Song of Praise for God’s Favor
1 O Lord, You are my God;
I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness. NASB
Do u know the Lord? I mean do u really know him? Do u pursue His Spirit, abide in him, read His word, desire to know His mind, His heart? Are u willing to pay the high price to seek him m love him at all costs? If u pursue something u desire to know all u can know about the subject. If u love football, u know the coaches, players, teams by name. U probably know their stats, keep up w the latest news daily, n get more excited abt a game than u do the Lord. Now that is just an example. U could replace football with fishing, American idol, or any such pastime. Sadly most people just want Him for convienence. Answer a few prayers like a genie w three wishes and I will give u a spiritual good works snack. Then they throw Him away like a used drink container. They have all they want. But truly they do not have Him as all they need. He is creator n savior. He is guide, confidant, n friend. He is judge n jury, teacher, author n finisher, n the architect of life. When we praise people we ascribe worth because of what they do or mean to us. However we r not inherently worthy. God is worthy without doing anything. His nature n essence is worthy because there is none besides him. He alone shaped our clay n breathed life into us. So praise Him. Seek Him n know His mind. Read His word. Thank Him for the plans He has made for u. They unfold before u on a daily basis like an ancient scroll unrolls. He only gives us enough that we can handle. He knows our past intimately. He keeps our future competently n He holds us today ultimately.
2Co 5:21 – 6:1
21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. NASB
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. -ISAIAH 61:10
U r not in competition with others for my affection. Comparing yourself w others creates jealousy, envy, pride, feelings of inadequacies, and defeat. I died for ur sins. When I forgave u I qualified u to be robed in my robes of righteousness. Do not seek the approval of others; seek my approval. Once saved u r mine n u cannot lose ur relationship w me. I love u with an everlasting love. My heart longing is that u desire me with all that u r. I speak to u all throughout ur day; u just have to learn to hear my voice. The more u learn to hear my voice the more intimacy n strength infuses ur spirit. I enable u thru communion n fellowship w me. Spend time w me. I give u the same hours in a day as everyone else. Do not let others actions or inactions interfere w our fellowship. Make me ur priority as I have made u mine.
God will never let u be shaken or moved from your place near His heart. Joni Earickson Tada
Isaiah 49:15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 49:16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
U may wander, stray n even feel that God is far away but he is not. He does not forget His children. Nor does he quit being aware of their needs. Cling to Him w all you r n have within u. There is no one like our God. He is mighty n greatly to be praised. Tho he sits upon the circle of the earth he bends low to us in prayer. Tho heaven seems light years away he inhabits the praises of his people. N tho we stray n stumble he upholds us w his hands n underneath are the everlasting arms of God. N finally tho we sin n need forgiveness he is no farther than a prayer from us cuz he has graven us upon his hands. We r
upon his hands in the scars of Calvary. These r the marks of our sacrifice n high priest who ever lives to intercede on our behalf.
John 10:12 But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep 10:13 The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep
He careth not
So many preachers today seem to be called to build some name or fame in the ministry as if its “their” ministry. Why is it that so few r called nowadays? Why is it most r called to build new churches n few r willing to pastor established flocks? I know a young pastor who said he would leave those sheep in the dust who would not keep up with him. Another said to me, I would not pastor an older established flock because they r not exciting enough. One told me if they did not start him out at a certain salary it would be a sure sign God did not call him to that place. Another said that older flocks just would not do what he told them to do. Jesus told Peter to feed both the sheep n the lambs. When God chose John the Baptist he followed. His ministry took him to places others might not go. He went to the wild parts of the country. He promoted n prepared anothers ministry. He ended up in prison. He did not shirk speaking truth that ultimately took the high price of his life. Peter was called n ended paying for that with his hanging upside down on a cross. Andrew hung on a cross. James was beheaded. Both James n John gave up the family business to follow Christ. Thomas went preaching the gospel to India and died pierced thru with darts. All the apostles died horribly save John the revelator. It has been said every man has a price. What’s yours? Preachers who r not sold out for Christ run at the first sign of trouble. A hireling will not care for his flock as his own soul. True ministry is not our ministry but His ministry. Salvation is not our salvation but His salvation. Worship is not my preference but abt n for Him. We r the sheep of His pasture. He is the great shepherd. The church body is the body of Christ. It’s His flock and His body. It’s His creation. He is creator. It’s His Kingdom. He is king. Let’s not be like hired servants. Let’s be disciples of Christ. I will go where he says, do what he says n be what he wants me to be. I will defend the sheep n stand my ground.
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses…. 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 12:3 For consider him that endured such….lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Help from the past
Life is good. No events or issues have risen to challenge ur self confidence. However as trials come u find self confidence deflate. More n more trouble chips away until u find defeat. U have experienced situations common to all who have ever lived. So how do u overcome? Imagine urself in a large colliseum arena. U face ur opponent a dark foreboding fear. Or another opponent might be anger, doubt, lust, or any one of the common enemies of man. U feel u can defeat ur opponent by urself. U circle the floor waiting for the right moment. U lunge, dart, thrust forward, n at once u have the upper hand. However with a swift twisting move u r pinned to the floor….ur enemies sinewy arms hold u down. U strain to get free. Sweat breaks out on ur face. Pain fills ur soul. U r pinned with no solution in sight. Finally u cry out for help. From the grandstands Moses cries…look to Jesus. Unsure u see Noah from the corner of ur eye. He faced unrelenting crowds, preached 120 years n built an ark saving his family against the flood. What should I do Noah? Noah cries, look to Jesus. Like a wave crashing against the shore, the voices of the onlookers take up the cry. Look to Jesus! In the crowd, Elijah who ran from the wicked queen, Jezebel, cries Look to Jesus. High upon the platform u see ur life coach standing next to the throne. He encourages u. His confidence fills ur heart. Remembering His carefully taught lessons u buck ur body upwards. Ur opponent tenses yet his hold loosened. A twisting move u remember from ur Masters book flashes in ur mind. Jesus nods. U react. Fear is shaken. Doubts hold pinning u to the floor trembles n breaks. In one lightening move, u pin ur enemy to the floor. The crowd goes wild. Ur opponent shudders trying to break ur Coach’s famous move. Fear strains then yields. Faith has over come.
12 And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. 13 Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!
Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. 14 Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. 15 And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.
16 Be cheerful no matter what; 17 pray all the time; The Message
Watch out for each other. The devil wants to destroy u, ur ministry, n the ones who minister to u. Watch out for leaders n encourage them, pray for them n love them. Watch out. Watch out for pitfalls in ur own life as well. Guard against self-pity, self-preoccupation, giving up, becoming bitter, or becoming discouraged. Because we are inadequate, we can wallow in our weakness or we can learn to see our dependancy as a sign of our need for God. If we choose dependance on God we thru humility n faith find the strength we need. Dependance or despair are our choices. We can be bitter or better. If we fill our emptiness w the temporal of this worlds we hunger again. However if we fill our lives w his presence thru the word, selfless obedience, n constant prayer we find a cup overflowing. Make Christ the center n anchor of ur life. Become patience in ur dealings w others. Speak peace that comes from his constance in ur life. Fill ur heart w his word n prayers n out of ur mouth ur heart will speak. Ur need of him can be ur vehicle to becoming more like him. Then ur work n ministry can help others find that same peace, patience, n prayer.
II Samuel 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. 22:32 For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God? 22:33 God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. 22:34 He maketh my feet like hinds ‘ feet : and setteth me upon my high places.
Right now ur view crowds w rock, walls; a plethora of problems that seem insurmountable. U r in the vale n the light is obscured by the trees n even the clouds in the heavens darken. The thunder sounds n resounds ominously on the walls around u. Fear grips ur heart. But I say rely on the Lord. His word always truly stands firm. No storm defeats him. He simply renders it still with a word of peace. Tho u may not see it, his way is perfect n he is a shield against attack. Trust him. There is none other like him. His strength, path n perfect plan will raise u to the heights. From the heights u will see the purpose n path of the valley. U find the clouds less ominous when u r above them. The thunder fades n flashes of lightning appear more a thing of beauty than fear. Trust him ur valley has purpose n the heights will soon be urs. Rely upon him, trust him, his strength will guide u n lift u up in due time.