Sunday, October 31, 2010

Praise and Sacrifice: a Potpourri of Scriptures and Meditation

Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His love is eternal.
He alone does great wonders.
His love is eternal. (Psalm 136:3-4)

I will thank the Lord with all my heart;
I will declare all Your wonderful works.
I will rejoice and boast about You;
I will sing about Your name, Most High. (Psalm 9:1-2)

Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name. (Hebrews 13:15)

To sacrifice means to surrender, relinquish, or yield. When we make a sacrifice, we are offering up a gift. It encourages me to know that my praise is often a sacrifice--a gift to God and a release for me...Praise, particularly in difficult circumstances, arises from a desire to obey God and to trust in His ways. Perhaps the Lord wants us to offer praise because in this "sacrifice" we are released from the bondage of anxiety and freed to see His hand working all things together for good. (Cynthia Heald, Abiding in Christ, p. 44)

Lord, open my lips, and my mouth with declare Your praise. (Psalm 51:15)

Almighty and merciful God, it is only by Your gift that Your faithful people offer You true and laudable service: Grant that I may run without stumbling to obtain Your heavenly promise; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Divine Hours, p. 149)

Lord, it is only through Your enabling and strengthening me that I can offer You my praise and my service.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Potpourri of Scriptures

Let the whole earth tremble before the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. (Psalm 33:8 HCSB)
O God, you know how foolish I am;
my sins cannot be hidden from You. (Psalm 69:5 NLT))
Answer my prayers, O Lord,
for Your unfailing love is wonderful.
Take care of me,
for Your mercy is so plentiful. (Psalm 69:16 NLT)
I was made a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace that was given to me by the working of His power. (Ephesians 3:7 HCSB)

Be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. (Ephesians 6:10 HCSB)

Faith is your response to God's growth work in your heart. Spiritual growth does not occur by osmosis; it develops in your walk with God day by day and moment by moment. You don't just sit around, passive and uninvolved. God will ask for obedience, surrender, love, commitment, resolve, trust, patience and more in your relationship with Him.-- Catherine Martin, A Woman's Walk in Grace, p. 58

Lord, I do stand in awe of You!
You know all my faults, yet You answer my every prayer.
Your compassion is great and Your mercy is plentiful.
I am amazed that Your grace allows me to serve You, empowering me with Your strength.
You call me to grow in faith and surrender.
Help me today, Lord, to hear Your voice and follow Your leading.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Video Post: Focus, Flexibility and 5 Minutes

Catherine Martin asked me to share a few thoughts about Quiet time during a video conference at Ministry for Women tomorrow. Here's my trial run with my little speech.

I don't know why the silliest frame from the entire video is chosen as the photo here. I'm not really that cheesy. Really.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

the Father of Mercies

Today I'm sharing an excerpt from my book Praise Patterns. This is a segment of Chapter Seven, "The Father of Mercies."

His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him. (Luke 1:50)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3)

Today I heard my middle daughter singing “Heartland” in the bathtub. This song by Celtic Thunder has lyrics in both English and Gaelic. The English words describe sailors crying out for assistance during a storm. The chorus is a Gaelic prayer which I do not attempt to spell or pronounce. Its translation is “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.” This prayer is very familiar in several Christian denominations and is often often referred to by its Greek name, “Kýrie eléison.” At first I was puzzled by this phrase in “Heartland” because I thought of mercy as a spiritual benefit—God's forgiveness of our sins when we trust in Jesus—and I wondered why the sailors in this song were asking for a spiritual blessing when they needed a physical rescue. I thought asking God for mercy was a one-time prayer when we trust Him for salvation.

I learned, however, that mercy has a wider definition. Mercy is God's expression of pity and compassion for us. Mercy includes God's deliverance, protection and provision.* Isn't that a beautiful summary of God's interactions with His people? In some Bible translations, mercy is expressed as “faithful love” or “compassions.” So when I heard my daughter singing today, I thought of these definitions and the song made sense: a cry for mercy is asking God to display His steadfast love in delivering, protecting, and providing for us.

Mary said that God showed mercy to those who fear Him. Look at these other versions of Luke 1:50 for fuller definitions of the word “fear”:

And His mercy (His compassion and kindness toward the miserable and afflicted) is on those who fear Him with godly reverence, from generation to generation and age to age.
(Luke 1:50 AMP)

God will show His mercy forever and ever to those who worship and serve Him. (Luke 1:50 NCV)

The prophet Jeremiah, in the book of Lamentations, found hope within his laments by calling to mind God's mercies. Another prophet, Isaiah, praised God for His mercy and lovingkindness.

Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: [Because of] the Lord's faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:21-23)

I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He hath bestowed on them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses. (Isaiah 63:7 KJV)

Meditating on God's mercy will give us many reasons to praise. Paul referred to God as the “Father of Mercies” (2 Corinthians 1:3), and described His mercy as abundant. Peter praised God for His great mercy in giving us a new birth and a living hope.

But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! (Ephesians 2:4-5)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (I Peter 1:3-4)

*Holman Bible Dictionary, p. 1106