Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Unexpected Rewards!

As we open our hearts at Christmas to the anticipation of celebrating the birth of our Savior, the familiar rituals and traditions of the season bring us comfort.  Through these remembrances we once again discover the joyful music, the special recipes, the fragrant smells, and the excitement of giving! But all too often we fill the moments with so much that we don't leave room for the Savior.

Panera Bread Company has a new slogan to go with its MyPanera card: Rewarding You In Unexpected Ways!  Each time I see it I am reminded of Christmas and the unexpected ways that God reached out to a broken, dark world.  God sent Holy Light into our darkness, just as He had promised; yet, no one really expected that Jesus would come as a baby.  The shepherds in the field the night of Jesus' birth found themselves surprised by the unexpected angels and their announcement.  In time, even His own disciples thought Jesus would become an earthly ruler.  They did not expect Him to be crucified and were equally awed by His resurrection.  It was in God's unexpected ways that salvation entered the world bringing Light and Hope.  

God's unexpected ways continue today.  Scripture reminds that God's ways are not our ways.  How often we plan and decide, order and prepare ~ expect God to intervene in a particular way!  How often are we surprised by the actual outcomes?  How often are we perplexed by the unexpected ways of God?  The one thing that is always sure ~ the Holy One will always respond and provide for all our needs. 

Oswald Chambers writes: Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes.  In this season that celebrates the unexpected ways of God, let us be open to His ways.  Prepare Him room to come into your moments as He likes.  
Merry Christmas and Happy Unexpected God-Ways in 2011!  ~ dho

Thursday, November 25, 2010

With Gratitude!

Many places of business have lighted message signs in front advertising products or offering seasonal greetings.  Just the other day I passed one.  In the time that I approached and passed it, I only had time to read 2 consecutive thoughts of several.  The ones I read: Do you know the symptoms?   Happy Thanksgiving!.

My thoughts wander to the "symtoms" of a "Happy Thanksgiving". How do you know if you are having a "Happy Thanksgiving"?  There are at least three symptoms that came to mind: gathering - abundance - gratitude.  Often we find ourselves making arrangements to gather together to share time during Thanksgiving.  It is a holiday shared by all Americans and not specific to religion.  Families gather, sometimes traveling great distances to spend time with each other.  Food is gathered and prepared, and special meals are shared.  In this I find abundance ~ of provision and of time shared to reflect upon the blessings of life. While focusing on our blessings, it is easier to be thankful.  But are these really the symptoms of a Happy Thanksgiving?

Our plans often get in the way, often draw our attention away from God. Gathering together with God, spending time being nourished by His carefully prepared Word feeds the soul. In these times, we find the abundance of God's goodness and grace; we find blessings beyond need.  Surrounded by such provision, the heart must acknowledge Our Sustainer, and with gratitude - whisper and shout - Baruch Hashem Adonai! Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

In our gathering, let's be sure to set a place for the Holy One.  In our abundance, let's focus on The Source of all goodness and blessings.  In our gratitude, let's remember The Giver of all good things and respond with gratitude.  Baruch Hashem Adonai! Blessed be the Name of the Lord.  Are these your symptoms of a Happy Thanksgiving?  If so, then every day will be a day to celebrate Thanksgiving. ~dho

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hallelujah! Give Thanks to GOD

                           Psalm 111
Hallelujah! I give thanks to GOD with everything I've got--
Wherever good people gather, and in the congregation.

GOD's works are so great, worth
A lifetime of study--endless enjoyment!

Splendor and beauty mark his craft;
His generosity never gives out.

His miracles are his memorial--
This GOD of Grace, this GOD of Love.

He gave food to those who fear him,
He remembered to keep his ancient promise.

He proved to his people that he could do what he said:
Hand them the nations on a platter--a gift!

He manufactures truth and justice;
All his products are guaranteed to last--

Never out--of-date, never obsolete, rust-proof.
All that he makes and does is honest and true:

He paid the ransom for his people,
He ordered his Covenant kept forever.
He's so personal and holy, worthy of our respect.

The good life begins in the fear of GOD-
Do that and you'll know the blessing of GOD.
His Hallelujah lasts forever!

The Message

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In The Desert

[God] found him out in the wilderness in an empty, windswept wasteland.  He threw His arms around him, lavished attention on him, guarding him as the apple of His eye."
Deuteronomy 32:10 The Message

God always knows where His children are, where we rest, where we run.  God knows when we strive, when we struggle.  He hears us when we sing and when we shout.  On the mountain or in the valley, in the forest or in the desert, God knows where we are and what we need.  He is both Protector and Provider.

Holy Lord of all,
Let me feel Your loving arms around me; help me know Your Unfailing Love.  Amen. ~dho

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Clothes

Consider these words from Colossians, chapter 3 from The Message:

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it.  Pursue the things over which Christ presides.  Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed in the things right in front of you.  Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ . . . See things from His perspective.
            Your old life is dead . . . your real life . . . is with Christ in God.  He is your life . . . [so] be content with obscurity, like Christ.
And that means killing off everything connected with [the old life] . . . a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. 
You’re done with that old life.  It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes . . . Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe.  Every item in your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with His label on it.  All the old fashions are now obsolete . . . From now on everyone is defined in Christ.
            So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:  compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.  Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. . .
            And regardless of what else you put on, wear love.  It’s your basic, all-purpose garment.  Never be without it. .  . let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other . . . Let the Word of Christ – The Message – have the run of the house.  Give it plenty of room in your lives . . . And sing, sing your hearts out to God!  Let every detail in your life – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of Jesus, thanking God . . . every step of the way.        from Colossians 3 (The Message)

Adonai ~
You are Lord; You are Father and Son and Holy Spirit, Creator and Redeemer and Counselor.  You are above us and below us, to our left and to our right, before us and behind us. You surround us with abundant blessings, and we are humbled by such generous gifts.  You are in everything and everything comes from You.
 You see our hearts and our motivations, see all that we conceal from the world.  You know our selfish ambitions, our pretentious vanities, our deceitful words.  You hold our deepest fears, our greatest disappointments, our darkest thoughts.  Behind our masks, we struggle with loneliness.  Beside our idols, we long for more. Beneath our veiled hearts, we cry out loud.  And You?  In exchange for what we bring, You offer real forgiveness, real love, real life.  You are Grace and everything happens through You.
You choose us for real life, a life defined in Christ.  You reform our minds, renew our hearts, refresh our spirits.  Taking holy threads of faith and hope and love, You weave a robe of righteousness adorned with purity and holiness.  You wrap us in this exquisite tapestry, every detail shouts of Your majesty.  You are Perfect Love and everything ends up in You.    
We come before this altar with servant hearts.  Solitude surrounds us. Prayers rise to You, our Adonai ~ prayers of hope and possibility, prayers of thanksgiving and songs of praise.  You are in every detail!  Defined in Christ, our souls are made new, for one purpose, for Your Glory!  You are the Central Force that draws our hearts together, for one purpose, for Your Glory!   Let everything ~ everything ~ speak of Your Glory!  In the name of Jesus, the Beloved, Amen.    ~dho

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


The Hebrew word shalom means "completeness, peace, ease" according to Strong's Dictionary.  In Psalm 29:11 we read:
The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace.

This peace is shalom; it is completeness that is found only in God.  In the midst of storms and difficulties, the tendency is to doubt and waiver, despair and wonder if God is really there, if God is near.  Throughout Scripture we are told that our strength is from God.  In Nehemiah 8:10 we read "the joy of the Lord is your strength."  In God we find the peace, the ease our spirits seek.  Madeleine L'Engle's words point out that peace is not freedom from pain but quiet endurance.  Made in God's image, He desires to reside in each of us.  His Presence is our peace.  Shalom. ~dho

Peace is not placidity:  peace is
The power to endure the megatron of pain
With joy, the silent thunder of release,
The ordering of Love.  Peace is the atom's start,
The primal image:
God within the heart.  ~Madeleine L'Engle

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Infused by Grace

some words from William Wordsworth:

"And I have felt
A presence that distrubs me with a joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns."

These words from 1 Thessalonians 3, verses 11-13 in The Message, express the soul's knowing of the Presence of God, of His strength and grace infused through the lives of those who share Christ and into the lives of others:

May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus . . . pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, . . . May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God . . .

Praying that each of you recognizes the presence of the Light that infuses the soul! ~dho

Monday, April 05, 2010

Our Anchor

Spring is in full bloom, and the Easter season is complete!  Yesterday we celebrated our Risen Savior!  I read this Scripture today and it continues to speak to these last weeks of soul-preparation and soul-renewal.  These Living Words define our hope ~ our Hope, Jesus.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil is Jesus Christ, Redeemer of all!
Hebrews 6:19 NKJV

Our Anchor is secure in the very presence of God ~ this Holy of Holies now a place for us to seek God, the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, behind the veil. ~dho

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Grace ~ EASTER Sunday

Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you." But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.

And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?  Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."

When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food here?" So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.  And He took it and ate in their presence. 

Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 

Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 

And you are witnesses of these things.  Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you . . ."

And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.

And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen. 

Luke 24:44-53 NKJV

As believers, we are to be witnesses for Jesus.  Just as He commissioned His followers Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you, we must go. And we must go in worship and in joy and in praise for the Promise of God is everlasting.  GRACE ~ the incalculable, immutable, incomprehensible Promise of God ~ is ours!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Take the Promise of God into the world ~ in worship and in joy and in praise! ~dho

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Silence ~ Lent 2010

Later, Joseph from Arimathea asked Pilate if he could take the body of Jesus. (Joseph was a secret follower of Jesus, because he was afraid of some of the leaders.) Pilate gave his permission, so Joseph came and took Jesus' body away. Nicodemus, who earlier had come to Jesus at night, went with Joseph. He brought about seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes. These two men took Jesus' body and wrapped it with the spices in pieces of linen cloth, which is how they bury the dead. In the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb that had never been used before. The men laid Jesus in that tomb because it was nearby, and they were preparing to start their Sabbath day.

John 19:38-42 NCV

Buried in an empty, borrowed tomb, Jesus' body lay surrounded by darkness in the silence of earth. Separated from the Father by death, Jesus' body lay in the stillness. The Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday and nothing more can be done but honor the Sabbath.

Scripture does not say anything about this Sabbath Day. We learn nothing more about Jesus on the day after His crucifixion. As His followers go about their worship this particular Sabbath, one can only imagine the many recollections and questions that filled their minds. There is silence in the Word of God on this day!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
In the silences of life, meditate on the assurance and the glory of God ~ because you know what tomorrow brings! ~dho

Friday, April 02, 2010

Confession ~ Good Friday

Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, "Truly the Man was the Son of God!"
Mark 15:38 NKJV

Today we must look to the cross of suffering that Jesus endured as a ransom for our sin.  Until that day, the Jewish people, the Chosen of God, worshiped Jehovah with blood sacrifices and burnt offerings.  At the time Jesus breathed His last breath and died, the High Priest sacrificed the unblemished lamb, preparing for the sin offering of Passover.  Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies to place the blood offering on the Mercy seat for forgiveness of sins. 

On this day, when Jesus died, the curtain of the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom.  The Scriptures do not say what happened to the High Priest or the blood of the slain Passover lamb. We are not told the thoughts of the High Priest who witnessed the torn curtain that represented a veil between sinful man and the Holy God.  Until this moment, the High Priest would have taken the blood sacrifice into the Holy of Holies as an offering for the forgiveness of sins for God's people, but now, the altar of the Lord was exposed.

These historic religious customs tell the God-story of Jesus, a Perfect Lamb slain for the forgivenss of sin.  The once veiled Holy of Holies, the Presence of God, is now revealed.  To all who seek a relationship with God, Grace is given through Jesus, the True High Priest.  What remains?  Our confession, "Truly the Man was the Son of God!"

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Who will you share the God-story of Jesus with today? ~dho

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Betrayal ~ Maundy Thursday 2010

Maunday Thursday services celebrate the giving of the Lord's Supper to the Disciples of Jesus, but the evening of fellowship and teaching and prayer ends in betrayal.  As Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, leads the arresting soldiers to Him.  He identifies Jesus with a kiss ~ a kiss of betrayal.  Perhaps the ultimate betrayal always comes from someone close to our inner circle.

And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.  Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I will kiss is the man.  Seize Him and lead Him away under guard."

And when he came, he went up to Him at once and said, "Rabbi!" And he kissed Him.  And they laid hands on him and seized Him.
Mark 14:43-46 ESV

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Let your tears celebrate the Bread and the Wine ~ like Oswald Chambers wrote many, many times, "Be the broken bread and poured out wine." ~dho

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Plot ~ Lent 2010

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover.  And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put [Jesus] to death, for they feared the people.
Luke 22:1-2 ESV

These religious leaders plotted to kill Jesus, the Son of God, yet they feared the people.  How like them we are ~ plotting to have our own way, to do our own thing and do it the way we want.  How like them we are ~ choosing a path that does not give God glory and worrying about what "people" will think.

As Passover drew near, a very special time for remembrance, they were not preparing for their own feast, rather they were scheming to take Jesus out of the picture.  How like them we are ~ instead of preparing our hearts to celebrate the Risen Savior, we busy ourselves with Spring's garden needs, a new wardrobe, trips to the beach, gifts for Easter baskets, and Summer's plans. Today, the world still schemes and plots to take Jesus out of Easter, and we are its accomplices.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
In the busy schedules, remember Who this celebration praises! Put "Good Friday" and "Easter Sunday" back into your Spring Break. ~dho

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Works ~ Lent 2010

We thank You, God, we thank You -
Your Name is our favorite word;
Your mighty works are all we talk about.
Psalm 75:1 The Message

Unfortunately, this does not often reflect our lives.  We simply do not talk about God's mighty works on a daily basis.  The world denies and contradicts the character of God, and we silently disagree.  The world boasts and mocks the holiness of Jesus, and we look down and away, quietly shaking our head in disbelief.  If our hearts are thank-full and our souls grace-full and our minds wonder-full, while the world continues to shun God, we should begin to speak about His mighty works ~ all the time!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Tell someone of God's mighty works in your life ~ tell your God-story! ~dho

Monday, March 29, 2010

Encourage ~ Lent 2010

May the God of hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!
Romans 15:13 The Message

I read a modern-day parable:
"Some time ago, an advertisement appeared in which the devil was putting his tools up for sale.  On the day of public inspection, each one of his tools: Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Doubt, Lying, Pride, and so on, was marked with its selling price.  Set apart, however, from all the rest, was a harmless-looking tool, well-worn, but priced very high - it was discouragement!

Someone asked the devil, "Why is that one priced so high?"  He replied, "Ah, that one is more useful to me than all the rest.  With it I can pry open a heart and enter, when I cannot get near with any other tool.  Once inside, I can lead the person any way I choose.  The tool is very worn because I use it on almost everyone, since few people know it belongs to me."

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Encourage someone today!  ~dho

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Expression ~ Palm Sunday

. . . the large crowd . . . heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, [and with] branches of the palm trees, went out to meet Him and began to shout, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD. . .
John 12:12-13 NASB

Hosanna!, an expression of joy and praise for deliverance granted or anticipated,* was the crowd's chant as Jesus rode into Jerusalem that morning. Hosanna! was the word that meant, "Praise God and his Messiah, we are saved."* The Disciples and other followers still thought that the Messiah would be an earthly king; the week's events would soon reveal their confusion.  If we had stood along side the road, waving our palm branches, shouting Hosanna!, where would we be standing by the week's end?

Even believers, the very ones of us who profess the truths about Christ, discover places that merge with doubt and confusion.  We find our prayers answered in ways that differ from our hopes.  We meet circumstances face to face and waiver.  We seek more from the world but need more from the Messiah.  

As this Lenten series started with a Scripture in Hebrews, let's look at it again, see if we have learned anything about this sacrifice of praise.

Make sure you don't take things for granted and go slack in the working for the common good; share what you have with others.  God takes particular pleasure in the acts of worship - a different kind of "sacrifice" - that takes place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.
Hebrews 13:15-16 The Message

Our sacrifice of praise ~
When we stand along side of the road today as everyday people pass our way, let's shout Hosanna! and mean it ~dho

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Shout ~ Lent 2010

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 few months 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 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

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mystery ~ Lent 2010

. . . 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 our sin-offering has been paid, and the hope of everlasting life.  Yet, this remains a mystery.  God's goodness is changeless and certain, but it exceeds explanation. 

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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rhythms ~ Lent 2010

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

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Let the everyday walking and working with Jesus, reveal His unforced rhythms of grace. ~dho

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Evidence ~ Lent 2010

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 court; attorneys like sure evidence, certain proof.  Healing happens, and 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

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Everywhere ~ Lent 2010

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

Monday, March 22, 2010

Prince ~ Lent 2010

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 capture the meaning.

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

Sunday, March 21, 2010

True ~ 5th Sunday of Lent 2010

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

Today the pastor at St. Matthew's UMC in Madison, MS, the Rev. David Carroll, preached his 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."

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 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rejoice ~ Lent 2010

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  

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hope ~ Lent 2010

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

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

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Worthy ~ Lent 2010

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

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Soul ~ Lent 2010

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 [Ps.16:8-11].
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 discoverd a few facts from his autobiography (see link below). He always wanted to be a writer but circumstances directed his studies toward physics and mathmatics, all the while he studied history and philosophy and literature on the side.  He graduated Rostov University with a degree in physics and mathmatics 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 mathmetics 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:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Design ~ Lent 2010

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

Monday, March 15, 2010

Faith ~ Lent 2010

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

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Father ~ 4th Sunday of Lent 2010

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, an example He set for us.  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

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Author ~Lent 2010

Since my first book has been published, 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 ~ and 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

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spirit ~ Lent 2010

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

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Intercession ~ Lent 2010

In Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest, these words describe our failure to truly worship and offer prayers to God.
Worship and intercession must go together, the one is impossible without the other.  Intercession means that we rouse ourselves up to get the mind of Christ about the one for whom we pray.  Too often . . . . we [pray] in dispute with God - "I don't see how You are going to do it."  This is a sure sign we are not worshiping. . . We hurl our own petitions at God's throne and dictate to Him as to what we wish Him to do.  We do not worship God, nor do we seek to form the mind of Christ.
It is true that we often "tell" God what we want.  Praying with an open and humble heart that desires God's purposes is not easy.  When we "tell" God what we expect Him to do, we do not demonstrate a relationship with Him that is built on faith and love.  We must seek to know the mind of Christ.

And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD.
Ezra 3:11 ESV

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Spend time building a true relationship with God.  This is His delight. ~dho

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Battle ~ Lent 2010

He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me,. . .
Psalm 55:18 NASB

As long as we live in this world, Satan will battle for our souls, battle for our attention.  He seeks to destroy and distract; he desires to interrupt our focus on God.  Satan interferes as often as possible. There is comfort and security in knowing that God will always offer peace to our seeking souls. 

God rescues us in the battles that surround our daily life, sending angels to defend and protect.  In the heavenly realms, constant battles between darkness and light, between God's angels and Satan's angel-followers rage.  And us - as Believers and disciples of Christ, we stand redeemed and find peace even in the middle of the chaos.

The Message uses these words: My life is well and whole, secure in the middle of danger. (Ps.55:18)

Our sacrifice of praise ~
God-of-the-Angel-Armies sends peace ~ it comes on
angel-wings. LISTEN! ~dho

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Remember ~ Lent 2010

Do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgements, and His statues which I command you today - when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful homes and dwell in them; . . .  For it is He who gives you power to get wealth.
Deuteronomy 8:11-12,18 NKJV

We find ourselves surrounded by plenty and more.  While we love dwelling in the beautiful places, our hearts do not always acknowledge The Giver.  Forgetting The Giver, we soon stray from His guidance, His promises, and His provisions.  In time, we lose sight of His Glory and sit around full yet dissatisfied.  Don't forget!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Remember The Giver of all ~ in His honor, share His Glory! ~dho  

Monday, March 08, 2010

Blessing ~ Lent 2010

God, mark us with grace and blessing! Smile! Psalm 67:1 The Message

Grace is the gift that marks the believer.  It is His great blessing on humanity. 

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Smile! Let God's blessing be known. ~dho

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Praise ~ 3rd Sunday of Lent 2010

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise... then the peace of God will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9 NLT

We are constantly surrounded by the opposite of what the Scripture calls us to keep in our minds.  The world is full of the lure of thoughts that are false and reckless, against God and tainted, ugly and lacking merit.  There are so many unworthy things that catch our attention or capture our time.  Chaos thrives in these things ~ not peace.  You will not find God in these places ~ unless He is reaching through for a lost soul.  Even then, He is far above the ugly and dark; He is Beauty and Light.  God is peace.

The commentary of the Transformation Study Bible offers these thoughts:
The Christian who fills his heart and mind with God's Word will have a "built-in radar" for detecting wrong thoughts. . . Right thinking is the result of daily meditation on the Word of God. (Philippians 4:8 commentary)

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Whatever is worthy of praise, meditate on these thoughts of Beauty and Light. ~ dho 

Satan ~ Lent 2010 (Saturday)

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left [Jesus] until an opportune time.
Luke 4:13 NIV

This is not the devotion I wrote yesterday - it is gone, apparently did not "publish" as ususal.  I did all the same things but today as I started to write for Sunday, I noticed that Saturday's was not published.  Thinking I had made an error, forgetting to click "publish," I checked.  Saturday's devotion was simply not anywhere to be found.

As I have been writing as the Spirit leads, I could not even remember what I wrote yesterday morning.  Looking through my scant notes revealed no clues.  The NLT translation says that the devil left until the next opportunity came.  If you are surprised that the devil still acts to disrupt and hinder, attempts to destroy the work of God, think again.

The world would say "it was just a computer glitch" or "you must have made an error" - that's the reason it did not publish.  Perhaps those things are true; yet, the devil's ways are sometimes crafty and sometimes just annoying.  So, I salute the efforts of darkness lest I forget they exsist and have weapons to do battle everyday, BUT I worship the LORD God who is all powerful and everlasting!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Do not be caught unaware!  Worship the power of the Living God even DURING the next opportunity of evil. ~ dho

Friday, March 05, 2010

Prayer ~ Lent 2010

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail;. . . strengthen your brothers.
Luke 22:31-32 NASB

These words were spoken by Jesus to Peter, after telling Peter that he would deny Him three times.  Jesus knew the trouble that was imminent, that Satan was lurking and using everyone he could to help hinder Jesus.  Satan underestimated the power of God because there is no power greater.  Jesus prayed for Peter, and still intercedes for believers today.

Prayer is the breath of life to our soul.  Mother Teresa

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Thank Jesus for praying for you, for breathing life into your soul. ~ dho

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Worship ~ Lent 2010

                                                                                  "It's who you are and the way you live that count before God.  Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth.  That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for:  those who are simply and honestly themselves before Him in their worship.  God is sheer being itself - Spirit.  Those who worship Him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration."
     John 4:23-24 The Message    

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Worship God - in your own ways - with your very being - simply and honestly. ~dho  


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Compels ~ Lent 2010

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12 NASB

God chooses to love us, and when we choose to love Him, He gives each of us a new wardrobe to wear ~ heart of compassion, gestures of kindness, attitudes of gentleness, and efforts of patience.  God wraps us in a robe of righteousness; such love compels a response.

"Such love constrains me to answer His call,

Follow His leading and give Him my all."

Living For Jesus by Thomas Obediah Chisholm

Our sacrifice of praise ~
God's Perfect Love overwhelms the soul; respond to the Spirit's calling, as His holy and beloved. ~dho

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Endures ~ Lent 2010

In 2 Chronicles Chapter 6, read Soloman's praises and prayers for the dedication of the Temple.  The beginning of Chapter 7 gives us the account of God's power after these prayers as the Temple was filled with God's presence.

When Solomon finished praying, fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices, and the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple.  The priest could not enter the Temple of the LORD because the glorious presence of the LORD filled it.  When all the people of Israel saw the fire coming down and the glorious presence of the LORD filling the Temple, they fell face down on the ground and worshiped and praised the LORD saying,
 "He is good!
His faithful love endures forever!"
2 Chronicles 7:1-3 NLT

When have you known the presence of the LORD, felt His Glory fill the air around you, surround you with His goodness?  Probably, you didn't see fire flash from heaven, but God's Glory is undeniable.  God endures ~ through all times, and His faithful love endures forever!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Let your offering of praise be "He is good!" and meditate on His faithful love ~ it is eternal; it endures! ~dho

Monday, March 01, 2010

Walking ~ Lent 2010

We cannot talk to God unless we walk with Him when we are not talking.
Oswald Chambers ~ from He Shall Glorify Me

So often we spend our time with God telling Him what burdens us, what we want to happen and what He can do to help us.  First, we must admit that when we spend time with God, talking to Him is not always required.  Listening is very important.

Also, if we do not have Jesus walking beside us, being the example we are to follow, then we do not know how to "walk" in the world.  Jesus set the standard when it comes to everything ~ love, compassion, generosity, honesty, work, faith.  We only love because He first loved us.  We can only receive His Grace because He gives us faith.

Walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:2 NASB

The Message uses these words: Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. . . Love like that.

In our "walking" with God, we will learn to love like Jesus.  Our deeds will reflect Christ's love.  Then, our "walking" becomes prayers of praises, offerings for others in the name of the Love Most High.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Be the fragrance of Christ to others, a fragrant aroma.  Give of yourself in love to others. ~dho

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