January 23, 2018

He Always Keeps His Promises

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The Lord brought His people out of Egypt, loaded with silver and gold;  and not one among the tribes of Israel even stumbled.  Egypt was glad when they were gone, for they feared them greatly.  The Lord spread a cloud above them as a covering and gave them a great fire to light the darkness.  They asked for meat, and He sent them quail; He satisfied their hunger with manna—bread from Heaven.  He split open a rock, and water gushed out to form a river through the dry wasteland.  For He remembered His sacred promise to His servant Abraham.

So He brought His people out of Egypt with joy, H
is chosen ones with rejoicing.  He gave His people the lands of pagan nations, and they harvested crops that others had planted.  All this happened so they would follow His decrees and obey His instructions.  Praise the Lord!

Psalms 105:37-45 NLT

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Praise the Lord!  He is so worthy of all our praise.  Here the psalmist is reminding us of all that God had done for His people then and now.  If you go back and read the whole chapter, you will see that some of God’s heroes are mentioned and what they had done to rescue God’s people from hardship.  He still rescues today, my friend.

We may be walking through a season of little and it might feel like we are in the middle of a desert.  And God reminds us that He was with His children in the desert with Moses.  He met their every need, every time they asked. Even when they complained, He kept on providing. Eventually, they were led into a land of milk and honey.  But there were many adventures along the way.  Oh, and don’t forget the parting of the Red Sea! Could you use something like that about now?

When His children were thirsty, He split a rock and gave them water in a dry land.  Only God, the Creator, could do that!  They had no idea where their relief would come from and couldn’t see any way with their own eyes.  But God could—and suddenly, right in front of them, was water!  How amazing is He?

He brought them out of slavery and into freedom.  He gave them lands filled with plenty.  His people rejoiced and gave thanks to Him for all He had done for them.

Where are you right now?  If you have been delivered, then it is easy to rejoice and sing praises to Him.  Thanking Him for all your many, many blessings isn’t a struggle when you can see His provision all around you.

But what if you’re still in the desert?  You may be asking for provision and He might be sending you just what you need, just enough.  Nothing more and nothing less.  Just manna (literally means “what is this?”).  You may be thirsty for more of His Living Water.  If that’s the case, then He will send a river flowing with plenty of what you need.  All He asks is that you remember to praise Him and thank Him.  Even if your miracle hasn’t happened yet, praise Him because you believe that it will.  He is trustworthy and His promises are always true.

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Do you need encouragement? You have come to the right place. Let us pray over you today! It is an honor to do so. And if you will, leave a comment letting us know that you prayed with us.

Dear God, I am in a desert and I need some relief. I need to be rescued and taken to the land of plenty. Lord, I know that you have a plan for me and it includes many blessings. I am trusting You in this and believing in You. Give me the courage and energy to keep on moving forward. This life is hard, but I am keeping my eyes on You. I love You and praise You for what You are about to do in my life. n Jesus’ name, amen.

Creative Praise

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“But I’ll praise You for You are holy, Lord!
And I’ll lift my hands but You are worthy of so much more!”

Life of Praise by Casting Crowns

What is a life of praise? It’s more than church on a weekly basis, its more than bopping our head along to an upbeat song on the radio. It’s even more than uttering a quick prayer when negative emotions creep into our heart. It’s not only moments of praise throughout the day. It is a life of praise, it is a continuous action, and it’s a reliance on our Heavenly Father. It is acknowledging Him simply for who He is. These are the lines of the song that stood out to me: “Not just for the things You’ve done for me. Not just for the change You’ve made in me. For you are my strength when I am weak. And I will lift my hand, but You are worthy of so much more.”  A life of praise is a way of being; it is a way of existing.

Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
Psalms 150:1-6

Sometimes I wonder how I can praise the Lord with my everything, and then I remember this verse. It lists so many ways that we can praise Him. Now I honestly don’t see anyone walking down the street with a “lute and a harp”, but He reminds me that we’re not limited to this. We can praise Him with our work, we can praise Him in the way we interact with others, the love that we show our friends and family, and with the gifts he has given us. I believe that our God is a creative God and since we were created in His Image, we are creative as well. Our lives are creative and our praise can be creative.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Lord thank You for the gift of creativity, please help us to use this gift to praise Your name. Remind us that there are so many ways we can give You praise and glory, so many ways in our everyday actions. Lord let us use our every breath to praise You. In Jesus’ Name We Pray.

Amen.

He is Worthy

SeekingHimLogoToday, my assistant director came into my room and told me, “Ahmee, I need to talk to you. You got a parent complaint today.” I replayed the last few days in my mind to see if I could figure out what I might have done wrong. When I concluded that I had done nothing wrong, I immediately got ready to defend myself.

“What was it?” I said with much contempt and a tense body. She smiled at me and laughed. “I’m just joking! You actually got a compliment!” I didn’t replay the last few days in my mind to see if I could figure out what I did right. In fact, I was ready to end the conversation and was filled with much skepticism.

Isn’t it awful how I was so very ready to defend myself against the negative, but ready to dodge the positive like a dodgeball being thrown?

I’ve always felt uncomfortable with accepting praise—and I don’t mean in a healthy way. When someone compliments me I’ve trained myself to force out an awkward “thank you,” which is much better than the talking down about myself I used to do (and sometimes still do when I forget).

O come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise.
For the Lord is a great God, and a great king above all gods.
Psalms 95:1-3

Our God is the Mighty God (Psalm 50:1) and it is natural that as His children we would want to praise Him (Psalm 33:1), but for me praising the Lord doesn’t come so naturally. Not because He doesn’t deserve it (1 Timothy 1:17), and definitely not because I don’t want to, but because praise is something that I am not comfortable with.

I constantly have to stop myself when I am tempted to skip over verses that mention praise, glory, or honor. God deserves these things from me and I’ve decided that instead of rushing through these verses, I will put them into action…not tomorrow or next week…but the moment I read them!

I’d love nothing more than my undivided focus to be on the Lord—praising, thanking, and honoring Him for all His awesomeness!

After all, “…the Lord is a great God, and a great king above all gods.” I’d say that’s pretty worthy of honor, glory, and praise!

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Lord, give me a heart that praises and thanks You constantly. Help me to replace my wandering thoughts with praise to You and instead of my complaints to give You double thanksgiving. Let me never forget Your awesomeness or Your lovingkindness or Your  mercy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. 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.

Magnify the Lord With Me!

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I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My life makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.
Psalms 34:1-3

Don’t you just l-o-v-e to praise God and share with others about how AWEsome He is?!!?  We have a great privilege, my friends!  It is our honor to bless the Lord…to speak well of Him…to praise Him…to boast of Him…to magnify the Lord…to exalt His Holy name together with others.  So many, many ways to do this!   For example, we can:

  • call someone on the phone and say, ‘Praise God!  Listen to what He just did in my life!’
  • text (not while driving though!) a friend telling them about His grace towards you
  • smile at a stranger in the grocery store and say, ‘Look at the abundance of all these wonderful vegetables that God has blessed us with!’
  • look across the supper table to our loved ones and remind them of just how very GOOD God has been to your family
  • echo a praise that a friend has just posted on their FaceBook page
  • dance with a child singing, ‘God is so good…He’s so good to me!’

There is much ‘unity of the Spirit’ in praising His Name together.  Magnifying God and speaking well of Him crosses all of the silly denominational boundaries that exist.  As the Apostle Paul admonished,

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called
to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:3-6

We have oh-so-very-much to be thankful for!  We know we should ‘in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  Let’s determine today that we will bless the Lord…speak well of Him…praise Him…boast of Him…magnify the Lord…exalt His Name together with others.  Can you only imagine how that will bless Him?!?

Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.  Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:18-20

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, *singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. *
Colossians 3:15 and 16

(*One version translates this as ‘making melody to God with His grace in your hearts!’)

Our lives are filled with the grace and mercy and goodness of our Great God!  As the psalmist wrote here in Psalm 34, ‘I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.’  May I encourage you…me…us to try to be so very aware of His blessings that our praises are bubbling up out of our grateful hearts through our thankful lips boasting of our wonderful Father!  Together may we magnify and glorify the Great I AM! <3

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Dear Lord, may You always receive the praise, the honor, the glory, the gratitude and the thankfulness that You deserve!  You are so, so, SO GOOD to us!  We praise You and thank You for Your grace and mercy in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.