Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vision ~ Second Sunday of Lent 2010

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart . . .

Thou my best thought by day or by night

Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light

Be thou my wisdom and Thou my true word

I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord . . .

Heart of my own heart whatever befall

Still be my vision O Ruler of all

"Be Thou My Vision" is a hymn but has its roots in Ireland. Written in the 8th century as an Irish poem, it was translated in the early 1900's and later put to music. In Hosea, God is reminding Israel who He is:
It is I who answer and look after you.  I am like a luxuriant cypress; from Me comes your fruit.  Hosea 14:8 NASB

God is where we are to look for our best thoughts, our wisdom; His presence is with us.  What comfort to know that whatever happens we can find God's Vision.  Heart of my own heart whatever befall, still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

The Message translates the Hosea verse: Everything you need is to be found in Me.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
My "best thoughts" will reflect God's wisdom if He is the "Lord of my heart". Let God be our Vision in this world of darkness. ~dho

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Eyewitness ~ Lent 2010

For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased" and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
2 Peter 1:16-18 NASB

Peter was explaining that he and other disciples were actually present - were eyewitnesses - of the transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-13).  They saw Jesus transformed.  They saw Moses and Elijah appear and talk to Jesus.  Now, they were sharing with others the power and majesty of Christ, how they heard the voice of God express His love and approval of Jesus.

Have you been an eyewitness God's power?  It may have been through answered prayers, healings, or a Divine intervention.  Perhaps you have known great peace in a difficult circumstance or full assurance in uncertain times. Maybe God has provided for your needs or opened a door of opportunity at just the right time.  God's power is miraculous and evident every day in uncounted ways.  God's power transforms lives!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
As an eyewitness of God's transforming power, share your God-story! ~dho

Friday, February 26, 2010

Stillness ~ Lent 2010

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
Psalm 37:7 NIV

The world is full of noise; it delights in its fullness of distractions.  Time for stillness eludes us; it escapes our attempts at quiet.  In fact, we have become so programed to noise and multi-tasking several technologies at the same time, we rarely recognize these as distractions.  Rather, we question the moments of quiet and stillness, "What, no Wi-Fi?  Is the Internet down?  How long will the cable be off?  Another endless red light?  Wonder why no one is texting me? Did my cell phone die?  Where is my Ipod?"

We value busyness; we do not respect stillness!  We are afraid of the stillness; we are missing God in the hurry.  We have grown accustomed to fast; we are drowning in schedules. 

Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.
Meister Eckhart

Our sacrifice of praise ~
As our sacrifice of praise, we should slow down and seek stillness.  We would discover we are not alone; rather, God is patiently waiting for us. ~dho

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Powerless ~ Lent 2010

I want to share a familiar Scripture with you, Jeremiah 29:11, one that many claim as comfort and strength, but let's also read the next few verses as well.
(11) I know what I'm doing.  I have it all planned out - plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
(12) When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I'll listen.
(13) When you come looking for Me, you'll find Me.
(14) Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed.  GOD'S Decree
Jeremiah 29:11-14 The Message

Oswald Chambers wrote: "As long as we are self-sufficient and complacent, we don't need to ask God for anything, we don't want Him; it is only when we know we are powerless that we are prepared to listen to Jesus Christ and to what He says." from If You Will Ask

So often we go along sort of trusting that God will take care of us; after all, He has a plan!  While this is true, the Scripture reminds us that we, too, have a part in God's plan.  We are to seek Him, pray to Him, serioulsy desire Him to be an active part of our every day life.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
We must lay down the arrogance that lies to us, telling us we have control.  We are powerless.  Seriously seek God's and find the mighty power of His Promises. ~ dho

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Refresh ~ Lent 2010

This morning I was having coffee and a bagel at Panera Bread in Augusta, GA before BSF (Bible Study Fellowship).  I noticed a slogan on a banner: REFRESH RESTART RENEW!  That was just what I was doing!  Later today I went to their web site and found this statement "About Us":

"We are Panera. We are bakers of bread.  We are fresh from the oven.  We are a symbol of warmth and welcome. We are a simple pleasure, honest and genuine. We are a life story told over dinner. We are a long lunch with an old friend. We are your weekday morning ritual. We are the kindest gesture of neighbors. We are home. We are family. We are friends."

I like the way Panera describes itself.  This sounds a lot like the way Christians describe their fellowship with other Christians.  This reminds me of Believers partaking of The Bread of Life.  This reflects the warmth and genuine compassion that Christ offers His disciples.  This should be the way followers of Christ spend time with the Savior. 

Jesus is home and family to us! Jesus calls us friend!  Jesus will always REFRESH - RESTART - RENEW us when we meet Him at the altar ~ or ~ when we meet Jesus for coffee and a bagel and some soul-time!

But I am in the very presence of God -
oh, how refreshing it is!
I've made Lord GOD my home.
God, I'm telling the world what you do!
Psalm 73:28 The Message

Our sacrifice of praise ~
REFRESH - RESTART- RENEW with Jesus - then tell someone! ~dho

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Always ~ Lent 2010

Today I heard Building 429's song "Always" and was reminded of how faithful God is to us - ALWAYS.  Even when circumstances question our faith and our hope, Jesus is ALWAYS our Savior, ALWAYS knows our pain.  God's everlasting promises are the anchor that holds us in the storms of life - ALWAYS!  He is with us ALWAYS!  I encourage you to listen to their song.

The LORD appeared to him from afar saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love."
Jeremiah 31:3 NASB

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Do you believe that God loves you with an everlasting love? If yes, then offer thanksgiving praises to Him - ALWAYS - even when circumstances prove difficult! ~dho

Monday, February 22, 2010

Presence ~ Lent 2010

I look behind me and You're there, then up ahead and You're there, too - Your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful - I can't take it all in!
Psalm 139:5-6 The Message

There is great comfort and security in knowing that God's Presence is with us ~ at all times! It is, as the psalmist wrote - too wonderful.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Do you know the Presence of God? Tell someone how you know!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dependence ~ 1st Sunday of Lent 2010

So those now who live by faith are blessed along with Abraham, who lived by faith - this is no new doctrine! And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure.
Galatians 3:9-10 The Message

"The nearer Abraham came to God in his intercession the more he recognized his entire unworthiness; 'Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord.' Genuine unworthiness is never shy before God any more than a child is shy before his mother. A child of God is conscious only of his entire dependence upon God." from Not Knowing Where by Oswald Chambers

The Thesaurus gives these synonyms for dependence: TRUST, reliance, confidence, faith. As a child of God, we must acknowledge our entire dependence upon God. This requires that we TRUST God with all the circumstances of life. Finding confidence in His Power and relying on His Promises demonstrate our faith, our dependence on God.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Contemplate a time when you did not demonstrate complete dependence on God. What more does God have to do to gain our trust? ~dho

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sacrifice ~ Lent 2010

Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God proclaiming our allegiance to His name. And don’t forget to do good and share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
Hebrews 13:15-16 NLT

What is SACRIFICE?

- Offering to dedicate and thank God for His provision
- Offering to honor a covenant with God
- Offering that which is commanded by God

Consider The Message translation of Hebrews 13:15-16:

Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship – a different kind of sacrifice – that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
What will we offer as an act of worship ~ a different kind of sacrifice to God? ~dho

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fasting ~ Lent 2010

The Message is as true among you today as when you first heard it. It doesn't diminish or weaken over time. It's the same all over the world. The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you. From the very first day you heard and recognized the truth of what God is doing, you've been hungry for more.
Colossians 1:6 The Message

Fasting takes many forms and is a common practice during Lent. Some will sacrifice chocolate or sweets, others will give up sodas or TV. During Lent, many Catholics fast every Friday, giving up meat. The purpose of fasting goes beyond ritual; it is to draw us closer to God.

Richard Foster, in his Celebration of Discipline, devotes a chapter to fasting and gives Christians insight into this discipline of faith: "Throughout Scripture fasting refers to abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. . . Biblical fasting always centers on spiritual purposes." Foster points out that Jesus never commands believers to fast but acknowledges that we will. In Matthew 6:16, Jesus says, "When you fast . . ." Foster continues, "So, although Jesus does not say, 'If you fast,' neither does he say 'You must fast.' His word is, very simply, 'When you fast.'"

So why fast? Foster explains, "Fasting must forever center on God. . . More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. David writes, 'I humbled my soul with fasting' (Ps. 69:10). . . Therefore, in experiences of fasting we are not so much abstaining from food as we are feasting on the Word of God." Celebration of Discipline - Chapter 4, pgs.47-61

When seeking ways to offer a sacrifice of praise to God, fasting is one way. However, fasting does not have to mean "giving up" something; it can be "giving more." Consider "giving more" as your sacrifice of praise, such as: spending more time in God's Word, fasting FROM the world by spending time serving people in need, make time to attend special worship programs or visit homebound and elderly folks. The possibilities of "giving more" for God are endless.

Listen for His Voice to direct your energies. Richard Foster notes, "Outwardly, you will be performing regular duties of your day, but inwardly you will be in prayer and adoration, song and worship. In a new way, cause every task of the day to be a sacred ministry to the Lord. Cultivate a gentle receptiveness to divine breathings."

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Do you hunger for more? How will your fasting be more like feasting on the Word of God? ~dho

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Goodness ~ Lent 2010

"For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
Romans 14:17 NLT

The slogan on the Land O Lakes Half and Half reads, "where simple goodness begins." According to the dictionary, goodness is "the state or quality of being good, moral excellence, virtue, kindness, generosity, the best part of anything, strength, a euphemism for God." Bible.org says, "The goodness of God is a foundational truth that shapes our perspective toward God and His dealings with us in this life. The goodness of God is a fact to which the Bible often testifies. It is a fact which every Christian should believe and embrace." If there is any goodness in us, it must come from God; goodness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. God is where goodness begins!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
How is God's goodness manifested through us as we strive to live a life of goodness to honor God? ~dho

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday ~ Lent 2010

Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God proclaiming our allegiance to His name. And don’t forget to do good and share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
Hebrews 13:15-16 NLT

"So many of us limit our praying because we are not reckless in our confidence in God. In the eyes of those who do not know God, it is madness to trust Him, but when we pray in the Holy Spirit we begin to realize the resources of God, that He is our perfect heavenly Father, and we are His children."
~from If You Will Ask by Oswald Chambers

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Will we sacrifice our anxieties and be reckless in our confidence in God? ~ dho

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrove Tuesday!



You have shown me the way of life, and You will fill me with the joy of Your presence. Acts 2:28 NLT


"Shrove Tuesday" or Fat Tuesday is the last day before the Lenten begins. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the day believers begin a spiritual pilgrimage of remembrance to the cross, take another opportunity to contemplate the holy sacrifice of Jesus.

How will we honor this immeasurable gift of salvation? ~dho

Monday, February 08, 2010

Glory!

A friend gave me a "thought for everyday" calendar at the beginning of this year. While most every thought gives me reason to pause and ponder, I want to share one from last week. Many times circumstances "cross our path" giving us reason to question, to doubt, to fear. This daily thought reminds me that God gives us purpose and His promises never fail ~ even when circumstances intersect our ordinary days ~ while we must place our trust in God who knows infinitely more than me.

It is a glorious thing to know that your father God makes no mistakes in directing or permitting that which crosses the path of your life. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter. It is our glory to trust Him, no matter what.
~ Joni Eareckson Tada ~

consider these words from Job:
[Job answered GOD]:
"I'm convinced: You can do anything and everything.
Nothing and no one can upset Your plans.
You asked, "Who is this muddying the water,
ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing My purposes?"
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
made small talk about wonders way over my head.
Job 42:1-4 The Message

~dho