“Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn,
my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
by me every tongue will swear.
They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone
are deliverance and strength.’”
All who have raged against him
will come to him and be put to shame.
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Glory to God the King! I praise you, God, and bow down to you in thankfulness for your covenant with us! Your promise to deliver us, through your son Jesus, is the great gift for all mankind.
It has really hit home to me this year about the idols so many of us rely on for strength and deliverance. We cling to our routines. We put our trust in government officials. We place our joy in dining out, going to the movies, gathering with friends. Our peace rests in financial security. And God comes and reminds us that no idol can bring us any of these. He is God and there is no other.
In a God-like way it’s perfect that we can see a light at the end of this pandemic as vaccines begin rolling out and we celebrate the birth of His son. God is the savior of Babylon – for those who believe. And yet so many, even Christians, fail to truly grab a hold of this truth.
I was talking with my BSGs the other day about the “spirit of Christmas” and how many rely on an outside source to descend upon them for this feeling. My own parents sit alone in their home without any sign of Christmas to be seen. I asked my mother the other day why that was. And her response was, “We just don’t have any Christmas spirit this year.” Now granted, they aren’t Christians either. They are just two of millions across the globe who have chosen not to bow down and accept God as the Almighty. One of the BSGs describes her brother’s family in much the same way. They wait to be lifted by the outside world. They wait to feel joy in the material. They wait to find peace in routine.
It made me realize how, once I accepted Jesus as our deliverer, I no longer need idols to feel “saved.” I no longer need idols to experience the joy of Christmas. My “spirit of Christmas” comes from above and within and I’ve been holding on tightly to that gift.
We are such comfort-seeking souls! I think of a soldier at war during Christmas. Laying in a foxhole or cave in a foreign land. There’s no twinkly lights or Christmas tree laden with gifts. There’s no Christmas ham and glazed carrots. There’s just cold, and the distant sounds of gunfire. And yet, the Christmas spirit still is there – in the small pocket Bible or the verses kept close to his heart.
This Christmas is not unusual in that there is strife in the world. This Christmas is not unusual that many are in dire financial need. This Christmas is the same as it was on that day that Christ was born – He has come to be our deliverer. That’s all the Christmas spirit I need.
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
This week, on one of the Instagram accounts I follow, the site owner posed the question: What good thing happened to you this year? She added, “Let’s spread some gratitude vibes.” My answer? That my faith has gotten so much more in-depth and stronger. Amazing, given what’s all happened in 2020. I no longer have a home church. In fact, I haven’t been to church since the last weekend of February. When I questioned my church closing indefinitely, I was met with some pretty nasty responses. And when I asked to be removed from the rolls I received an email from the assistant pastor with a polite version of “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
So, it’s pretty amazing that without a body of faithful Christians to help in my growth that I am where I am today.
When I looked over this week’s post by Madison and myself, I realized that my growth was reflected in the lessons. The acceptance of God’s amazing interruptions – knowing He works all things for my good. The acknowledgement of His amazing authority over all situations – yes, even the ones that don’t seem to make any sense. The proof that He loves me by reading the Book of John. And how much my picture of Jesus has changed these last few months – from a historical figure to a spirit that lives inside me.
My devotional this week had a day titled, “What to do when trouble comes.” It’s based on 1 Timothy 6:17 which states, “Fight the good fight of the faith.” It went on to say that trouble is a part of life, so we simply have to be ready for it. (Joyce Meyer, New Day, New You). A friend told me the other day she wishes she could just fast forward to 2022. My response? “Why? There might be a nuclear fallout that year. So, you might as well find joy in today.”
How do we, as Christians, get prepared? How do we build up our amazing faith muscle for that day when trouble comes, because it most certainly will? And looking at this week’s blog posts the answer is clear – steeping ourselves in God’s Holy Word.
I find myself extremely blessed to have started a small Bible study group – they’re my BSGs (Bible study girls) – back in January. I was encouraged by one of the members to re-start a study group. On an urging by the Holy Spirit, I invited two other women from my gym. They eagerly said yes. So, the four of us embarked on a journey we had no idea would be an anchor for us this year. We started out with easy faith muscles and moved up to weightier topics. These three women became my church. My amazing sisters in Christ. It wasn’t just about having women that wanted to get together. We’ve put in the work. We’ve been diligent in our faith workouts. We’ve dug deep not only into His Word but into our own sins.
I’ve led other Bible studies before. There’s always a few that blow off doing the homework and not take it seriously. Then there’s others that aren’t willing to take the opportunity to open themselves up for conviction. If we truly want to know God’s character, not ours, and God’s will, not ours, we need to use His Divine Word as our touchstone. The world longs to cheat us out of the true, amazing, love God has for us. The world plays a shell game with morality. If we want to grab on to the more than 5,000 promises God makes in the Bible then we need to treat it seriously.
Did you need to re-read that last sentence? More than 5,000 promises. How many of them do you know? How many of them have you taken to heart? Those amazing promises are sitting right there in that book.
Jesus asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
Let’s be a church together and dive deep into those promises. Let’s be a church together that accepts His interruptions with joy and peace. Let’s be a church together that places His authority over everything in our lives. Let’s be a church that needs no other proof of His love for us than our own existence. Let’s be a church together that sees Jesus for who He is – our Lord and Savior who loves us and wants for us to live apart from what the world throws at us. Today we can open up His Word and find joy right there on its pages.
Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.
In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us,Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
“Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!”Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.
All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
I always like to imagine what it would have been like to be in Jesus’ presence on earth. To hear his voice and feel the power that flowed from His fingertips.
Throughout Jesus’ time on earth, we see many instances where he is able to command an entire crowd, heal someone with simply a few words and cast out demons just with his presence. There is no doubt that being in the presence of Jesus meant feeling an indescribable authority. As described in Luke 4:32, it says that His word “possessed authority.” Those listening didn’t quite know why or how – but they knew that He had a level of authority that was bigger than themselves, bigger than even the Chief Priests they bowed down to.
Recognizing Jesus’ amazing authority is pivotal for us. It’s pivotal when we read scripture, its critical when we pray, and it’s important to remember when we find ourselves with a tight grip around the so-called “handles” of our life we think we have. Jesus’ authority trumps all. The Lord’s Word trumps all. The authority that Jesus spoke with here in Luke 4 was noticeable to the crowds because it was the mighty power of God that was flowing through Him, touching the deepest parts of each individual’s hearts and souls.
But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home.
When we read God’s Word, we mustn’t forget that it still – and always will – possesses the same level of authority that Jesus spoke with that day in Capernaum. When He says “love your enemy,” He commands that with authority. When He says “blessed are those who are persecuted,” He speaks that with authority. And when He says “you must lose your life before you gain it,” He means it.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
All Jesus needed to do was extend a hand and Peter dropped his nets and abandoned everything to follow Him. His presence commanded authority and His voice was one of love, grace and comfort. Authority doesn’t have to mean “dictatorship” – it can also mean trusting, strong, stable and yes, comforting.
God wants to have amazing authority in your life because He wants to relieve you of the control, the worry, the anxiety and stress in which you toil. He wants to be the guiding light, the north star and compass that shows you which way is right. And when we give God total authority in our lives He does indeed show up in mighty ways. He takes control and leads us down paths we never thought we could venture down. His authority is the greatest thing that is available to everyone and anyone – all we have to do it trust him with our lives.
I don’t know about you, but I am often relieved when I remember that it’s King Jesus on the throne and not myself, not someone else, not idols or things. King Jesus is in control, and I’ve never felt more content in that truth – no matter what may come my way.
The very word “authority” has within it the word “author. ” An author is someone who creates and possesses a particular work. Insofar as God is the foundation of all authority, He exercises that foundation because He is the author and the owner of His creation. He is the foundation upon which all other authority stands or falls.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.“
This week has seen many opportunities to make a choice. To choose the amazing peace given to us by Jesus or chaos. To choose to take our amazingly ordinary selves and be transformed by God into something extraordinary. To choose between demanding our will or God’s amazing will be done. To be double-minded or single-minded in our quest for closeness with the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus stepped up to preach on the mountainside to the believers, He laid out a series of directives intended to help us understand and attain true righteousness. As Bible scholar Warren Wiersbe says about the Sermon on the Mount:
The religious leaders (at the time) had an artificial, external righteousness based on law. But the righteousness that Jesus described is true and vital righteousness that begins internally, in the heart.
Warren Wiersbe, The New Testament Bible Commentary
He goes on to state the lessons Jesus preached in Matthew 5 through 6 were not for the unsaved world at large but rather for individual believers. Which brings me to the concept of choosing. Throughout our faith journey we are continually called to choose — God or an idol of our own making — as we reach for that true righteousness. The testing of our choices may seem to take place every single minute of the day at times. Other times in our life we seem to be easily cruising along with Jesus and then a serious trial interrupts our lives and we are faced with choosing our faith over our fears.
I have a very good friend who is not a Christian. The day after the election we went to lunch and she said something amazing to me. My friend: “During election night I started praying. I knew you were praying too. And I know that God will probably listen to your prayers over mine and I took comfort in knowing you were praying.” I was slightly stunned. I’ve been much more open about my faith this year when talking with her. Showing her how I rely on Jesus’ amazing peace to keep me together during hard times. But I was shocked that she was praying. I told her God listens to all our prayers. We then went on to another topic. Later, while at home, I felt called to send her a text message. This is the conversation:
Me: “You said something today that I don’t think I paid enough attention to. You said you thought my prayers would hold more weight with God. God is for all of us whether we believe in Him or not. He wants to be our “go to” for peace and grace and trust — no matter where we are along our faith journey. The only difference is that as a follower of Jesus I am held to different expectations. I know His Word. I know what He expects of me. I know He wants me to be obedient and turn all my worries over to Him and not trust in anything else. So, He expects me to act accordingly— and I fail many times over. But because I know I have failed I also know to ask for His grace and forgiveness. He won’t answer my prayers any more than yours if they don’t come from a desire to do His will. It’s frequently at times of great worry and distress that people turn to God. However, He considers those “friends” and “faithful” who rely on Him at all times and thank Him for His for blessings. I hope this doesn’t sound all Jesus Freaky but I think it’s important to understand how much love He has for every single person — Christians and not yet Christians 😂
My “non-yet Christian” Friend: “Thanks! I hope all our prayers help! “
I’d call that pretty amazing. Friends, as followers of Jesus, we are expected to choose Him over our idols of fear, worry, earthly kings, money, relationships, our political stances, and anything else from which we think we artificially gain righteousness. We are expected put our eyes and our hearts and our minds squarely on the Lord and slough off the world from our backs. Because God has mightier plans for us. He has solutions we can’t even imagine. He is fighting our fight for us in the spiritual realm. And he expects us to choose Him and act here on earth as His faithful friends.
Madison and I will see you again on Monday! Have a blessed weekend friends!
After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
I love this story. Not just because it’s a bit humorous in nature, I mean c’mon, Jesus didn’t HAVE to spit and touch the man’s tongue to heal him or shout to the heavens to cure his deafness. He could have healed the man with no words and no actions, with just one look. But Jesus’ actions show that He truly knew the hearts of the people. He had seen over and over again just how feeble the people were in their faith. He knew they needed clear evidence that He was who He said He was.
Even more amazing than Jesus concealing his immediate power to tend to the hearts of the people is the immediate authority he has over disease. The verses claim that at the sound of His voice, deafness falls and lameness disappears. In the face of Jesus, darkness cowers in fear.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Just as this verse reminds us of Jesus’ power over the dominion of darkness, let it also be a reminder that what He speaks will be done. Even more amazing, everything on earth and in heaven bows to His authority, because he is the one who created it all (Gen. 1:1).
Jesus told the man’s ears to open and they opened. Jesus told Peter that there would come a day when he would deny him three times – and that day came. What the Lord spoke in prophesies in the Old Testament came to pass through His Son on the cross.
We see over and over again that God is a faithful God, who fulfills his promises to His people. Are you trusting in that truth today? Be amazed today that God will keep all of the below promises to you, for He is a man of His Word.
Amidst your worry, anxiety and fear, I will give you rest…. (Matt. 11:28)
Through my Son’s wounds on the cross, your brokenness has been redeemed (1 Peter 2:24)
I promise that your trials will produce joy (James 1:2)
I give strength to the weary (Isaiah 40:29)
I give wisdom to all those who ask of it. I will provide you everything you need for the situations you are in. (James 1:5)
I promise, that if you resist the devil HE WILL FLEE. (James 4:7)
Rest in these truths today. I encourage you to find more on your own. Take time to remember all of the things that have come to pass, the promises that have been fulfilled and ask God today for the strength and faith to believe that what He says, will be done, today, tomorrow and the next.
Last Christmas, my new son-in-law sat reading a large paperback book. I asked him about it. He introduced me to “Spurgeon On Prayer & Spiritual Warfare,” a 575-page book filled with Charles Spurgeon’s sermons on prayer. There are prayers on why to pray, how to pray, what to pray, and even when to pray. After skimming over my son-in-law’s copy, I decided I needed my own copy. I’ve only scratched the surface of the 54 sermons, but I’ve come to realize two important things about prayer: 1) Do it and 2) Do it earnestly.
How many of us truly believe in the power of prayer? Let’s back up a bit. How many of us Christians truly believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light? Unfortunately, I know quite a few people who say they are Christians but won’t stand up with assuredness that this statement is true. We are so wrapped up in the idea of being judgemental – telling people their way isn’t the right way – that we are willing to give up this foundation stone. We want to put the capstone on our faith by calling ourselves “Christians” without the foundation. In doing so, we shove aside all the teachings of Jesus and how to express our faith out of love, rather than judgement. We also tear down the place Jesus holds in the eternal world.
Let’s say we accept the statement that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light. We are now miles ahead of the Pharisees. This was their stumbling block. So, if we accept this, we need to then look at prayer from that vantage point. When Jesus is our Way and our Truth then we also accept God as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And throughout scripture we are almost begged by God and Jesus to bring Him our trials, our joys, our sorrows, and our sins.
Notice scripture doesn’t say “well, only when you feel you need to pray.” It also doesn’t say to just pray when we are sick or worried. In EVERY situation we are to pray. Upon waking, eating breakfast, hopping in our car for work (or on our computer), when a friend or colleague starts gossiping, when a friend texts you with bad news, when you look out your window and see a blue sky, when you eat lunch, when you are working on a project, when you head home from work, arrive home safely (or after an accident), when you eat dinner, when you start worrying about things on the nightly news, when you lay your head down to sleep. EVERY situation.
I have to confess that God has revealed a painful truth to me about my prayer life. When I am most worried about a situation is when I have the most difficult time praying. I have a hard time slowing my mind down, focusing on Jesus, and asking Him to take control. Back when I was a softball coach, I couldn’t stand watching a game when I was off the field. I wanted to yell out directions to the players (I yell at the TV too). But when I took my seat in the head coach’s spot, I would become calm. It’s because I had some control over the situation. So, when I need to give up my worries it’s like standing outside that fence, letting someone else be in charge. And that is very difficult for me.
We have an agreement, a covenant that God enters into with those who pray to Him and are helped by Him.
In other words, we must acknowledge that God is trustworthy and has delivered us before and He will do it again. Our part is then to glorify Him through prayer and praise. Glorify – that sounds more than just a passing “thanks, God.” I’ve been guilty of that – if I even remembered to thank Him. Which brings me to being earnest.
If we believe that Jesus is the Way and God is the powerful King of Kings, we must honor this exalted position. Would you walk into the Queen of England’s throne room casually and just say, “hey, what’s up Queenie? If it were at all possible would you be able to help me find a new job? I get it if you can’t but maybe you can try.” Casual, and not very expecting. God is God. The One most High. We should come in reverence and expectation. He CAN do all. He has done it all. We need to plead with him, put our heart into it, and rap our knuckles as hard as possible against heaven’s door.
How many of us actually have such low expectations of our prayers? We say them with rote numbness. My family used to say the exact same prayer at dinner time. It comes to mean absolutely nothing and is usually expressed with that same nothingness. My husband and I started praying in earnest this year over our evening meal. We express thankfulness and joy for good things that happened. We ask earnestly for healing of friends and family members. And we ask Him to use us and place opportunities to be His light in this world in front of us. It not only has helped us be in communion with God but it has also strengthened our marriage.
An earnest pleader comes out of his prayer closet rejoicing like a strong man ready to run his race.
I love that visual. After praying all my prayer cards in my “war room” I frequently feel emboldened to take on the world as one of God’s blessed daughters. How many of us who have children (or co-workers) and we’ve needed them to complete a task? We mention it half-heartedly. They pretend not to hear us or just roll their eyes. As a parent and coach, I eventually perfected “The Look.” That’s the look that says “mom is serious about this so it’d better get done.” That’s the look we need to have in our prayer life. Expectation that God will answer our prayers. It may sound sacrilegious to “expect God” to do something in our life but He himself has said to us over and over to trust Him, to ask Him, to plead with Him.
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
and forgive us our debts, as
we have also forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation but
deliver us from the evil one.”
Do you see the glorification and exaltation of God in the first sentence? Then, the trust and reminder that God’s will is meant to rule the earth. We then ask him to provide for us. Really, using the word “give” is like demanding. Pleading with Him to forgive us. And giving us hope for the future. Man, was Jesus so great with words! How many times have we recited this and not thought about what we are saying? Next time we speak these words make it in earnest, bring some emotion to it! Beg Him to forgive you and help you.
We are ordinary people asking extraordinary things from an amazing, loving, faithful, and powerful God. Throughout the Bible, people just like us asked for victory over large armies, the rain to fall and the rain to stop, for loved ones to be healed and even raised from the dead, for our never-ending ailments to be taken away, for our life of sin to be cleansed. And God abided. He healed us. He saved us. He made it rain. He has showered us for centuries with answered prayers.
We must pray in earnest. It is a supernatural, powerful tool that Jesus gave us. Some of us use prayer like we are brushing our teeth – rote and without remembering all the benefits. Something we have to do. It’s time to take it up daily like a torch against the darkness, a sword against evil, and a golden gift presented to our Lord Most Exalted.
Have you ever watched a speech where a sign language professional was interpreting for the hard of hearing community? I always wonder if they are truly interpreting the speech correctly. In fact, in 2013 at a world televised memorial to Nelson Mandela, advocates for the deaf called out an interpreter as fake. “The man, who stood about a yard from (President) Obama and other leaders was moving his hands around, but there was no meaning in what he used his hands for,” said Bruno Druchen, national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa. At times, as a Christian I have felt what those watching this man wave around his hands in meaningless gestures must have felt – confused.
I’ve heard a few “fake” interpreters of God’s Word. From hate-filled pastors such Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church and Bishop Talbert Swan of the Church of God in Christ to more subtle false “prosperity” teachers like Joel Olsteen and T.D. Jakes, the Word of God has been twisted, edited, and completely ignored. And yet there are hundreds if not thousands of people who follow these “pastors'” preaching. Why? Because we all are looking for answers — for someone to interpret God’s plan for us. Some of us want quick and easy answers. Some of us just want answers that fit our sinful needs and desires.
In the Old Testament, God communicated through people like Moses, Samuel, Jeremiah and others to relay His commands to the people of Israel. There were also false prophets who claimed to interpret for the gods. The people turned to both kinds of prophets for guidance. God swiftly punished those who disobeyed His Word. The great shift came when God sent himself, in the form of Jesus, to speak directly with His creations. Jesus became our great interpreter – explaining the Father’s purpose for His chosen ones. He didn’t speak to nations like so many of the prophets of old did– He spoke with us as individuals and groups. He gathered up people at wells, in gardens, in homes, at lakes and even at graves. He warned us about false prophets and teachers. But His Word cannot be denied. It is written in the oldest book. And although there are various translations of the Bible, His Words stay pretty much the same. It amazes me to hear people, especially angry hate-filled Christians, espouse rights or wrongs that don’t exist in the Bible. I just say, show me the scripture.
When I find myself wondering what God wants from me or a direction I should take, I go directly to Jesus’ words. He was not one to speak meaninglessly. He didn’t speak out of hatred. He rarely showed anger. And when He did speak it was as though He was allotted a certain number of words to use while here on Earth. And He used them wisely.
Praying for Help
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
Who to Trust
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22: 37
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39
How to Attain Peace
“Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except for me.” John 14:6
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9
“Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” John 8:34
Jesus not only was the son of God, he was us. He lived among us to experience the temptations, the persecution, the love, betrayal, and loyalties in everyday life. I praise Jesus today for coming to us to interpret the mind of God for us frail, limited humans. Our eyes and ears and minds have a glimpse into heaven through His actions and words. And God wasn’t done when His son when up to heaven. His Holy Spirit continues the work as our individual, tailored guide. She whispers to us and laughs with us and cries with us.
I don’t walk in the wilderness so much anymore. And with Jesus’ Words I am very discerning about my spiritual leaders. My guide, my interpreter, is always by my side. He will show me the way home. Praise God.
Did you figure out what the sign language word is in the picture? “Grace.” Enjoy this ASL interpreted song, “In Christ Alone” by clicking on the video below.
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.
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!
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!