Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Ash Wednesday - Lent 2020

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15 During this season of reflection and renewal (Lent February 26 - April 12), join me as we examine what "sacrifice of praise" means and how this should and can be our offering to God. What is your sacrifice of praise? - dho


Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God proclaiming our allegiance to His name. And don’t forget to do good and share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.Hebrews 13:15-16 NLT

"So many of us limit our praying because we are not reckless in our confidence in God. In the eyes of those who do not know God, it is madness to trust Him, but when we pray in the Holy Spirit we begin to realize the resources of God, that He is our perfect heavenly Father, and we are His children."
from If You Will Ask by Oswald Chambers

Lord, today we find ourselves kneeling at the altar, humbled by Your Divine Love, marked as a sinner in need of Your Grace! Take us on a spiritual journey these next weeks, teach our hearts how to give more as we offer a sacrifice of praise to You!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Will we sacrifice our anxieties and be reckless in our confidence in God? ~ dho


All rights reserved, copyright Donna Oswalt 2020 BreathingRoomForMySoul.com

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Joy - 2020 Words to Refresh the Soul

Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O LORD, God of hosts. 



In Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, he writes that joy is a mark of the “authentic Christian . . . [one who is] on the way of salvation. Joy is characteristic of Christian pilgrimage.” Peterson continues, “Joy is not a requirement of Christian discipleship, it is a consequence . . . it is what comes to us when we are walking in the way of faith and obedience.” Jeremiah’s words reflect the decision to live in God’s abundance. Despite circumstances, God is constant and certain. His word speaks to us today, just as it did to Jeremiah.

"The inevitable result of genuine salvation is joy! The joy found in Christ is like an inexhaustible well, satisfying the most desperate thirst." [Blackaby Study Bible Notes] As you journey through your current season, are you finding Real JOY? If not, perhaps you are looking in the wrong places. You don't have to wander alone in the dry, dark places. The Holy One is here! Christ is Real JOY! Let the promises of God mark you with joy!

Lord, Your words have been recorded for me, gathered to encourage me, endured to restore me. Increase my faith so I can see Your abundant blessings in all times. Let Your Joy be my joy to share! - dho

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Compassion - 2020 Words to Refresh the Soul

But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and come to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and then he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave then to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and what ever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.' [Jesus asks] "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?" [the expert in the law said] "the one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."
Luke 10:33-37 NASB






In one of the most familiar parables in the Bible, the Good Samaritan, Jesus takes us to the virtual scene of the crime. There on the side of a treacherous section of a winding, steep, rocky road between Jerusalem and Jericho well known for its perpetrators, the victim lays unconscious, bleeding and left for dead. Jesus describes two others who pass but neglect to help the man. The third passer-by stops. A Samaritan, having compassion on the man, bandages his wounds, takes him to the nearest inn, cares for him, pays the innkeeper for future needs, and plans to check on him when returning home. Jesus' investigation asks us, "So, who saw the need and responded? Who demonstrates true compassion? Who was able to love without judgement?"

Jesus draws us into this senseless brutality, calls us out of our comfort zones, shows us how we are to love others. As always, political correctness tries to give its answer - or excuse - for not helping. After all, the priest follows the law keeping himself "religiously clean" while the Levite, too, keeps about his religious responsibilities. Jesus reaches beyond mere religious order and steps directly into a cultural and societal conflict. The Samaritan helping the victim crosses all kinds of social barriers; the centuries old mutual hostility between the Jews and the Samaritans highlights a dilemma. Jesus asks if we really see the needs of people or pretend not to notice. Jesus asks if we truly love others like He loves or just quote Bible verses about God's love? Jesus asks if we have genuine compassion for people or attempt to evaluate according to race, gender, or creed? 

Listening to this investigation does not tell us anything about the injured person. We do not know if he simply falls prey to some robbers, or perhaps, he, too, is a thief himself who loses an argument with a fellow robber. On this road known for crime and opportunity, hurt finds a helping hand. Every day we take a similar journey. Sometimes disappointment targets us; other times, need calls from the other side of the road. Sometimes we are overlooked or excluded; other times, unexpected love sees beyond public opinion. Jesus calls us to lay down outward appearances and stop beside need. Jesus calls each of us to develop compassionate hearts and unselfish spirits, to love fully and unconditionally. Reach beyond; go and do the same~dho


Thursday, February 06, 2020

Gratitude - 2020 Words to Refresh the Soul

Loving God,
    
The night sky is filled with luminaries that
light the darkness. Angels whisper evening
songs to my weary soul. I do not notice.

As sleep gently calls, I forget that I have
breathed the morning air, listened to laughter,
seen the evening sky appear. Another day! 

Something disturbs the rhythm of my sleep, 
summons my soul. In these sleepless moments,
the Holy Spirit is waiting and listens for my
response. I whisper, Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! 




Holy Father, when I fail to see the beauty of Your day, remind me with a glorious morning to take my breath away, a soul-laugh that only a listening heart can find, and a night sky crowded with stars like diamonds that demand a lingering look. 


My heart bursts with unmeasured thankfulness! These are Your ordinary gifts! I simply miss them in my hectic hours, my scheduled chaos, my saturated time.

Give my heart the desire to breathe,
listen, and see the ordinary with extraordinary intention. Grant my soul the desire to breathe, listen, and see Your Extraordinary Gifts of Love, Grace, and Joy! 
Let me seek Your extravagant gifts in every day! 

Let me shout, Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Refresh my spirit! Refine my faith! 
Restore my love! Renew my strength!  
Rebuild my trust! Reclaim my soul! 

To God be the glory! Amen.  ~dho