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