Sunday Praise and Worship: More and More

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Happy Sunday, Beloved!

I have to confess that these Sunday Praise and Worship posts are my favorite ones to put together. Why? Because I get to spend so much time listening to some wonderful praise and worship songs, which lead me to search Scripture for passages that go well with those songs.

I cannot sing along with lyrics like these without feeling the overflowing love of God, the undeniable mercy and grace of my Savior Jesus. and the fire of the Holy Spirit that guides me through my days.

Now as the people were in expectation,
and all reasoned in their hearts about John,
whether he was the Christ or not,
John answered, saying to all,
“I indeed baptize you with water;
but One mightier than I is coming,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in His hand,
and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor,
and gather the wheat into His barn;
but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”
—Luke 3:15-16

…..
The words of “More and More” by Selah should echo our hearts’ desire. May we always yearn for more and more of God in our lives.

 

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If for whatever reason you cannot view this video, you can read the complete lyrics here.

Heads Roll

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Heads Roll

By Patricia Knight

“The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save,
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing”
(Zephaniah 3:17).

When I was a little girl, playing with my dolls was a favorite pastime.  Imagine the trauma I suffered when my doll’s head fell off!  My Daddy always seemed to be able to pop that doll’s head right back onto her shoulders again. I would go running to greet him at the end of his workday, hanging onto the two doll parts. He instinctively knew what would make a little girl’s heart happy, performing repairable doll surgery right before my eyes.

One day the three of us siblings were causing a loud verbal commotion. Our mother announced in measured tones, “I have a headache and if you children don’t quiet down, my head is going to fall off.” Instantly, I envisioned a frightening mind picture of my mother’s head detached from her shoulders. So I was quick to assure her, “That’s all right, Mommy, Daddy will put your head back on when he gets home tonight.” I remember confusion reigned when she broke into peals of laughter. This was not funny at all to me, but if she found humor in my remarks, maybe her headache would go away and we wouldn’t have to witness her head helplessly rolling off her shoulders.

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Lessons the broken doll taught me prepared me for tragedies that would strike in my future lifetime, directing me where to turn for relief. Trusting God as the Source of all my help is the ultimate relationship the heavenly Father wants all of us to enjoy with Him. He is the one “who comforts us in all our troubles” (2 Corinthians 1:4). That is the knowledge we need to navigate this world and its trials. There is no problem too difficult for my Lord to solve.

Job was a broken man but not defeated. He was declared “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1b). One day, he suddenly lost all of his wealth, family, and possessions. He was struck with a rare skin disease of overwhelming proportions. However, he persisted in trusting God. Job knew, that “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). He was not into the mode of blaming God for his calamities. Job rationalized his steadfast hope: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”(Job 2:10). Job decided to choose victory, as God promised. He took the high road of deep faith that would not shatter during a personal crisis.

I didn’t understand how my Daddy fixed my doll, but I trusted that he would. More importantly, he took responsibility for his little girl’s happiness. Isn’t this the reaction God wants from us, that we trust Him for our happiness? God loves us and wants us to put our confidence in Him as the Source for all our help and protection.

Jesus taught His disciples in parables, using common objects to convey a lesson to them. He will also find the best way to teach us His principles, even if it involves a toy.  Nothing escapes God’s service.

A Father’s Day Message

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Fathers, dads, papas, pops, step-dads, foster dads… today is dedicated to you.

Dads do a lot for their children, don’t they? They take them to practices, games, meetings, play dates, school, doctor appointments. They teach their kids to tie knots, catch a ball, ride a bike, dive into a pool. They love getting us to laugh by doing silly things only kids can understand. Sometimes they build forts and then play inside them with us. Other times they take us camping, help us with homework, sing with us in the car, surprise us with an  ice cream cone.

Wow, dad is one busy guy! He loves his children so much that he works hard for us and with us to make sure we have everything we need and are happy too.

What if I told you that our heavenly Father provides so much more? He loves you more than words can describe. He is referred to several times in the Bible as our Abba Father:

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear,
but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out,
“Abba, Father.”
 
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

and if children, then heirs—
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if indeed we suffer with Him,
that we may also be glorified together.
—Romans 8:14-17

“The word Abba is an untranslated Aramaic word. The translators of the first English Bibles, who had great reverence for the Word of God, who believed it was indeed the Word of God, would not translate it. Abba is a very personal word that could be translated “My Daddy.” We don’t use this word in reference to God because the danger of becoming overly familiar with Him. But it expresses a heart-cry, especially in times of trouble.”¹

Beloved, God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). That is an immense, all-encompassing love!

Earlier this year, the Lord called my Dad home. I will always be thankful for the way he took care of Mom and us girls. He worked very hard to make sure our needs were met, as well as some “wants.” There are memories of wonderful vacations on Cape Cod and Sunday picnics at the park. Dad even took me to buy my first prom gown because Mom was too sick to go with me.

This collage shows my favorite photos of Dad. I miss that smile.

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Remember, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). I know you’ll enjoy this video of Third Day singing Children of God.

If for any reason you cannot view this video, you can read the lyrics here.


¹Copyright © 1983 by J. Vernon McGee. Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee.

The Shepherd Psalm Trilogy

This is a wonderful article from GraceThruFaith.

The diligent student will discover glimpses of the Messiah throughout the Old Testament. Many of these require the insight gained from the New Testament to be recognizable, but a reasonable amount of study will enable most students to give a persuasive presentation of the Messiah using Old Testament passages exclusively. This is the way Messianic believers convert their Jewish brethren, since Jews don’t recognize the New Testament’s authority as Scripture.

Perhaps their most often used passage, Isaiah 52:13-53:12, is actually the last of the four so-called Servant Songs of the Messiah. The other three are Isaiah 42:1-9, 49:1-7, and 50:4-9. These four passages present as complete a picture of the Messiah as you’ll find anywhere in Scripture, Old Testament or New.

But my favorite selection of Old Testament Messianic Scripture is the Shepherd Psalm Trilogy, Psalms 22, 23, and 24. In these three Psalms we find the three specific roles of the Messiah, cast in terms of the Shepherd’s responsibilities.

Read the rest here.

Sunday Praise and Worship: Good Good #Father

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I listen to many praise and worship songs and they never fail to bring JOY to my heart. Lately one song in particular has been invading my heart and mind quite often. 

What a great thing! 

I’m talking about “Good Good Father” sung by Chris Tomlin If I’m feeling low, the lyrics and melody calm my fretting spirit. When I’m in thankful prayer for Who God is in my life, this song springs to my mind, often making my eyes leak. Here are my favorite lyrics:

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Oh, and I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only you provide
Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word

Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think

As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

As you listen to this song, ponder these wonderful words of praise by the author of 2 Samuel:

For You are my lamp, O Lord;
The Lord shall enlighten my darkness.
For by You I can run against a troop;
By my God I can leap over a wall.
As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

—2 Samuel 22:29-31

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If for whatever reason you cannot view this video, you can read the complete lyrics here.

The Marriage Triangle: Your Marriage Snapshot #LoveWins

Please visit TRC to read more of the great articles in this issue!

The Marriage Triangle:
Your Marriage Snapshot
#LoveWins

by Anna Popescu

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There is a moment in every marriage when something clicks and there is that aha moment when you realize, this is us! this is the essence of our relationship!

Several years ago, Rick and I vacationed with some friends in Rocky Point, Mexico. We loved walking the beach together. During our walk one day, this photo was taken of us by one of our friends. When we saw the photo for the first time, we both had one of those aha moments.

Rick and I hold hands a lot. Rick’s walk is a bit unstable; one of the results of a bad auto wreck many years ago. Holding my hand gives him more stability when he walks.

Just before we were married in 1998, one of my best friends asked me if I was absolutely sure I wanted to marry someone who had some physical difficulties. I immediately thought of our hand-holding and replied, “Well, let me see… I’ll need to hold Rick’s hand for the rest of our lives together. Hmmm, do I really want to do that? Um, yes, yes I do!”

She laughed at my response and said she was just checking to make sure I was completely ready for this marriage. I’ve always appreciated how much she loved me to be able to ask such a blunt question.

Here’s the thing: That photo above is the essence of Rick and me in our marriage. Rick holds my hand for stability, yes, but he also loves to hold my hand. I hold Rick’s hand because I want him to have that stability while he’s walking, and because I love to hold his hand.

I think that pretty much sums up our marriage—mutual love and caring for each other—and this photo has become very dear to us because it is the snapshot of our marriage.

So what is your marriage snapshot? Do you have a photo of the two of you that speaks volumes about who you are as a couple? You may not have an actual photo but maybe you remember a moment when something happened that made you think, Wow, this is so us!

LOGO-Official-MarriageTriangle-smaller--AMPThe triangle image is a great way to show that husbands and wives are to keep their eyes focused on Jesus rather than just on each other. What happens because of that is the more time we each spend focusing on Jesus and His will and plan for both of us, the better and closer our relationship with Jesus will become. And the closer we walk with Jesus, the closer we get to each other.

The inevitable result of that kind of closeness is that husbands and wives often start thinking alike and their ultimate marriage goal is to love each other as Jesus Christ loves us.

One of my favorite commentaries is J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible. He breaks down 1 Corinthians 13:4—“Love suffers long and is kind”—like this:

“’Love suffers long,’ which means it is patient and kind. Love is impossible without kindness. Love without kindness is like springtime without flowers, like fire without heat. Remember how Paul admonished, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).

If we are trying to apply the marriage triangle principle, one of the keys to living with and loving each other as Jesus loves us is with an unselfish, patient kind of love.

One of the exercises during Rick’s and my premarital counseling was to list what we expected from each other. My number one response was: “When I come home from work tired and weary, Rick will be there for me, to comfort and hold me.” How naïve I was! Our pastor pointed out that only God can fulfill that kind of need for me, so I should rely on Him for that. What a wise and true response!

Love is about building up the other person. If you have a need, a real and persistent need, then I suggest you turn to God to fill it up. He’s the only one who can fix it.1

What kind of marriage do you truly want? One that is all about what you can get out of it, or one in which you seek to love your spouse as Jesus loves you? The first one may fulfill your needs, but what about your spouse’s needs? How can you truly love your spouse if what you’re primarily focused on is how to make yourself happy?

On the other hand, a person whose attention is more centered on their spouse will look for ways to serve them, and in doing so will show how much they truly love them—again, just as Christ loves us.

Marriage is designed to mirror our Creator’s unconditional love for us. It’s a love that will always be there and will never leave us or forsake us. When a man and woman love one another with that unconditional love, contentment follows and joy abounds.2

Believe me when I say that it is so worth trying your best to love and care for your spouse with the kind of love Jesus has for us. Although there will be times when you don’t get it just right, there will be more occasions when you’ll be on the right track and reap the blessing of a closer, more loving marriage relationship.


1 Meg’s Best Man: A Montana Weekend Novella 
5 Reasons Why Marriage is so Important

A Splinter Tells All {Repost}

Today’s post is by my friend, Patricia Knight. I’m so thankful that Pat shares these devotionals with me so that I can share them with you when I am not physically up to working much on my blog. Enjoy!

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 A Splinter Tells All

By Patricia Knight

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievance you may have against one another and everyone else” (Colossians 3:12-13).

It was only a small splinter in the thumb, but so irritating, like a myriad other things in life that get under one’s skin.  Whenever the thumb brushed against something, the area was painful.  Such is the way of annoyances, disappointments, and consequences in our lives.  We carry them around like prized possessions, allowing their barbs to constantly poke at our weaknesses.

It seems as we progress in life that we would be able to overlook a small infraction or offense toward us because we have far greater issues to confront.   However, our emotions are alive and well, ready to exhibit arrogance and indignity.  Perhaps we cannot dictate our physical aches and pains but we most certainly want to maintain the ability to minimize the emotional and spiritual trauma we experience.

God commands us to love our enemies and to do good to those who hurt us.  He teaches kindness and understanding.  God promotes humility and forgiveness.  We are told to follow His example, mimicking Jesus.

During the years Jesus ministered on earth, He was doubted, ignored, tricked, tempted, and maligned in every possible way.  Not only people’s words, but also the negative motives Jesus could see in their hearts were hurtful to Him.

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Let us minimize the suffering we do by reaching out to others in love even when we don’t think they deserve it.  We have never deserved the love God lavishes upon us.  God’s grace gives us what we do not deserve.  God’s mercy does not give us what we do deserve.  Let us extend similar grace and mercy to others.  If we learn to duplicate but a portion of compassion and forgiveness God extends to us, we may be relieved of emotional anxiety and baggage.  At the same time we could improve our personal relationships, learn the value of peace of mind, and obey our God, who commands us to love others as we do ourselves.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to relieve our emotions of all the splintered relationships we have been nurturing?  The loss would be our gain.

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