Distracted no more. We Vow to Worship Him

Jesus had no pointing finger—only arms stretched wide.

In silence. Yielded.

His love letter to each of us, written with blood. He rose from the dead. Ever-living.

In believing, we receive freedom. Life, eternal. Now.

We respond and worship. But then, somehow . . .

we’re distracted.

We’re carried about by urgent needs and work, by school, and overwhelmed with hurts. We’ve got news, opinions, movies, and endless pictures at our fingertips.

Dear Lord, we forget. “We like sheep, continually go astray.”

We forget to worship You. The One who cares and gave His everything. The Lover of our souls, the Keeper of our ways. We forget to worship. We forget that there’s power when we pray!

We forget Your promises. The clock ticks and urgent matters come up and in the midst of it all, we feel our very beings begin to fray. 

Right now, today. Remind us what You say:

I Am the LORD, I “will fight for you; you need only be still,”Exodus 14:14.

I Am the LORD, I “give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak,” Isaiah 40:29.

I Am the LORD, those who “hope in Me will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint,” Isaiah 40:31.

I Am the LORD, “So do not fear, for I am with you,” Isaiah 41:10.

This is only a “drop” compared to the “ocean-full” of promises for us. Don’t let us wander off. 

 Remind us. Holy Spirit imprint on our minds, a picture of Jesus and His nail-pierced hands reaching out for each and every one.

For the sins of the world, You willingly paid and bled. 

Give us the ears to hear Your words, throughout our day, “Follow My lead.” 

And Dear Lord, will You move our, often stubborn hearts to “take heed.”

“Be Thou our Vision.”

We wait with great expectancy . . .

We choose to worship You now, and watch our anxieties flee. We choose to worship You Jesus, Be Thou our Vision. Restore Peace to our restless hearts.

(Perhaps the oldest recorded hymn, or one of the few,) Let us exalt the Lord as we take time to meditate and speak:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

You are my best Thought, O Lord of my heart. During work or rest, may I pray without ceasing and meditate on what’s best.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

You with me. Teach me to intercede. 

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.

Give me courage to be a witness today. To tell others, You are my Dignity. To make known that, In You I Delight. 

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

If I lose the world, but have You, I have the King of Heaven as my friend. No one can take that away. You are an ever-lasting love.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Be Thou My Vision, Irish Hymn, c.8th Century

 

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Speak, “Be Still My Soul.” Together let’s remind each other, “The Lord is on thy side.”

“Be Still my soul  . . .” The  old hymn reminds. How? This is the question as the clock continues to move time.

Fears come flooding in an instant. Stress presses on our back. Pain wears down the weary body, with tears on the inside, like rain no one can see.

We’re in this marathon race. It’s not how we start, it’s how we finish. How do we finish?

With unity. Not isolated and alone. That spells defeat and loneliness.

Let us say together, out loud, putting sound on our chords:   Be Still my Soul. The Lord is on thy side . . .

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”

How do we know such things? How do we remember God is King over everything?

Yes, we must believe, but we need each other. We need unity.

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 

not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:22-25.

There is so much change. But You, O LORD remain. We draw near to You, and You draw near when we do. O God, help us, today in such darkness, take hold of Your light and believe and rest . . .

in Your faithfulness.

“Be still, my soul: Our God doth undertake
To guide the future, as You have the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
Your voice Who ruled them while You dwelt below.”

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart, And all is darkened in the vale of tears, 

Then shalt we  better know Your love, Your heart,
Who comes to soothe our sorrow and our fears.

“Dear Lord, comfort the downcast with Your Spirit, we draw near.”

“Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with You Lord.
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.”

Dear Father in heaven, we bow our heads together. The most important change that needs be, is that which must be done, inside of me.

Increase my faith, that I might stand, and follow You, as You take hold of my hand:

“Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing,  You, O Lord on high; to
Acknowledge You in all our words and ways,
So shall You  view us with a well-pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Son of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.”

Today. Today! This is what You have given us. Teach us to pray. To talk with You the words of this hymn rather than complaint. Be merciful to us.

Teach us to trust.

Help us to take hold of You – who are Love, and let go of all lust. Let us put off the fight, and the anger, and the strife …

and let us make harmony as we sing Your melody throughout the rest of our life.

We bow our heads, we pray to You. We end our words  and whole heartedly say:  “Our soul is still, as we set our minds on the hill, where You laid down Your life, as a perfect sacrifice, forgiving my failures, Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You.

(1) “Be Still My Soul” by Katherine von Schlegel. 

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!

 

 

 

The Good Shepherds call, “Today! Today! Today. Today.”

Sometimes I imagine Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd literally calling His sheep. And I imagine Him out in the pasture calling, “Today! Today! Today.Today.”
That is what I imagine His call to be.

He is the One that the Bible says, ‘who knows His sheep, and is known by His own.’ John 10:14.
He calls, “Today. Today.”
And He brings them out, and He calls His own sheep by name. “Today Joe. Today Susie. Today Sally, Today Bob.Today Jewish Nation…

And what is even more wonderful is the Bible tells us that He also is the ‘One who even has other sheep which are not of this fold’; John 10:16.
“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:16.

And to these sheep, I can imagine Him calling, “Today! Today!”
“Today, if you will My voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion…”Heb. 3:7.
“Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold now is the day of salvation.” 2Corinthians 6:2.
And He knows each ‘sheep’ by name, “Today! Charlie, Today! Jerry, Today! Kaitlin, Today! Gentile Nations…

for some, ‘today’ will be their day for salvation, finally making a decision to follow Him.And ‘Today! He gives them eternal life and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My Father’s hand.’ John 10:28.

But His call to His sheep that know His voice, and follow after Him – His call is the SAME: “Today. Today.”

But, it is not the same, just the same (!) You see, the Good Shepherd speaks, warning and comfort and direction and wisdom; the good Shepherd speaks, ‘Today!” to His sheep. Oh that Voice, that beautiful Voice:
“Today, ‘lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…’Matthew 6:20.
“Today, ‘do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.’
“Today, do not worry!”
“Today, ‘do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.” Matthew 6:34.

“Baa, baa, baa-but what about tomorrow?”

And He says,
“Today, ‘seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you!”

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them,
and they
follow
Me.”
John 10:27.

“Baa, baa”
“Sounds simple, but NOT easy!”

God’s reply,
That is true, ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. John 10:11.
“Follow Me.”

So many lessons in just one little story! Worship God, walk carefully!

Reading again that very familiar story, in Ex. 3, I must share it with you:
“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.”
Let’s see, Moses is in the back side of the desert.
Do you know what that feels like? Maybe not physically, but emotionally, yes. And even spiritually, you might feel ‘dried up’, or even financially, parched. This is where Moses was. “But he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.”

This makes me think of the Psalm 121, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills – From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made the heaven and earth.”

Yes, I hear the Lord say so much in this verse, “But he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.” I hear Him say, “Be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5.

And that is exactly what we can see as the story continues:
Exodus 3:2, “And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed.”

Is Moses feeling as if he is ‘put on a shelf’? Is he discouraged because there is nothing going on here in the back side of the desert – but all of a sudden “the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush, but the bush was not consumed.”

This brings to mind so many scriptures that God has given me in the past, scriptures that God perhaps wants you and me to have settled deep withing our hearts,
“For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure, (which is Jesus, which is the fire burning), in earthen vessels, ( or our own broken lives, or measly little bushes!), that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” 2 Cor. 4:6,7.

And to think that the bush was not consumed. Doesn’t that make you think of Paul’s writings in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10?,
“We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

Just an old dried out bush in the back side of the desert, shining ever so bright with the Angel of the LORD appearing in the form of fire – and the bush was not consumed!

And this is my favorite part:
“Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”Exodus 3:3.

I have recently learned that the word ‘worship’ in the Greek comes from a word meaning, ‘to turn toward and kiss.'(proskuneo).
Could God possibly be showing you and me today, in this most familiar story, that while Moses was for years in the back side of the desert, seemingly ‘put on a shelf’, that the LORD was with him,and has a plan.
Just like Jeremiah 29:11,
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.”
And not only that – but Moses chose to turn aside and…and to let us all know his desire, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

Yes! It is today, that God has shown me through this simple story so many of the truths He wants me to hold on to. Don’t you see it?
The bush does not burn! Why?
Because Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us why,
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.”

I believe Moses worshiped the Lord.
Oh, how we need to worship Him.

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. for He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
and the sheep of His hand.” Ps. 95:6,7.

So the story continues, ex. 3:4,“So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” and he said, “Here I am.”

God speaks to us in these stories, specifically.We have become witnesses ourselves, and in Is. 43:10. God speaks, “You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He…I, even I am the LORD.”

And God speaks to Moses in Ex. 3:5, “Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”

All I know is that when I am bare footed, I have to walk real carefully!
Today I will worship God for His steadfast love and walk carefully.