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Isn’t It Amazing?

Psalm 95:1-6 (NLT)
Come, let us sing to the Lord!
    Let
us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
    Let
us sing psalms of praise to him.
For the Lord is a great
God,
    a
great King above all gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the
earth
    and
the mightiest mountains.
The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
    His
hands formed the dry land, too.
Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let
us kneel before the Lord our maker.
Isn’t it amazing?  The God of Creation loves you!  The One who holds the entire universe desperately
desires a personal relationship with you. 
He hopes you will turn to Him every day, every step of the way.  He wants to be at the center of your life,
not just one of your many activities.  He’ll
come along with you to all those other activities and add incredible meaning to
them (or He will help you see they aren’t good for you).
Let’s sing and shout
joyfully!  His love is unchanging and
forever.  Nothing, not anything, can take
it away.  For this we can be thankful!  Sing and shout joyfully!

Give Thanks

1 Chronicles 16:34 (NLT)
 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
    His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord.

Humming with Thanks

I am happily humming a refrain from Sunday’s worship.  It’s working its way into my soul and
gratitude is overwhelming my heart.  What
can I do but thank You?
              
Read the lyrics or listen on YouTube.  What other response is there when you truly
consider the glory of God and His love for you? 
What can you do but thank Him? 
What can you do but give your life to Him?
What Can I Do?  By Paul
Baloche
When I see the beauty of a sunset’s glory,
Amazing artistry across the evening sky
When I feel the mystery of a distant galaxy
It awes and humbles me to be loved
By a God so high
[ Lyrics from:
http://www.lyricsty.com/paul-baloche-what-can-i-do-lyrics.html ]
What can I do but thank You,
What can I do but give my life to You
Hallelujah, hallelujah
What can I do but praise You,
Everyday make everything I do a hallelujah
A hallelujah, hallelujah

When I hear the story of a God of mercy
Who shared humanity and suffered by our side
Of the cross they nailed You to, that could not hold You
Now You’re making all things new by the power
Of Your risen life

What can I do but thank You,
What can I do but give my life to You
Hallelujah, hallelujah
What can I do but praise You,
Everyday make everything I do a hallelujah
A hallelujah, hallelujah

An Exciting Adventure!

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.  Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7
 
Faith is a journey.  Believing in Jesus is just the trail head.  Experiencing the adventure and beauty God has planned takes a little participation.  He is the Guide.  We must follow.
 
Church was an integral part of my life growing up.  I always believed in Jesus and God’s salvation.  Even through my rebellious years when I shut God out, I still believed. Each Sunday School lesson or sermon was an exhibit in the visitor’s center.  I was gathering knowledge, but had not ventured down the path.
 
My walk began in the Disciple Bible study which required me to pray and read Scripture almost every day. I began putting the pieces of God’s story together and recognized that His love is more than words in a story.  I experienced God’s love for the first time.
 
My relationship with God grew and I began to recognize His work in my life.  Step by step I have learned to trust Him when I can’t see around the next corner or I stand at a
fork in the road.  Knowledge has grown into experience, or as today’s verse says, my faith has grown strong in the truth I was taught.  I overflow with thankfulness.
 
Where are you on your journey?  Venture further down the exciting path!  Your Guide is ready.

Sing Along

Psalm 100:4-5
Enter
his gates with thanksgiving;

    go
into his courts with praise.
    Give
thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
    His
unfailing love continues forever,
    and
his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Every time I read this verse I envision my first grade self,
robed in white with a large crimson bow at my neck – the Sunbeam Choir.  Psalm 100 is forever stored in my musical
memory.
Isn’t it fun when a few musical notes release a flood of
memories and sometimes, with a little group effort, the entire song?  The music we listen to works its way into our
souls.
I happen to love praise music.  The refrains I’ve been humming lately include
How great is our God and He is stronger, He is wiser and  Never
once did we ever walk alone.
  Having these
phrases on shuffle or repeat in my mind lifts my spirit, gives me perspective,
and keeps God in the forefront of my life.
What have you been humming lately?

Peace Be With You

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Colossians 3:15
The peace that comes from Christ.  What is that?
I believe peace is far more than conflict resolution. This kind of peace gives rest to your soul.  It alleviates your need for acceptance because you know you are loved by a God who never leaves you. Knowing God has a plan for your life settles your heart’s restless yearning for purpose and meaning.  Christ’s peace is a feeling of being right with God, completely forgiven, released from guilt or shame.
Let this peace rule in your hearts and guide your steps. And always be thankful that you belong to a loving God who would do anything to give you His peace.

No. Thank You.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Give
thanks to the
Lord, for He is good;
    His love endures forever.
What are you thankful for? 
You’ll ponder this question many times over the next week.  But here’s another question.  What are you thankful God hasn’t given you?
I always, always, always wanted to be a teacher.  My freestanding, double sided chalkboard was
my most treasured possession.  Homework
became play when written in multi-colored chalk.  My dolls and my younger cousins (poor things)
were my students.  I loved school and
workbooks and teaching.  You could say
being a teacher was my dream (after being a Broadway dancer).  As my passion became clear, my parents repeatedly
discouraged me because “you can’t support yourself on a teacher’s salary”.  While I thought my dream had been crushed,
God was fulfilling His plan for me to teach adults.
THANK GOD!
Had I followed the traditional path, I would have trained for
an elementary classroom and been miserable. 
I hadn’t considered that I loved teaching, but not children.  Let’s just say that age group is not my gift.  God knew. 
God had a plan more fulfilling than I imagined.
God, I am thankful you said ‘Not now’ to my dream.

Open My Eyes

Psalm 119:18 (NLT) – Open my eyes to see the wonderful
truths in your instructions.
Road tripping to a gymnastics meet this weekend, so I’m blogging
quickly.
I love this short verse. 
It reminds me to be more receptive when I read the Bible rather than
always analytical. 
Shouldn’t we pray these words every time we read
Scripture?  Step back and ask God to
reveal the larger message, His purpose in the Word?

What’s Behind The Story?

2 Timothy 3:15-17
(NIV)
From
infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for
salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking,
correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be
thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Image courtesy of morguefile.com

What is the Bible? 
Does it have authority or is it simply moral guidelines?  Are we supposed to believe every story really
happened?  Did any of the events recorded really happen?  What do you think?
I believe God used humans to craft the Bible.  He inspired the writers and committee of decision
makers to compile a library of books that reveals God’s love and plan for
humanity.  Phew!  God used people to deliver His message. The
common thread from start to finish is that this
God
is uniquely different from any other god in that He loves us, wants the
best for us and has always had a plan for spending eternity in relationship
with us.  God is for us and with us.
So, what about the stories? 
I believe the stories in the Bible are primarily about the message, the
big picture, the meaning rather than the facts. 
Early stories that were retold around campfires for generations are
meant to reveal God’s character more than document actual events.  They explain why and not so much how.  I have much more confidence in the details of
later stories for which there were eye witnesses alive while the stories were
circulating. 
For all of the writings, our goal is to discern God’s
intended message.  I’m fascinated by a
series Rob Bell is writing about the Bible that can be found on his Facebook
page.  Bell asks these questions:  Why did the ancient people find it important
to tell this story?  What was it that
moved them to record these words?  What
was happening in the world at that time? 
What does this story tell us about how the original audience understood
who they were and who God is?  What’s
developing in the world that caused these people to think the story was worth
telling?
These are great questions that have deepened my
understanding of some familiar Bible stories.

Deep, Festering Wounds

Matthew
6:14-15
(NIV)
For if you
forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also
forgive you.  But if you do not forgive
others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
God has bombarded me with challenging messages about forgiveness
in my reading and conversations.  The
ongoing, difficult theme has been forgive,
seek out and pour God’s love on those who hurt you
.  When God repeats Himself, I’ve learned to pay attention.  Today, Dr.
Charles Stanley’s devotion flipped the forgiveness message over, examining the
unhealthy burden of unforgiveness.
Dr. Stanley assures me that I don’t lose my place in eternity when I refuse to forgive.  Rather, my “unrepentant attitude” affects my intimacy with God.  It’s an
elephant in the room.  I cannot be close
to God with unresolved resentment.
Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.  Bitterness doesn’t fit who I am as a Christian.  Resentment is unhealthy.  Anger becomes a huge wound as it grows and festers.  Scripture emphasizes forgiveness because God
knows what’s good for me (yet again!).
 
God also knows how difficult it can be.  Think about Jesus’ forgiving words from the
cross for those who crucified Him.  Ask
God to help you lay aside your anger and resentment.  Only with God’s power and grace can we
forgive such deep wounds.
God’s persistence with this message has me searching myself for
any resentment that’s festering below the surface.  How about you?

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