Praise The Lord!

“Every Day I will praise You and extol Your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.  For The Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory.” (Psalm 145:2,3; 149:4 NIV)

This morning as I write, tired but rejoicing–over the victory won by our 18-member High School Marching Band, I have reason to praise The Lord, as do they all.

If people don’t understand how important it is to recognize that all of God’s Word is relevant to our every day lives, it is because they do not understand it or how marvelous our God is!

We have been steadily encouraging our diminishing band to think and work as hard as they can. Many were discouraged because of the small size, but one of the things I have constantly said to them is that it is not about the numbers, but the individual effort. Last night, their collective individual efforts earned them a Division 1 Ranking during the 2015 Band Festival of Marching Bands. Our senior drum major was so shocked, his mouth fell open (his story), but I remained confident in the blessing of our Lord–honoring their effort because they played and thrilled the crowd with a dance coordinated by the band director. They were awesome.

Here’s the link on YouTube: https://youtu.be/czsIdff-BeA

Since I was the one videotaping their performance, I must apologize for the shaky start of the video; I was trying to manipulate the camera around other people.

Though they are small number they are mighty in sound and courage in facing-off with other bands much, much larger than they are. God’s grace and mercy abounds and prayers were answered–our band members are no longer discouraged, but encouraged.

We must remember that Gideon had his mighty army reduced to a handful so the army would not get the glory, but God. And considering everything this little high school marching band has endured, God indeed gets the glory for their accomplishment.

I pray that each of them will continue to do their very best–individually and collectively–not concerned with the numbers or the naysayers and doubters, but mindful of a God who is more than enough and it is He who gives us the victory in all situations.

Whenever we face obstacles, challenges, naysayers and doubters–all those who would attempt to discourage us and keep us defeated; we need to remember that there is no battle too hard for God and no victory withheld from those who love Him–whether in a marching band or marching through this journey called life. As long as we march to the beat of His Word and live according to the rhythm of His grace–we will know victory and for that–WE GIVE HIM PRAISE!

Glorify His Name!

“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ!” (2 Thessalonians 1:11, 12 NIV)

I cannot imagine what was going on in Thessalonica when Paul wrote this second letter to the church there. From what he says, I know the Believers were being persecuted and treated unjustly and he was encouraging them to remain faithful to God. In the first part of this passage of scripture, we see Paul remind them that the evil ones–those who don’t know God or obey will be punished and on the day Christ returns, He will be glorified in His Holy people who believed Him because of the testimony of others.

Now, that they have believed, Paul tells them they are constantly praying for them that God may make them worthy (we cannot make ourselves worthy of His calling) and that they will allow His power to bring to pass every good thing they desire and do. Why? Not for them to glorified–lifted up and praised, but so God will be lifted up and praised–and His name–glorified.

Notice that Paul tells them by God’s power–He will bring every good desire and deed to fruition–so He’ll get the glory. One of the things that irritates me the most is watching award shows where the winners “give God honor” for what they have achieved, but their deeds–whether in a movie or in music–did nothing to glorify God and everything to glorify Satan. Do they think that God is fooled or deceived by them winning an award for their portrayals of godlessness–on screen or in the music? Seriously?

Does God get any glory or honor in obscenities, profanities, pornography, or sexual promiscuity? Is He entertained by, Modern Family, Nashville, Gray’s Anatomy, Empire, Scandal, The Haves and Have Nots,  or the other shows where wives are sleeping around with other men and women or children being sexually active? Why must sex be used to glorify the devil when God intended it to be used to glorify Him through the production and continuity of the human race through marriage (His standards)? And the saddest part is that so many Christians are caught up in watching all the filth and the pastors are dismissing services early so their congregations can keep up with the latest godlessness.

It is because of all the godlessness portrayed on television that I have opted out–there is nothing worthwhile except perhaps the weather and traffic reports on local stations. No matter what program a person attempts to watch–they are bombarded with fornication, homosexuality, and all types of perversity.

Reading and writing have become my modes of entertainment–I read to learn and write to inspire, motivate and educate. With all I do, I proclaim the name of Jesus so He is glorified and not me. Not that I can make me worthy of the calling on my life to proclaim the Gospel, but because He strengthens me daily to do all I can to make sure others know just how good He is.

God is not deceived by anything we see that dishonors Him nor is He fooled by anyone proclaiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ, and yet lives like the unsaved world and promotes ungodliness. People who think He is deceived have been deceived, by the great deceiver.

With all that we desire in life and all we do–let’s do it to glorify the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and when we do–He will bring all we desire to pass as a testimony to His goodness so others will also believe. 

We Have A Reason To Praise Him!

“For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.”(Psalm 149:4,5 NIV)

No matter what happens in our lives on a daily basis, we can always find a reason to praise God. When He delights in us, He gives us favor–with Him and others. We have opportunities to share His love that we didn’t think about and yet, every time we open our mouths or tap the keys on a keyboard or speak into a system that will type for us–we can encourage others to live, pleasing God and watching Him work in our lives.

Does this mean our lives will be perfect? Not hardly, but it means our lives will be meaningful.

Look up at the sky on a sunshiny day and praise God for the sun shining and seeing a blue sky, dotted with puffy white clouds.

If it’s raining and all you do is to hear the thunder and see the lightning, praise God for hearing and sight.

If you wake in pain–praise Him for being able to feel the pain because some people can’t feel anything.

If you don’t have what you want to eat in the refrigerator, praise God for what you do have because some people, have nothing.

If you don’t have the clothes you want to wear, praise God for something to cover your body; there are those who have nothing other than the rags they wear, daily.

If you don’t have the kind of car you want to drive, praise God for having a car of any kind and the resources to keep it  moving.

If you don’t have a car and have to catch a bus, praise God for the means to pay for the ride.

If you have to walk everywhere you go, praise God for legs that move when you want them to move.

If you don’t have the type of job you want, praise God for the job you have or for what He’s about to bless you with–always keeping your focus on Him and living to please Him.

If we tried–and for some it’s really easy since they’re never satisfied with their lot in life–we could complain about every aspect of our lives, but what would happen if we started praising God for what we have, instead of complaining for what we don’t have?

Many of us don’t have any more than we do because we have proven to God that we are not good stewards over what He has given so why would He give us more–to squander? Think about it! How many ways and how many times have you had an opportunity to do great things, but you chose not to try? We are not great or can do great things simply because we “think” about doing it–we actually have to get up and do–more than talk about it.

With every blog I write, every book idea I start, I keep at it because I’m trying to achieve something great in my effort to please God, by sharing what He gives me. Have I made it yet? I don’t know, which is why I keep writing. When He stops talking to me, I’ll stop having anything to say, but while I wait for Him to speak, I’m praising Him for using a little older lady like me, to share His goodness. Even though there are mornings when I think I’ll give it up, I keep going because He keeps blessing me and I can hear the angels cheering me, “keep going, keep going, it’s not over yet.”

Yes, we have a reason to praise Him–and all we have to do is look around us or look within us to know what it is. Our God is an awesome God and I praise Him, just because He is who He is!

Yours, Lord!

“Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all” (I Chronicles 29:11,12 NIV).

How wonderful, how great is our God?

Everything that was, is and will be–is a result of the greatness of The Lord!

He is exalted above all things because He created all things!

Wealth and honor–power to prosper and succeed–all come from Him and through Him.

He is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Great I Am–He is all we need–our healer, our provider, our protector, our comforter–the lover of our souls and we will exalt His Name forever!

He gives strength to weak, vision to the blind, insight to wise, healing to the sick, comfort to the lonely, and direction to all who are willing to hear Him and obey!

Yes, Our God is an awesome God–He reigns from heaven above and looks upon His children with mercy and grace, ready to forgive when we repent, and never leaves us alone in the battle. Our God is awesome! Keeps us in the valley, on the mountain tops, no matter where we are–we are never alone–He is always there!

Who is like our God? There is none like Him. No one who can do the things He does for those who love and honor Him. Nobody greater than our God!

We will bless The Lord at all times; His praise will continually be in our mouths, on our lips, our hearts shall sing with gladness and as we proclaim His greatness to all who have ears to hear! We will magnify Him until the sun no longer shines in the universe or moves in its orbit. We will praise Him until the mountains fall into the sea. We will exalt the name of our God until there is no one left to hear–How great is our God!

Bless Him all people, of all nations, bless His Holy name while we yet have a chance!  Give Him the glory that only belongs to Him. Hallelujah!

There’s a praise in my soul that just cannot be held back and this is the day, I will praise Him with everything in me--I will lift my voice in song, I will clap my hands, I will dance in praise of Him and I will shout the victory I have in Him from the rooftops so all will hear–Our God is awesome–He can move mountains, dry up the seas and in an instant–restore all that was ever lost–there is nothing too hard for Our God to accomplish, when we believe and trust in Him! I am His and He is mine! Yours, Lord! Glory to God in the highest!

Why We Praise Him!

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV).

Do you remember playing games in school or in your neighborhood that meant you on a team?  We decided who would be the team captains and they “chose” who they wanted on their teams and many of us, stood waiting, almost breathlessly, hoping to be chosen to play on the team that was going to win. Remember that feeling?  When it got down to the last few to be chosen, the person choosing was resigned to accept the fact they would have a few people on their team that were not the best players.  The people being chosen last, usually did not feel good about themselves.  They knew they were on certain teams by default–not real choice.

We don’t have to worry about that now!  Hallelujah!  We are chosen by the Creator and He has no favorites, no respect of persons, and on His team, we are all guaranteed winners!  Knowing this, “that He who began a good work in us is faithful to complete it”! Glory to God! We are special to God and because of who He is, we are royalty, and we have a right to praise Him–all day and all night!  Whenever we want to declare His goodness and mercy, we can and we should!  It is He who called us out of darkness (our habits of sin) and into His wonderful light (knowing Truth and The Light)!  Praise Him!  He loves us enough to keep us focused on Him and in drawing others into The Light.  Hallelujah!  What an awesome God! 

Is there anybody else like Him?  No, not one!  No one else who could forward into history and plan our destiny to be a praise unto Him.  No one else who could forget about all we did–that was not like Him, and forgive us and use us to His glory!  Nobody like Him who refuses to give up on us when we falter, but instead gives us strength to keep going!  No body like Him!  No, not one! Nobody else who gives us new mercies, every single morning!  Nobody else who can give us favor with others when they don’t even understand why they support our efforts!  Nobody else!  There is none like Him in all the earth!  He alone is worthy of all our praise!  Hallelujah!

Thank You God for choosing us to be on Your Team, Your Special team of people who do declare unto the nations Your praise!

We Used To Do It!

Reading for today, Colossians 3:4-10, I am reminded of the things that I used to do.  Paul tells the Church at Colosse that when Christ appears, we will appear with Him in glory (raised with a glorified body), but he also reminds them of the things they used to do and should not still be doing because of the new self created in Christ.

The point of this passage of scripture is simply this:  We have a past–used to do some things that were ungodly, illegal, immoral, and unethical.  We used to lie, hold onto anger, bitterness and unforgiveness. But that was then–when we did not know we had a Savior who loved us enough to die for us.  Now that we know, who He is and who we are in Him, none of those things we used to do (in opposition to God and self) should be a part of our new nature. If they are, are we really a new creation or have we just taken up a facade (external attributes), but our thought-life, our inner nature, has not changed?

God knows those who are His and if we are attempting to fool anyone; the only person we fool is ourselves.  When the enemy plants thoughts in our minds, remind him–“I used to do those things, but they are no longer part of my life!”

Now, we can start doing some new things–those things that will glorify God–and assure us of our new nature and then we can look the enemy in the face and say, “Look at me now and see what I am doing right now!” We can defeat the power of the enemy, by not dwelling on the things we used to do, but preparing to do all that God has planned for us!

When cloudy days or thoughts interfere with what you need to do–now, just remember those clouds will go away, when we think brighter thoughts. sunny day

He justifies Us!

“…for whom the Lord calls, He justifies…”

The justification of who we are and what we do, in our walk with Christ, comes when we understand exactly what the Lord has called us to do and we do it.

There is no need for anyone who is truly called by God to do anything to attempt to justify or defend who they are or what they do. If we  are “living” our calling, God has already justified His choosing us. The first part of this scripture states, “whom He predestinates (He determined from the beginning what our future role would be) when He calls us, by name in the Spirit and it comes to pass. This is why our prayer should always include our submission to God to stay in His Will.

What is His Will? His Will is found in His Word. If we won’t read the Word, we won’t be in His Will. If we are not in His Will, then we find it necessary to tell people–who we are, what our role is and what we have–we attempt to justify what we do, not God!

Quicken your spiritual ears and hear the voice of God so you will know you are called to do His Will and when we are in His Will, He glorifies us, we don’t have to do it! Hallelujah!

Psalm 23 v 6

“Surely your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

We can know with “certainty” (no doubt) that the goodness and mercy of God will follow us all the days of our lives.  This does not mean that nothing bad  or tragic will ever happen to us, but because of His goodness—that endures forever—we can survive and arise every time we get knocked down, stronger each time, knowing God has our back (following can only come from behind).  His mercy—favor that we cannot earn—paired with His goodness is a guarantee that no weapon formed against shall prosper.  Every word of God will accomplish that which it set out to do and we can know—the battle is not ours, but The Lord’s and we are victorious!

Once we know that we are victorious in all things through Jesus Christ, we can live with the assurance that we have access into heaven where we shall spend eternity when our time on earth, in this realm is at an end.  Blessed are those who hear The Word and keep it upon their hearts all the days of their lives.

We must read and study The Word, hear and believe The Word, and then do The Word so that no one who sees us can ever say; they did not have an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Since we are His ambassadors, our conduct and behavior should be a reflection of who He is.

Glory to God for The Good Shepherd who leads us in all things to His glory!