Thursday, January 30, 2020

Hope - 2020 Words to Refresh the Soul



I pray to GOD - my life a prayer -
and wait for what He'll say and do.


The Living Bible uses these words ~ I wait expectantly, trusting God for help, for He has promised. When we wait expectantly, that is called hope! In A Long Obedience in the Same Direction Eugene Peterson writes this about Psalm 130 and hope:

Hoping . . . means going about our assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and the conclusions. . . It is the opposite of desperate and panicky manipulations, of scurrying and worrying.

[Hope] is imagination put in the harness of faith . . . a willingness to let God do it His way and in His time.

Is it our lack of trusting in God's faithful promises or our cynicism towards hope that binds us to despair? Do we worry more about not being able to control circumstances than confidently going about our assigned tasks? Allowing God to work in His way and in His time often requires us to wait. By studying the Scriptures and through prayer, our relationship with God grows; our understanding of His character increases. In His presence we find a peace within the uncertainty; we are embraced by His comfort through the waiting. We must wait expectantly on God ~ the One who is Faithful, who is Promise, who is HOPE! 

Gracious LORD,
I come to the altar shouting praise for
all the blessings in my life. You are the Light
that writes the words of my soul-song. It is
You that gives my heart its desires. You are Hope!
Faithful Father, I am God-strong; my blessings
abundantly exceed my needs. Creator, gather the
details of my life, take Your holy threads and weave
a tapestry of Your design. . . You transcend all
circumstances, expose all evil, reveal all love but
never measure Grace. I am God-strengthened! ~dho


Thursday, January 23, 2020

Sincerity - 2020 Words to Refresh the Soul

Only those who are innocent and who do what is right. Such people speak the truth from their hearts and so not tell lies about others. They do no wrong to their neighbors and do not gossip. They do not respect hateful people but honor those who honor the LORD. They keep their promises to their neighbors, even when it hurts. They do not charge interest on money they lend and do not take money to hurt innocent people. Whoever does all these things will never be destroyed. Psalm 15:3-5 NCV 



Christians demonstrate their relationship and fellowship with God in the everyday, ordinary, getting-up, going-to-work, having-lunch, sitting-in-car line, helping-with-homework, cleaning-the-kitchen-again activities. Worshiping God is not confined to the church building. When our inner integrity merges with our outward sincerity, the heart reveals its true intimacy with Jesus. Desiring to serve or wanting to love, wishing for faith or longing for hope, simply is not enough. Behavior becomes the thermometer for our worship. Integrity exceeds doing what is right by doing it for the right reason. Sincerity has only room for truth, honor, and love. Are you lukewarm?

"In the stillness, our false, busy selves are unmasked and seen for the imposer they truly are." Richard Foster, Prayer, Finding the Heart's True Home 
If we take inventory of our behavior, what will we find? What happens when we remove our masks? Our exposed frailties and bare excuses reveal control, busyness, apathy, carelessness, greed, prejudice, rationalization, self-consciousness, fear, anxiety and more. The simplicity of Psalm 15 lays out the characteristics for one who desires to abide in God's presence, to live with sincerity of His purpose. So, take off the masks. Work, speak, and think, making Christ the center of your intentions.
"He who does these things will never be shaken." NASB
This phrase, a promise of a faithful God, appears at least 8 times in Psalms and Proverbs.The Hebrew word mot describes something that "falters, falls, shakes, slips, or staggers." With these last words, God reminds us that our completeness in Him; He is our sure foundation. In our weaknesses, we are certain to falter, likely to fall, sometimes shake, and frequently stagger; yet,  God embraces our frailties and failures with mercy. God calls us, first, into His holiness to restore our inward integrity, then reveals Himself to others through our outward sincerity. God calls us to walk among the bruised and broken, sit beside the outcasts and overlooked, encourage the frail and fallen. We are to do this with sincere hearts in the name of Jesus, knowing we will never be shaken. ~dho

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Presence - 2020 Words to Refresh the Soul

All His glory and beauty come from within, and there He delights to dwell. 
His visits are frequent, His conversations sweet, His comforts refreshing: 
His peace passing all understanding.
Thomas Kempis

“The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” Exodus 33:14


From the beginning in the garden, God desires an intimate relationship and divine fellowship with His people. At 75 years of age, Abraham leaves Haran in obedience to God’s call to a Promised Land. His response in faith to God would be blessed many times over; witnesses testify, “God is with you in all that you do.” Joseph, sold into slavery by his own brothers, is imprisoned in Egypt, but Scripture recounts, “the Lord is with him in prison,” protecting and providing. Joseph becomes a ruler in Egypt, saves the people from famine, including his own brothers. Moses leads the Israelites from captivity in Egypt across the Red Sea, a miracle of God. Throughout the next 40 years, God repeatedly demonstrates His promise to Moses and to His people, “My presence will go with you.” Despite the separation of God and mankind by sin, He still longs to be in relationship with us.

Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can boldly enter the Most Holy Place. Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him. [Hebrews 10:22] Through Christ’s sacrifice, the intimate relationship between God and us is restored. How do we know our dwelling place is truly in God’s Presence? A genuine response to God must exceed our personal desires. Stepping out with faithful obedience to Christ’s example to love and encourage others will reveal our heart’s true resting place.

Philip Yancey, in his book Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference, "keeping company with God involves two parties, and I have an important role to play in the relationship." There are those people who seem content with a superficial relationship with God, those who settle for less. Some people deeply desire a growing faith walk with God, some who long for more. God is waiting for those who want to experience an intimate relationship with Him. In God's Presence, the Believer is called by name, feels His nearness, and can hear Him speak, face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. In Christ, Unmeasured Grace and unspeakable joy fuse in unrestrained fellowship! I want MORE of this! What do you want?  ~dho 




Thursday, January 09, 2020

New Year, New Energy

The peace of God is perfection of energy; it is a healthy vigor of the soul. Oswald Chambers

A NEW year is here! Christmas memories along with decorations and last year's decisions are packed away. The Christmas tree has been repacked or recycled; the gifts received have merged into our routines. As a new year begins, the heart hopes that God's peace will be more than enough and desires God's love to become its deepest joy. Our prayers search for words to refresh the soul.

In the Union Prayer Book for Jewish Worship, I find these words:

Help us, O God, to banish from our hearts all vainglory, pride of worldly possessions, and self-sufficient leaning upon our own reason. Fill us with the spirit of meekness and the grace of modesty that we may grow in wisdom and in reverence. May we never forget that all we have and prize is but lent to us, a trust for which we must render account to Thee. O heavenly Father, put into our hearts the love and awe of Thee, that we may consecrated our lives to Thy service and glorify Thy name in the eyes of all men.
While energy is the capacity to do work, potential energy is energy that exists in a body as a result of its position or condition. Wisdom and grace fall gently from God reminding us of His generous provisions. His power and love exceed our capacity to understand. Letting God be the source of our energy is the only way we can truly prepare our hearts to know His peace and our hands to serve others. But how do we position ourselves to receive such awesome energy?
I will build an altar of the broken fragments of my heart, and will bow my spirit within me. My broken spirit - that is Thy sacrifice; let it be acceptable upon Thine altar. I will proclaim aloud Thy praise, I will declare all Thy wonders. Hymn of Unity, 12th Century
I search for words to refresh my soul in this new year, and I search His Word for the potential energy necessary to move my heart into position to do His work. These words from Romans 15:4 from The Message become my first calling this new year: God wants the combination of His steady, constant calling and warm personal counsel in Scriptures to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever He will do next. Will you seek God’s calling too? ~dho