The Richness of Praise

September 20, 2018

 

The Richness of Praise

 

Psalms 42:11 & Psalms 43:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, [who is] the health of my countenance, and my God.

Psalm 56:4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Psalm 63:3 Because thy lovingkindness [is] better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.

Psalm 106:12 Then believed they his words; they sang his praise

Psalms 107:8 Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!

Psalms 115:18 But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD

Psalms 146:2 While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being

 

Why so many verses?  A reference mentioned that in the book of Psalms from where these verses were taken there were 248 references to PRAISE in 216 verses.  This is but a small sprinkling of the many that are contained in the Word.  Something else that may be note worthy is the first place praise is used in the Word is in Genesis 29:35 when Leah gave birth to Judah who was the son of Jacob and one of the twelve tribes of Jacob.  His name means praise.  Isn’t it interesting that David who descended out of the Judah was the Bible’s chief proponent of Praise, the greatest King in Israel’s history, a man after God’s own heart and the line from which Jesus is born?  The list could go on, but the point is Praise is such an important component in our spiritual walk with the Lord and yet, is so often neglected.  Let’s define Praise here as incorporating rejoicing, thanksgiving and exaltation of God.  It has been my personal experience and I’m sure the experience of many of you that no one thing can bring us into relationship and closeness with the Lord like Praise can.   Over the past year and half as I have made Praise a more central and faithful part of my life, I am seeing the richness and change it is bringing to my spiritual walk and the closeness and greater sensitivity I have to the Holy Spirit.   What is sweeter to the nostrils of God than the sweet fragrance of the sacrifice and incense of praise and worship?  Psalms 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of Israel or His people.  Our Praise should rise up out of our spirits as we reflect and meditate on God’s rich goodness, awesome greatness, love and grace.  Even more so as we reflect on our Lord Jesus and His great sacrifice of Love on our behalf that we may receive forgiveness from our sins, be reconciled to God the Father, be made a part of His family and be partakers of divine and everlasting life.  Some may say, I agree with that, but I don’t always feel like praising God.  Praise is first an act of our will, not our feelings.  It must have it’s origin in our spirits, not our souls.  Feelings often accompany our praise and worship, but they are not the source of it.  God wants our worship and praise to come from spirit and truth.  That means they originate in our spirit as it is yielded to the Holy Spirit.  Most likely it is when we least feel like praising that we need to the most.  Life, circumstances and especially condemnation can all enter in to rob our joy and desire to praise.  Praise is a dimension of faith where, before the results are seen, the thanksgiving and worship are going forth.  (Read 2Chronicles 20 for a great example of this.)  Perhaps we fail to see the victory, because we fail to praise, rejoice and give thanks for that which we say we believe for.  The eyes and heart of faith acts on what is unseen, not on what is seen.  Praise should come before not just after the answer to prayer is revealed and manifested.

Time would fail us to touch on the richness and fullness of this subject.  More may be shared as the Lord directs.

Begin to make PRAISE the first order of your daily encounter with the Lord.  It is the means by which we approach Him and enter into His presence.  I often think of it as climbing up on the lap of Father God and putting my arms around Him just to tell Him how much I love and appreciate Him.  It is not coming with my expectations or problems.  It is a time I want to come just for Him, to worship Him and love Him for who He is not what He can do for me or give me.  He is so worthy of our praise brethren, let us not deny Him.  When we deny Him Praise we also rob ourselves of the richest fellowship we can have with the Father.  Experience the richness of Praise.

Blessings,

#kent

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When We Call

January 15, 2016

 

Psalms 138:3

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.

When We Call

This morning, I waited for some time before the Lord dropped this scripture in my spirit.  It made me realize that God does hear us, but we don’t always hear His answer right away.   What makes us bold and stouthearted is the confidence in His Word and in Him that is answering us even through we may not audibly hear or physically see the answer right away.  As we wait upon the Lord, we need to do so from the perspective of worship and faith.  

Now let me share with you the two verses preceding verse three.  “I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise.  I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.”  Notice the approach and attitude toward God, as David, the Psalmist, approaches God for his answer.  David first exalts the Lord in praise, secondly he bows and prostrates himself in the attitude, position and spirit of worship.  Then he makes declaration of the Lord’s faithfulness to His Word and to His name.  

Sometimes, in our busy life and Christianity we forget that there is a protocol to our coming before the Lord.  In the light of that protocol that we see here, we might see how rude it could be for us to just pray as we go; telling the Lord all that we are having problems with and all that we need.  Most of the time we are never get quite or still long enough to listen and see if the Lord has anything to say back to us.  Remember the awesome, holy God we pray too.  He is not just a part of our “to do” list and He’s not just a part of our “to do it for us list”  He is worthy of our every day, every moment, highest regard, reverence and praise.  God wants to meet with us and have relationship with us, but let us never get so flippant and complacent that we dishonor Him in the way we approach and seek Him.   

Listen to whom God says He is, to whom God says He will look and to whom He will listen in Isaiah 66:1-2.  “This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.

Where is the house you will build for me?  Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord.

“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”  

You see, the attitude and position of our heart has a great deal to do with how God receives us.  This word “esteem”  means to look, consider, pay attention to.  If we wonder why we seldom or never hear from God, then we might want to consider how we approach and honor Him with our lives, our praise, worship and prayers.  Learn to ascend into His presence.  Remember, when we call upon the Lord, to follow how Psalms 100 gives us  instruction on how to approach our awesome and wonderful Father.  

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lord is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Blessings,

#kent

Thankfulness

November 26, 2015

 

Thankfulness

Psalms 100:4

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name. 

Why is there power in the words, “Thank You,” or in the words that express thankfulness and thanksgiving?  If these are words from the heart then they convey the attitude of deep appreciation and gratitude.  We have discussed in the past about praise and worship, but where do these come from if it is not from an attitude of thanksgiving.   Thankfulness is a gate, it is an entrance, and it is a condition of heart that makes us ready to really appreciate and express that appreciation to our Lord.  It is like the precursor to praise and worship as well as being a part of it.  Are we going to praise and worship what we don’t appreciate and aren’t thankful for?

It is important that thankfulness is a constant attitude of our heart.  Psalms 30:4 says, “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” Psalms 18:49 reiterates with, “ Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.”  The Psalms are alive with scripture that exhorts us to be thankful:   

Psalms 75:1 Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, [unto thee] do we give thanks: for [that] thy name is near thy wondrous works declare. 

Psalms 79:13  So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations. 

Psalms 92:1  [[A Psalm [or] Song for the sabbath day.]] [It is a] good [thing] to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: 

Psalms 97:12  Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. 

Psalms 105:1  O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. 

Psalms 106:1  Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever. 

Psalms 106:47  Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, [and] to triumph in thy praise. 

Psalms 107:1  O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever. 

These are among a few of so many that extol thankfulness to the Lord.

Jesus even demonstrates the importance and attitude of thankfulness, when He broke bread when feeding the multitude.  Even at the Last Supper He gave thanks as He broke the bread that represented His body that was soon to be broken and offered in the sacrifice of His life at Calvary.  

Our giving thanks at meal times is a constant reminder to us of where our blessings and supply comes from and who we depend upon to provide our needs, as well as the expression of appreciation to Him who has so graciously provided it.  

The New Testament exhorts us as well in the area of Thanksgiving:

Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 

1 Thessalonians 5:13 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 

When we give thanks in all things aren’t we acknowledging that God is sovereign upon His throne and in control of all that touches our lives?  Aren’t we declaring His faithfulness regardless of circumstances and conditions?  Isn’t our thankfulness an acclamation of His Lordship?  

Hebrews 13:15 continues this thought, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.”  1 Timothy 2:1 continues the theme of how our thankfulness ties into our praise, worship, ministry and intercession before the Lord, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;” 

The relevance, significance and importance of thanksgiving is not just an earthly principle, it is a heavenly one as well as one that continues on through eternity, precious to the heart of God.  Revelations 11:16-17 speaks, “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.” 

On the other side Romans 1:21-25 speaks of the ungodly and unrighteous who knowing about God fail to have a thankful heart, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.   And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”  Ungratefulness leads to a hardened and perverse heart.  It is the fools gate and entrance to wrath and judgement.  That lack of thanksgiving can take us out of the right perception and acknowledgement of who and what our God is in relationship with our lives.

As we acknowledge our God today and each day let us do it with a heart that is thankful and appreciative of the matchless grace and abundance He has worked in us.  Sometimes we get focused so much on the adversity and the negative in our lives we loose sight of who still sits on the throne and is in charge of all that affects us.  While we are not thankful for the evil that befalls us we are forever thankful for our God that brings us through our adversities and is perfecting us in the process.  Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” 

Blessings,

#kent

Numbers 11:23
The LORD answered Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”

“Is the LORD’s Arm too Short?”

It was not so many years ago that this was the scripture that I stood on concerning a house we felt the Lord had put in our hearts to believe for. That house didn’t come to us in the way we had envisioned nor did it come at the time we thought it should come. It wasn’t even the house we originally thought that God was promising us, but when it did come to pass it was so much better than what we had even hoped for.
When we read the passage that this scripture comes from we find the people of Israel out in the wilderness and they have become discontent with the manna that God has provided to sustain them. They are wailing and crying out for meat. They are lamenting the fact that they ever left Egypt.
God speaks to Moses in verses 18-19, “”Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?” ‘ ” Now how is God going to feed a million plus people in the wilderness meat for a month? Moses is thinking even if they slaughtered all of the livestock that they had there would not be enough meat to last that long. Moses is saying that is a lot of meat Lord, how can you supply that much meat and then you want me to put my reputation on the line by telling them that they are going to receive the seemingly impossible. They were already living the seemly impossible by the very fact that they were no longer in Egypt, but here in the wilderness, being supernaturally fed with manna from heaven.
It is then that God gave Moses this Word concerning what He had spoken that would come to pass. “Is the LORD’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”
It teaches this lesson, no matter how impossible it seems He is able and will perform the Word that He has spoken. In this particular case the meat that He brought to Israel turned into a judgement, rather than a blessing, because of their murmuring and complaint. Yet God honors those who operate out of faith, not murmuring and complaining about what they don’t have, but rather worshipping and giving thanks for what they do have even before they have received it. It is faith in God that reaps His blessing, but doubt, fear, discontentment and unbelief only attract judgement.
Our God, is a mighty God whose arm has not waxed short. What He says, He will do. It may not be in our time or our way, but God is God and we do Him great injustice to try to confine Him to the little box of our understanding and human comprehension. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
As we pursue what God has for us and as He proclaims in 2 Peter 1:3-4, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires,” lay hold of your inheritance with faith, confidence and thanksgiving. God is true to His Word and what He has promised He will bring to pass. Philippians 4:4-7 gives us the proper basis of how to approach the Lord for our needs: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Let us magnify the Lord for His faithfulness as we walk this walk of faith, for He does all things after the counsel of His will and not ours. What God has promised and what the Spirit, has truly spoken into your hearts, He will bring to pass in its season. Meanwhile, rejoice and be glad in Him, giving thanks and counting as already done that which He has faithfully promised.

Blessings,
#kent

Wells of Salvation

September 1, 2015

Wells of Salvation

Isaiah 12
AND IN that day you will say, I will give thanks to You, O Lord; for though You were angry with me, Your anger has turned away, and You comfort me.
2Behold, God, my salvation! I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and song; yes, He has become my salvation.
3Therefore with joy will you draw water from the wells of salvation.
4And in that day you will say, Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name and by means of His name [in solemn entreaty]; declare and make known His deeds among the peoples of the earth, proclaim that His name is exalted!
5Sing praises to the Lord, for He has done excellent things [gloriously]; let this be made known to all the earth.
6Cry aloud and shout joyfully, you women and inhabitants of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
Isn’t it wonderful to have a well of salvation to draw the water of life from? Every day we must go to this well, for from it we draw the life, the direction, the strength and refreshment we need. As we drink deep of the Spirit of Life we are refreshed, filled with joy and thanksgiving. It is at this well we find the anger of the Lord turned away from us and instead we find forgiveness, redemption, healing and hope. As we drink from this well we realize that all things are possible, because the life we drink from is not our own and it knows no limitations, short of our faith to believe and God’s wisdom in how He responds. Faith becomes our bucket by which we draw out this water of life and we find its increase in our sharing it with others. It is with great joy that we draw this water, because we drink from the fountain of eternal life.
The Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon spent his life in pursuit of the fountain of youth. It was in front of him all of the time and he wouldn’t even have had to leave home to find it. He pursued the vanity of the flesh and no matter what we do with the flesh or how we operate on it, it is a corruptible commodity and will pass away. What we can discover and drink from is a well that is so much richer, deeper and more lasting than any fountain of youth or means we may seek to preserve this natural life. As we drink from the well of God’s eternal Word and abide in the Spirit of His life, we have great reason for rejoicing and praise. Our greatest joy can be in sharing this life with others that they also may know the great joy associated with this well.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:10-15 about this living water and this well of salvation. “10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11″Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”
13Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”” He is that well of salvation, that eternal source of life, hope and joy. He is our strength, our portion, our deliverer and our very present help in time of need.
Every day that I come to write I take a drink and ask to able to share some aspect of this water with others so that they also might be strengthened, encouraged, refreshed and partakers in this life. The Lord spoke to the woman at the well that in drinking from this you will never thirst for another. As we drink of Him we become His well spring. Out of God’s people is the issues of life as we share with others what we ourselves have found and rejoice in.
Take your bucket of faith and continue to draw and drink deep from this well, but then share the joy of the well of salvation with others that they also may know this great joy and likewise become partakers of so great a salvation. You will be amazed at what God can bring up out of your life as you drink of Him and depend upon Him to be your source and well spring of life.

Blessings,
#kent

The Good Shepherd

July 17, 2015

Psalms 23:1
The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.

The Good Shepherd

The Lord is sufficient for every need that we have. One of the hardest things for us to do at times is to lie down in green pastures when in our perception all there is dead grass. One of the most important things that the Lord wants to teach all of us is to rest in Him. That is hard to process when the natural world around us is falling apart, bills need to be paid, physical afflictions are besetting us. It is hard for us to rest when our children are in rebellion, our spouse is leaving us or that special someone is in critical condition.
God is not in our fears, He is in our faith and faith causes us to rest when everyone else is franticly trying to do something to solve the problem. Some problems are out of our control. They are bigger than we are and there is nothing else we can do except believe and trust in the Lord. We can never put God in a box and say if I just do this, then He will do that. Sometimes He doesn’t rescue us out of our disasters, but He will always be there with us as we go through them. Sometimes God works through miracles and sometimes it is through our hard life experiences. The important place for us to be is in the Shepherds arms. The Psalmist David rested in the profound truth that the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He knew from the experience of being a shepherd that a good shepherd would always act in the best interest of His sheep. Sometimes that meant rescuing them out of trouble and sometimes it might mean breaking their leg, so that they would learn not to stray. Whatever was necessary the shepherd would act out of his love for the sheep. They were an extension of him and his purpose, just as we are an extension of Christ and His purpose.
Today, the good Shepherd is watching over you. If you truly believe and rest in Him, then you shall not want. ‘He is able to meet all of your needs according to His riches in glory.’ “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6

Blessings,
#kent

Psalms 30:7-12 LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled. 8 I cried out to You, O LORD; And to the LORD I made supplication: 9 “What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? 10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!” 11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Attitudes that Nullify or Qualify

There are times we come to some very hard places in our lives. Some of us have lived in those places for a very long time. We have no doubt cried out to God to remove our mountain, whatever form of adversity and trial it may take. I found it interesting that the Psalmist David says here, “Lord, you have made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face and I was troubled.” There is no doubt a lot of us that have been, and maybe still are, in this place. The question is, “have we viewed it as the Lord’s favor?” One thing God often does with us is that He puts us between a rock and a hard place. We find ourselves in such a pit that the only we have to look is up. Our resources dries up. Our strength fails. We are left with two choices: forsake our faith, as we mummer and complain, or encourage ourselves in our God and the power of His might. We see two examples in the Word. We see the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and led into a wilderness where there is no food and water. A great many of them choose to murmur and complain when they find themselves against the mountain of adversity. They want some one to blame for their trials and problems. They focus on death and what they left behind and how bleak the picture is before them. They are always looking at how big the problem is and not at how big their God is. On the other hand, we have someone like David. Here is a man who has seen and experienced the reality of God and yet finds himself seemingly forsaken as King Saul pursues him to take his life. I believe the reason David found such favor before the Lord is because he refused to allow his fears to be the giant that conquered him. He saw himself in God in the sense that he knew God would not deny or forsake Himself. He expresses the fact more than once that he became discouraged in his soul, but in his spirit he would rise up and say, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul. Forget not all of His benefits.” It is the favor of God that causes our mountain to stand strong. It is not that He may beat us down, it is so that He can build us up. Philippians 3:3 says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Until we develop the eyes of the Spirit our fleshly mentality will keep us just going around and around our mountain. It is with the eyes of faith and by the Spirit that we will, in due season, go through the mountain and that mountain will be cast into the sea. Our mountain is our place of spiritual preparation and the place where God is honing us for a greater purpose. We have two choices: murmur and complain or praise and worship. Which do we think will bring us more quickly into the purposes and plan of God for our lives? Philippians 4:6 reminds us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Our problems and our mountains aren’t always going to go away like we might like them too, but we are not alone in the trial. Enter into your God and His mighty promises. He will, in His time, turn your mourning into dancing. He will put off your sackcloth and clothe you with gladness. Encourage your soul today, “How great is our God.” He will never fail us or forsake us. “O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever!”

Blessings,

#kent

Thankfulness

October 21, 2014

Thankfulness

Psalms 100:4
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.

Why is there power in the words, “Thank You,” or in the words that express thankfulness and thanksgiving? If these are words from the heart then they convey the attitude of deep appreciation and gratitude. We have discussed in the past about praise and worship, but where do these come from if it is not from an attitude of thanksgiving. Thankfulness is a gate, it is an entrance, and it is a condition of heart that makes us ready to really appreciate and express that appreciation to our Lord. It is like the precursor to praise and worship as well as being a part of it. Are we going to praise and worship what we don’t appreciate and aren’t thankful for?
It is important that thankfulness is a constant attitude of our heart. Psalms 30:4 says, “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” Psalms 18:49 reiterates with, ” Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” The Psalms are alive with scripture that exhorts us to be thankful:
Psalms 75:1 Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, [unto thee] do we give thanks: for [that] thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
Psalms 79:13 So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.
Psalms 92:1 [[A Psalm [or] Song for the sabbath day.]] [It is a] good [thing] to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:
Psalms 97:12 Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
Psalms 105:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
Psalms 106:1 Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
Psalms 106:47 Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, [and] to triumph in thy praise.
Psalms 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
These are among a few of so many that extol thankfulness to the Lord.
Jesus even demonstrates the importance and attitude of thankfulness, when He broke bread when feeding the multitude. Even at the Last Supper He gave thanks as He broke the bread that represented His body that was soon to be broken and offered in the sacrifice of His life at Calvary.
Our giving thanks at meal times is a constant reminder to us of where our blessings and supply comes from and who we depend upon to provide our needs, as well as the expression of appreciation to Him who has so graciously provided it.
The New Testament exhorts us as well in the area of Thanksgiving:
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
1 Thessalonians 5:13 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
When we give thanks in all things aren’t we acknowledging that God is sovereign upon His throne and in control of all that touches our lives? Aren’t we declaring His faithfulness regardless of circumstances and conditions? Isn’t our thankfulness an acclamation of His Lordship?
Hebrews 23:15 continues this thought, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.” 1 Timothy 2:1 continues the theme of how our thankfulness ties into our praise, worship, ministry and intercession before the Lord, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;”
The relevance, significance and importance of thanksgiving is not just an earthly principle, it is a heavenly one as well that continues on through eternity, precious to the heart of God. Revelations 11:16-17 speaks, “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.”
On the other side Romans 1:21-25 speaks of the ungodly and unrighteous who knowing about God fail to have a thankful heart, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Ungratefulness leads to a hardened and perverse heart. It is the fools gate and entrance to wrath and judgement. That lack of thanksgiving can take us out of the right perception and acknowledgement of who and what our God is in relationship with our lives.
As we acknowledge our God today and each day let us do it with a heart that is thankful and appreciative of the matchless grace and abundance He has worked in us. Sometimes we get focused so much on the adversity and the negative in our lives we loose sight of who still sits on the throne and is in charge of all that affects us. While we are not thankful for the evil that befalls us we are forever thankful for our God that brings us through our adversities and is perfecting us in the process. Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Blessings,
#kent

Green Pastures

October 13, 2014

Green Pastures

Psalms 23:2
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

There is a place in the Lord where He is leading us and causing us to rest. It is the green pastures of His rest. There He causes us to lie down as we feed upon His life and truth. There He keeps us safely under His watchful eye.
Some of us are still searching for this green pasture. It seems all we have known is the wilderness, living from blade of grass to blade of grass, thirsting for the waters of life. Our outlook and attitude is usually dim and pessimistic as we trudge on, one foot in front of the other.
It is interesting that the children of Israel were not so unlike a great flock of sheep whom the Lord brought out of Egypt. Often they were so taken by their circumstances and what they saw as their lack, that they failed to recognize, acknowledge and reverence the hand of the Great Shepherd that was over them. When God does not meet our need in the way and time frame of our thinking our first inclination is to begin to murmur and complain. Our minds become filled with the thoughts that God is not faithful. ‘He has led us out here to let us die. We should have never trusted Him. We should have stayed where we were; at least there in Egypt or the world, we knew what we had.’ Perhaps God has you and I in that place today where, like the children of Israel, He is proving what is in our hearts. In Exodus 15, after a mighty deliverance, God led the people of Israel to the waters of Marah. The waters were bitter and the people could not drink. Have we ever tried to trust God through a situation and it seemed that He had led us to a place where we worse off than before and everything seemed to be against us? Instead of His blessing, it may have seemed we had been cursed. Perhaps these are our waters of Marah or bitterness where He is proving what is in our hearts. Exodus 15:25, says, “And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, [which] when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them.” Can we find the rest of His green pastures even in those times of trial and testing? Can we find the pools of still water in the midst of the turbulent rapids that are swirling around our lives? Do we get anxious and panic? Do we get angry, frustrated and murmur against God, because it appears He has forsaken us and failed us in our time of need. Those are the places where He wants us to find the green pastures of His rest. Calvary provides the only tree that can make the waters sweet again. Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Those green pastures speak of His life. That is the substance of what we must feed from? Isn’t it His Word and His Truth?
When we go out to buy a used car won’t we walk around it, look it over real good, kick the tires and test drive it? We are testing it for integrity and service. We want to know that it is reliable and won’t fail us in our time of need and dependency. God often proves our faith the same way. He is not just looking at the paint job and the high gloss wax; He is proving the inward parts. He wants to know the overall integrity and faithfulness of our hearts. Not only does He want to know, but also more importantly we need to know who we are in Him. It is through our travels of faith in Him, He often leads us to these waters of Marah or bitterness, where we are tested, but oh how sweet it is when we finally pass the test. When we hold fast to His Word and His promise through the time of testing and trial and then we see His deliverance and provision. It is in those times that we experience the green pastures of our rest where we have just laid down in Him, where we have snuggled up in His faithful arms and just declared God, you are God in my circumstances. No matter what happens, You change not, You are no less God and You are no less faithful.
Perhaps the green pastures of His rest are there, but with our natural eyes all we are seeing is desolation and wilderness. Faith is what leads us into those green pastures where we lie down beside the still waters, because our rest and our completion are in Him and not in us or the world around us. Psalm 23:3-6 goes on to say, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Our security and our rest are not in this world or in our circumstances, but only in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

A Day with the Lord

October 10, 2014

1 Corinthians 1:9
God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Day with the Lord

The sun strikes the peaks with pinkish hue,
As I rise to start my day with You.
Soft, back lit clouds streak across the eastern sky,
As the day dawns and You are nigh.

With sleepy eyes I step out into the newborn day,
With praise and worship, I begin to pray.
Lord you are faithful, good and so kind,
You are the treasure I seek and the wisdom I find.

In the fresh clean morning air,
I step out and sense You are there.
A dove coos nearby as Holy Spirit says I’m here.
A fragrant breeze passes saying God is near.

Outward signs remind me of our inward chat,
A dialogue where we can talk about this and that,
Where God listens intently as I pray,
And I so want to hear what He has to say.

Often it is quiet when I listen for Him
With patience in prayer, I seek Him again.
He doesn’t always respond like I think He should
But often He speaks differently than people would.

Sometimes during the day that He is speaking to me,
Even through my wife, a friend or someone I meet.
I must learn to listen and see with spiritual ears and eyes,
Or I’ll miss what He is saying as my life goes whizzing by.

God often speaks when we’ve ceased to pray,
He talks to us often in such little ways.
He gives us opportunities to respond in His love,
Allowing those little tests for us to rise above.

No, He doesn’t speak audibly to me,
But He is speaking in ways that are setting me free.
He is not constantly condemning my sin,
But He is teaching me the liberty of the righteousness in Him.

Let us always start our day with prayer and praise,
Let us bask in His love, rising above the earthly haze.
Let us learn to carefully listen and look for Him.
Walking in the Spirit, is knowing our dearest Friend.

Blessings,
#kent

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