He’s In Our Midst

My 31 Days of Encouragement from the Lord series is over.  And I’ve had a little break.  I’m ready to see what the Lord would have me share here in my little corner of the internet.  A few years back, I did what I affectionately called “Monday Meditations”.  These were lessons I learned during the sermon on Sunday, verses the Lord had brought me to during my quiet time, or simply things I had on my heart.  I’m giving them a go again.  I’d love to hear what the Lord has taught you on Sunday or the previous week.

Mon_meditations_revdI’ve been working my way through Psalms for some time now.  My process is to read the passage, list attributes of God that are mentioned, write down verses that stand out, and then I pray those verses back to the Lord.  One morning last week, I was in Psalm 74.  The Psalmist is asking the Lord to remember His people and then he describes destruction of God’s sanctuary.  He speaks of the people of God being treated badly.  He pleads for God to destroy the enemy that is reeking havoc on the temple.  Then in verse 12, he says:

Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.

I had to read that one again.  I’m burdened by so much that goes on in our world today.  I don’t want to list events or details but the bottom line is that there is much to be concerned about.  And I certainly don’t want to go down the political road, but our nation needs prayer right now for the election tomorrow.  Psalm 74:12 gave me comfort.  A reminder that He is still on His throne…in control.  He calls us to Him.  We just have to answer.  He compels us to pray.  We just have to obey.

A few weeks ago, one of the high schools in our town held a “Fields of Faith” event.  It was sponsored by the school’s FCA group.  They held it on a Wednesday night and invited all churches to bring their youth there for service that night.  There were over 250 kids, and a handful of adults, on the field that night.  I listened to high school students lead worship and share their testimony about who God is in their life.  It was very encouraging.  I felt the presence of the Lord on the field that night.  I left there wondering what would happen if these kids really stood up for their faith.  What difference would it make in our city, county, state?

Later that day, I saw a video come across Facebook.  I love the song “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman.  This video is Matt and his band playing in Times Square.  I was brought to tears watching thousands of people worship the Lord.  I can only imagine that the presence of the Lord was felt right there, in the middle of Times Square.

As I’ve thought about both scenes for a few days, I’ve considered that I don’t give enough consideration to Him being in my midst all the time.  Not just in the walls of the church.  Not just at a concert.  Not just on a football field when teenagers are praising the Lord.  And not even in Times Square.  He’s with me all the time.  I want everything in my life to be based on being in the presence of the Lord.

How about you?  I’d love to hear how you have experienced the presence of the Lord in your life?

In the mean time…

Joy to You!


 

Still I Will Say – A Monday Meditation

Mon_meditations_revdI am often keenly aware of the fact that this life is full of trials…sorrow…disappointments.  I listen to the prayer requests at church where people I care about tell of aging parents, friends and loved ones that have been diagnosed with cancer – or some other disease.  Folks share of relationship strains, difficulties in their jobs, financial difficulty, and how they feel distant from God.

As I read God’s Word, I am reminded that none of this is really new.  The Old Testament – as well as the New Testament – had it’s share of all of the above.  And more.  So I have to ask, why am I surprised when trials come? Why do I think that my family, or friends, should be immune to them?

Last night at church, our music minister lead us through a beautiful song that really sums all of this up.

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This song has special meaning.  It reminds me of friends who lost their precious baby when he was almost full term.  Her due date was very close and he went to be with his Heavenly Father.  Their strength, their testimony lived out during the days following his passing was simply amazing.  The mom, my sweet friend, reminded countless people that even though she had lost her child, she was blessed.  I stood in amazement of her.  I still do.  To this day, I get tears in my eyes when I hear this song.  Hearing it humbles me.  It reminds me that in ALL, I am to be thankful.  In ALL, I am to praise Him.

I have no idea what you may be facing but I do know that He is with us “in the desert place”…He is with us “in the land that is plentiful”…He is with us when “the sun’s shining down” and “on the road marked with suffering.”

And so….Still I will say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

Joy to You!

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A Walk Through Galatians ~ Day 23

galatians31_photoDo you ever find yourself singing through Scripture?  You know, the tune automatically begins in your head because a very talented Christian music artist has set the passage to music.  That’s what happened when I began reading today’s passage in Galatians.  We’re looking at 5:1-6 today:

1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.  3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.  4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.  5For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.  6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. 

The song I had in my head was “I Am Set Free” by All Sons & Daughters.  They are one of my favorite groups.  I just love all their songs.  But I digress… Here are the lyrics.

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After reading them you may wonder why, other than the first line, does she think of this song?  Grant it not the whole song reflects the Scripture passage, however, for me, it does.  The song speaks of the chains of sin and shame being broken.  Verse 1 talks of the yolk of slavery.  Verse 4 talks of falling from grace.  The song speaks of being covered with grace.  The song says, “And yes Lord, we are grateful for Your grace and for Your love.”  Verse 6 reminds us that it is Christ’s love that counts for everything.

Paul keeps reminding the Galatians that it is faith that gives salvation.  Not the law.  He reminds them that under the law, there is obligation but through faith, there is freedom.  And in the freedom, righteousness comes through hope.

I may be way off base, but as I read the passage, this is what the Lord laid on my heart.  Here is a video of All Sons and Daughters singing “I Am Set Free”.  I pray that it will speak to your heart.

Until tomorrow…Joy to You!

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Enter In

Can you believe that it’s already November?  It is really just registering with me.  That means that Christmas is coming.   SOON.
That also means that this is the month that we seem to focus on being thankful.  There are Facebook challenges to post something we’re thankful for every day in November.  I have participated in this type challenge for the past few years. This year, I decided not to.  It’s not that I’m any less thankful than last year or the year before that.  It’s just that, well……..I am realizing more and more every day to be thankful all the time.
I like to read at least one Psalm a day.  It helps remind me of God’s faithfulness from the beginning of time. Yesterday I read Psalm 100.  It’s one of those that many of us memorized as a child.  Have you ever noticed the instruction it gives?  It goes like this:
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his;we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
I have probably said it, read it 100+ times.  What I am not sure of is if I ever paid real attention to the instructions.  I laugh all the time about the “make a joyful noise” part.  My singing is joyful and most would say it’s definitely noise. {smile} Anyway, I love to sing.  That is how we are to enter his presence.  Isn’t that what corporate worship is all about?
Verse 4 reminded me that every time I come into His presence I should be thankful.  Even for the hard stuff.
Bless His name.  He is worthy of our praise.
The last verse reminds us that He IS good.  His love endures forever.  What a promise!  What a reason to be thankful!
Happy November!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJoy to You!

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Jesus Paid It All ~ Day 31: Hymns of Praise

It’s November 1.  This is my final Hymns of P31 hymns 300raise post.  This has been quite a journey.  Yesterday I mentioned that I had all 31 Hymns planned but had changed my mind on the last one.  I changed my mind because of the focus on praising the Lord for a month.  I should praise Him all day, every day but I fall short because life happens and I let things get in the way.
So tonight, for my last post,  I want to highlight one more new version of an old favorite.  Jesus Paid It All was originally written by Elvina Hall in 1865.  Ms. Hall wrote the words on the inside of a hymn book during a Sunday sermon when she began thinking about all that Jesus had done for us and realizing that He truly had completely paid for our sins.  
The weight of that realization is tremendous.
It should do something to us!   Or should I say, that realization should cause us to do something.
That’s why I love the updated version by Kristian Stanfill.  It tells us what to do — PRAISE the One who paid my debt and raised my life up from the dead.  What beautiful instructions.  What a precious thought to bring us to truly worshiping Him.
These 31 posts have been just that.  Praising our Lord because He is worthy.  Worshiping Him because He paid it all.
Thank you for joining me this month.  I pray that you have been encouraged.  Please click HERE for an overview of all 31 hymns featured.
Joy to You!

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How Great Is Our God ~ Day 30: Hymns of Praise

It’s the last day of October.  I can’t believe that, save 1, I posted for 31 days….on the same topic.  I missed one so will I welcome November with that post tomorrow.
It’s been an unusual month around our house for various reasons.  I found myself often overwhelmed.  Writing for 31 days on praising the Lord has been like medicine.  Coincidence?  I think not.  God has plans for us and He knew that I, more than anyone, needed the reminder to praise Him all the time this month.  
Today’s song is How Great Is Our God. It was written by Chris Tomlin and friends.  It’s a favorite.  I love that the words cause me to really think about who God is.  He is great and mighty.  He is worthy to be praised.  
May these words bring you to a point of worship.
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 Joy to You!

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We Fall Down ~ Day 29: Hymns of Praise

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This is a simple song with powerful lyrics.  It describes exactly how we are to praise Him.  Nothing fancy or complicated.  We just need to fall at His feet and cry “holy”.  There at His feet, we will find His great mercy and love.
Chris Tomlin wrote this song after hearing his friend Louie Giglio preach on Revelation Chapter 4. He was moved by the description of what was going on around the throne of God.  You can read the whole story on how & why he wrote the song HERE
For now, I’d like to just share the words with you.  I pray that you can fall down and lay your crowns at His feet.  And while you are there, I pray that you will feel “the greatness of His mercy and love”.

We fall down, we lay our crowns
At the feet of Jesus
The greatness of mercy and love
At the feet of Jesus

We cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
Is the Lamb

We fall down, we lay our crowns
At the feet of Jesus
The greatness of mercy and love
At the feet of Jesus

And we cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
Is the Lamb

Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy

We fall down, we lay our crowns
At the feet of Jesus
The greatness of mercy and love
At the feet of Jesus

And we cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
Is the Lamb

We cry holy, holy, holy
You are holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
Is the Lamb

Joy to You!

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