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Praise the Lord

Isaiah 9:6 -“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

I was listening to one of my favorite artist yesterday, Crowder. His music is very raw and really hits home to me. He has a song called, “Praise the Lord.” When you first hear the lyrics, they sound almost disrespectful, but if you keep listening, you hear the real message. Here is the gist of it.

How do you see Jesus? Do you see Him as a magic 8-ball that you occasionally ask a question to? Do you use Jesus as a gun, shooting down thoughts and feelings that are different from your own? Do you swing Him like a hammer, forcing your ideas and beliefs upon someone else? Do you keep Him under the steeple or in the Book? Or do you use Him as a prescription – only when something is wrong?

That is not Who Jesus is. That is not His purpose or His plan for you. Praise the Lord.

Sometimes we think that His love is more of a river rather than an ocean. Narrow and wide, deep and shallow, we fear that it will run away. But His love is more of an ocean that is vast and deep and constant. Others might think of His love as a song, wrapped up with a neat beginning and ending. But His love is more like a symphony that is filled with all kinds of notes and instruments that is woven together to create the most beautiful melody.

We try to make God’s love so difficult, so challenging. But Jesus is way more than we can ever imagine if we just let Him love us and be Who He is supposed to be in our life.

When we consider Jesus and who He should be in our life, we need to remember that He is endless – He always has been. I don’t think we can ever truly grasp it. It is a mystery that will one day be revealed when we are with Him. But the decision to be with Him needs to be a joyful choice, not a fearful leap. 

I think that too often we try to put Jesus in our neat little box or use Him as a weapon to drive fear and coercion into people. That’s not Who He is. Jesus isn’t a genie in a lamp or a lightening bolt throwing being or a fair weather friend. No, Jesus is so much more than that – Praise the Lord.

Jesus is The Leader. Jesus is Wonderful. Jesus is The caring Counselor. Jesus is The Mighty God. Jesus is My Everlasting Father. Jesus is The Prince of Peace. Praise the Lord.

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This Psalm…

Psalm 147:1-11 – “Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel. He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground. Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.”

I have a lot on my heart this morning. I found out yesterday that a girl I know, who is younger than me, suddenly lost her husband. She is now a widow. There is a massive storm hitting tiny islands with many people living on them that will face terrible devastation in the next few hours and days. And here I am preparing as well for an unseen force that I am uncertain of it’s path. 

As my day goes on from hour to hour and I continue to see my clients as if nothing different is going on, I have in the back of my mind a list a mile long of things that need to be done and items that would benefit my family, if I can find them. I am grateful for advanced warning but the waiting can be a challenge. 

And then I can’t stop thinking about the girl I know that lost her husband. It breaks my heart to think about her having to do life without her husband. I can’t even imagine.

Yet, this psalm brings me peace today. It reminds me to sing. You see, as much as I desire to help out my friend, I really can do nothing more than pray for her. I’m too far away to be very effective in a physical sense. But I know the One that can heal her broken heart and mend her family’s spirit. And as much as I think on and pray for those in the path of the storm, there is really nothing I can do for them right now except pray – because I know the One that named the stars and prepared the earth for the rain He is sending. And as much as I fret and scurry trying to prepare for the storm coming my way, I need to sing more. He wants me to trust Him through this thing. He wants to show me that He can provide for me in a way that my legs and hands would never be able to. 

This psalm reminds me to trust in Him because He has “the whole world in His hands”. Yes, I need to prepare. Yes, I need to pray. Yes, I need to remember others and the challenges they face in the different aspects of their life. Yes, I need to do what I can for my family and for those around me. But I need to do it with a song in my heart that reminds me to “praise You in the storm”. 

The Rock

Psalm 18:30-31 – “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?”

The Teen Discovery lesson tonight is about Jesus being our Rock. So, I have had various songs about Christ being our Rock in my head for a couple of days. 

Rocks. They are hard. Some are seemingly unmovable. They seem to last forever. They are useful for support. They provide a path in various places. They sometimes get in your shoe and cause terrible pain. They have been the main ingredient in many of my pea soups as a child playing outside. Some have claimed them as pets. Some throw them at others out of anger or punishment. 

Lots and lots of uses for rocks. 

But this Rock that is spoken of in this psalm is none of those things. This Rock is The Rock. This Rock is unmovable. This Rock is life giving. This Rock provides comfort and shelter. This Rock is perfection. This Rock is trustworthy. 

And though many rocks may cross our field of vision or make its way into our humble hands, no rock can possibly measure up to The Rock. 

Although rocks may not be your first choice in a source of comfort or the first thought you have when you think about life giving qualities, run to The Rock. Let Him be the source of all you need and want. 

He’s still working on me

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Lyrics for He’s Still Working on Me by Bill & Gloria Gaither

He’s still working on meTo make me what I need to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be..’Cause He’s still workin’ on me.

There really ought to be a sign upon my heart “Don’t judge him yet, there’s an unfinished part”. But I’ll be better just according to His plan. Fashioned by the Master’s loving hands.

He’s still working on me To make me what I need to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be…’Cause He’s still workin’ on me. 

In the mirror of His word, Reflections that I see. Makes me wonder why He never gave up on me. But He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray. Remember He’s the potter, I’m the clay.

This song has been in my head for a few days. I remember singing it when I was a little girl. It has a whole different meaning now. 

I understand better that I am a work in progress. I understand better that I won’t be perfect until I get to Heaven where there is no sin. I understand better that when I do sin and God brings it to my attention, I need to take care of it right then and turn and go the other direction. I am understanding more His work, His hand and His love for me – although I appreciate fact that I will never fully grasp it. 

But He is still working on me. He is trying to make me what I should be. I really do need a sign some days that says “Don’t judge me yet. He’s not finished.” I want to see His reflection in my life. 

So when you are feeling totally inadequate and unable to accomplish anything and everything, remember – when you are His child, He will always be working on you. Happy Wednesday.