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Posts Tagged ‘praise’


In 1937 Thomas Dorsey wrote “Peace in The Valley” for Mahalia Jackson.  It has been recorded by everyone imaginable.  The lyrics are hopeful, a FINAL day of peace.  It talks about peace in the valley in the future.  Well, my future in Heaven will not be a valley.  And truthfully, the valleys seem to all be in the here and now.  Yet, I can have PEACE in the VALLEY now according to scripture.  God’s word says, th

Psalm 23:4 (NASB)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

It seems with every year I have found myself saying on December 31st, “next year will be better.”  I look over what has been and think it cannot get worse, then it does.  The year my parents both had open heart surgery and my oldest brother was in the horrible car wreck that ruined his life, also brought a loss job for my husband, an unfavorable medical diagnosis for myself and several other calamities.  Since then I’ve had a brother killed in a plane crash, more job loses, both parents and a parent in law went on to be with the Lord.  We’ve had a daughter almost killed in a collapsed building during a tornado, a granddaughter needing a stomach pumped, more car wrecks, more illnesses, foreclosure and losing my dream house … heart-break after heart-break.  Sometimes it just seems to keep coming and you think, when will the feasting years come.  In the Bible Joseph had bad years followed by good years.  King Solomon had great years.  So then why can’t we?   We do, we just don’t see it that way because we’re looking at the circumstances.  So many times we look at our lives when we need to look around us, or across the world, to see just how good we do have it in our life.

No matter what you are going through, God doesn’t make mistakes.  With the bad comes His presence.  If you focus on the bad of the circumstance you stumble.  When you look back and see all He’s brought you through you know He can carry you through it all. Remind yourself daily all God HAS brought you through, all HE has done for you.  Don’t let people tell you He won’t give you more than you can handle.  That’s not what that scripture means anyway.  He’ll never allow more to touch you that will cause you to lose your faith and give up.  You might feel like you’re going to, but, He’ll be there and He’ll remind you who He is and what He’s done.  We truthfully have no idea how much we can handle anyway.  I just need to remember that all goes through His hand’s before it ever touches me.

So with this new  year I’ll not worry about if it’s all going to turn around and be great.  Neither will I “borrow trouble” as  mom liked to say.  I’ll take each day as He gives it, thanking Him for all the blessings that satan* tries to make me forget by enticing me to look at the circumstances in life.  This year, 2015, will bring what He allows.  Good or bad does not matter as I can rejoice in Him regardless.  I will soon welcome my fifth grandchild.  Grandchildren are wonderful blessings.  My two daughters are blessings.  We are about to celebrate 38 years of marriage.  I’m looking at a cold and clear blue sky with white puff clouds.  I see a variety of large wading birds out back.  The heat is on and I am toasty, the cat is purring.  Hubby’s casting for that big one.  I may see the bobcat walk by, or the flock of wild turkeys.  God’s creation is beautiful, He cares about every detail.  He cares about me and all my details.  He’s not ignoring them, He’s allowing them. I can take comfort in knowing they will work to my good regardless of whether they or good things or bad.  Blessings are everywhere.

Romans 8:28 NASB

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

I’m looking forward to 2015 Lord.  Help me to trust You each day, keeping my focus on You and not whatever the day brings.  Teach me.

*satan is always lower case in my writings, because he is one.

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Peace-Amid-the-Storm“I Will Praise You In This Storm” *Casting Crowns copyright

So many I know are going through long, on-going trials.  As I listened to Casting Crowns song (link above) I am encouraged to know that not only does He have a plan for these storms but that He never forgets we are down here struggling.

“I was sure by now God You would have reached down And wiped our tears away Stepped in and saved the day But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining”

She tends to his needs day by day while caring for others along the way.  His body crippled by Parkinson’s and other maladies, she longs for sleep and energy.  Racked with pain, her own body screams, for Him to intervene is her biggest dream.

“As the thunder rolls I barely hear Your whisper through the rain “I’m with you” And as Your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise the God who gives And takes away…”

The death of loved ones on both sides of the family has taken place. Tears of “it’s too soon, there was so much more to say” make their path down their face. Days they want back, words taken away.  If only they had just one more day.

[Chorus:] “And I’ll praise You in this storm And I will lift my hands For You are who You are No matter where I am And every tear I’ve cried You hold in Your hand You never left my side And though my heart is torn I will praise You in this storm…”

His mind is not in the present, his body worn out.  They long for his suffering to end or for him to turn about.  The days are long, it seems it will never end.  He looks at them and tries to remember, “family or friend?”

I remember when I stumbled in the wind You heard my cry to you And you raised me up again My strength is almost gone How can I carry on If I can’t find You…”

He’s lost his job, maybe his home. She’s working hard, the days are long.  Day in, day out … week in, week out … month in, month out … year in, year out.  Time is at a standstill for them; God made time for them, not for Him.

“But as the thunder rolls I barely hear You whisper through the rain “I’m with you” And as Your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise the God who gives And takes away…”

The trials and suffering for many seem to have no end.  The world we live in, the life we live.  God is in control, still on the throne.  He loves us and has a plan to work all things together for our good.

[Chorus] “I lift my eyes unto the hills Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord The Maker of Heaven and Earth.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

Psalm 121:11 KJV  “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from which comes my help.”

The Praise You In This Storm lyrics by Casting Crowns is copyrighted and Lights In The Storm is featuring it for non-commercial use only.

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mir·a·cle [mir-uh-kuhl] noun

1.an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
2.such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.
3.a wonder; marvel. (Dictionary.com)

Origin of MIRACLE

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin miraculum, from Latin, a wonder, marvel, from mirarito wonder at.  First Known Use: 12th century http://www.merriam-webster.com
What is a miracle to you?  We pray for them.  Some times we pray for a big miracle … and some say,  “I just need a little miracle”.   I think many times we want a quick solution, in a hurry … in the nick of time.  We throw the word miracle around a lot in today’s world.
  • Miracle Whip
  • Miracle Team
  • Children’s Miracle Network
  • Miracle Baby
  • Miracle Mile
  • Miracle Strip
  • Miracle …this and that

And yet on the flip side of the coin some wonder … DO MIRACLES STILL HAPPEN?

I believe:


I think that the times have changed and we do not see  as many of  what some call the ‘fanfare’ type of miracles  recorded in the Bible.  I believe they still happen that way sometimes, but more often than not miracles are quiet and leave us with a sense of awe.  Why?  Because as a whole we do not NEED them like was needed in the times of Christ.  Over two thousand years since Christ arose and people still turn to Him in simple faith, not because they saw the lame walk, the blind see, etc.  We do not need miracles to believe and spread His message.  We need faith.  Miracles still happen.  The fact that today God uses Doctors and technology that He has allowed mankind to develop  is no less miraculous.    I think sometimes we belittle His hand in our lives because of the lack of fanfare in an event.  I do not think there are big and little miracles.  I think it is, or it isn’t.  (Kinda like lies, it is or it isn’t … or Love, you are either in love or you or not).  I think the problem is in our recognizing God’s hand in our life.  We need faith to make it through our lives.  Not huge displays of fanfare of God’s intervention.  We need faith to see the miracles all around us.  God is always at work in our lives.  That is a miracle.

As a Christian you are in the palm of His hand.  Now that is a miracle.  Think about it … He cares about every little detail.  When you look at something you are holding in your hand do you not see every detail?

He sees every little detail as He holds the world in His hands.

For the Jews waiting for the Messiah, a baby born in a stable was not a miracle.  They wanted a BIG miracle, a King on a throne with lots of fanfare. Yet, hundreds of  kings and queens have lived,  have come and gone, and you would have trouble naming most of them.  They were not miracles.  A birth of a baby 2000 years ago in a stable is still the most recognizable name on earth.  Jesus is a miracle.

Bringing these thoughts into prospective (what got me thinking on all of this), for over three years we were praying for a miracle for my husband, a job.  One that would instantly solve our financial woes.  Phil now has a job (PTL and PTA*).  God answered our prayer, He gave us a miracle because in today’s society people over 40 years old who have too much education and experience are not recognized as valuable.  Some have said, “well, you know it’s not what you were praying for and it’s probably not what he wanted, but  it is a job.”  True.  But, it was what he needed.  We were praying for God’s will.  We long since passed the time of telling God what we needed in the way of a job because only God knows what we need to fulfill His plan and our wants seldom have anything to do with that.  Does that mean this job is not a miracle, or it’s a little miracle?  Of course not.  After 3-1/2 years of looking for work he has a job, THAT IS A MIRACLE.  Why?  Because every time God intervenes in our lives through His love for us it is a miracle.  It’s a miracle of love.  We wait expectantly, hoping to apply all that we have learned in the past 3-4 years as we move forward with Him.

Are you overlooking the miracles in your life today?  Do you consider them too small to be a miracle?  Were they not what you wanted?  Maybe we need to look for those miracles we wanted by looking  a little closer at what God places in our hands; at what God knows we needed.

*PTL and PTA: A Southern-ism for Praise the Lord, and Pass the Ammunition.  Or, in other words, the battle is won, the war is still to be fought.  That is life.  The devil rules in this world and evil is prevalent everywhere because mankind chose for him to be here.  God gives us the battle and He has won the war … the devil will surrender.

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down to sleep” ; “God is great, God is good….”; “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name…”

      HOW DO YOU PRAY?

"Where two are more are gathered..."

I have noticed through the years that people pray as they have ‘heard others pray’.  We all grow up hearing the children’s prayers.  Some faiths have recited prayers.   Many pray only when in need or after they have tried everything else.

Children are sponges.  They soak up all around them as they grow. both the good habits and the bad.   So many times we inadvertently teach them to PRAY only as a last resort because all the other ‘praying’ is in recitation, not real prayer.   There is the ‘blessing prayers’ … “God is Good, God is Great.  let us thank Him for our food.”   One of my cousins when asked to pray would get to the point with, “Dear God, bless this bunch as we munch our lunch.”   There is the bedtime prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep … bless mommy, daddy, the cat … the goldfish …. oh and dear old Aunt ______ (P.S. please stop her from pinching my cheeks.)    As they get older we teach our children The Disciple’s Prayer:

Matthew 6:9-13, ” 9“Pray, then, in this way:  ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’(NASB)   This prayer was intended to teach us HOW to pray and while it is OK to pray it, it was never intended for us to ‘use it’ as a substitution for PRAYING.    Many people call that portion of scripture  The Lord’s Prayer but, it was the Disciple’s Prayer.  A prayer Jesus used to teach them HOW to pray.   (The Lord’s Prayer is John 17:1-5)

So how do you pray and how do you teach your children to pray?  You use the ‘model’ He gave us in Matthew 6 to teach them to TALK with God in Prayer.  It’s a conversation not a recitation.  Acknowledge WHO He is, praise Him, ask forgiveness, pray for others and THEN ask for your needs.  That is a ‘season’ of prayer. 

There are faiths that pray three times a day.  But, we as Christians are to pray unceasingly.  And we can.  What does that mean?  Well, even though in your morning devotions or night-time devotions you pray as the Lord taught His disciples, throughout the day you pray unceasingly.  You see a wonderful sight in creation and you pray, “thank you Lord … that’s beautiful”.  You see a homeless person on the corner and pray, “Lord be with them, meet their needs.”  A friend calls or is brought to mind, “Lord you know their need right now, meet them.”  You wake in the middle of the night and someone comes to mind, “Lord, I do not know what is going on right now, but I lift them in prayer asking you to guard and protect them, meet them where they are.”  You pray, unceasingly … when the Holy Spirit brings Him to mind or others to mind … you lift up a prayer.   This is intercessory prayer, interceding on the behalf of others as the Holy Spirit brings them to mind.  The Lord uses this way to teach you faith and draws you closer to Him through the Holy Spirit.  You learn to listen to Him. 

Sometimes you can close your eyes, other times you silently lift up the prayer.  The Word instructs us to have a daily time of prayer:  “Matthew 6:6  But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”  But you can pray at anytime and should.  It gives you peace to be in constant communication with our Heavenly Father.

Many times people live their lives (and this is the only part their children see) sending up ‘quickie prayers’.  Make sure you have a daily time of prayer.  If you only go to Him when you are in trouble, your children will only go to Him when they are in trouble.   People would call my Mom for prayer  because she had “camel knees”.  Everyone knew my Mom spent time in prayer on her knees …they said she had a ‘hot line’ to Heaven.  We all can have that ‘hot line’.  Unfortunately, many of us only use the line in time of need and is it any wonder we feel we are getting a busy number?

 

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Bless Your Heart (otherwise know in the South as “you poor stupid thang”).   Now in the South when we say that, it can mean a myriad of things. If one is trying to be sarcastic … they’re telling you that you are being stupid.  If one is replying to your circumstances … they’re probably still telling you you’re being stupid.  Basically they are telling you to focus … you’re blessed and you don’t know it!  You are concentrating on circumstances.  Of course telling someone to focus on the good in their life  will cause them to call you a Pollyanna … but, that is okay, there are worse things to be called.

Are you blessed and don’t know it?  More likely you are blessed and you are too busy focusing on the ‘wrongs’ to see all that is RIGHT in you life.  COUNT your blessings, LITERALLY … out loud if you have to …WRITE them down … name them ONE BY ONE  <~ click (George Beverly Shaw is 102 and still counting his blessings).

Play “I Spy God” with your family.  It is fun and rewarding … and you cannot play it without realizing all God has done for you.  It will make you focus on what counts in life.  “Spy” God in creation, in circumstances … everywhere.  Make yourself SEE how involved He really is in your life.   Every day you are blessed but you are so busy you seldom see the blessings.  You take ‘good days’ for granted and forget to thank Him for all He’s doing.  Yet, the minute something goes wrong … “Where was God?” …. “Why God?”   Did you ask Him where He was on your good day?  Did you ask Him ‘why?’ on your good days?

Count your blessings … one by one … spy God in all that He has done.  “I spy God …

….in my daughters and their families

… in my grandchildren’s laughter and smiles

… in my husband’s smile even though he cannot find a job (he’s counting his blessings)

… in the music He has given me

… in His word that He reveals His truths to me

… in the butterfly that flitted by

… the blue sky

… the close parking space I asked for

… the crystal blue ocean

You are blessed … do you choose to believe and recognize your blessings?

1 Thessalonians 5:18“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”(NASB)

Above all, thank Him for your salvation, for if you are “Soul Safe” … saved … have eternal life in Heaven with Him, you are truly blessed, regardless of circumstances here on earth.

2 Corinthians 9:15 “Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!”

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And The House On The Rock Stood Firm

 

Step back in your childhood and sing with me:
The Wise Man Built His House
The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
And the rain came tumbling down
Oh, the rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
And the wise man’s house stood firm.

The foolish man built his house upon the sand
The foolish man built his house upon the sand
The foolish man built his house upon the sand
And the rain came tumbling down
Oh, the rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
And the foolish man’s house went “splat!” [clap hands once]

So, build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
Build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
Build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
And the blessings will come down
Oh, the blessings come down
As your prayers go up
The blessings come down
As your prayers go up
The blessings come down
As your prayer go up
So build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ.

I love the songs of my childhood … simpler times … simple faith.  Oh, that we all would remember that simple, childlike faith in our lives today.  We tend to get wrapped up in circumstances, problems … OK … disasters.   Sure life is hard, sometimes beyond belief, but we make it even more difficult when we focus on that part of life and refuse to build on Christ and lean on Him.  Each day we focus on our problems, each day we give in to life, we teach our children to do the same.  It does not matter if they are toddler or young adult, they need to see us building on the Firm Foundation … Christ our Lord.  The more you look to Him, lean on Him, love Him, and learn from Him the less you see of the world, problems and circumstances.

Matthew 7:24-27 (HCSB)
The Two Foundations
24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”

It may be raining or snowing where you are today … in your life there may be tumult from all of life’s storms.  This is when you, your kids, friends, family and others see where your “house” is built.  Focus on that which is good and pure (Philippians 4:8) and start looking for your blessings, counting them … one by one and you will see what God has done (another song, another blog :-D)

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He IS carrying ME!

Ever feel overwhelmed?  As a parent when my children were young, there were many times when I just did not know how I could continue on through another day.  The worse years started in 1990 when my oldest brother was in his car wreck that ruined his life for ever; both my parents had open heart surgery and dad had a stroke on the operating table; and I had to deal with my own abnormal tests results.  The girls were 4 and 10, they still needed a mom.  I was so overwhelmed.  I just wanted that year to end.   The following year, 1991, was worse.  Dad died and I was diagnosed with Lupus which resulted in my being in bed more than out some weeks.  Right behind all of this job Phil lost his job and then my middle brother,  Bobby, was killed in a plane crashed.  It seemed like unending years.  During that time my children would become overwhelmed as well with the issues our family were facing, problems at school, and troubles with friends.  Children often do.  We do not think of their problems as huge because we can see the big picture, and many times the outcome down the road,  if they would only be patient and learn from their trials.  Ah, yes, it’s the big picture again.  We are to our children, as God is to us.  He sees and knows, if we would only be patient and willing to learn.

We’ve had many seasons of trials … it seems we cannot do just one tragedy, we have to have them in groups.   It is a shame that God has to re-teach us lessons.  Once again this week I have been overwhelmed.  Phil has been unemployed for over three years, during which time mom died, Victoria was in the tornado, and later her campus accident that left her elbow in three pieces.  NOW … this week the bank is foreclosing on our home and my new 40 hour a week job which includes nights and Saturdays is exhausting me.  There are some other issues as well.  I let the devil start whispering in my ear that all was lost and hopeless; that I was not up to the task God had set before me and that I was pretty much a useless piece of clay.  No, I was not suicidal … but, I was defeated.   Oh, the devil loves to have us defeated.   But, I have friends and loved ones praying for me and I was praying in earnest for mercy as well.  And then He sent friends to me to talk to me,  stand beside me and pray, to lift me up.

As God often does, in the midst of my ‘defeat’, He sent someone for me to help while I was down.  I had a young girl crumbling before me that was overwhelmed.  Like my children, I could see her problems were overwhelming to her, but they would not destroy her.  God put me in “mom” mode.  I had to turn her to the Scriptures I know so well and tell her to stand on His promises.

Isaiah 42:16 “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

I shared these and other scriptures with her as she cried.  I told her nothing is going to enter our life that is going to take away our Faith.  God will provide a way out.  Ours is to be faithful, not to solve.  Ours is to trust and obey and lean on the everlasting arms.  Our burdens are His to carry.  Let Him.

I was preaching to myself.  God’s timing, God’s plan, God’s will be done.  “Keep me leaning on the Everlasting Arms!”.

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