Thursday, February 24, 2022

The Soul’s Delight

If GOD hadn't been there for me,
I never would have made it.
The minute I said, "I'm slipping, I'm falling,"
Your love, GOD, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
You calmed me down and cheered me up.
Psalm 94:17-19 The Message

When times of chaos and contradiction take control, the Christian has resources that non-believers do not. In fact, the believer finds the greatest solace in the goodness of God. Despite the fickle offerings of the world ~ hopelessness, doubt, bitterness, defeat, those who claim Christ as Lord can always know the everlasting gifts of peace and comfort. In His arms, in His Grace, we find a goodness in this Holy Love that exceeds the difficult, that soothes the ache, that calms the anxious thought. This is The Source that will always delight my soul. ~dho

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. Psalm 94:19 NASB

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Our Whole Heart

In Scripture, the
heart refers to a person’s intellectual, moral, and emotional responses. There are over a thousand references to heart in the Bible. The intensity of matters of the heart finds sharp contrasts, from divided to devoted. While negative attributes depict the heart as proud, greedy, stubborn, hardened, deceitful, and backsliding, the positive characteristics of the heart portray cleanliness, reverence, brokenness, tenderness, repentance, joy, and “a heart after God’s own heart”. Unlike today’s use of heart which is usually all about feelings, in ancient writings to include the Bible, the heart represents the center of one’s being, the inner person, frequently interchanging heart and mind and will.

Henry David Thoreau writes, “The more we know about the ancients, the more we find that they are like the moderns.” Frequently I hear folks say that America is more and more like the Romans of ancient times. The adage that ‘history repeats itself’ plays out in many ways, century after century, decade after decade. Oh, each one does it better or with more sophistication or at least more technology. The greatest deception of the heart thrives within the self-focused, self-willed certainty of our own abilities.

Humanity is naturally prone to deceit. A deceitful heart is dishonest, fraudulent, and willfully turns from truth. This is the very reason we need God, because on our own we are simply unable to keep a pure, faithful, honest heart. God sees each heart and knows its truest motivations and deepest emotions. The flaws within the human heart will always need rescuing! Warren Wiersbe writes, “It is a mark of true spirituality when God’s glory is what motivates a servant’s heart.” Our everlasting hope rests in trusting the Lord with our whole heart, and Christ brings us the grace we so desperately need. -dho

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Sacred Breathing

 "Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!"   Psalm 150:6

If you ever have questions about how to praise God, read Psalm 150 for the 'who, what, when, where, why, and how' answers. Anytime and everywhere, our lives are to PRAISE the LORD - the One who is Creator and Comforter, filled with mystery and majesty, holiness and healing; Praises to The Giver of goodness and grace. God is Love. Praise the LORD!

Whether in corporate or private worship, Christians, both collectively and individually, should praise God. This PRAISE is not an ordinary gesture or mere flattery; rather, it is to be a creative praise that radically raves about His awesomeness, ranging from silent awe to sacred shouts. PRAISE evolves into words and music, prayers and singing, rhythmic responses celebrating God's "mighty deeds" and "excellent greatness". Musical instruments of all forms - wind, strings, percussion, dancing - create a ceaseless motion of spontaneous joy to and for the LORD of all. Praise the LORD!

We all struggle in a world saturated by disease, poverty, and injustice that stands in stark contrast to Heaven's perfect, complete, and loving promises. The Greek word for 'breath' is neshamah which means all that is living within us. Just as GOD first breathed life into mankind (Genesis 2:7), He remains the Breath of Life within each Christian. PRAISE honors the redemption through Christ, which is victory over death, but also, this holy breathing glorifies God for His constant presence in our daily struggles. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD! ~dho

Thursday, February 03, 2022

Goodness and Grace

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