Archive | October 2012

Will His praise always be on your lips?

Hand raised in worship

Praise and Worship are some of the ways we let God know just how much we love Him. They allow us an intimate and/or collective way of expressing  thanksgiving, admiration and adoration to our Heavenly Father and Jesus our Savior.  And let’s not forget that  there is power in worship. We see one example of this in 2Chronicles 20:22 NIV22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. God actually intervened and rescued His people from their enemies when they praised and worshiped Him.  The word of God says that God even inhabits the praises of His people as we see in Psalm 22:3 KJV3  But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.  

There are so many tangible ways for us to praise and worship. Scripture is full of examples and ways to do so.  Let’s take a look at some of them…

Ephesians 5:19,20 NIV 19  Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 9:11 NIV 11 Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.

Psalm 150:4 NIV 4 Praise Him with timbrel and dancing, praise Him with the strings and pipe.

Psalm 47:1 NIV Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

Psalm 134:2 NIV 2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.

If you are a follower of Christ, you have every reason to worship and praise the Lord regardless of your current circumstances. He has redeemed you and set you free from a life sentence! He has and will transform your life from something broken to something beautiful! He is the faithful ONE that you can always count on!

If you need reinforcements in your walk, take the time to praise and worship the King of Kings. Just as God set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated, as they began to sing and praise, we can give Him the opportunity to show Himself in our lives when we take our eyes off our difficulties and circumstances and instead turn our eyes and hearts to Him in praise and worship!

Praise and worship is not just something we do when our lives are running smoothly, we are to enter into praise and worship despite our circumstances! Instead of grumbling to yourself or others, turn to the ONE that can actually change things. The ONE that intercedes on our behalf!

Remember the words of David (a man after God’s own heart)  from Psalm 34:1 NIV I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.


Trials=Opportunities

Sometimes the beautiful, sweet things God does on our behalf overwhelm me. Just in the last two weeks I have seen God’s hand move so wonderfully in my life and in the lives of those around me.  He has answered so many prayers for myself and others. He has given water in dry places, He has healed people we have prayed over, He has provided financially for needs that seemed impossible. We serve an awesome, loving God that delights in the prayers of His kids. As we yield our lives to Him, He never disappoints.

Since my husband received a cancer diagnosis in June, God has been taking care of so many details in our lives. I have no fear of the future. He is in this journey with us every step of the way. He has given me a peace that I cannot even describe. He continues to take care of our present and future needs, sometimes with great precision. We were told we would have trials and tribulations in this world and that we are not to be surprised. James 1:2-4 NIV Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  

 Every trial is an opportunity to see the mighty hand of God work in our lives. I believe this to be true. I have seen it many times in my own life. We don’t wish to go through trials and we don’t choose them but when they come, and they will come, we are able to witness our Heavenly Father’s beautiful hand in even the finest details.

If you are going through a trial right now, don’t look to the right or left but look to Christ for peace that only He can offer, and ask for God to make Himself known in your trial. When we seek Him, He will always been found.   Here are a few verses to consider…

Psalm 112:6-8 NIV Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever . They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.   We don’t have to stress or worry about our circumstances. As followers of Christ, we have One looking out for us at all times. One who answers often before we even ask. One who will never leave us or forsake us.

Matthew 6:31-33 NIV 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Seek Him and trust Him and He will not disappoint you. In fact, you will begin to see His beautiful hand move in your life in ways you could never imagine.  We serve an awesome God!

Trials and Tribulations

Those who hope will soar!

We believers in Christ have so much to be thankful for. There is no one like our God! When we turn to Him, He  meets all our needs. His promises are forever and His word is true. One of the most beautiful promises we have can be found in Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary,and young men stumble and fall;31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

In a day and age where most of us are far too busy for our own good we have ONE we can run to. We don’t have to try and recharge our own batteries with positive thinking and bogus crystals!  We have the real deal..we serve a living God that never lets us out of His sight!  Not only that but all He asks is that we turn to Him and He will replace our weariness with strength and replace our weakness with His power. Our hope is NOT in vain. Our hope is in Jehovah Jireh, our Lord and provider.

We must learn to put our trust and dependency on the ONE who is able to make a difference. Too many run to and fro to this friend or that friend, to their Pastor or neigbour, or to a relative wanting quick  answers and easy solutions instead of seeking the lover of their soul. Our Savior,healer, deliverer and comforter is waiting for us to turn to Him. Matthew 11:28-30 NIV 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Today, instead of turning on the t.v. or radio or picking up the phone for comfort, turn to Jesus. He longs to have fellowship with you. He loves you enough that He willingly laid down His life for you to be able to have a relationship with Him. Lay your troubles and your weariness at His feet and allow Him to wrap His arms of comfort around you as you spend time in His presence and in His word. As you put your trust in Him, He will renew your strength!

I have seen eagles here several times, but thi...

Isaiah 40:31 NIV But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Let’s NOT become weary

Often when we come to God with a prayer request we would like to receive our answer immediately. This does happen but I have found in my life that often the answers do not always come right away. God, at times, allows us to go through a time of growth or stretching before we receive our heart’s desire. This period of waiting also weeds out those who are looking to our Heavenly Father as a Santa Claus type provider instead of “He who rules over the nations.” Psalm 22:28.

He is the lover of our soul and ultimately knows what is best for us. He also knows when and if He will  answer our prayers with a yes, a no or perhaps a not now. I have received all three at various times in my walk. I can’t say that I always appreciate waiting on my answer but I can say that I trust the ONE who answers to know what is best for me and mine.  I am always so pleased when I receive an immediate answer but I am learning to be content when I don’t. It is quite simply a matter of trusting the ONE who truly knows me and everything about me. As we read in Psalm 139:1-4 NIV You have searched me, Lord,and you know me.You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

So for those times that we have to wait on God for our answer, just how should we spend our time waiting? Galatians 6:9 NIV  tells us, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

As you wait on God to answer the cry of your heart, spend your time wisely. Seek His face, read His word and continue to do all He has shown you to do up until this time. Don’t waste time demanding your way but serve God and fulfill the ministry He has provided for you whether that be with your family, your church or your community and remember, “For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we DO NOT give up.”

Don’t ignore bullying

This morning  I watched a Youtube video of a beautiful 15 year old girl, Amanda Todd, expressing her hopelessness and sorrow prior to her committing suicide. What a sad, pathetic story of a young girl that made a few poor decisions and was verbally and physically beaten by others for it. The fact that other teenagers could and would behave so vile and merciless towards her is unbelievable. Where was their decency? Where was their compassion for another human being? It is hard to believe that with all the so called sensitivity training this generation is receiving in schools and various programs etc. that one person could treat another person so horribly.

We all know people that have been bullied. Coming from a home where my own Dad was a bully, I have always detested bullying. I can remember in junior school watching a girl in my class get poked and made fun of and finally exploding at the perpetrators because I couldn’t stand by and watch!  Bullies come in all forms and sizes.. some as abusive parents, some siblings, others as coworkers, fellow students etc..  Fortunately, most of those bullied  do not take their life in desperation. Most come through it but not without their share of mental and physical battle scars!

So as followers of Christ, how should we react when we see bullying? Should we walk away and pray for the person/persons or should we speak up? Should we ignore it and hope it will go away or should we speak up and out on behalf of those  being bullied? Many people choose to walk on past and somehow justify that perhaps that person did something to warrant it….

What does the Bible say about how we are to react to those who are in a position of weakness or vulnerability?

Jeremiah 22:3 NIV This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

1 Peter 3:8 NIV Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 NIV 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

These are powerful words and certainly don’t encourage indifference or apathy, but involvement!   In fact just the opposite, as found in Genesis 42:21 NIV 21 They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.” 

This was in reference to the way Joseph’s brothers mistreated him and later felt shame and believed the hardships they were facing was a direct result of their abuse of Joseph.  And finally Psalm 83:3 NIV Defend the weak and the fatherlessuphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

All of these verses are verses of action. When we witness bullying or abuse we are not to sit idly by and ignore it, we are to do what we can to help. This may be with actions, with words or with intervention of others such as the police but we are NOT to ignore the plight of the poor, weak, disheartened or oppressed. As penned by Edmund Burke, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men/women to do nothing.”

English: Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, th...

 

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What more do we need?

I was reading Psalm 37:1-9 this morning and what an amazing word it is!  Though David penned it centuries before us, every word can be applied to our lives today. As followers of Christ, it is every bit as true to us today as it was to David during his lifetime. God has NOT changed. He never will. That is a truth we can take to the grave.

Spend a few minutes today meditating on each verse. Then apply each one to your present situation. These are powerful words of truth and hope. If there was ever a time in history that we needed large dosages of both it is now….

Psalm 37:1-9 NIV 

Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in Him and He will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for Him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
   but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

To sum up DON’T FRET OR ENVY OTHERS, TRUST IN GOD AND DO WELL. DELIGHT IN GOD AND HE WILL GIVE YOU THE DESIRES OF YOUR HEART. COMMIT YOUR WAYS TO HIM. BE STILL AND WAIT ON HIM. REFRAIN FROM ANGER AND WRATH AND AGAIN DO NOT FRET AS IT LEADS ONLY TO EVIL!!

Looking around us can at times be overwhelming. The view isn’t always pleasant but God is still on the throne and in control. Christ is still making intercession for His church and will continue to do so until the day He takes us home.  We will  inherit the land!  Take Him at His word and put your hope in the One who never fails or disappoints.

David: Psa 37:4

A Call to THANKS giving

Another Canadian Thanksgiving is upon us. Most of us are looking forward to spending this weekend with our loved ones. We will likely enjoy a wonderful turkey dinner together and spend time talking and sharing over the course of the weekend. We will also enjoy an extra day to play hooky on Monday.  🙂  There are extra groceries to buy, menus to plan and perhaps baking to do.  It’s quite easy to get caught up in all the preparations for the weekend and especially for our Thanksgiving dinner.

This Thanksgiving, why not try and keep God as our focal point. After all, it is His awesome provisions that allow us to celebrate Thanksgiving in the first place. We all have so much to be thankful for. We still live in a country where we are allowed so many freedoms. We can hold differing political opinions, attend church and walk in freedom on the streets without fear of being shot or imprisoned. Let’s not take it for granted.

This Thanksgiving, keep a heart of gratitude while you’re preparing or enjoying. The word of God tells us how important it is to give thanks to God for all things. Most of all, remember the price Christ paid for our freedom. That alone is enough for our hearts to be overflowing with thankfulness.

Both the Old and New Testament are full of verses reminding us of the importance of thanking God  in all and for all circumstances and situations in our lives. Even those times of difficulty and stretching.  Here are a few…

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

Psalm 30:12 NIV18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.

Psalm 95:2 NIV Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.

Ephesians 5:20 NIV  20 Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:28 NIV 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  

My Thanksgiving hope for us all is that we will never take for granted all that God did for us when He allowed His son to be offered up on the cross, “ But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57 NIV

We serve an amazing, loving God that spared no expense in offering us a way back to intimate fellowship with Him through Christ. Don’t leave Him out of your Thanksgiving celebrations.

Happy THANKS giving everyone!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Occult ignorance is NOT bliss

As followers of Christ, God has called us to an intimate relationship with Him. As with any close relationship we grow closer by getting to know each other. Through His word, God has provided an awesome way of discovering  just who He is and what is important to Him. He desires that we live a life that is full of peace and joy despite our circumstances. In order to obtain this we need to abide in His presence and in His word. Through His precious spirit God’s word gives us guidance, wisdom and allows us to learn of the heart of God. In the word there are things God tells us we are to avoid. Does He do this to withhold good things from us?  No, it couldn’t be further from the truth. He desires that we not lose our intimacy and favor with Him by disobedience.

If we begin to dabble with things God has forbidden we end up facing some pretty horrible consequences. These things come with a warning and ignorance is NO excuse. As believers we are to search the word of God to learn what is and is not acceptable in God’s eyes for His kids. If He tells us to avoid something, we are wise to do just that. Unfortunately, some believers look at things that God has forbidden as innocent pastimes, interests etc. One area where this is evident is with the occult. Many Christians seem to think it is okay to follow their horoscopes. They think there is no harm in daily checking out what some Astrologer has predicted for their life. Let’s take a look and see what God’s word says about it..   Isaiah 47:13,14 NIV 13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward,those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you.14 Surely they are like stubble;the fire will burn them up.They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame.These are not coals for warmth;this is not a fire to sit by.

This doesn’t sound too harmless in God’s eyes.   Jeremiah 10:2 NIV  says This is what the Lord says:“Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them.

Another activity that some believers have allowed to creep into their lives is the practise of consulting a fortune teller or medium. There are several television shows that make it look like an innocent activity that actually may even help people with their decision making. God’s word is more than clear on this…

Acts 13:6-12 NIV They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

We don’t need a counterfeit spirit to lead us. We have God’s Holy Spirit to lead us and anything less is going to lead us places God does not want us to go as Paul demonstrated in Acts 16:16-18 NIV 16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

There’s a bondage that comes from playing around with spirits. God gives us plenty of warning for our own protection and those who willingly continue in the practise will eventually reap the consequences in their life often not even understanding why due to a lack of knowing God’s word.   Acts 19:13-19 NIV 13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear,and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.

Finally, we serve the living God and are empowered by His precious Holy Spirit. We don’t need any counterfeits in our life. Only God can offer us the peace and joy that comes from Him. Anything else is a temporary fix that will eventually bring trouble and destruction. If you as a believer have dabbled in the occult, it’s time to stop and ask God for forgiveness. Whether you have done it in ignorance or willful disobedience.  Over the years I have seen so many people lose their joy, peace  and be filled with fears by dabbling in things they should have left alone. It’s never too late to come to Christ and ask for forgiveness and for Him to restore your peace.

And finally the following verses give us God’s take on playing around with the occult. These practises  occurred back before the time of Christ and will continue until He returns but as believers we are not to participate in any of it!

Deuteronomy 18:9-13 NIV When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God.

English: Photograph of an open Bible with focu...

2 Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.