Friday, November 28, 2014

Sweet Song of Praise

 

Sweet Song of Praise


Psalm 8:1,9
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.  O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

What comes to mind when we hear His name–– is it the Sweetest Name We Know
               Is there strength, power, and joy of heaven that comforts our troubled soul? 

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds, to a heart so filled with pain; 
To soothe the aching broken heart and heal the wounds of shame.

O, Lover of our burdened soul, our never ending Friend,
Though weak and weary, bruised from sin, forgiveness has no end.

May we lift our voice to heaven’s throne, of the matchless worth of Christ, 
Our Prophet, Priest, and Glorious King, our Sustainer and Giver of life.

O LORD, our Lord, what eternal excellence is given to Thy name,
The sweetest song of highest praise, will be to His wonderful, precious name.
    

                                                        by Dianna Moffitt Carroll


There is a well of strength hidden in the praises we sing and give to our Lord. Though our hearts are heavy and at times we don’t know what to do, we can meditate and ponder upon, “How excellent is Thy name.” He is our Counselor, the Prince of Peace, and our Mighty God in need: to defend us, comfort and guide us, throughout our anxious days. Don’t let the songs of praise be mere words written with ink, but let the sweetest name ever sung–– bring healing to the soul. For then we’ll discover the marvelous privilege of getting to know, the One whose name is exalted above every name and at the name of JESUS, every knee shall bow.


Philippians 2:9,10

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 


I Chronicles 29:11-13

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.  Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.  Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.  

Thought: David, in his songs of praise to God, expresses loving words of adoration in which we see God’s name proclaimed as excellent and above all other names. He extols the Savior and the wonder of His precious name giving Him praise for the victory, greatness, power and strength unto all who praise His glorious name. Why praise the name of Jesus and give all honor to His name? Because He is worthy to be praised and His greatness is unsearchable in heaven above and on the earth beneath. Hebrews 13:15 ~ By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. “...That God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 4:11b).

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Battle in Your Mind


The Battle in Your Mind

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Were you ever afraid of the dark as a child? I can recall waking up in the middle of the night fearful that some stranger was in my room. My heart was pounding so hard I thought it might jump right out of my chest. One night, I thought a man was standing in the doorway of my bedroom. He appeared large and monster like. I could not yell or even move because of the fear that had gripped my heart. Then I realized, when my eyes finally adjusted to the darkness, it was only my dad’s shirt hanging on the door frame. Crippling fear comes to us in many ways and for just about any reason.

What is paralyzing fear to you? What do you fear most in your life? Here is a list of a few things that women fear most:

•  Finances - We may loose our home, car, etc.

•  Children - Fear of baby development - Will our children  love and serve God?

•  Life of Singleness - Will I be alone forever? I must have a husband to be happy. 

• Divorce - Will my husband leave me for another woman?

•  Widowhood - Old age - Convalescent care - Loss of a loved one

•  Illness - Fear of suffering

•  Death - When will I die? How will I die? Will I die with dignity?

Have you ever asked yourself? “What if?”  That question could generate all kinds of fears about the future. What ifs? Are imaginations in the mind. This is why we know the mind is where the battle begins and where strongholds, images and knowledge that exalts itself above God, must be “cast down.”

Stronghold: A lie or false idea that a person believes to be true. It is so true to them that they are literally held in bondage to that thought. Picture a castle or fortress that is surrounding your mind with lies.

Imaginations: Are images made up in our mind keeping us from loving and serving God as He calls us to do.

Reasonings:  A cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event. The power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic.

If we want to overcome our fears, the strongholds, imaginations, or reasons in our minds, we cannot think, “What if.”  Thoughts about the future are at best only guesses.  Everything is in God’s hands. The dread of the future is a thief of joy. Like our future thoughts about the “What ifs” the “If only” thoughts about our past can rob us of peace and joy in the present. There is only one thing we can do about the past and that is to forget it! “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” Philippians 3:13.

To forget means to not let your past affect or control you in the present.

Thought: How do I take every thought captive? Choose to trust what the Bible says about God is true and replace any fear or doubt with the truth of the Word of God. Life is difficult and bad things do happen to good people. When we know the truth of Scripture, we can lay before God our hurts, disappointments and the challenges we face. We can choose to think about God’s ability to handle problems instead of dwelling on them. Even when we feel the pain that life brings, we can rest in His peace that passes all understanding; the peace that only He can give. (Philippians 4:7)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Cheerful


Cheerful

Proverbs 15:13
A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. 

Proverbs 15:15
All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. 

Proverbs 17:22
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

One night after a Bible Study at the House of Hope Treatment Center, I started to tell some funny stories about myself. The ladies that were there commented, “You need to write about your experiences, your episodes, they are so funny.” I love to laugh and do laugh regularly at the hilarious happenings of my life. For someone to have a merry, cheerful countenance it truly does depend on the condition of the heart. One finds in Scripture that along with a merry heart, there comes a continual feasting, and a cheerful countenance. The joy, the celebration, the cheerful countenance comes from a heart that is continuously filled with the love of God, His wonderful mercy, and matchless grace. 

True Story 
I was a homeschool mom and every Friday at our church, we had what we called, “Homeschool Friday.” On these special Fridays, all the children that were home schooled could come to the church for extra help in a certain subject that was being offered. Mom’s could take a day off from teaching and all of the children could stay at the church, even the babies. Some moms chose to stay and help teach some subjects, some babysat, or just hung out and helped in any way they could. We had Ladies’ Bible Study every Friday studying a particular book of the Bible or learning from a study book written by a well known author. It was a blessing to all the moms that took advantage of it.

On one particular Friday, after I had taught Ladies’ Bible Study, I went to the Ladies’ room. (I hope this is not TMI, too much information?) This room was a very small, one person, restroom. This Friday, I wore a dress and pantyhose to  teach the Ladies’ Bible Study. Somehow, while in the very small, one person, Ladies’ room, I got my watch stem caught in the back side of my pantyhose. I couldn’t budge my watch or my arm without ripping my hose. How does one get their watch stem caught in the back side of their pantyhose? I’m not sure how that happened, but it did, needless to say. My arm was stuck, pinned behind me, and I couldn’t get it unstuck–––I was a little flustered to say the least. 

I quietly opened the door and peered out to see if I could catch a glimpse of my husband, the pastor of the church, anywhere in sight. The restroom was in a narrow hallway, but close to my husband’s office. So, I thought, I’ll call out for him. I immediately heard a faint reply, “What?” I responded, “I need your help, Please!” You would have to know my husband to understand his reply back to me and to be assured his question was rooted in love. “What do you want, Woman?” There were people walking back and forth and wondering why I was calling out for the Pastor to come help me in the Ladies’ room. In a few minutes, he came and reluctantly entered the extremely small, one person, Ladies’ room with me. I showed him what had happened and immediately he started to laugh, which made me laugh. Here we were, the Pastor and his wife, in the small, one person, Ladies’ room, laughing-out-loud. 

The hallway, being quite narrow, made a perfect tunnel, or megaphone to hear everything that was going on in the very small, one person, Ladies’ room. Anyone in that part of the building, could hear us laughing and wrestling around in the getting smaller, one person, Ladies’ room. We knew they were wondering about us and asking each other, “What are they doing in there?” The ladies began to gather in the narrow hallway right outside the small, one person, Ladies’ room and started whispering, “What’s happened? What’s wrong?” Finally, my husband and I stopped laughing and there was silence in the very small, one person, Ladies’ room. Victory! He got my arm and watch free from the backside of my pantyhose. My husband definitely was not a timid or shy man but, after my pantyhose mishap, he quickly opened the door of the small, one person, Ladies’ room and dashed out–––the coward! Obviously, he left me behind to collect myself and try to explain to all the ladies standing around what had just happened. (Lucile Ball would have been proud of my moment).

Thought: To say the least, the rest of the day was spent; answering questions, listening to snide remarks, and being the blunt of many jokes. I’m not sure why these things happen to me, but they do and I assure you, they happen without me prompting them. If this silly story has brought a smile to your face or even a grin, then it was successful in it’s purpose. There is no spiritual insight to this funny story, but I do think as a Christian, you need to realize that when you are filled with the Spirit of Christ; you will possess a merry heart, have a cheerful countenance, and will continuously be feasting in His love and grace, so freely given.

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Pain"


"Pain"

The word “pain” or some form of it appears over 70 times in Scripture. The word’s first usage explains the origin of pain in childbirth: “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” Genesis 3:16. The truth here is that Adam and Eve had sinned and the pain of childbirth is one of the consequences of sin. Because of sin, the whole earth was cursed, and death entered in as a result (Romans 5:12). Therefore, it may be concluded that pain is one of the many results of the original sin.

Pain is a gift from God though it is not stated that way in the Bible. Without pain we would not know when we are hurting and need medical help. The absence of pain is one the of the problems associated with Leprosy. Definition of Leprosy: Symptoms that develop include granulomas of the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. This may result in a lack of ability to feel pain and thus loss of parts of extremities due to repeated injuries. Weakness and poor eyesight may also be present. [From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia].

Just a few days ago I suffered some severe pain in my body. I reached out to touch something and excruciating pain gripped my right arm. I danced around for a few moments and then it stopped (must have been the dance). I called the chiropractor and got an appointment, but I was having difficulty getting undressed to get ready for the appointment. My head and arm were caught in my sweat shirt as I was attempting to remove them. Oh, the pain! Again, the dance started and I began to call out to God for help. While crying out in pain, these were my thoughts; “Here I am struck in this sweat shirt and no one can hear my cries or come to my rescue. Oh, it hurts! What will I do, if I can’t get unstuck?” It all seems so trite, but in reality, it truly was quite agonizing. Finally, the pain subsided and I did get my arm out of my sweat shirt and was able to take it off over my head–––making it to my doctor appointment right on time. I am so thankful for God’s kindness towards me in relieving that awful pain. This a small example of the Lord’s wonderful grace and mercy poured out on me that troublesome morning. (I later learned that the pain I was experiencing was caused by a pinched nerve in my neck). 

Pain provides one an opportunity to experience God’s marvelous grace. Consider what Paul said: “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9). Paul was speaking of a “thorn in his flesh” that troubled him. We don’t know for sure what it was, but it seemed to have been painful for Paul. God’s grace was being given to Paul so he could endure the pain. God will give His children the grace to bear pain physically, emotionally, or spiritually. The really good news is that, “... God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away, (Revelation 21:4). The pain we experience here in this fallen sin-cursed world will be done away with for those who, through faith in Christ, spend eternity in heaven with Him. 

Thought: Can we truly thank God for our pain when in the midst of suffering it can be quite difficult? God assures us that His grace is sufficient, enough, for these unbearable times. His grace gives strength, durability, resilience, and endurance when our strength is spent–––His grace is constantly available. Though our request for deliverance from pain may be denied, He will continually supply us with His grace to endure that we may honor Him in and through our infirmities.