in the day of trouble”  The phrase “day of trouble” is a reference to any tragic experience of life we will face. Nahum is reminding us that God is our stronghold, He is our fortress behind whose walls we can find our only real security in life. There will be tragedies and problems that creep into our lives but, what God promises is that when that “day of trouble” comes, we are so secure in Him that no situation in life can change His love for us.
  • “He knows those who take refuge and trust in Him”  Nahum points Judah to a relationship of trust in God and that God is completely sufficient to those who take refuge in Him. God knows each of us as intimately as He knew Judah and is fully sufficient to meet us when our life explodes out of control.

Nahum gave a message of hope for God-followers and yet a message of doom for those who oppose Him.

God gives a message of hope to those who repent, believe & receive:     “At one time we, too, were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” Titus 3:3-7 NIV.

And yet God also gives a message of doom to those who oppose Him:    You will ultimately stand before Him on the day of judgment, and when your name is not found in the Book of Life, you will be thrown into the lake of fire Revelation 20:15.

This word “judgment” begins in our life from the day we are born and will follow us all the way through to our moment standing in front of our Father.

Is there anything we need to change in our life today that will affect the outcome of our coming judgment?  If so, will you make the choice to follow God and live? Or disobey and face the coming judgment?

 It is God’s will for everyone to experience His love and mercy. None should suffer needlessly unless they choose to.

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Let’s Pray: 

God, I thank You for each person who reads this lesson.  As they seek the stories of Your judgments in Your Word help each one to see and know that they have a choice: one of hope or one of doom in the decisions about following You/choosing You. Guide them, Lord, to  “do what is right” to “love mercy” and to “walk humbly with You, Lord,” instead of seeking revenge and wanting to make judgments ourselves on others or situations.  Help us to fall at Your feet for You, O Lord, are the only one in a position to judge the actions of others. In Your Holy name I pray.

Amen