Holy Spirit, You are welcome here

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I hope you enjoyed last Sunday’s Holy, Holy, Holy Praise and Worship post. I’m excited to see what God has planned for these Sunday posts!

Our lives are so filled with activity and work that even though we attend church on Sunday (those of us who can), do we allow ourselves to relax and rest in our corporate praise and worship? Or do thoughts of all the to-do’s on our lists keep us from fully worshiping and praising our Creator?

I’ve been listening to this song so much that it is always playing in my mind lately. Whether you are able to worship with your church congregation or are in the privacy of your home, allow the Holy Spirit to saturate your heart and mind while viewing this video.

Holy Spirit
(Chorus)

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory,God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord

The video below is a version of “Holy Spirit” sung by  Francesca Battistelli with lyrics:

If for any reason you cannot view the video, go here to read the lyrics, written by Bryan & Katie Torwalt.

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Holy, Holy, Holy

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I decided the other day that I’m going to change my Sunday posts to Sunday Praise and Worship. Many of us cannot make it to church for health, work or other reasons. I often have health issues that keep me home from church, and if you’re like me, you miss being able to sing your praises in a worship service with fellow believers. These Sunday Praise and Worship posts will include Scripture passages of praise and worship, and praise songs in video format, with a link to the lyrics. For copyright purposes, I cannot share the complete lyrics in my blog posts.

So last Sunday we sang We Fall Down at church. This is another praise and worship song that never fails to make my eyes leak. As I sit here writing this post, I am listening to Chris Tomlin sing this and need to stop often to wipe my eyes.

How can we not be totally impressed, awed and thankful as we ponder the utter holiness of Jesus?

And we cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
Is the lamb

From: Chris Tomlin – We Fall Down Lyrics | MetroLyrics

We read the prophecy in Isaiah 6:1-3

1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.

Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

And one called out to another and said,

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”

One day we’ll see the fulfillment as prophesied in Revelation 4:5-11

Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;

and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.

The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle.

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty,
who was and who is and who 
is to come.”

And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever,

10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

Beloved, what a joyous day it will be when we can witness and be a part of this! Every time I sing this song, I imagine how glorious it will be to worship with the angels, singing “Holy, Holy, Holy!”

If for any reason you cannot view the video above, go here to view it on Youtube, or you can read the lyrics here.

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Leaning Against A Thorn [Repost]

Today’s post is something I shared with you several years ago that definitely bears repeating. It was written by my wonderful writer friend, Lynn Mosher. This was first published on her blog and it made such a huge impact on me that I asked Lynn if I could share it with you and she agreed. Here it is again.

Leaning Against a Thorn

 Thorns of trials.

Thorns of affliction.

Thorns of adversity.

Thorns of all kinds.

 Thorns pricking. Briers sticking. Thistles piercing.

Pricking thorns of…

  •  abuse
  • divorce
  • addiction
  • a lost job
  • failing health
  • loss of a home
  • financial disaster
  • a friend’s betrayal
  • a teen making bad choices

The enemy stands ready to prick us at any time with adverse circumstances.

However, sometimes we find ourselves being pricked with the barbs of consequences when we lean into an avoidable situation, something God’s Word clearly states that we are to shun.

If we lean into wrong desires, our hearts will be pricked with the thorns of heartache and sorrow.

If we lean into improper thoughts, our hearts will be pricked with the thorns of guilt and remorse.

If we lean into fleshly lusts, our hearts will be pricked with the thorns of shame and regret.

Sometimes, God will remove the thorns; however, on occasion, He will leave them for our good, as when He left Paul’s thorn to prick him when he leaned into pride.

I wonder if we ever thank the Lord for the thorns? What? Thank Him for a trial, a heartache? All things work together for good, remember? So says Romans 8:28.

The next time a thorny ordeal is pricking you, remember the words of this prayer by George Matheson, a blind Scottish theologian and preacher in the late 1800s…

My, God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn. I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn…Teach me the glory of my cross; teach me the value of my thorn. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.

He thanked God for his blindness. Is that something we would do?

What did David say? “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB)

What about Habakkuk’s attitude? The prophet asserted his faith in God and promised to praise Him, even if all else failed, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.” (Hab. 3:17-18 NLT)

Being thankful is easy when everything is hunky-dunky, but the praise that emanates from a pain-ravaged heart, pressed by a thorn, is the sweet-smelling sacrifice of holy incense that rises to the throne room and lingers at the Father’s feet.

But what of those times when our hearts are pricked with grief?

Once I heard a song of sweetness
As it cleft the morning air,
Sounding in its blest completeness,
Like a tender, pleading prayer;
And I sought to find the singer,
Whence the wondrous song was borne,
And I found a bird, sore wounded,
Pinioned by a cruel thorn.

I have seen a soul in darkness,
While its wings with pain were furled,
Giving hope and cheer and gladness
That should bless a weeping world;
And I knew that life of sweetness,
Was of pain and sorrow borne,
And a stricken soul was singing,
With its heart against a thorn.

We are told of One who loved us,
Of a Savior crucified,
We are told of nails that pinioned,
And a spear that pierced His side;
We are told of cruel scourging,
Of a Savior bearing scorn,
And He died for our salvation,
With His brow against a thorn.

We “are not above the Master.”
Will we breathe a sweet refrain?
And His grace will be sufficient,
When our heart is pierced of pain.
Will we live to bless His loved ones,
Tho’ our life be bruised and torn,
Like the bird that sang so sweetly,
With its heart against a thorn?

~ Author unknown

Do you sing and thank the Lord when a thorn pierces your heart with pain?

Thank you, sweet Lynn! May God continue to bless you as you have blessed us today!

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God is Love

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God Is Love

by Joni Eareckson Tada

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.” 
—I John 4:16

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are fellowshiping in a waterfall of love and joy. It is nothing short of amazing that the Trinity is driven to share that joy with us. It was the Savior’s mission: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you.” (John 15:11). What joy the Trinity enjoys! Misery may love company, but joy craves a crowd, and so the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’s plan to rescue humans is not only for man’s sake. It is for God’s sake. The Father is gathering a crowd–an inheritance, pure and blameless–to worship His Son in the joy of the Holy Spirit. “God is love” and the wish of love is to drench with delight those for whom God has suffered.

Soon believers will step into the waterfall of joy and pleasure that is the Trinity. Better yet, we will become part of a Niagara Falls of thunderous delight as “God is all and in all.” In heaven, we will not only know God, we willknow Him in that deep, personal union, that utter euphoria of experiencing Him. There in heaven we will“eat of the tree of life” and be filled to overflowing with more joy and pleasure than we can contain (Revelation 22:2).

Amazing grace, how can it be, that God would share His joy for eternity with me? Remember, God shares His joy on His terms; and those terms call for us to, in some measure, suffer as His beloved Son did while on earth (I Peter 2:21). If you and I experience hardship, it is paving the way for a deeper joy for all of eternity!

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thank You for inviting me into the fellowship of Your joy. Thank You for preparing me for heaven’s joy as I trust You in the fellowship of Your sufferings while on earth.

Blessings,

Joni and Friends 
www.joniandfriends.org

Copyright © 2006. Pearls of Great Price by Joni Eareckson Tada. Published in print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan

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What is the Christian’s hope?

I often write about living a joyful life filled with hope, in spite of painful or devastating circumstances. So, what exactly is hope—the kind of hope Christians have? Here is a great answer to this question from GotQuestions?, one of my favorite sites. Question: “What is the Christian’s hope?” Answer: Most people understand hope as wishful thinking, as in “I hope something will happen.” This is not what the Bible means by hope. The biblical definition of hope is “confident expectation.” Hope is a firm assurance regarding things that are unclear and unknown (Romans 8:24-25;Hebrews 11:1,7). Hope is a fundamental component of the life of the righteous (Proverbs 23:18). Without hope, life loses its meaning (Lamentations 3:18;Job 7:6) and in death there is no hope (Isaiah 38:18;Job 17:15). The righteous who trust or put their hope in God will be helped (Psalm 28:7), and they will not be confounded, put to shame, or disappointed (Isaiah 49:23). The righteous, who have this trustful hope in God, have a general confidence in God’s protection and help (Jeremiah 29:11) and are free from fear and anxiety (Psalm 46:2-3). The New Testament idea of hope is the recognition that in Christ is found the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises (Matthew 12:21,1 Peter 1:3). Christian hope is rooted in faith in the divine salvation in Christ (Galatians 5:5). Hope of Christians is brought into being through the presence of the promised Holy Spirit (Romans 8:24-25). It is the future hope of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6), the promises given to Israel (Acts 26:6-7), the redemption of the body and of the whole creation (Romans 8:23-25), eternal glory (Colossians 1:27), eternal life and the inheritance of the saints (Titus 3:5-7), the return of Christ (Titus 2:11-14), transformation into the likeness of Christ (1 John 3:2-3), the salvation of God (1 Timothy 4:10) or simply Christ Himself (1 Timothy 1:1). Read more here. BlogSL2-smallest

Within the Bud

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Within the Bud

by Patricia Knight

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Flower buds are a mystery.  Within their protective sheath resides concealed potential; invisible flower power packed into a compact package, prepared to explode with new life and beauty at the opportune moment.  Until the swollen bud unfurls tight petals to reveal its inner features, we can only speculate about its impending characteristics of size, color, and fragrance.

Similar to a confined, insipid flower bud, our Christian capabilities were once concealed beneath an exterior layer of unbelief.  When we humbly accepted Christ’s forgiveness and redeeming grace, we became a new creation.  We “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).  Our hearts jubilantly responded like a newly exposed flower bud, revealing a thriving uniqueness, shining brightly with the light of Jesus, and salting the world with the intense fragrance of His goodness and love.  No longer held captive by an inexorable bud with no expression of beauty or power, we magnified Christ as we learned to spiritually bloom where we were planted.

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Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches.
If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). 

A branch out of contact with the vine is deprived of life, just as a flower bud’s vital resources are terminated when it is severed from the parent plant.  Only when we are anchored to our sovereign Source of energy does our life consistently exhibit loveliness and value.

We become a catalyst to God’s love under the nourishment of the Son, flourishing with the strength He supplies.  As a flower bud opens from the center to reveal a delightful bloom, our hearts display the central focus of our spiritual life, where Jesus’ love grows and disperses joy.

Though the flower bud maintains a blind physical attachment to the parent plant, we express free will, nurturing trust and following our Lord with eager obedience.  “Those who look to him are radiant” (Psalm 34:5) with joy as we align ourselves with our Savior, leading a “thy will be done” walk with Jesus.

God surrounds us with myriad expressions of His presence in nature.  If we seek to appreciate the proliferation of His creation, we learn more about our personal relationship to our Lord.  Just as the flower bud’s true potential is revealed as its protective exterior sheath peels away to unfold an extraordinary flower within, Christ living in our hearts promises a unique positional status as a child of the King and heir with the Son of God for all eternity.

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Bloom with confident obedience! —Patricia Knight

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Changing Things Up

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A couple of months ago I wrote this post about having to scale back and only post here three times a week because of my health issues. And my nemesis—aka our monsoon season —is back again, so you’d think I’d have to take a complete break for a couple of months since I always feel worse during these times.

So how come I’ve increased the frequency of my posting to almost every day? 

I am so thankful to find many, many great articles and posts from other sites and blogs that I can share with you! It is a slight change in direction for this blog but is still in line with my vision for it:

  • how God is working in our lives no matter what else is going on
  • how to live a joyful and hopeful life with the Lord at the helm
  • learning to recognize the many blessings in our lives and be thankful for them

Having said all that, if I miss a day or two (or more), it’s probably because I didn’t feel well enough to work up and schedule some posts ahead of time. I’ll do my best to stay current here while I also fit in my writing assignments for the other blogs to which I contribute.

Remember: Thanks living always leads to thanks giving!

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Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; speak of all His wonders.
—1 Chronicles 16:9

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Happy Father’s Day to the “Really” Fathers

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Father’s Day can be joyful and full of love and happy memories. You probably had a father who showed his love for you in many ways, every single day. These are the fathers who selflessly spent time with us and encouraged us.

Some of us may have grown up without a father, or a series of events took our father away from us. Possibly we had a father who caused us harm or didn’t love us.

And then there are those of us who were adopted by “really” fathers. That’s what this sweet Father’s Day video is about. In it Levi and Lia tell the story of their journey from fatherless to fatherfull.

Beloved, there is a Father who cares for and loves each one of us with a love that cannot be understood. This is so difficult for us to believe, and yet it is true. God loves us with an unending love that never fades. Hold onto that when you’re tempted to feel “less than” or down about your upbringing.

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