April 29, 2017

How Can I Keep From Singing Your Praise

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There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring
And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling

How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives
And I will walk with You
Knowing You’ll see me through
And sing the songs You give

I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And I fall down again
I can sing ’cause You pick me up
Sing ’cause You’re there
I can sing ’cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I’ll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne

 Chris Tomlin
written along with Ed Cash and Matt Redman

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My whole being shall be satisfied…and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
Psalms 63:5

To the end that my tongue and my heart
and everything glorious within me
may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Psalm 30:12

Take a moment, please, and think back to last night as you laid your weary head down on your pillow…. Did your thoughts turn to praising the Almighty with joyful lips?  Did you remember the blessings and mercies and grace that He had given to you throughout the day?  Did you meditate and consider how very much He had helped you and guided you?  Did you recognize that He had protected you…and did you rejoice?  (I ask these same questions of myself!)

I think, for most of us, we DO thank God for the day that has just past.  But…then perhaps we get distracted thinking about all that has occurred during the day.  We remember conversations—good AND not-so-good.  We think about unfinished tasks and projects.  We add to the ‘to-do’ list we carry around in our heads.  Maybe we even start worrying over the next day that hasn’t even begun yet.  But there is a better idea!  Try thinking these things:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

So take another moment, please, and think about yesterday again….  Was there truth?  Were things right?  Can you remember something lovely that happened?  Did a friend do something you admired?  Did God’s blessings cause your heart to sing His praises?  I venture to say that yes…YES!…there were true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and PRAISEworthy things!!!  Thinking about these kind of things will cause us to praise our great God with joyful lips.  Remembering  the grace and mercy that He gave to us will give us much to meditate upon.  Dwelling upon the goodness of our God will lift our heart and we will rejoice!

Tonight, as you again lay your beautiful head down, sing and speak praises to Your Father!  Instead of worry and concern, allow all the truth, the right and lovely, the pure and admirable, the excellent, the PRAISEworthy things to fill your heart and mind.  Give praise to the One Who supplied your needs, Who protected you, Who led you and guided you.  Rest, my friend, in the comfort and blessing of His presence…and I am sure you will wake up in the morning, saying as the Psalmist did:

But I will sing of Your mighty strength and power;
yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy and loving-kindness in the morning;
for You have been to me a defense and a refuge in the day of my distress.
Unto You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
for God is my Defense, my Fortress, and High Tower,
the God Who shows me mercy and steadfast love.
Psalms 59:17 and 18

And, perhaps, singing the sweet words of this song…

How can I keep from singing Your praise?  How can I ever say enough?  How amazing is Your love?  How can I keep from shouting Your name?  I know I am loved by the King…and it makes my heart want to sing!’

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Almighty God, You are Holy, You are Faithful, You are Sovereign, You are Love!  Please help us through Your Holy Spirit to remember to think on the true, the right, the lovely, the pure, the admirable, the excellent, the praiseworthy things…and to praise You, Lord!  We do sing out our praises…in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

 

With Joyful Lips I Will Praise You

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My whole being shall be satisfied…and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
When I remember You upon my bed and meditate on You in the night watches..
For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice..
Psalms 63:5-7

Take a moment, please, and think back to last night as you laid your weary head down on your pillow…. Did your thoughts turn to praising the Almighty with joyful lips?  Did you remember the blessings and mercies and grace that He had given to you throughout the day?  Did you meditate and consider how very much He had helped you and guided you?  Did you recognize that He had protected you…and did you rejoice?

I think, for most of us, we DO thank God for the day that has just past.  But…then perhaps we get distracted thinking about all that has occurred during the day.  We remember conversations —good AND not-so-good.  We think about unfinished tasks and projects.  We add to the ‘to-do’ list we carry around in our heads.  Maybe we even start worrying over the next day that hasn’t even begun yet.  But there is a better idea!  Try thinking about:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

So take another moment, please.  Think about yesterday….  Was there truth?  Were things right?  Can you remember something lovely that happened?  Did a friend do something you admired?  Did God’s blessings cause your heart to sing His praises?  I venture to say that yes…YES!…there were true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and PRAISEworthy things!!!  Thinking about these kind of things will cause us to praise our great God with joyful lips.  Remembering  the grace and mercy that He gave to us will give us much to meditate upon.  Dwelling upon the goodness of our God will lift our heart and we will rejoice!

Tonight, as you lay your beautiful head down again, sing and speak praises to Your Father!  Instead of worry and concern, allow all the truth, the right and lovely, the pure and admirable, the excellent, the praiseworthy things to fill your heart and mind.  Give praise to the One Who supplied your needs, Who protected you, Who led you and guided you.  Rest, my friend, in the comfort and blessing of His presence…and I am sure you will wake up in the morning, saying as the Psalmist did:

But I will sing of Your mighty strength and power;
yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy and loving-kindness in the morning;
for You have been to me a defense and a refuge in the day of my distress.
Unto You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
for God is my Defense, my Fortress, and High Tower,
the God Who shows me mercy and steadfast love.
Psalms 59:17 and 18

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Almighty God, You are Holy, You are Faithful, You are Sovereign, You are Love!  Please help us through Your Holy Spirit to remember to think on the truth, the right and lovely, the pure and admirable, the excellent, the praiseworthy things…and to praise You, Lord!   Amen.

A Free Hand

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I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands.
Psalm 63:4

As a child, I was the quiet one.  I was a shy, curly-haired, red-headed little girl who wanted to hide behind others.  If I was thrown into the spotlight, I was not comfortable there, like others. Can you relate?

In third grade, I was about to play in a piano recital. I knew the piece, “Suppose” by memory very well.  But as I stepped in front of the huge crowd, sat on the bench and my long blue skirt brushed over my black shiny shoes, fear captured me!  My hand would not move away from “middle C” on the keyboard.  I played that note over and over again. (My Mom stood to applaud, and everyone else did, too, in order to release me from my agony.  I may be the only person ever to get a standing ovation for playing one note!)  This is only one of many examples when I’d let fear overtake me where I could not move forward—not completely—for fear of mistakes or fear  of hurting someone or fear of letting someone down.  And when the fear cycle began, it easily could snowball into a cycle of bigger fears. Can you relate?

I had asked Jesus into my heart at the age of eight.  I knew I needed a Savior!  But for a long time, it was hard for me to release some of my fears…even some hidden ones.  In my twenties though, in God’s wisdom, He allowed me to come to the end of myself.  I realized in that time of complete brokenness that my focus must be on Him—faith not fears, depth in relationship with Him instead of people-pleasing and swirling circumstances.  My life dramatically changed for the better when I became very God-focused!  (I still have my moments, but I get back on track quickly.)

The freedom, comfort, guidance, and peace that He lavished on me when I needed it most increased my faith and love in my relationship with Jesus!  For many years, I have expressed myself and moved forward—especially where Jesus is concerned!   My hand is no longer like that paralyzed hand that could not move in one direction or the other during that piano recital as a child.  My hand can easily be lifted up to praise Jesus in a worship service.  (It’s just an external expression of the overflow of a thankful heart!)  My hand can write/type words (in various written formats) that praise and glorify Jesus as I share with others about His great saving love!  And with great expression, passion, and boldness, my hands have moved in grand gestures as I have taught Bible studies and directed drama or acted on the stages of churches over the years.  (I share all of this for the great glory of God!  For you see, He took me to a greater level of understanding of freedom and faith in Him and a greater awareness of His Holy Spirit working in me and God’s amazing, continuous grace…or else…those things just listed would not have happened.)

To God…ALL glory and praise! I am nothing without Him!  Oh, how I will praise Him as long as I live…please join me.

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Dear Lord, let us be in awe of You.  Let us move forward each day—with thankful hearts— following You!  Let us give our hearts and lives completely to You to use for Your glory!  We love You, so let us praise You as long as we live, and let us lift our hands to praise You!  Let us keep our focus on You as stated in Hebrews 12:2, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

Do Not Be Ashamed

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Let the people praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.
Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us, And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.
Psalms 67:5-7

Praise God—no matter what.  Praise God in times of happiness, sadness, and strife.  We should praise God all the time—no matter what is going on in our lives.  Praising God in our daily lives and routines lets God know we are His.  It also lets those around us know that we have chosen God over the desires and temptations of the world.

We are living in troubling times.  God has been taken out of almost everything we would like to do or where we go.  There are many people who feel that God needs to stay in the home and the Church and are pushing for laws to prohibit God in public places.  But God did not create us to hide behind closed doors to worship Him.  We were created for open worship of God.   When we praise God through our work and our actions…people see it.  We can influence those around us by being the light that God has made us to be.  By doing this, the earth increases her yield to God.

God blesses those who follow Him and do what He commands.  If we spread His Word and show others what He has done for us, God will bless us in ways that we can never imagine later on—earthly AND heavenly. The ends of the earth shall know God and come to fear Him if we spread His Word and increase the earth’s yield.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation
to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16

We must not be ashamed to praise God.  Praising God is one way of spreading His Word.  The disciples praised God during their time with Jesus.  Then, as Jesus had commanded, they spread Jesus’ message about salvation.  Their work has continued through thousands of years because those who chose to follow Jesus picked up where the disciples left off when their time on earth was over.  They were not ashamed; and so we should not be either.   We should spread God’s word through praise and other actions that glorify God.

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Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your blessings.  We praise Your name in all we do.  We pray that our praise and our actions will lead others to choose the gift of salvation that You have so freely and lovingly given.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Praising God…Even in the Hard Times

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More and more it seems that suffering and hurt are prevalent everywhere we look.  Maybe you have recently lost your job or you are living with a chronic illness….  Maybe you are grieving a loss or have recently been handed a major disappointment.  If you are hurting right now while reading this, know that your tender, loving Father has His arms open and He is always ready to hold you if you just let Him.  Many people who are hurting today are cursing God and some believers have abandoned God.  They did not have Christ as their solid foundation.  It is so important to have a strong faith through the best of times so when the winds blow, we will not be moved.  Trials and hard times come for a reason and that is to grow closer to our Father.  So, how can we praise Him during the darkest hours?  Let us look at scripture for some clear examples.

Remembering Christ 

2 Timothy 2:8-9 says, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal.  But the word of God is not bound!”   Remembrance of Christ and His death at Golgotha needs to be the centerpiece through which we praise God in the hard times.  When we suffer, we can remember that He suffered, and His suffering gave us freedom!  This is one reason some leave the faith…they forgot what even brought them into God’s loving hand.  Praise be to God, our Almighty King, that gave us the final sacrifice to atone for our sins!

Trials and hard times come for a reason and that is to grow us ever closer to our Heavenly Father.

Prayer 

Every time we connect with God in prayer, we are praising Him because we are acknowledging our need to set our burdens on His strong shoulders.  Isaiah 25:4a says, “For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.”  These are things we can praise Him for while we are praying!  He takes care of His children!  Even in the darkest part of the storm, He is there as a stronghold to keep us standing against the crashing waves and raging winds.  A woman on her knees in prayer can stand before any tragedy.

Through Song

When you read Psalms, you can find so many verses about God’s children singing praise even in the midst of hard times.  David writes in Psalm 142:4b-7, “No one cares for my soul.  I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”  Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low!  Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me!  Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name!  The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.”  This particular psalm was a written prayer, but it could just as well be sung.  So many songs today are written straight from the Psalms.  One particular song that has always touched my heart on this issue of hard times and suffering is “There Will be a Day” by Jeremy Camp.  This song always brings tears to my eyes as it offers so much hope!  What songs speak to your heart as you praise your Father?

Time in the Word 

Anything that we do as Christians that focuses our time on God brings Him glory and praise.  When we look to His word for healing and guidance, we again are telling God that we need Him and we praise Him for His sovereign nature in all circumstances.  In Hebrews 4:15-16 it says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  This is a passage of love that speaks to all who are hurting.  Jesus was tempted in every way so we can be completely firm in our belief in Him.  My fellow sisters, write these verses on your hearts.  We can have confidence in our Father in all circumstances.  Stay in the word!  It can heal the brokenhearted.

Fasting

Fasting is an outlet that provides a spiritual and physical reliance on God.  Fasting is not set on any particular facet.  Many people fast from food for an extended amount of time, but fasting really involves giving up anything that means a lot to you in order to spend time with God instead.  This is a precious way to praise Him!  When you fast you stop “me” and focus on Him.  He has sustained me every time I have fasted.  The spiritual bond always grows with fasting because God is feeding that bond as you rely on Him…and you are creating the space He so desperately needs to move!

Forgiveness 

Forgiveness always reflects praise on the Father.  We forgive out of obedience to Christ.  We forgive because it is always the right thing to do.  There is real spiritual maturity and growth when we can look at specific people who have wronged us personally and forgive them.  This is because sin always comes from the devil and not from the individuals themselves.  There is massive spiritual warfare fighting for us every day.  Satan’s legion of demons are always hunting.  It is our job as believers to always forgive those who trespass against us.  The true fault is always against the devil and his wicked schemes.  Even Christ on the cross asked His Father to forgive those crucifying Him (Luke 23:34).  May we all strive to be like that!  Praise be to our Sustainer in all circumstances!  The next time you are having trouble with another person, remember that your battle is NOT with them and it is not of the flesh….  Your battle is a spiritual one and your Mighty Creator is BIG enough to guide you and sustain you to forgive.

I would love to hear all about how YOU show God praise through the hard times!  Please leave me a comment below all about how He is your Sustainer and Redeemer!

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Giving Thanks and Praise

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Last week was one of those weeks where I just wanted to throw my hands up in the air, scream, and just get away from what I was doing.  Nothing was going right.  At least in my mind, it was not going right.  In God’s eyes it was going right—right as He planned.

It seemed like I couldn’t do anything right at work, and it led to a literal crying meltdown.  Thankfully, one of our professors walked by my office and saw me crying.  Thank God for sending her.  I was just ready to walk out.

Thank God. It’s one of those phrases that many of us say on a daily basis. Thank God. Remember the preschool prayer, “God is great. God is good. Thank you for our foodAmen.”  We have been trained to thank God since we were toddlers.

Enter His gates with Thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name.

Psalm 100:4

This verse has struck me for the past few days. We should thank God regardless of the situation. We should thank God for everything that He has given us on a daily basis, and thank Him everyday for sending His son, Jesus, to die for us.  He did not have to do that.  God stopped Abraham from killing Issac even though He had commanded Abraham to do so.  Abraham was doing as He commanded through his worship to God.  He was showing praise and thankfulness by doing as he was commanded.  Yet God stopped him.  Abraham was thankful for his blessing from God and was willing to sacrifice his own God-given son as commanded.  Yet God stopped him, but God did not stop Himself when Jesus hung on the Cross.  We should give thanks and praise for this every day.  Abraham was praising and thanking God by doing what he was commanded to do.  Jesus did the same on the cross when He followed God’s will for His life by dying for us. Thank God.

I try to thank God for everything I have everyday, whether it be when I first wake up or when I go to bed.  We should praise God everyday.  When we go to church, we praise the Lord through song, prayer, and worship.  Yet we are still in His courts when we leave the church door because we are still in the world He created.  His court is everywhere, not just at the church house door. Thank God. Praise God.

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Thank You, God.  Just thank You for all your blessings and the life you have given us.  May we praise Your name and thank You for all our days.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.