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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sing Praises

Psalm 47:6 "Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises."

Pic from
The word "praise" occurs 259 times in the King James Version of the Bible.  It is defined as, "The offering of grateful homage in words or song, as an act of worship"(   Praise is an expression of love and gratitude that we return to God at our recognition of His great love and mercy for us.  When we praise God, it pleases Him; but even deeper, it changes us and reflects our heart position toward Him.  It is not possible for a proud or rebellious heart to truly praise.  Praise erupts from a knowing of our bereft and sinful state and that realization that God sacrificed His Son to rescue us from ourselves.  Sometimes it may seem that praise is limited to the musically or vocally gifted person; but truly, God does not listen for perfect pitch or even meter.  He longs to hear the genuine song of your heart.  Praise is about relationship; when we are in right standing with God it naturally flows.  The first place to check in our hearts if we are not flowing, is forgiveness.  Is there someone you have truly not forgiven?  Unforgiveness blocks our relationship with God.  The next place to look is repentance.  Are there sins in your life that you recognize and will not repent of?  They are not worth holding on to!  Examine your obedience.  Has God asked you for something, in His Word, or personally that you are resisting?  He is merciful and kind, but He does expect us to obey Him.  1 Corinthians 11:31 admonishes, "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged."  If we remain cognizant of our sin and repent for it, God will not have to judge us for it later.

There are many reasons to praise God, five of which from the Book of Psalms are:

His Righteousness:
Psalm 7:17
"I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high."

Our gladness in Him:
Psalm 9:2
"I wil
l be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High."

His Salvation:
Psalm 9:14
"That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation."

His Holiness:
Psalm 22:3
"But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."

His Mercy:
Psalm 106:1
"Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever."

Be diligent to keep your relationship with God free of hindrances so that you will be able to fulfill Psalm 34:1 and declare as David did, "I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."


Monday, July 16, 2012

Hoarded Emotions

Psalm 51:7

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. KJV

Life hurts.  That is a plain and simple fact that we all must someday face.  What we do with that hurt is the defining factor in the quality of life that we eventually live.  Sometimes the battering of life's storm is so intense and prolonged that we no longer deal with situations and just begin to accumulate layers of pain and scars that cripple us from living healthy lives.  These emotional injuries are not so apparent; such as, a missing body part or jagged scar.  Nonetheless, these scars continue to carve into our life experience in ways that are far reaching.  

When we internalize pain from the storms of life and hurts that we receive from others, intentional or otherwise, it is akin to a hoarded home.  Hoarding occurs when more baggage, whether it be material or emotional is brought into a dwelling then is let go, and is not maintained in an orderly manner.  That dwelling may be your home or your heart.  If you have ever watched the television shows that deal with this issue, you understand that it isn't easy for those that hoard to let go of the material things that are cluttering their lives.  The emotional significance of the hoard is tantamount to the life issues that each one of these persons is attempting to deal with.

Several years ago I had my art studio set up and organized.  Due to a family crisis, I needed the space that it was housed in.  All of my art supplies were boxed rather unceremoniously and stored.  Later, I set my studio up again but it was never as organized as it was originally.  Due to another issue, that reincarnation of my creative space was stored again and I ended up with a tangled mess of art supplies.  Upon my first attempt at sorting my things, I had a minor meltdown when some old and irreplaceable pictures were almost discarded by someone helping me.  No one but God understands what precious things are under the strata of our lives.  Recently I reestablished my studio space into a functional order, although it needs some tweaking.  Each item  I sorted brought back memories of the projects I had left unfinished, the tragic emotions I had not dealt with at the time, and the hope that I had for the future.  Please don't allow your heart to become like my art studio.  Please allow God to be your sorting partner.  He understands and is totally invested in purging our lives and hearts to be healthy and walk in His light.    

Father, please lead and guide us to walk in Your perfect light.  Life becomes so burdensome, thank You that Yours is the shoulder that we must lean on to bear it.  I pray that You hearken these words to the eyes of those who need to understand how our hoarded emotions harm our lives.  I thank You for purging us, even when it is painful.  In Jesus name, please continue to do Your perfect work in all of our lives.  Amen.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Things I Used To Do. . .

    The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

      Standing on the beach watching my sister and brother-in-law play with their two young children in the surf, I began to think about the things in my life that have gone by the wayside. It had been at least ten years since I swam in the ocean. Before that I would swim out past the breakers and float on my back in the briny deep. Now I strive to go to the beach, not get wet and not bring any sand home with me in my shoes, bag, ears etc. In our lives it is very easy to lose sight of what is beneficial to us, the small simple things that nurture our souls and make us feel like a two-year-old again. When we allow ourselves to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, joyfulness will ensue. There is an enemy of our souls, if he is able to steal our joy, the battle is half won. In Christ, we have the freedom to live our lives in His joy, and as John 10:10 tells us we can live that life more abundantly. God is interested in our having joyful life, in Him. The enemy would have us to believe that a joyful life is gained by wealth and prominence. While wealth is not inherently bad, it is not the secret to joy. What price can you put on the delighted face of a child as they splash in the ocean waves? Don't allow the enemy to steal your joy.
         I jumped in the ocean at my brother-in-law's prodding, ok he actually dragged me in, and I swam out past the breakers. As I floated on my back and gazed at the azure blue sky streaked with long white clouds, I promised God and myself that I was going to jump back into life more fully. In the fall I will rake leaves and jump in the pile. This winter I shall be playing in the snow and building a snowman.  I will be chasing fireflies and listening to the song of frogs and crickets next spring. If you see me trouncing in a puddle next summer, know that I haven 't gone mad.
         Lord, thank you for the joy that You have promised to us. I pray that you inspire each of us to live our lives joyfully in You. Father please keep Your hand on our lives and empower us to do the work on this earth that you have ordained for us. In Jesus' name thank You and Amen.


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