Tag Archives: praising God

Pure Light

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There is NO darkness in God!

I love this verse and the picture it paints. God is pure light. There is no darkness, no hidden deceit, no malicious intent, and no evil in the LORD God. we can TRUST Him even when things look dark and scary. Even when we face painful trials. we can trust He will make all things right in the end.

I believe in you Father! I believe you are good and your ways are holy. I know you are trustworthy and your loving-kindness never fails. Thank you that there is no darkness in you. Help me to walk in the light always. Help me to walk with you as you are the light.

 

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Free Forever

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Heavenly Father,

Before you created the world, you knew I would exist and you loved me!

When you knit me together in my mother’s womb you knew I would choose sin yet you loved me.

Thank you Jesus that you died for me knowing someday I would be selfish, unkind, unloving, willful and stubborn. You knew I would have a prideful, self-focused heart yet you chose to die for me so that I could live. You chose to take my sin and give me your righteousness.

What an astounding gift!

I could meditate on your grace forever and never fully grasp its wonder. Thank you that this incredible gift is there for anyone who will believe Jesus died for him or her.

Undeserved grace.

Life everlasting.

The guilty forgiven.

Ransom paid freely.

Free

Believe

Receive

A gift impossible to earn or deserve.

I am guilty.

I deserve death. I don’t deserve to spend eternity with you. Yet, that is what you offered me. I believed. I do believe and you will never leave me or forsake me.

Anyone who believes can have this gift of grace. Just as they are.

Praise your holy name!

Jesus, open our eyes to see your hand reaching out. Help us to believe.

What does grace mean to you?

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When Depression Knocks

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When the darkness comes, reach for the light.

“I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.” Psalm 34:1 (NLT)

I tend toward the melancholy.

Awhile back I was struggling more often than usual with the temptation to depression, a lack of joy, and an oppression of the spirit. I know there are many others who struggle with this and I want to share what helps me most.

(To clarify: I’m NOT talking about chemical imbalance and I’m not discussing clinical depression here).

I’m talking about a feeling of sadness that comes for no obvious reason. Feeling gloomy or unhappy sometimes in spite of having things go well in life. It might be unexplained or it might come because of sin and suffering in the world or because of my own failings and weaknesses.

When I fall into this kind of depression, these choices help me the most:

  • Singing praise to God out loud. Spending time alone with God and singing praise songs to Him is powerful. There’s more power in singing out loud but listening to praise music is also healing.
  • Prayer. Our greatest resource. We can tell God exactly how we feel. It’s important also to confess our sins. We can tell Him what we desire Him to do in our lives. If I feel powerless to pray, I pray the Psalms. Some that have helped me: Psalm 37, 34, 32, 23, 27, 40 and 42 but any of the Psalms are helpful.
  • Reading and meditating on Scripture. Reading God’s Word is essential. Quoting Scripture out loud helps to focus our minds on the truth. “For the word of God is alive and powerful…” Hebrews 4:12a (NLT) His Word is supernatural and meditating on its truth can bring peace and calm to our souls.
  • Resisting isolation. When I feel depression coming in my spirit, often my first temptation is to isolate myself and shut others out. This only makes things worse and amplifies the darkness. Reaching out to someone we trust and can share our hearts with will often drive the dark feeling away. I’ve found that the more I keep my negative thought patterns to myself, the stronger they get. But time and time again when I share those thoughts, just saying them out loud to someone exposes them as lies.
  • Keeping a balance between physical exertion (exercise/work) and rest. If we go for a period of time without doing anything that requires physical exertion, it can lead to a depressed feeling, but if we’re always on the go and never take time to rest, that also can leave us depressed. We need balance.
  • Remembering we are in a war. We’re all in a Spiritual battle but those who seek to get closer to Jesus will meet the enemy head on. Satan will attack anyone who follows Jesus. Peter warns us, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT). However, we overcome him through the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, our testimony and prayer. (Revelation 12:11) “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NIV)

One particular morning I was feeling the darkness. I read my daily devotions and meditated on His truth. Later, I remembered about praising God. By choice, not by feeling I began to sing praises to Him. I put on praise music and exercised while praising Him. I poured out my heart to Him. He lifted me from the pit (Psalm 40)!

Some experience depression that goes beyond what they can deal with by themselves. It may even be caused by a chemical imbalance. At those times, it is important to seek help from a counselor or a doctor. There was a time when my depression became so persistent that I went to a counselor for some months. God used her to help me tremendously! There’s nothing wrong with needing help. God created us as beings that need each other.

May God give grace and peace to anyone reading this who is suffering from depression or persistent sadness. Please use it Lord. Use it to bring them closer to you. Please shine your light into their darkness.

Please comment below if you need prayer to get through a season of depression. He loves you with an everlasting love!

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Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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He Also Made the Stars

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“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Genesis 1:3

“…He also made the stars.” Gen 1:16b

The first recorded words of God are, “Let there be light.”

Light is everything. Without light there would be no life. Light gives us warmth, shows us the way, protects us from danger and keeps us alive. Sunlight is essential to physical and mental health. How could light just appear? How can it be explained other than the Creator spoke it into existence?

Then in verse 16 a simple statement, “He also made the stars.”

He made stars beyond what is possible to count. He made stars that stretch into a universe of which there appears to be no end. Stars that inhabit galaxies beyond count. Wonders we can’t imagine.

Oh, by the way, He also made the stars.

That alone should bring us to our knees before Him, to our faces in worship of this powerful God who also made the stars.

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I take so much for granted. Light for example. I take it for granted the sun will come up each day. I take it for granted that when I flip a switch the light comes on. This is a gift from a holy God.

I talk to Him each day but do I remember this is the LORD God who made the stars, who spoke light into existence and who took dust to make the miracle of a human being?

How can I ever come to Him casually?

He is amazing! He is worthy of my praise and worship. He chose to reach down and save my soul. He chose to send Jesus to earth to live and die for those who had already rebelled. Words cannot express what I owe Him.

This God who “also made the stars” loves each one of us with an everlasting love. He thought of us before He ever said “Let there be light.” He thought of us and knowing we would choose to sin and rebel against Him, decided in advance to send Jesus to live and die for us so that we can live with Him forever. He made it possible for us to come to Him even in our sin. We can come boldly to His throne anytime of day or night and talk to Him, give Him our petitions, praise Him, and worship Him.

Father God, You are worthy of all my worship, all my heart and soul. I stand before you in awe of your majesty and power. The invitation to come directly to you and talk to you is an indescribable gift. I love you LORD. I want your will to be done in every part of my life and who I am. I worship you my Creator and my Lord!

May we come to Him in worship every day throughout the day!

Originally published for Takin It to the Streets – Omaha.

 

 

 

 

 

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Do I Keep it Secret?

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“Is it wrong to tell people about the ministry I do?” A friend recently asked in reference to this passage:

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:3-4

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6

“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:17-18

We need both. Praying in secret and praying with others. Giving in secret and giving openly. Fasting in secret and fasting corporately.

Secret times with God need to be the priority.

Times when we give Him praise for His ears only are essential. I love to let praise flow from my heart. Yielding as His Spirit moves, making up tunes, singing and letting His word inspire me and fill me with thanksgiving and praise. He is pleased because He wants a love relationship with me. He desires secret times with us where we find joy in His presence. He wants us to talk to Him, giving Him thanks and telling Him our needs. He wants us to listen as He speaks to our hearts.

He is also pleased when we raise our voices together to praise Him. Praying together builds our faith and is powerful. I meet with a couple of friends regularly to pray and we have seen many answered prayers over the years!

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19-20 (NIV)

When we have our time with Him alone first, we then have stronger faith to pray and praise together. We need to pray with others to encourage each other in faith.

Our Father wants us to give in secret and openly. He wants me to give things that are between Him and me. Giving in secret helps me to give with a pure motive and to avoid the temptation of pride. Giving openly blesses others and inspires them to give. (Read 2 Corinthians 8 and 9)

Fasting in secret is a sacrifice only God knows about that is an offering to Him and blesses Him. He also calls us to pray and fast as a church or group to build our faith and show our dependence on Him.

He looks at the motivation of our hearts. Are we practicing these disciplines in order to look good or because we genuinely care and want to honor Him? Whatever we do, the motive matters. God wants a secret relationship with me so that He can give me what I need to then share with others in the right spirit.

So we praise when we are alone and when we are with others.

We give in secret and give as an example to encourage others.

We pray by ourselves and with others to His glory.

We fast in secret and fast together for a united purpose.

If we only offer theses acts of worship in secret, we miss the opportunity to encourage, inspire and bless others and to give Him glory.

If we only do them in public, we miss the reward that comes from having a secret time with the LORD and may fall into the trap of doing them for show.

We need time alone with our Father. When I contemplate that our Creator, our All-Mighty Holy God, the Great I Am wants a personal relationship with me, a sinner, (made possible by Jesus) why wouldn’t time with Him be my top priority? And spending time with Him motivates me to pray, give and worship with others.

Whether we offer these acts of worship in secret to Him or with others to His glory, what better way could we spend our time?

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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Sour Grapes or New Wine?

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Today I welcome Carol McClain for the fifth step of the Call to Praise Blog Hop. Welcome Carol! Please check the bottom of the page for a link to the next blog stop.

Psalm 103: 2 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:”

Sometimes I’m not a very nice person. Oh, my friends will disagree. My husband will once more enumerate all my wonderful qualities. My daughter tears up when she tells friends about her best friend: me.

They don’t always see my little old patch of cultivated sour grapes. I don’t know why I insist on growing them as they leave a bad taste in my mouth, sicken my stomach, and drag me further away from the Lord. And, when I put the issue in print, my complaints are pretty laughable.

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For example, my debut novel came out four months ago, and I have ONLY eleven reviews. Others, with their book out for thirty minutes, rack up more than a billion. Yuck. That doesn’t signify my disdain for them. It’s the taste of my lack of gratitude.

Shortly before I came to know Christ, I got divorced. For more than twenty years, I remained single. Goofy friends got married pronto. Those two-times married found another mate—shouldn’t they wait until we wallflowers got a turn? Sheesh. That’s not a comment on the favor of God on their lives. It’s the flavor of those darn grapes.

 

I’ve always wanted to be able to sing. At one point I had been invited to join the music ministry—not sure why. I can’t sing. It soon became apparent to the music leader that I sang flatter than a piece of vellum. I was uninvited. I cried for weeks and still secretly plot ways to win The Voice and prove my worth.

And that’s the crux of all my issues. I want to prove my worth when it was already verified for me on Calvary. I want all my perceived blessings owed me, and when that doesn’t happen, I don’t see the true miracles of my life.

I have a secure house, dependable car, good friends, a family and a comfortable income. I’m loved. I live in a country where I’m not beheaded for following my faith or in a country where faith does not exist. But these are not the true benefits of God.

I’m forgiven. Big sins. Little peccadillos. Gone–as far as the east is from the west.

Before I knew Christ, I destroyed my innocence. I’ve found, through my walk, that it had been restored.

And mostly, this world is not my home. It’ll vanish like the morning vapor. Be washed away like dust after a spring shower. Forever, I will live with Jesus in perfection and beauty and holiness.

When I remember these blessings, I can throw away my sour grapes and drink the new wine of a beautiful life.

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Carol McClain is an erstwhile English teacher, a bassoonist and a stained-glass artist with an eclectic array of other interests. She lives in the frozen tundra of northern NY with a husband who thinks she’s pretty swell, and a dog that dotes on her.

 

Her debut novel is DWF: Divorced White Female. In this humorous women’s fiction, sassy and unsaved Cheryl Chandler knows only one thing will save her from her husband’s desertion: a man—any man so long as he’s hot. Somehow she has to find him. Eventually, he has to meet her kids. The first problem is solved by her children who sign her up on an online dating site. The second problem? She’s stuck.

 

Today’s post is the fifth post in the A Call to Praise Blog Hop. You can click below and that will take you to Jennifer Slattery’s blog, where you will find the schedule for the entire study of Psalms 103.)

http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/a-call-to-praise-blog-hop/

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The next post will be on March 18th at Sarah Rutt’s blog: http://sarahruut.com/

 

 

 

 

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Offering a Sacrifice of Thanks

“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God and keep the vows you made to the Most High.” Psalm 50:14 (NLT)

“But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:23 (NLT)

“I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1 (ESV)

Giving thanks to God is a vital part of walking with Him. It is essential to pleasing Him. God wants us to live in continual praise and thanksgiving to Him.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18

He wants us to offer our hearts and lives as a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise, to thank Him always and be grateful.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15-16

It pleases Him when we acknowledge that all we are thankful for is a gift from Him. He wants our hearts to be full of songs of praise to Him.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:15-16

 

Why is it a sacrifice to give thanks? We sacrifice our fleshly desire to sin, to complain, to grumble, to covet, to demand our own way. We submit to His will by offering praise and thankfulness for things as they are. My own flesh loves to complain about the daily discomforts and trials of life. I find myself grumbling about every inconvenience, about anything that seems to block me from what I want to do. My flesh likes throwing “pity parties” at which I meditate on all the injustices of my life. I don’t like it when I don’t get my way. I get jealous when I see others get what I want. To walk in thankfulness and praise means I have to deny the flesh these indulgences. I have to sacrifice these “rights”. I have to sacrifice my rights and instead give thanks to God and praise him no matter what. That is my opinion as to why continual thankfulness is a sacrifice to God.

I have far to go to get to the place where I continually offer thanks and praise to God. I am so often filled with discontent, complaints and ingratitude. But I want to seek each day to grow closer to that place. I pray I will increase my thankfulness day by day.

     Lord, please show me how to get to this place. Will you help me offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving? It is through you my Lord Jesus, through you alone that I can continually offer praise. I rely on you to give me the power and the strength to live in this way.

 

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