Bless the Lord, O my soul…

I want you to focus on how many times the word “all” is used in this faith-increasing Psalm. Not only the number of times, but the object and context of “all” throughout this beautiful passage.

Read about God’s faithfulness, His character, His acts of compassion, His mercy & His kindness highlighted throughout this song of worship, exhortation & praise.

You are not too far gone, you are not without hope…if your hope is in the Lord.

Blessings ❤

Psalm 103

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his word,
    obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
    his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

I am the Lord that healeth thee

The Power of Humility

This post is a continuation of the last one titled Let Him Be Lord

The theme threading through both posts is humility before God, or the act of humbling oneself:

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 ESV

Definition of humility

  1. :  freedom from pride or arrogance :  the quality or state of being humble : i.e. …accepted the honor with humility; The ordeal taught her humility.

We are going to go through times and seasons of pruning, spiritually speaking. We all have things that need to be trimmed back, shaped and tended in our lives, so the fruit of God will be evident for all to see.

Pruning is a good thing…really. Have you ever driven past someone’s house with a untended yard or overgrown trees? Weeds are everywhere, the grass hasn’t been mowed in months and little creatures are beginning to take up residence. It’s not pretty. But when you see a home with healthy green grass, beautifully shaped trees and artfully planted flowers, you admire the view, knowing that the homeowner has invested time & effort into their landscape.

For us as Christians, as children of God, the pruning process begins with forgiveness, and forgiveness is rooted in humility. Instead of looking at the people around us and judging their lives harshly, we should always look to our own, knowing that without God’s mercy and grace we would be lost:

“He (Jesus) also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 ESV

God will forgive you. Humble yourself before Him and He will lift you back up, stronger, healthier and more beautiful than you were before.

Blessings ❤

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Let Him Be Lord

This post is for those who have already invited Jesus to be the Lord of their life.

If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Savior & Lord, and don’t know why you need to, that’s OK…keep reading.

Again, for those who do know Jesus, think about how you will answer the following question:

How do you respond when you recognize an area of your life that is not submitted to God?

Let’s say you confessed Jesus as Lord many years back. As you progress in your relationship with Christ, certain aspects of your life come to the forefront, and they aren’t particularly flattering. In fact, some things are downright wrong, ugly or sinful.

It doesn’t even have to be a sin that comes to light. When we are crying out to God for mercy & relief, in His mercy He will show us what is at the root of our problem. So again, I ask, what is your response to the Lord?

Whether it’s a habit that is detrimental to our health, or a mindset that does’t line up with God’s heart, we all are faced with a choice in how we respond. We can either acknowledge it before God and ask for mercy, or we can stuff it back down and go along as if we didn’t see that thing the Holy Spirit was shining His light upon.

The righteous response is to acknowledge it; to fess up, in Texas parlance 🙂 .

I love this passage of John from the Living Bible paraphrase: There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust him to save them. But those who don’t trust him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God. Their sentence is based on this fact: that the Light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the Light, for their deeds were evil. They hated the heavenly Light because they wanted to sin in the darkness. They stayed away from that Light for fear their sins would be exposed and they would be punished. But those doing right come gladly to the Light to let everyone see that they are doing what God wants them to.” John 3:18-21

Confession. That sounds simple enough. Bring it to God and ask Him for mercy.

Got it. Done!

God is compassionate, merciful and kind. He will never reject anyone who comes asking for forgiveness from a sincere heart: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

And just in case you think your heart is too dark to be saved, or your actions beyond the boundaries of God’s mercy and love, let me encourage you with one of my personal favorites:

“Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!” Isaiah 1:18 The Living Bible

But what about those times when you are struggling with a habit or sin? You’ve acknowledged it before God, yet you still aren’t experiencing the freedom, release and joy promised in His word. In these instances, I’ve learned to ask Jesus to be Lord in that area of difficulty, whatever that area happens to be.

Let’s use food as an example. In the course of your life, you come to realize that you have a problem with food. It has been your means of comfort in times of stress. You know you need to eat for life, but you live to eat. Meal planning and special treats dominate your thoughts. Even though you have the knowledge that clean food and exercise will be to your benefit, you can’t seem to pass up the chocolate cake no matter how hard you try.

As you read the word, you run across a scripture that says, “They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.” (Philippians 3:19)

The part about …their god is their appetite…stands out to you and you feel a tinge of shame or fear. You can either keep on reading like that tinge never happened, or you can stop and confess something along these lines, “Father, forgive me. I have been crying out to you for help with my eating habits and things haven’t improved. I don’t want my appetite to be my god. Jesus, I am asking you to be Lord in this area. I turn it over to you.”

Trust that when you humble yourself and invite the Lord in, He will be faithful to take over and redeem every bit of land you cede to Him– whether it’s spiritual, emotional or physical. And He is a gracious ruler. So many times we resist the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives because we’re afraid of what will happen when we let the walls come down. Maybe we won’t like what God offers in place of that thing that we keep so closely guarded in our heart and soul…

It is the Holy Spirit’s job to conform us to Christ’s image. It’s part of God’s good plan for our life:

“For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:29 New Living Translation

Go gladly to the Light when He shines upon you. What you gain will far outweigh that thing that is trying to hold you down.

Blessings ❤

10.15.14 Sunrise

Only one thing matters

“Jesus continued from there toward Jerusalem and came to another village. Martha, a resident of that village, welcomed Jesus into her home. Her sister, Mary, went and sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him teach.  Meanwhile Martha was anxious about all the hospitality arrangements.” Luke 10:38-40 The Voice Translation

The New International Version phrases Luke 10:40 this way, “…But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”

I have had a lot on my mind lately. Thoughts that take the form of mental notes and lists. The lists become more detailed as new issues come to the fore-front. The issues turn into prayer requests, but because I’m so busy trying to stay on top of everything, my prayers sound more like tentative appeals for assistance rather than faith-emboldened petitions.

Anxious thoughts of work, home and family start to occupy a larger amount of space in my head, and as a consequence, I find myself running from one thing to the next in a desperate attempt to hold it all together.

The Lord knows I’m weakening. He hears my pleas for help and mercy. He knows what I need most, and what I need most is time with Him.

So why do I find it so hard to stop and sit in His presence? I’ve been here so many times before…

My only excuse is that I tend to err on the side of Martha-ism. I say that I want to be more like Mary but the truth is I like being busy. I like planning and preparing. I like to do things…often to my spiritual detriment.

As I said, the Lord sees me and He knows my anxious thoughts. I have been crying out for help and relief. I have spent a sleep disturbed couple of weeks just burdened with things! And then I opened my email this past Thursday and read this:

“What are the things that are leaving you in distress right now? Bring them in heartfelt prayer before the Lord. Run into the arms of your Father instead, your true place of rest and peace.” Brian Simmons and Your TPT Team (The Passion Translation)

I HEAR HIS WHISPER…
“I will be your Sabbath rest”

“Many are restless in this hour. They long for lasting change. They are puzzled over what seems like delay in their advancement. Restlessness comes when you take your eyes off of Me. I call you to rest in My peace and watch Me work. I will be your Sabbath Rest.

“The distractions are many for My chosen ones. Many voices and many activities can confuse your heart, but in Me there is a peace that transcends all understanding. I give to you, not logic, but peace. My peace can never be disturbed and robbed from you.

“The peace of your world comes and goes and is easily troubled. Come into My ocean of peace and I will speak to you the words you need to hear for what is about to come.

“You no longer have a place in the world. Your place is with Me. Step into Me and I will give the place destined for you. My mansions filled with peace and glory await your entrance. There are many resting places in Me. I long to be your undisturbed peace in a time of trouble and rapid change. Come closer to Me and I will come closer to you. The plans I have for you require that you focus on Me and not your shifting circumstances. Confine yourself to Me, as a prisoner of love, and you will be nourished by the eternal.”

Psalm 27:4-6 The Passion Translation

“Here’s the one thing I crave from God, 
The one thing I seek above all else:
I want the privilege of living with him 
Every moment in his House,
Finding the sweet loveliness of his face;
Filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. 
I want to live my life so close to him 
That he takes pleasure in my every prayer.
In His shelter in the day of trouble, 
That’s where you’ll find me,
For he hides me there in his holiness.
He has smuggled me into his secret place 
Where I’m kept safe and secure.”

I SO needed this! I so want this!

This morning before turning on the TV, before starting breakfast for family, before cleaning the house or planning my day, I took time to sit with Jesus and listen to His heart. I gave all my cares and worries into His capable hands and set out to float in His ocean of peace.

What is more needful, more wonderful that that?

So I will leave you with the last part of the Martha & Mary saga, and hope that you, too, will choose the One thing…

“…But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42 NIV

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