Let’s be gloriously changed – Let’s choose to Praise

Let’s make the choice now, no matter the story. No matter the pains, the loss, the new worries.  To start the day with God and giving thanks is fine, but to end it in praise is victory, power, and brings a sound mind.

We be changed through the praise. God draws ever near, as we draw near to Him. Let our voices (aloud) ring clear.

“You are the LORD God Almighty. You are worthy. You are worthy. You are worthy to be praised.

You are Elohim, strong Creator of all the natural beauty we see.

We worship You God. Jehovah, I AM, (YHWH) self-existent, un-change-ing.

The Most High God, El-Elyon is worthy of our praise. There is none like You. Too much, too high, to great for our minds to comprehend and know.

But the Bible tells us, You loves us so.

We worship You Lord, for You alone are worthy. “The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”(1) Worthy and  powerful – O so wonderful is Your Name.

We choose to think on things that are noble, right, and true, and altogether lovely. Yes, I choose to worship You:

Father, Son, You are Savior. We worship You Lord, You are Beginning and the End, the Lamb of God, and Friend.

We worship You Lord, for You alone are worthy. You are Eternal and Guide, You are King of all kings. You are Shelter. You are Judge. You are for us,  Cleansing.

You are Powerful, Faithful, Sustainer and Prince.

Majestic and Tower and Everlasting.

There is none like You God. You alone are worthy. I worship Your name, may nothing else take Your place.

You are Wisdom, Faithful, Merciful, Glorious.

You are Peace, Counselor, Healer, and Guard.

You are my Shepherd.

My Deliverer.

My Comforter.

Lord, You are my Hope.

You are my Joy. 

F-o-r-e-v-e-r, You are my Love.

You, God are gloriously magnificent.

You, “so loved the world,” (2) that Your Son You have sent.

I lift up Your name and proclaim with my voice  – “You, Lord God Almighty, are my Lord. You are my heart.”

I love You Lord Jesus, that You first loved me. Forgive me when I forget all that You are, all You did, and do:

Jehovah-Roi, the God who sees me. Jehovah-Shamma, Who promises to be there. Jehovah-Jirah, the LORD will provide.

O God, be my Adonai. My Lord, and Master, that I serve You -always.

I worship You Jesus. You have given me life. Today, this moment … for the rest of my life.

Amen. Amen. Let all the children say again,  “Amen.”

Praise goes before the battle and fight. Victory is won when I see God in all His might. Lead me Good Shepherd, as a sheep I often forget, to speak these words aloud and be transformed again, and … again.

(1) Proverbs 18:10, NIV.

(2) John 3:16.

 

 

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In restlessness – He is peace.

Where is God in all this “restless-ness?” Wars going on outside and in. The struggles, the hardships, the anger, the hate. The words that go back and forth without restraint.

A prophet of old wrote in his letter: O LORD, “How long?” “How long, … must I call for help,” Habakkuk 1:1. This is how Habakkuk felt, yes, open it up – God’s word, and see for yourself.

“Why?” you might ask. Because, today, we “feel” the same way.

Habakkuk writes freely his complaints: “Oh LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, …” (emphasis added), “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, your cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are You silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? …”(1) Questions, questions – these are the same questions we daily ask ourselves.

We’re fighting for some peace, we’re yearning for a song.

And for me, in my house – (that is, in my heart and mind,) He came to rescue. He came to my help. He gave me His Song, Psalm 23:1.”The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”

But in great need, and stress and fret, I spoke the full Psalm, from beginning to … “and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever,” the end. And I thought, “forever” is a very long time.

Then the question, “Where am I dwelling, right now, in this moment? Am I dwelling in His house, or have I let “faith” walk out His Door?” “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.”(3) Was this the lesson for Habakkuk as well?

He invited me in, to come into His house, that I am “forever to dwell.” But He knows, I go astray, each and every day. But He offers “peace” unlike the world, “His peace,” He so graciously gives, even though I mess up, and sin …

so very often.

A song, an old hymn came to my mind just then, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”(4) 

It can’t just be “God” and “heavenly thoughts.” I called and I cried to “Our Father in heaven,” and He drew near to me, and reminded me “hallowed be His name.”

He can’t be what my small brain makes Him, He must be Who He is. And “Holy is His name.” But more amazing still, His “grace is sufficient.”(5).

So, to conclude this whole matter of restlessness and stress, and my mind running in circles, (can anyone relate?) May I learn from God’s help that He “presently” sent. And remember as Habakkuk had learned as well) …

I put some breath on the strings, that He, Himself has given (to each of us, no less), and I made the choice to sing, …

to sing praise for His glory, as I was (and seem to be always), in a battle of wills to trust God, it seems.  I sang and I prayed, and a “present” peace I received. But “today”, and “tomorrow” (if God will’s be mine) may I remember to put sound on the strings He designed.

Let us humble ourselves and praise His name “forever.”

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 20:21.

(1) Habakkuk 1:12,13.

(2) Psalm 100.

(3) Hebrews 11:6.

(4) Hymn: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.

(5) 2 Corinthians 12:9.

 

Finally, joy has come to this world of mine …

Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing. O how the familiar words of Isaac Watts play over again in our minds, but it’s on a glorious moment –

when the dust of our own personal world, and the North wind has blown to make us cold, but we are tired of being broken and alone –

that we invite the King in. That we finally make room for Him.

And the angels in heaven sing. And our eyes suddenly see all of nature, with exotic colors, form and  beauty, form a symphony of song as we walk on our journeys.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy

Finally, when our flesh, says, to the LORD, “Yes.” The words of the hymn come alive. And the word ‘joy’ has meaning for the very first time. Deliverance comes when the fight finally ends. When the Savior at last, has the reins of our soul, and a miracle I witness, as I feel my world – whole.

Joy has finally come into my world, because room as been made, that the Great Surgeon can cut away, the hardness of heart, the criticalness:

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love;
And wonders of His love;
And wonders, …

the wonder of His love for me, who, for so long refused to see – His truth, His grace, … His beautiful life He gave.  Joy to my world has come, with each new day, with each new breath.

Will you join my joyful chorus as well, and of the King and His greatness tell? We would sing together a joyful song:  “Joy has come to this world of mine. I will sing of my King for all – of  – time.”

 

 

Tune me again Lord, and again . . .

“Tune it up. It’s flat.”

When an instrument’s out of tune, it  brings about a stop. Before moving on, it’s got to be tuned.

So, with a turn of a peg, or a bit more complicated maneuver, an instrument is brought back to position, that harmony may once again be brought to the ear.

If it were only that easy for the human race.

Our hearts go out of tune. Sometimes by our own hard strums, but also by outward bumps and hits.

But who can tune a heart?

We try, and we fail. The task is too hard.

Words were penned way back in 1757. Robert Robinson wrote a familiar hymn. A turning of the head, can prove to any stubborn heart—remedy and hope for today.

Read aloud, or sung alone, there’s something supernatural when we desperately need a new tune.

Let it go, and let the sound out.  Speak with me old words, that perhaps they are our help to turn our head and tune our heart.

Come Thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace

Streams of mercy, never ceasing/Call for songs of loudest praise

Teach me some melodious sonnet/Sung by flaming tongues above

Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it

Mount of Thy unchanging love

A battle rages.  Our eyes haven’t been fixed upon the mount. We forgot that with God, streams of mercy never cease. Our eyes haven’t sung melodious psalms. We forgot that unlike any man, God’s has unchanging love.

 Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” Luke 22:31,32 speaks clearly words that we feel are our reality.

The hymn. The hymn. Let’s remind ourselves of God’s faithful presence and peace:

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here there by Thy great help I’ve come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

Our hearts can’t believe in any love like this. So we will continue to read aloud, our remedy, God’s bliss:

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let that grace now, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

God, help us!  Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.

Here is the turn that will bring back the harmony again:

“Here’s my heart Lord,

take,

and seal it,

seal it for Thy courts above.”

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” Luke 22:31,32. 

It is always fitting to praise Him

“Praise the Lord.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” Thus sings the chorus from the 147th Psalm. 

There are times when it’s easy to praise God.  And there are times, when Oh, we don’t feel like praising Him at all.  It can be a sacrifice.

But He tenderly makes it possible when He beautifully paints the morning sky. Can you hear Him ask your heart’s eye,

“Did you see the colors I formed for you? I Am the Lord and I love you.”

He puts joy and delight in a young child’s eye. “The life in this child is a reflection of Me. Be still, take notice. Take time and breathe.”

We work and we toil and we plod along in our lives, we move forward but the rhythm doesn’t always flow real nice, then all of a sudden there is a surprise.

Could it be, we actually won the prize!

Perhaps a sacrifice of praise is the best medicine always. God knows that His children are happy when they hear what He says:

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” 

Breathed out by God, Psalm 147 just might be words to lift weary hearts high as the heavens:

“The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.”

He doesn’t tear apart, He doesn’t divide. The Lord builds up, the Lord gathers, 

‘How good it is to sing praises to God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him.’ (emphasis, mine!)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

These are words from the Lord God Almighty,  we can believe Him faithful always, even when we can’t see.

He is good and He is worthy of our praise, when the sun shines and when the skies are dark with rain. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He loved us yesterday, He loves us today.

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.”

We can’t come close to number the stars, yet He knows the name for each of us. He – knows  – whose  – we  – are.

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

He knows the good, the bad, the ugly. He knows our thoughts every minute.

“The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.”

God’s word reminds us that the ‘fear of the Lord is wisdom’. Trusting Him will make our whole being, sound.

 Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.”

Our vocal chords have strings. Let us be willing to look to Him and sing.

 He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain
   and makes grass grow on the hills.
 He provides food for the cattle, and for the young ravens when they call.”

The word of God empowers the weak. Reading His words transform feeble knees. God’s word is light and living. Oh that we would heed it each morning and evening:

 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.”

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”

Will you join me today to praise Him with out ceasing? He knows when the rhythm and rhyme isn’t flowing, but He is the One Faithful to keep you. He is all knowing.

“Praise the Lord.”

On the good days and the bad.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”

Amen, amen, amen,  Amen!

 

 

 

“We’ll understand it better by and by…”

Words have been written, and I dig them up from the past, because through time and ages, they speak – for me, for you –  bringing comfort to last.

God allowed hard times for the man who wrote this hymn – Charles A. Tindley, a ‘prominent, powerful, persecuted American-African. He wrote through the pain in 1851, – not in anger or in hate – but in power and love with faith -of faith in a God Whom he could not see, but with eyes focused and believing on the promise… of eternity!

1.”We are often tossed and driv’n on the restless sea of time, rolling clouds and howling tempests oft succeed a bright sunshine; In that land of perfect day, when the mists have rolled away, We will understand it better by and by. By and by.”

This hymn was written and recorded and often sung, not asking, “Why?, Why God Why?” but instead, “We will understand it better by and by. By and by.”

“By and by when the morning comes, …We’ll tell the story how we’ve over-come; And we’ll understand it better by and by, by and by.”

There is hope and there is trust in a God that is great. There is patience and  quietness and rest while we wait.

2. “Trials dark on ev’ry hand, and we cannot understand, All the ways that God would lead us to that blessed promised land; But He’ll guide us with His eye, and we’ll follow till we die, We will understand it better by and by, by and by.”

Words written of wrestling, yet of surrender to God’s plan. Power is in surrender and taking hold of God’s hand.

“We’ve over-come; And we’ll understand it better by and by, by and by…When the saints of God are gathered home, we’ll tell the story of how we’ve over-come; And we’ll understand it better by and by, by and by.”

We’ll Understand it Better By and By , Charles A. Tindley – tells us why. Perhaps in our present day we should be resurrecting words spoken in  1905!

He fills our hearts with songs of deliverance when tempted to be afraid!

‘He’, meaning God…  is The Conductor of all time, breathing songs written long ago, in the age old Book, the Bible. The words have been written, so music can pour from our hearts- yes, there is no fear in Love! He has songs of deliverance.

When the old pages of the timeless Book are opened, Power pours forth as His Spirit speaks what’s True, for all who have ears, whose eyes are wide open, for those who seek God-let us ask, is this me? is this you?

Paraphrased, a Psalm written by  David long ago, so the words can roll from our tongues and calm our souls with Psalm 64:

“Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; from the terror of the enemy-guard and preserve Your saint.”

(Now don’t let this hinder you from singing this song…a ‘saint’ is one whose been covered by His blood, whose sins have been forgiven by what JESUS DID, not us. We are simply asked to ‘believe’ and ‘receive’ all that has been offered to us!)

“Hide me from the secret counsel and conspiracy of the ungodly! From those who scheme evil to destroy those You love!” (Be it terrorists or fear or doubt or depression,) “Hide me Lord, hear our voice cry to YOU above!”

“They whet their tongues like a sword, they aim venomous words like arrows, they shoot from ambush at those who are blameless, without fear or reproach they shoot at us. They encourage themselves in an evil purpose; they talk of laying secret snares, and declare, “Who will discover us?”

“They think out acts of injustice, and say, “We have accomplished a ‘well-devised thing’; for the inward thought of each one is unsearchable, and his heart is deep.”

“But God!” “But God!” “But God”, it is written, “will shoot an unexpected arrow at them, and suddenly shall they be wounded!”

God’s words is written so we may sing this song with sound, and remind each other God is in control and ‘He is a present help in trouble’, He is Able, He is Willing, He gives us songs of deliverance and His grace DOES abound!

“Yes, God will shoot an unexpected arrow at them, and they will be made to stumble. Their own tongues will be against themselves, and all who gaze upon them will shake their heads and flee.”

(We will stomp our feet on the necks of our enemies! Be it terror or fear or doubt or depression! We will run this race with endurance and a song! God is with us – today -yes,  you and me!)

“And at that time, all men shall reverently fear and be in awe, and will declare the work of God! Yes, they will wisely consider and acknowledge, ‘This is His doing- it is God’s work after all!'”

“The uncompromisingly righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust and take refuge in Him. Yes, all the upright in heart shall glory in Him and offer Him from their whole being, whole-hearted PRAISE!”

Praise from a heart that has been delivered! Praise from a heart set free! Praise to the One who Loves completely! Songs of deliverance will flow from our lips as our eyes behold and our arms are raised!

(This is Psalm 64, Amplified, yet paraphrased so it would somewhat rhyme that I might share it with you all, that no matter what happens, ANYONE who trust in God, will stand FOREVER strong and tall, because songs of deliverance increase power and might because our minds are thinking of Truth which transcends all sight!)

Today, today -that is what we have. May we have increased faith as we walk with a song , A song of deliverance whenever we are afraid, thanking God all the while with whole-hearted praise!

 

 

 

Good and bad times, it is always time to praise and worship God…

It’s a really dark day when you think of all the things going on around in this world of 2015. But ‘darkness’ is not new. Even in the beginning, when, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Gen. 1:1).  Even ‘in the beginning, the very second verse of the Bible reminds us that the earth was, well, the word says, ‘void’ and darkness covered the face of the deep…(Gen. 1:1). BUT ‘the Spirit of God was moving’ (Gen. 1:2). Just like it is today! Even in the midst of so much darkness and ‘void’ of understanding, the Spirit of God is ‘hovering and brooding’ over us. (Gen. 1:2, Amplified). He is moving.

God said, ‘Let there be light; and there was light’, (Gen. 1:3), just like in me when I was so tired of walking in circles and I was so messed up and confused and  dark inside. On the outside,  I looked fine, but inside, …was ‘void and darkness in the deep’  of me. God knew it. He used all the ‘chaos’ to draw my dark heart to Him.

But it’s not just a one time, once in a lifetime thing. I struggle with my thoughts. They are often ‘feel’ just like the second verse in the Bible, ‘void and covered with darkness…’ BUT ‘the Spirit of God is moving’ as I called His name for (capital S), Salvation, and I call His name daily for (little ‘s’), salvation! He is my Savior, yesterday, today and forever. God is working!

My heart gets very heavy with all that’s going on, but God warned me and you in His word:, “…in the last days perilous times will come…” (2 timothy 3:1), and in case we need some examples of what ‘perilous times’ means, examples are given: “for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good…”(2 Timothy 3:2,3). And if that wasn’t enough the next  verse goes on to list even more, “For men will be… traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” (2 Timothy3:4).  We are here today, in the ‘last days’. What are we to do?

Well, naturally, I just want to run away from it all, but instead, I run to the Lord with the strings of my heavy heart because, “It is good to give thanks to  the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness every night,…” (Psalm 92:1,2).

What is the refuge? What is it to be:   “Leaning, Leaning, Safe and secure from all alarms; Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”  Thinking on  these things – on “whatever is true or worthy of reverence, or just or pure, or lovable or lovely.” (Philippians 4:8). God is all of these things, and even more: “...whatever is kind and winsome and gracious,…worthy of praise…” (Philippians 4:8). My heavy heart changes, almost ‘immediately’. The book of Matthew uses the word ‘immediately’ quite often, and that’s what happens, ‘immediately’ I’m changed.

God separated the light from the darkness…” (Gen. 1:5). And I write today simply to remind myself not to get overwhelmed and downcast! I will put my hope in God and lean on His everlasting Arms! I will remind myself and ‘tune my heart to sing:’ “What a fellowship, what a joy divine, Leaning on the everlasting arms; What a blessedness, what a peace is mine, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms…”

“O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, Nor does a fool understand this. When the wicked spring up like grass, And when all the workers or iniquity flourish, it is that they may be destroyed forever.” (Psalm 92:5-7). 

And God said, “let there be light…” “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship …”(1John 1:7)… God separates the ‘darkness’ from the light! My  very own thoughts become changed with  peace and hope and ‘joy divine’. In this dark day, and the days ahead, may you remind me when I forget to be,  “Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms.” to  continue to be, ” Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms!”

“What have I to dread, what have I to fear, Leaning on the everlasting arms. I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”

“O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. O how bright the path grows from day to day, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” (Hymn by Elisha Hoffman). 

Even in these ‘last days’, more than ever must we Lean on those Everlasting Arms!

 

 

“When the enemy comes in like a flood.”

Have you ever experienced this? “When the enemy comes in like a flood.” and all you can perceive is confusion? It’s as if you are a little one engine plane happily flying the skies of the day, and all of the sudden there is malfunction – and the plane begins to spin and plummit toward the ground.

And you find that you are not ‘singing when the evening comes.’ to say the least, you are not singing when the evening comes!

At times we  feel that we are crashing down, and down. But Jesus prays for us. He prayed that, not that we would be taken out of this world, but that we would be ‘kept’ from the evil one. John 17:15.

I am sure that it felt like the ‘enemy came in like a flood’ on that most dreadful day and night that Jesus was beaten and scourged, and asked to carry His own cross up the Calvary hill to be crucified for you and me. I am sure that it felt like the ‘enemy came in like a flood’  to the woman who watched   from afar, all that Jesus endured on the cross; flooded with emotions of confusion and horror over the cruelty, and sadness and loss.

But the women, it is told kept their eyes open and observed where Jesus was laid, so after the Sabbath was past, ‘Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.’ Mark 16:1.

“And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” Mark 16:3.

“But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away – for it was very large.” Mark 16:4.

The enemy came in like a flood, my song was stripped away in the evening, my one engine plane began malfunctioning -confusion, chaos, and anger  enveloped my thoughts.

But I’m His girl, and He will not let me fall. He has prayed for me and He has prayed for you as well. You see, “When the enemy comes in like a flood,

The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19.

And when the women looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, for it was very large. Just like my sin of doubt and fear, it is very large. But I am ‘kept’ by the power of God, because Jesus has prayed for me. So, I can sing in the morning because I can agree with the Psalmist,

“I acknowledge my sin to You. And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” Psalm 32:5.

So now I can agree as well, that “Blessed -happy, fortunate [to be envied] – is he who has forgiveness of his transgression continually exercised upon him, whose sin is covered.” Ps. 32:1.Amplified.

‘Who will roll away the stone?”When the enemy comes in like a flood.’

“In a time when You may be found;

surely in a flood of great waters They shall  not come near me. You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with…songs

of deliverance. Selah.” Psalm 32:6,7.

The stone is rolled away, the flood of great waters has not come to destroy me, and today – I sing a new song. Selah.