Thursday, May 25, 2017

Servant of God

Easter gatherings with their celebrations are fast becoming memories as plans for Spring Break and summer vacations begin to fill the calendar. Before life fills our plates too full with other thoughts, I would like to spend the next several weeks sharing some of the insights I gleaned during these recent weeks of Lent.~dho



The spiritual discipline of service requires an "attitude of obedience". In A Year with God, Foster gives us the definition of servanthood. As I think back on these instructions, I must ask myself if I have become a better servant or gained a deeper understanding of service. What do my actions really show? What is my heart's intention?
Being a servant of God and of others [is] a way of living - a declaration of obedience, not an occasional volunteer activity. Richard Foster
As the season between the resurrection and Pentecost draws to a close, implementing the lessons learned becomes more critical. Without a demonstration of living more like Christ, our insights fall short. Colossians 3:23-24 tells us how to work, how to be obedient, how to honor Christ with our efforts. -dho
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

Thursday, May 18, 2017

"O good and gracious King!"

Easter gatherings with their celebrations are fast becoming memories as plans for Spring Break and summer vacations begin to fill the calendar. Before life fills our plates too full with other thoughts, I would like to spend the next several weeks sharing some of the insights I gleaned during these recent weeks of Lent.~dho


During the Lenten season, there are many hymns that are traditionally sung. One that is often part of worship on Palm Sunday is "All Glory, Laud and Honor". A particular memory of this hymn happened on Palm Sunday in 1991 at Church of the Savior in Cleveland, Ohio. On this first Sunday we take our younger daughter to church, only 3 weeks old, we sing this hymn. The words stir my heart as I hold my newborn and think of the innocence of children singing "sweet hosannnas" as Jesus enters into Jerusalem. I am reminded again each time this hymn is sung. 

Take a moment to reflect upon the words of this hymn. Imagine the day, the joy, the celebrations. Imagine the day's events, conversations, and songs. Take a moment to once again offer praises and prayers to our Redeemer, our good and gracious King! - dho

"All glory, laud and honor
to You, Redeemer, King,
to whom the lips of children
made sweet hosannas ring.
You are the King of Israel
and David's royal Son,
now in the Lord's name coming,
the King and Blessed One.

The company of angels
is praising You on high; 
and we with all creation
in chorus make replay.
The people of the Hebrews
with palms before You went;
our praise and prayer and anthems 
before You we present. 

To You before Your passion
they sang their hymns of praise;
to You, now high exalted,
our melody we raise.
As You received their praises,
accept the prayers we bring,
for You delight in goodness,
O good and gracious King!"

** text originally written in Latin around 820 by Theodulph, bishop of Orleans. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Easter gatherings with their celebrations are fast becoming memories as plans for Spring Break and summer vacations begin to fill the calendar. Before life fills our plates too full with other thoughts, I would like to spend the next several weeks sharing some of the insights I gleaned during these recent weeks of Lent.~dho

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. Psalm77:11


During Lent and since, I have been a part of a women's Bible study at our chuch called Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg. Each week we are challenged to 'awake to the wonder of God'. Feinberg writes, "God desires to captivate us not just with His handiwork but with Himself - displaying facets of His character, igniting us with His firey love, awakening us to the intensity of His holiness." In one exercise we were asked to recall and write down at least 5 praiseworthy deeds that God performed in the Old Testament, 5 deeds God performed from the New Testament, 5 deeds God has performed in my faith community, and 5 praiseworthy deeds God has performed in my life. If you are counting, that is 20 deeds. As we shared in groups, many had written some of the same deeds from the Bible that I wrote while others had ones I had not thought about. Other lists recalled more personal moments. Feinberg reminds us that "unless we are intentional about remembering  the deeds of God, we become forgetful aobut God and His presence in our world.

In those days leading up to Pentecost, Jesus spent time with the the disciples, preparing them for when He would ascend back to God, preparing them to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, feeding them with holiness until the coming of the Holy Spirit. Those days had to be full of wonder at all that had happened the last three years, the healings and miracles, the traveling and teaching, the obedience and the lack of understanding. Christ's very presence after the crucifixion and resurrection must have left them wonderstruck. Be wonderstruck, too, when you consider God! Can you list the praiseworthy deeds of God that have impacted your life? -dho 

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Praise His Name

 Easter gatherings with their celebrations are fast becoming memories as plans for Spring Break and summer vacations begin to fill the calendar. Before life fills our plates too full with other thoughts, I would like to spend the next several weeks sharing some of the insights I gleaned during these recent weeks of Lent.~dho
Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the Lord made the heavens! Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty fill his sanctuary. Psalm 96:1-6 NLT


This year for my daily devotionals, I am using A Year With God, Living Out the Spiritual Disciplines by Richard Foster. During Lent, one of the disciplines studied was worship. Foster writes, "When we pour worship out over our daily lives, we grow ever more sensitive to God's voice and presence." In describing some of the praise psalms, he calls them "poetic proclamation". Worship is an essential aspect of faith. Being alert to and recognizing the holiness of God feeds our minds and souls. A heightened awareness of the beauty of creation reveals the majesty of the Creator, opens the heart to God's perfect design. Summing it up with St. Augustine's words, "A Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot." Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Alleluia! Amen! 
-dho