I’m a doer. I consider Martha from Luke 10:41 my Bible spirit. My “Love Language” is definitely acts of service. I’m working on being Martha’s sister Mary — loving Jesus in pure love and adoration. We frequently compare ourselves to others we admire and usually find ourselves wanting. I told a sweet friend of mine the other day that I realize I surround myself with a lot of “Marys” — women who I consider a lot nicer and kinder than myself. She responded with, “You are such a compassionate person.” That’s because she’s so nice.
So here I am in the midst of something that doesn’t come naturally to me — singing words of praise and love for God. He always manages to put our flaws front and center, doesn’t He? I’ve come to just look up and laugh along. The Martha in me kicked into high gear with this “project” He set on my heart. I started researching what famous pastors have said about praise. I gathered songs that spoke to loving God. I’ve discovered poetry and art which praises the Lord. I’ve also started following other blogs. One such blog is by Carol Congalton. I really don’t know much about her except she is a Mary. She has a great gift for words in expressing her love and joy and wonder for God. She’s also very funny. She posted this beautiful little essay on God’s sweetness that I had to share with you. Enjoy!
There is a great storm rising. Can you feel it? It’s a battle for God’s modern Jerusalem. A spiritual battle rages in God’s created land – America. The home of the free and land of the brave. Since its inception, the United States of America has rested all its actions on a firm belief in the Almighty. Every US State Constitution mentions God. And although there have been those that want to erase this truth, believers have held strong. Like all battles this one will destroy, it will maim, it will leave scars. But God stands as our great comforter. He is, as Paul writes in 2 Cor 1: 3-11. “The Father of Compassion and the God of all Comfort.” This “God of all Comfort” is waiting for us to turn completely to Him when we face the slings and arrows of those who would destroy us
I started following Sean Feucht on Instagram when he ran for office in California. He is a worship leader and strong family man. He loves God. And his loss for a chance to hold a government seat did not stop him for what has turned into his greatest mission – to fight for those of us who want to openly worship in what has become a modern Babylon. Through the ministry, Hold The Line, he and other pastors hold outdoor worship services up and down the west coast of the United States. This weekend they went straight into the heart of beast – Seattle, Washington’s CHOP – an area that ANTIFA declared independent from the country. They set up their microphones and instruments. And hundreds of worshippers came to sing praises to the Lord. And Satan showed up. Satan worshippers marched around them. People attacked the stage wielding knives. Pregnant worshippers were cussed at and spat on. The more the “opposition” screamed, the louder the singing became. Because God the Comforter was surrounding the believers. Their wall of bronze enveloped them and they sang. And they were baptized and they surrendered to the one and only Higher Authority.
Lest we think this battle is solely between believers and unbelievers the comments this organization gets from supposed believers is so disheartening. Many seem to think that Caesar has been placed as head of the church. The dictates about not being able to sing in California churches or how many people are allowed at church are deemed “worthy” by these church goers. Their fear has taken over their minds as they’ve forgotten the only fear we need to have is that of God. As for Sean and company, his trials are purposeful. God is using him and his family and friends to show how complete reliance on God to protect and comfort us is our utmost goal. His trials lead him to comfort others. We can learn of patience and endurance when we watch as he is attacked over and over and gets up each day to praise God.
This modern Jerusalem – a place on the hill for freedom of speech, religion, assembly – is worth fighting for. In the history of the world there has never been a country created to give all citizens so much freedom and so much responsibility, and called it God-given. As a devout Christian, I am commissioned to fight this good fight. And I will be comforted by our Great Father during my times of need. May I learn endurance and surrender so that I can comfort others.
Are you experiencing trials related to your faith? Tell us how you’ve turned to God in the comments. I’ve posted one of the videos an anti-Christian took of the Seattle worship service. There is some foul language on this.
Have you ever “waited for the other shoe to drop?” I used to live my life out that way all the time. If something was good, I was just waiting for it to go bad. If something was bad, I was waiting for it to get worse. I truly don’t understand how my husband has put up with me for 31 years. If we got a nice tax return and decided to go on a trip, I just knew some extraordinary expense was going to come up. My “buyer’s remorse” was legendary amongst my family. It’s not surprising that my faith in God was at best lukewarm and at worst non-existent.
As I’ve learned and studied more about the character of God one thing stands out above all else – he is ever faithful and never changing. Throughout the Bible He reminds us that He will keep His covenant with us. He is the rock to stand on, the bronze wall to withstand attacks, and the fireproof blanket that keeps us from the flames. Malachi 3:6 says, “I, the Lord do not change; So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” But notice who does change: “Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them.” All God asks of us, “Return to me, and I will return to you.”
Is there anything in your life that is so stalwart? No. I can say that without even knowing you. Our friends will disappoint us. Our spouses will fail us. Our families might even turn from us. Our houses will crumble and our bodies will decay. But God is always faithful, always present, always waiting for our return – with open arms.
I found this beautiful version of Take Me to The Rock that I hope you enjoy! When was there a time you felt God had left you only to realize the opposite had occurred? Share your praise in the comments below!
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for!” That especially holds true when we sit in prayer with God. At times he will, because we refuse to listen to his guidance, give us exactly what we’ve wished for – and realize it’s not what we needed. Other times he gives us the exact opposite of what we’ve prayed. And we realize it is exactly what we needed. Charles Stanley’s Life Principle #9 is, “Trusting God means looking beyond what we can see to what God sees.”
God is our wise counselor. He is the ultimate teacher and rescuer from ourselves. Yes, from ourselves. When we finally surrender to his will we look back over all the times we prayed for the wrong things. A friend of mine shared with me the other day that she was looking back over her last six months of journal entries. She was so convicted in what her prayers said. For one, she kept praying to God to show her how to forgive someone; over and over and over she asked for guidance. And then she came to the entry where she prayed that someone would forgive her, immediately. She didn’t want that person to pray for six months about how to forgive her, she wanted it now. She had to laugh at the glaring lesson God was putting in front of her. “Yes, I want you to forgive immediately, not six months from now, not with some magic steps you need to learn, now.”
About four years ago I sat on the edge of my bed in tears. In my conversation with God I told Him how I didn’t understand why I was so unhappy. I was hosting a successful Bible study, I prayed and I went to church. I recited all my “good Christian” actions. But I was still in mental and emotional turmoil. Suddenly a loud and distinct voice behind me boomed, “What have you really done?” Now mind you, there was no one else home at the time. I quickly looked behind me to an empty room. I responded with a prosaic, “What??” And from right in front of me the voice spoke, “Really, what have you done?” It shocked me. Mostly because the conviction was true. I was doing all the “right things” but I wasn’t doing the most important thing – surrendering completely to the Almighty. And so, I got down on my knees and prayed for him to show me the path – no, pull me with both hands – out of the mud and mire of my life. He rescued me at that very moment. He started me on what I called God’s Boot Camp.
The same friend who shared her journal review asked me at the end of a long walk, “Why aren’t people adding their praise to your posts?” I responded by saying I didn’t really know – maybe people were quietly saying their own praises without feeling the need to post. Some people also reply to me personally. While others might do what I did before that fateful day on the side of the bed, they read and move on. You see God the counselor,God the rescuer can only be successful at his tasks when we intentionally obey him. I also shared with her that this 30 Days of Praise, unlike some of my other challenges I’ve opened to people, is really for me. And if someone wants to come along for the ride it makes it all the more fun.
What has God been counseling you on lately? What has he rescued you from? Share your praise for him today!
Each morning I take my sweet dog Tucker out for a nice long walk. We typically walk in the canyon near our house. Some days I listen to worship music, some days I listen to podcasts. While other days I make it a point to just listen. Yesterday I decided to walk the first mile in praise and the second in prayers for others. Thanks to this 30 Days of Praise project that mile of praise has gotten easier. I reflected on the last 12 days of posts and began reciting different phrases – “God you are my King! God you are omnipotent! God you are ever present in my life! God, you love me even when I am being unlovable. God, you have taught me so much. You are the only one worthy of this praise. You are a flawless shield.” My love pouring out to Him filled me with such joy and peace like a mirror reflects back the sunlight. It felt bold and it felt oh so right.
I found this short essay on praising God which spurs me on toward my next 12 days. Encouraging me to praise; pressing me to dig deeper; showing me that praising God is simply what all nature does every minute of the day.
“Come you children of God, and bless his dear name; for doesn’t all nature around you sing? If you were silent, you would be an exception to the universe. Doesn’t the thunder praise him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? Doesn’t the ocean praise him as it claps its thousand hands? Doesn’t the sea roar, and the fullness thereof? Do not the mountains praise him when the shaggy woods upon their summits wave in adoration? Do not the lightnings write his name in letters of fire upon the midnight darkness? Doesn’t this world, in its unceasing revolutions, perpetually roll forth his praise? The whole earth has a voice, and shall we be silent? Shall man, for whom the world was made, and suns and stars were created – shall he be silent? No, let him lead the strain.”
How will you lead the strain in praising God today? Shout it as loud as the sea roars and as bold as the lightning claps! Join the conversation below!
You never know when you will have the opportunity to share your faith. God will place people in your lives that He wants you to share your love for Him. We must always be ready. And although you are not responsible for the path they eventually take, God calls us to take even the smallest part in that path. When my youngest was in college she became best friends with a beautiful, smart, funny young lady from Belgium. They were field hockey teammates, roommates, and now lifelong friends. We sent my daughter’s car out to her their sophomore year. It gave them so much freedom to explore the St. Louis area and beyond.
As my daughter grew closer to Christ through the Christian athlete organization Athletes In Action, she also began discipling other athletes. But her best friend didn’t seem interested. However, one of the many things they did have in common was their love of music. I saw many a video of them driving along singing at the top of their lungs to a popular song while they cruised the streets of St. Charles, Missouri. Their favorite was “Africa” by Toto which had experienced a renewal at that time. And while they played upbeat, fun, pop and country songs my daughter also played songs about her faith. Beautiful Christian songs. Songs that spoke of her love for Jesus.
One day her friend hopped in the car and said to her, “Play some of those good, sad songs.” My daughter was confused. Her Belgium friend, while fluent in English, had a funny way of using the English language with her French/Dutch accent. She said, “You know, those Jesus songs.” And my daughter was ready to serve in God’s name.
I suppose many Christian songs may sound “sad” to some but so many of the lyrics speak to our deepest needs. We express our longing and our hope through these “sad Christian songs.” Most of my favorite songs fall into this category. Music gives us a beautiful channel to lift up our voices to our Father to say, “I love you” or “I need you.” We might also say we are hurting or we have been healed. I have plenty of shout out loud “praise the Lord” songs in my “Inspirational” playlist. But I frequently play the ones that tug at my heart.
I have a friend that doesn’t want to go back to her church right now because they have decided not to play music and sing songs. She has said, “I can listen to a sermon anywhere. I miss the voices being lifted up to God. I miss the worship.”
Sometimes we need a good “sad” Christian song. That beautiful expression of our love for God can bring so much love and peace to live in us. I’d like to share with you one of those songs. “You” by Fellowship Creative, shows the need for God our Father, God our Counselor. It praises God for His ability to mend all brokenness. I hope you enjoy listening to it.
What’s your favorite “sad Christian song” and who can you share it with today? Let’s praise God with our beautiful (and not so beautiful ) voices.
Have you ever stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon and found it was just too vast and too beautiful to fully take it in? Maybe you’ve been other places and experienced that God- built gloriousness. How do you picture God when you come to Him with your requests? I’m a visual person so it helps for me to create a scene or a face when I pray. I imagine God’s throne room to be so blindingly beautiful that one glance could never see all there is to see. It’s a bejeweled palace whose floors are lined with silver and gold. And as I approach the King of Kings, he looks radiantly upon me. A giant smile on His face, welcoming me. Love exudes from His every pore. I can’t help but be drawn forward. I just know that this King will shower me with pieces of gold and much more.
King David frequently spoke of God as his King. He looked to Him for gifts which only heaven can bestow. This psalm, by King David, was written while facing formidable enemies as he pled His case before God.
Hear me, LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you.
You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, LORD; listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name.
For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.
Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.
Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God; ruthless people are trying to kill me— they have no regard for you.
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and have mercy on me; show your strength in behalf of your servant; save me, because I serve you just as my mother did.
Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.
Lord God, King of Kings my covenant is secure in you because you are unchanging and your glory will prevail! How do you picture God’s throne? Join the conversation and praise God today!
My friend Betsy is incredible. I first met her when I started working out at the gym where my daughter was a physical therapist. I instantly was drawn to her positivity and strength. On her 70th birthday, Betsy and another friend did 70 burpees without stopping, If you have ever done a burpee you are probably saying, “wow!!” She can hand-over-hand climb a rope to the top of the building. She pushes herself with heavier weights, all the while encouraging others much younger.
One day I was challenged by another friend to start a Bible Study. I had overheard Betsy mention her faith a few times. I stepped out of my comfort zone and asked her and another gym buddy to join my study. She instantly said, “yes!” When my Boldness Challenge commenced her list was impressive. At the top was her desire to walk a portion of the famed Pacific Crest Trail in California – alone. Now mind you, Betsy has been hiking her whole life. And, she has scaled Mt. Whitney multiple times (her husband, Jack, will hit his 200th Whitney climb this summer). I trust her judgement when it comes to being out in the wilderness. But she wanted to trust God, not herself. So, she prayed and asked for prayers from our Bold Warrior group. She felt God’s answer – “go.” She planned her trip between two others. Another Whitney climb and the trip she had planned with two other friends –the long-term dream of hiking the John Muir Trail. As I write this, she is on her way up to the Sierras for her three-week hike on the JMT. Did I mention Betsy has had two knee replacements? I call her my Bionic friend.
Boldness Trip Report July 22-24, 2020
I have been wanting to do this hike for around five years now. First because it is the “official” start of the Sierras, which is my first love when it comes to mountain ranges. And secondly, because this trail is part of the Pacific Crest Trail, which I have dreamed about hiking for several decades. I grew up hiking in the Sierras every summer. My father brought my siblings and I there for backpacking trips. So being in these mountains is revisiting favorite childhood memories. But Kennedy Meadows is the southern end of the Sierras and lower in elevation, which makes this area hotter and drier. This is why I have not tackled this hike before now! According to the PCT Half Mile App, it is actually a 40-mile trip, with fewer sources of water than I am used to and these water sources dry out as the summer heats up.
My husband drove me to the trail head on July 22 and I started hiking at 5:50 a.m. to get miles covered before the sun heated up the trail. I was carrying 5 liters of water and planned to camp 12 miles up the trail at the south fork of the Kern River. I sang hymns and talked with God as I walked down the trail. I looked for flowers along the way and marveled at the beauty all around me. Because the elevation is lower here, there were many flowers that I do not normally see. My father taught us to try to identify flowers on the trail. I consider this one of the gifts I received from him! This helps pass the time and I was happy as I walked.
Having studied the trail descriptions, I noticed the changing scenery which marked my progress up the trail. And the sun stayed behind a ridge to the east for a very long time, so the hike was not as hot as I expected. From time to time there was a cool breeze, to which I said, “Thank you Jesus!” I passed a woman at the 5-mile point. She had come from Kennedy Meadows the day before for a one-night trip and was headed back to her car. She confirmed for me a water source 2 miles up the trail. I could hear a small musical creek when I got there. I stopped and filled up my water bottles. About a mile later, I topped out of the small canyon. There was a gentle descent through pine trees and when the trees ended the vista opened onto a gorgeous miles long meadow. It was stunning! The trail followed the edge of the meadow and it was a joy to walk along it! This is cow country, and I could hear the cows in the meadows mooing.
Time passed quickly and by 1:00 p.m. I was at the south fork of the Kern River and my camping spot for the night. I filtered water into all my bottles. I set up camp. I explored the trial on the other side of the river where I was to hike come morning. All chores were done by 4:00, and this is when I started to struggle mentally. I had 4 hours to go before sunset. I really missed my husband! I am used to having him as my exploring companion. Because I was carrying all that water, I did not bring anything to read or any other forms of distraction. I had to rely on a favorite mantra: “Rejoice always! Pray without ceasing! Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you!” One of my weaknesses is being still and listening for God. I am not particularly good at being quiet and listening for his words. So, I sat down on a nice rock and asked God to help me listen. My bible ladies will tell you that for months now, when asked what God is calling me to do, I have been unsure of the answer. I felt I was being led to call on shut-ins but was not sure I was hearing correctly. As I sat on that rock, names were coming to me of people to visit and as the list grew, I felt certain this is what God is asking me to do! It was wonderful to feel his direction! This day was also the one-year anniversary of my mother’s passing. So, I had a conversation with her, and I sang the hymns that she had picked to have at her funeral. It was a holy time. I was in my tent and dozing at 8:15 p.m. when I heard a voice saying “Hello.” It was a man and two women who had come from Kennedy Meadows. They had started hiking at 7:00 a.m. and were just now getting to camp. When I left camp the following morning, one of the women was just getting up. We waved as I headed out across the bridge over the river. I saw no one else for the rest of the hike.
The trail on the far side of the river was a little confusing. There were intersecting trails, poorly marked and an old jeep road that was mentioned in the guidebook. As I approached the river the day before I could see a portion of a trail going up the hillside, heading north and slightly east. And as I was almost to camp, I saw a person rounding a corner and heading in the direction of that trail. The trail description talked about being on the old jeep road for a short time before you were back on old trail. My sense was to follow where I had seen the other hiker. My back up plan was to turn on my phone and check the PCT Half Mile App that was on my phone. So, I turned right at the intersection, following the old jeep road and turned on my phone. But to my dismay, it immediately said, low battery, closing and it promptly shut down. My reaction, after the shock, was to say, “Okay God! It’s just you and me!” I continued down the old jeep road and about 30 seconds later out of my mouth came “Why aren’t there any footprints here?” But did I listen? No! I just kept walking around the corner where I had seen the other hiker, for about 10 minutes where the trail/old jeep road became a mass of cow hoof prints. I stopped and pulled out my portable phone charger, hooking it up to my phone. I reread the trail description, knowing I was not where I should be. I went back to the trail intersection and saw immediately which path I should have followed. The one that went north and slightly west. It made me stop and think about what other times in my life when I have had a preconceived idea about what I was supposed to be doing and was so focused on that idea that I totally missed God telling me that I was going in the wrong direction!! By now my phone was powered up enough to confirm I was on the PCT.
The rest of the morning passed as the steps became miles and the trail landmarks followed in sequence the trail descriptions in the guidebook. Beauty was everywhere! I stopped and sat on a fallen tree amidst many wildflowers to eat my breakfast — gorgeous!! I was filled with peace. The trail continued to climb and eventually rounded a corner to a hillside meadow. I have never been to Switzerland, but I believe it would look like this meadow. I could hear a trickle of water, so I dropped my pack and wandered until I found a place where I could collect enough water to pump into my many water bottles. I could have stayed there for hours! But old lady muscles get stiff when I sit too long, so back to the trail I went.
More climbing and the sun was heating up. Some portions of the trail became sandy. It was time to focus on other things, so I started at the top of my prayer list, being very intentional and specific with the requests for each person on my list. Next thing I knew, it was an hour later, and I was two miles up the trail, having not thought once about tired muscles, or sandy trails, or when was I going to stop and sit down! My last prayer for the last person on my prayer list was said just as I topped out over the ridgeline. It was utterly amazing! The body is an incredible machine. If you have done your prep work, as in going to exercise class regularly, working out and stretching, then all you have to do is get your head out of the mix and let the body take over. Your mind can defeat you every time if you let it. “This is like walking on the beach!” “That sun is making me hot!” “More uphill! Really?” “Shouldn’t I take a break now?” I will say it again, your mind can defeat your heart and your spirit if you let it. So, do not let it! Rejoice always! Pray without ceasing! Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians 5:16-18. This is one of my favorites. It snaps me out of the negative every time!
Over the ridge and down we go, into a forest of pines. Beautiful! Heading for the next night’s water source and campsite. That was to be twelve miles from the Kern River. The guidebook said, “Reliable, year-round, spring fed creek.” Except it was a mud hole!! My first thought was “Betsy, you are toast!” But a little voice in my head said, “Betsy, just keep walking.” So, walk I did, past the mud hole, and past Gomez Meadow, where I thought I was spending the night. Three miles up the trail was a “step across creek.” That voice was saying every mile I do today is one less mile for tomorrow. I was mentally reviewing the water I had left. Three- and one-half liters. But tomorrow was to be a fifteen-mile day and I did not like that ratio. I knew I was well hydrated based on how frequently I was having to stop to pee. And I knew it was better to keep going while I was hydrated. Fortunately, there was water to “step across” when I came to creek! I filled my bottles then reviewed the map and the trail description. The next section covered 26 switchbacks over 4 miles. I decided to listen to that voice that was still telling me to just keep walking. I knew this was a climb, but I could see from the map that there would be places flat enough to camp along the way if I became too tired to do all 26. I was still feeling strong, so, walk I did. I ended up doing 18 miles that day which just left 10 miles to Mulkey Pass, my end point for the trail, plus one-mile cross country to Horseshoe Meadow to get to the car. I camped at the top of the 26 switchbacks and had a lovely view!
I was on the trail early the next morning. With eight miles left to hike, I decided to give myself a treat. I pulled out my I-pod and turned on a Lauren Daigle CD. I was sitting on a fallen tree eating a snack when Love Like This came on. I am very familiar with this CD and love her music. But on this day, the words spoke to me in a very personal way. “What have I done to deserve love like this?” The tears started running down my face. And when her powerful voice sang out the Hallelujahs, I could almost feel the notes and words reverberating off the surrounding mountain spires! It was definitely a God moment!
Back on the trail, and a few songs later, her song, Remember, spoke to me as well. I have always known that God is with me wherever I am. And he is how I survived that hardest moments of my life. But on this day, these words and her voice had me sobbing as I went down the trail. “I remember, I remember. You have always been faithful to me.’ “You were there, always there, with me.” Is there any gift that can be greater than that?! Not for me.
The last thing I want to say is regarding fear. I put off doing this hike for 5 years out of fear of the unknown. Where is the water? What will the trail be like? Where will I camp? How long will it take me? Will it be too hot? Will I get dehydrated? Will I be afraid out there by myself? The answers are simple. This is an incredibly beautiful section of the Sierras and I loved hiking through it! I was never afraid, even when my reliable water was not so reliable! I have learned this lesson before and will probably have to learn it again in the future. What we imagine is often much worse than real life! We have nothing to fear but fear itself! God was with me and I was blessed!
In the darkest hour, when I cannot breathe Fear is on my chest, the weight of the world on me Everything is crashing down, everything I had known When I wonder if I’m all alone
I remember, I remember You have always been faithful to me I remember, I remember Even when my own eyes could not see You were there, always there
I will lift my eyes even in the pain Above all the lies, I know You can make a way I have seen giants fall, I have seen mountains move I have seen waters part because of You
I remember (I remember) I remember (I remember) You have always been faithful to me I remember (I remember) I remember (I remember) Even when my own eyes could not see You were there, always there
I can’t stop thinking about I can’t stop thinking about I can’t stop thinking about Your goodness, goodness I can’t stop thinking about I can’t stop thinking about I can’t stop thinking about Your goodness, goodness I can’t stop thinking about I can’t stop thinking about I can’t stop thinking about Your goodness, goodness I can’t stop thinking about I can’t stop thinking about I can’t stop thinking about Your goodness, goodness
I remember, I remember You have always been faithful to me I remember (I remember) I remember (I remember) Even when my own eyes could not see You were there, always there, with me
How often do you talk with others about your faith and God? I once was in a Bible study where a wonderfully kind woman described talking about Jesus as an uncomfortable used car transaction. You walk onto the lot wanting to browse and the used car salesman starts his schtick trying to get you to buy something you really don’t want.
A few years ago, I had a profound encounter with Jesus which led me on my path toward a bold faith. One of the “side effects” of this bold faith is how often I find myself talking about God with all sorts of people. It’s through these conversations that I’ve seen varied views of God.
One very close friend, who happens to be Catholic, pictures God as an altar. She’s currently seeking a more personal relationship with Him but for a long time God has been more of an authority figure. What I love about this God is He can move mountains. He can set the world back into order. He performs miracles the world couldn’t even imagine. God the King, the Lord of Lords – it’s who we press our faces to the ground in submission as we seek His grace and deliverance. It’s who we offer the only true gift we have, ourselves, as we approach His throne.
I know a number of people who feel God’s presence constantly. One woman, in her early 80s, told me He is always with her, like a friend. She talks with Him throughout her day. He guides her with gentle touches. He comforts her. My sweet friend Janet, who I tease and call her Earth Mother, is finely tuned into God. Her “God Antennae” picks up His signals through visions, feelings and dreams. He is never far from her because she sees Him all around her – in nature, in people, in animals and in the every day. The wonderful thing about this God is He never forgets me. I am never lost. He always knows where I am because I am always with Him.
My friend Betsy and my mother-in-law Bev trust God completely. That’s because they know God has a plan. They know deep in their hearts that all things do truly work for our good and somehow, someday their prayers will be answered. This omniscient God is above our thoughts. He knows what we truly need, even when we think we know better. This is the God who sent His son to teach us His ways because He knew we needed someone who had a “human experience” yet was without blemish. Jesus intimately knows man’s ways and God’s ways. In my current Bible study, there are two separate “life principles” which focus on obeying God. #2 is: Obey God and let Him handle the consequences. #5 is: Obey God even if it seems unreasonable. Why? Because God knows the ultimate outcomes.
The three O’s of God –omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient – create one unimaginably powerful force. This King, this Friend, this Teacher asks for two simple acts in return for all His gifts to us, to obey His Word and to return His love.
“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth – the Lord God Almighty is his name.” Amos 4:13
Which God characteristic do you most identify with today? Join the praise conversation!
When we say we love God or love Jesus what does that really mean to us? For some, those words may have been only spoken in a song or recitation at church. For others those love statements are added each day to every prayer. For me, I’m really good about making sure those around me know my love for them. But I have to admit that I don’t tell the Almighty how much I love Him. I say my thanks for His power and authority over this world but, love? It’s something this 30 Days has put on my heart.
Our relationship with God is not only the most important one we will ever have, it is also the most interesting. God is King yet He is also our friend. There aren’t too many people out there that can say they are friends with an earthly king. This relationship brings to mind something you may find silly. I’ve always wondered how someone can sit across from Brad Pitt, casually eating breakfast in your pjs, hair messy, bad breath and not stare at him in awe. Would you expect him to do the dishes and take out the trash? Sorry, I’ve always had a soft spot for Brad. What does a relationship with a mega star, on an everyday basis look like? It’s no wonder people like that tend to date and marry others in their same circle. The same goes for kings, queens, princes and princesses. We have a relationship with the most powerful being in the universe. We bring Him our broken and messy selves. But we also come to Him with our joy and love.
Most likely you’ve been asked something like, “What would you say to Jesus if He came to your door right now and joined you for dinner?” Well, first if I realized it was Jesus, I don’t think I would even be able to speak for a while. Then, knowing me, I’d probably say something completely inappropriate and goofy. If Jesus became a regular, physical guest at my house I’d have to figure out how to be a friend yet also remain in reverence of Him. A King is a regular guest in my spiritual life. Making sure I pay Him the respect due while also being friends has become a key to my prayers.
Charles Spurgeon has six great tips on coming to God, the King in prayer:
Approach Him in reverence: familiarity there may be but let it not be impertinent.
Come with joy: you have the privilege of being in front of the Throne of Grace!
Be in submission: we don’t pray to tell Him what to do.
Have enlarged expectations: ask for great things!
Expect with staggering confidence: who would doubt the King?
Maintain sincerity: prayer is an elevated act and no light thing
I love God and I honor Him as King. He is my friend and my Ruler. He is the vine and I am one of his beautiful branches. And I praise Him for all that He has done in my life.
Do you have a favorite statement or prayer of love and reverence for our Lord?