Saturday, March 31, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Shout!


I'm ready, God, so ready, 
ready from head to toe,
Ready to sing, ready to raise a tune:
"Wake up, soul!"
Psalm 57:7 The Message
A year ago I spent the better part of a day touring Daufuskie Island, just off the coast of Hilton Head, SC. An island full of rich history and Gullah culture merging with renewal and preservation today, my thoughts were captured. We stopped and toured a church still used today, very small by any of the standards of today's churches. Out to the side was a small unpainted, wooded structure not bigger than an outdoor garden shed. It was not the original but a replica. Above the door it read "Praise House."


The Gullah people used this little house as a house of prayer and praise. Apparently, the prayers started quiet and as inspiration led, the prayers would become more intense, eventually becoming 'Praise Shouts'! As I thought about that progression of the moving of the Spirit, I wondered how often is my soul moved to the point of Praise Shouts? And when this happens, do I just contain the joy or does my response raise a tune of praise to the Lord?



Our sacrifice of praise ~
Psalm 57:9 msg, "I'm thanking you, God, out loud in the streets, singing Your praises in town and country." Try praising God ~ in public! ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~

Friday, March 30, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Mystery




. . . the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, . . . according to His own mercy . . . and renewal of the Holy Spirit . . . that we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:4-7 ESV


Christians know these truths about undeserved mercy and grace, how Jesus became our sin-offering, and that Jesus is the Hope of everlasting life. Yet, this remains a mystery. God's goodness is changeless and certain, but it exceeds explanation. Embrace the mystery!

Be with me in my silence and in my speech, in my haste and in my leisure, in company and in solitude, in the freshness of the morning and in the weariness of the evening; and give me grace at all times to rejoice in Thy mysterious companionship.
John Baille

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Find one new way to rejoice in God's mysterious companionship! ~ dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Rhythms


The thought of You stirs us so deeply that we cannot be content unless we praise You, because You have made us for Yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in You. Augustine

God is our true resting place, in all times. Consider these words from the Gospel of Matthew:

I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
Matthew 11:29 The Message

Are you finding real rest in Jesus? Tell someone how to find contentment!
Our sacrifice of praise ~
Let the everyday walking and working with Jesus, reveal His unforced rhythms of grace. ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Evidence



Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 NKJV

We have the faith to hope, the faith to believe because God gives us this. Writers struggle with words to define faith and hope; they are not tangible but known by the heart's relief or the soul's peace. Faith and Hope would not be great witnesses in civil court; attorneys like sure evidence, certain proof. Healing happens, and sometimes doctors cannot explain; science always wants to know why, but sometimes the evidence is not seen ~ at least in conventional ways.

A.W. Tozer wrote: God's plans will continue on God's schedule. We must trust God's Way, even if the evidence is not seen by us. This is faith. The evidence of our faith is demonstrated when we trust God more than our circumstances and consequences. Our obedience to God's Word marks us faithful.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Lay down the burdens of circumstance and consequence; boldly stand with faith and hope and know the power of the Invisible I AM! ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Everywhere




God is everywhere and yet invisible, . . . We need more than a watchmaker who winds up the universe and lets it tick. We need love and mercy and forgiveness and grace - qualities only a personal God can offer.
Philip Yancey

What do you say to your friends about God when you gather together? Consider these words:

Here's the story I'll tell my friends
when they come to worship,
and punctuate it with Hallelujahs:
Shout Hallelujah, you God-worshipers;
give glory . . . adore Him . . .
He has never let you down,
never looked the other way when you were kicked around.
He has never wandered off to do His own thing;
He has been right there, listening.
Psalm 22:22-24 The Message

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Tell your God-story to your friends and punctuate it with Hallelujahs! ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”


Monday, March 26, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Prince


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died,...
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?...
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
Isaac Watts - When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
Like the first budding of Spring's dogwood blossoms from empty, dormant branches, Christ breathes new life into us, love so amazing that words cannot fully capture the meaning. The love of Christ is extravagant. 

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Consider His amazing creations, wordless and beauty-full and offer God your all ! ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ True


The 5th Sunday of Lent ~

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took His garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also His tunic. But the tunic was seamless woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be." This was to fulfill the Scripture [Ps.22:18] . . . John 19:23-24 ESV

Rev. David Carroll, the pastor at St. Matthew's UMC in Madison, MS, preached a sermon on "The Tunic and Dice" and used this phrase in describing the soldiers . . . and us when we choose the world's view of indifference instead of turning our eyes to Jesus, the crucified and risen Savior: "The soldiers were . . . trading the True for the trivial." We gamble and barter with other's hearts every day, ignoring need and remaining self-focused. Let's go beyond the trivial and seek the True Light!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Let your daily witness to the world be one that trades the trivial things of this world for Jesus - the True! ~ dho 

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Rejoice





There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary--we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! Romans 5:3-5 The Message

In the middle of life, with its delights and distractions, surrounded by wonder and wilderness, the moments come and go. How often do we shout our praise in difficult times? Scripture tells us these very troubles can teach us passionate patience. Some translations use "endurance." Through the struggles we can become stronger, even hope-full.

In alert expectancy reminds us that God's blessings, like His Faithfulness, are certain. We are to praise God in all circumstances, not for the despair or difficulty, not for the sadness or sorrow; rather, we are to praise God for His Everlasting Hope that endures troubles, that endures for eternity. We are to praise God for the countless blessings that have been and are to come. We are to praise God for the lessons of passionate patience which strengthen and renew. We are to praise God ~ for He alone is worthy of praise.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Try to find enough containers to hold God's Goodness and Grace! ~dho



All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author

Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Friday, March 23, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Hope


Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
Romans 12:12 NLT

Henry Nouwen writes:
The pains and struggles we encounter in our solitude thus become the way to hope, because our hope is not based on something that will happen after our sufferings are over, but on the real presence of God's healing Spirit in the midst of these sufferings. from Bringing Solitude into Our Lives

God is present in our suffering. Christ is healing hope! He alone is Grace.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Find a moment of silence - somewhere, somehow - and rejoice in Hope! ~ dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Worthy


He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes. Deuteronomy 10:21 NLT

This season we have been thinking about a way to offer a sacrifice of praise as a way of remembering Christ and His Gift of Grace. One of my older daughter's favorite hymns is Worthy of Worship. Consider some of the words:

Worthy of worship, worthy of praise, worthy of honor and glory;
Worthy of all the glad songs we can sing, worthy of all of the off-'rings we bring . . .
Almighty Father, Master and Lord, King of all kings and Redeemer,
Wonderful Counselor, Comforter, Friend, Savior and Source of our life without end . . .
You are worthy, Father, Creator.
You are worthy, Savior, Sustainer.
You are worthy, worthy and wonderful;
Worthy of worship and praise.
words by: Terry W. York

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Lay down the relentless idols that shout for attention, idols that crave worldly worship and demand empty praise. For God alone is worthy, worthy of our worship and praise. ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Soul

As the Holy Spirit descended to the gathering of followers that would be the beginning of Christ's church (Acts 2), Peter stood and began to remind the people of the prophetic telling from Joel. He talked about the wonders that were now known, about Jesus the Messiah, and recounted King David's testimony.

You have made known to me the ways of life; You will enrapture me [diffusing my soul with joy] with and in Your presence. Acts 2:28 The Amplified Bible

I happened upon this quote by Alexander Solzhenitsyn:

The meaning of earthly existence lies, not as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering, but in the development of the soul.

Reading more about the Russian writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, I discovered a few facts from his autobiography (see link below). He always wanted to be a writer but circumstances directed his studies toward physics and mathematics, all the while he studied history and philosophy and literature on the side. He graduated Rostov University with a degree in physics and mathematics only days before WWII began.

Imprisoned for eight years for having political differences with Russia, he was exiled for another 3 years. All this time he taught mathematics and physics, claimed this "rescued me from death." In time, Solzhenitsyn would be recognized for his writing, his long awaited dream. He wrote, "It is almost always impossible to evaluate at the time events which you have already experienced, and to understand their meaning with the guidance of their effects. All the more unpredictable and surprising to us will be the course of future events."

A lesson to take away is that God has a plan for the world ~ Christ, and God has a purpose for each of us ~ redemption. God wants to renew the soul of each person. The way this is accomplished is through our faith in Christ, the Son of God, the Savior, the Redeemer. God's purpose through us is revealed in many ways ~ through His design. Our limited minds cannot know the reasons or understand all that happens. We must trust that God will use us, if we seek the True and Living God. Through God's plan we are rescued from death. Our future through Christ is eternal life, and this is sure.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Stand in the presence of God, ask Him, "Holy One, diffuse my soul with Your Joy!" This is true "soul-shine! ~dho

Link to autobiography: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1970/solzhenitsyn-autobio.html 

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Design


If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies.
1 Peter 4:11 NKJV

Reading Max Lucado's Volume II of Grace For The Moment inspirational daily thoughts today, I found a thought very worthy of sharing. It is an excerpt from Lucado's Cure for the Common Life. He reminds that God has shaped each of us according to our purpose. All of us have certain abilities such as, the "ability to diagnose an engine problem by the noise it makes, to bake a cake without a recipe." Lucado gives other examples that describe specific interest in particular topics or the ability to remember names. He asks, "How do you explain such quirks of skill?"

The answer is God! Knowing Israel would "need a code, He gave Moses a love for the law." With other examples in the New Testament to demonstrate this, Lucado writes, "He designed you. And His design defines your destiny." We conclude that any ability, any strength, any gift we have is from God. Designed by the Master Designer, we are to minister to others with the talents He provides.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Designed by God, use this ability to touch the lives of others for Him. ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Monday, March 19, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Faith



Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him here." So they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you." Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. And answering him, Jesus said, "What do you want Me to do for you?" And the blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!" And Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road. Mark 10:46-52 NASB
Jesus is always calling to us; He desires that we have a relationship with Him. I wonder how many of us are really like this blind man? Do we desire the mercy that Jesus offers? Is our faith truly evident? And maybe most of all, I wonder, do we really KNOW what we want from Jesus? And, if we know, do we boldly ask? When Jesus answers us, do we respond like this man with new vision?
Our sacrifice of praise ~
Ask Jesus for new vision ~ and follow Him on the road! ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Father

4th Sunday of Lent ~


When Jesus had spoken these things, He lifted His eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour has come. Glorify and exalt and honor and magnify Your Son, so that Your Son may glorify and extol and honor and magnify You. John 17:1 Amplified Bible


The 17th Chapter of John is a well-known prayer that Jesus prayed before His crucifixion. Many times in the New Testament we are given examples of Jesus praying, examples He set for us, teaching us how to communicate with God. If Jesus needed to spend time in prayer, certainly we have an even greater need. E.M. Bounds wrote these words in his book on "Prayer":
What mystery that the Son of God should be under the law of prayer . . . How strange that the blessings that came to Him were impregnated and purchased by prayer.
Our sacrifice of praise ~
Like Jesus, pray that your life gives glory and honor to the Father. ~dho 

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Author


Since my first book has been published, and as I have signed books, many have said to me, "Now, I know a real author; I have never been able to say that before!" Over the years, I have met several authors, even had them sign books for me, but I can't say many of them are my friends. At times, we have lingered shortly over their books, but on most occasions, we never communicated after that. Yet, everyone has the opportunity to meet an author, and all believers have met The Author. If we continue seeking a relationship with this Author, we will become friends - forever! Jesus is The Author of our faith ~ He wrote the story of Grace!

Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 NASB

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Get your Bible ~ off the shelf or the nightstand or the backseat of your car ~ wherever it waits between Sundays and get to know The Author better. ~ dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!” 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Spirit


For He himself is our peace, . . . For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father . . . In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2:14, 18, 22 ESV

Christ is our peace. We find this peace by being in an intimate relationship with Him. Growing deeper roots through the Spirit, our faith walk can be consistently enriched. Our hearts must be a dwelling place for God, an altar for the Love Most High.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Open the door of your dwelling place and introduce God to a friend. ~ dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”