Sing Our Praise

In the morning, while it is still dark outdoors, a wren happily sings a song for all to hear.

I eagerly look forward to the bird’s song each day as I sit at the breakfast table. The song reminds me even when it’s dark, even when there may not be anyone around to hear us, even if no one knows we exist, it is good to sing our praise to the Lord who created us.

It is good to sing our praise first thing each day in thanks for all God is and all God has done and all God will do.

It is good to remember…God sees. God hears. God knows.

God sees when others act like we’re invisible. God sees when we make him proud.

God hears when our pain is too deep for words. God hears when our praises rise up to him in song and pray.

God knows when our heart breaks. God knows when our heart overflows with the good things he provides.

The following untitled poem comes from Streams in the Desert. I hope it brings a song to your lips just as surely as a song rises from the wren’s throat.

Don’t let the song go out of your life
Though it chance sometimes to flow
In a minor strain; it will blend again
With the major tone you know.
What though shadows rise to obscure life’s skies,
And hide for a time the sun,
The sooner they’ll lift and reveal the rift,
If you let the melody run.
Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Though the voice may have lost its trill,
Though the tremulous note may die in your throat,
Let it sing in your spirit still.
Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Let it ring in the soul while here;
And when you go hence, ’twill follow you thence,
And live on in another sphere.

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Sing to the Lord, all the world!
Worship the Lord with joy;
    come before him with happy songs!

 Acknowledge that the Lord is God.
    He made us, and we belong to him;
    we are his people, we are his flock.

Enter the Temple gates with thanksgiving;
    go into its courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise him.

The Lord is good;
    his love is eternal
    and his faithfulness lasts forever. Psalm 100

I wish you well.

Sandy

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You can find my March Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

Pause for Poetry-Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Today’s Pause for Poetry is the lyrics from Helen Howarth Lemmel’s (1863-1961) song, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Helen Howarth Lemmel

O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

Turn you eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conquerors we are

And turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

His word shall not fail you, He promised
Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell

And turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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You can find my March Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

How Do We Line Up?

Do you pay attention to things which don’t quite line up correctly? Things that aren’t level? You know, like pictures?

Among the variety of things that bug me, unlevel wall hangings is near the top of the list. Pictures. Mirrors. Plaques. Whatevers. I can’t help it. I notice them everywhere I go.

When I see pictures in our house which need straightened, I straighten them. Do you have any idea how much restraint it takes not to reach out and straighten things in others’ homes or offices? Especially all those crooked posters in doctors’ waiting rooms.

In the same way it bothers me to see unlevel things hanging on a wall, I imagine it bugs God to look at our lives and see them deviate, even by a minuscule amount, from his level, his truth.

We might look at ourselves and think we aren’t that bad. We’re only a little off-kilter. It isn’t that big a deal. No one will notice.

But God notices, and it’s a big deal to him. So much so, he went to great extremes to make sure there was a way to make us level. To make us straight. To make us pleasing to him.

Maybe we’re unlevel because our foundation’s cracked. Maybe we’re unlevel because we’re lining ourselves up with those on the wall beside us who aren’t level. Maybe we’re unlevel because we’ve been jarred by the knocks we’ve taken. Or maybe our frame is warped.

Whatever the reason, the solution remains the same. We need to pull out God’s level – the Bible – read his directions, and measure ourselves against that. Then, and only then, will we be able to do what I often heard my dad say, “Straighten up, and fly right!”

So what bugs you? What’s that one irritating thing you have trouble looking beyond?

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The Lord showed me a vision of himself standing beside a wall and holding a string with a weight tied to the end of it. The string and weight had been used to measure the straightness of the wall. Then he asked, “Amos, what do you see?”

“A measuring line,” I answered.

The Lord said, “I’m using this measuring line to show that my people Israel don’t measure up, and I won’t forgive them any more.  Amos 7:7-8 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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With All Our Heart

When Moses addressed the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land, he gave them this command. Israel, remember this! The Lord—and the Lord alone—is our God. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

That commands still applies today to all who claim God as Lord. God wants us to be all in. Totally committed. With every part of our being. All the time. Not just when it’s convenient. Not just when we feel like it.

We are sinners who live in a broken world. A world which works overtime to pull us away from God and Jesus. This world tells us we’ll never measure up. It tries to define us by its standards. It is a world which tells us our efforts are hopeless, and we should just quit trying.

Sometimes we buy into Satan’s lies telling us we are unworthy, failures, and too far gone to have a chance at redemption. But those are just lies from the father of all lies. That is not God’s truth.

Our brokenness doesn’t define us. Our relationship with Jesus does. Jesus tells us we have the right to seek him and chase after his heart. In fact, he invites us to do just that.

Sure. We mess up. We sin. We fall short way too often, but Jesus knew all that before he willingly took our sins on his perfect sinless self. He allowed himself to be crucified for those sins. That’s where his grace comes in. Something we desperately need, but which we can’t earn or bargain for.

And what are we told to do in response?

Love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind. We are to worship God with our entire being. Despite how the great deceiver might try and tell us our sins disqualify us from God’s presence, the only One whose opinion matters tells us he loves us with an everlasting love and adopted us into his family.

We are God’s beloved children. As such, we should strive to love him with all our heart.

How do you put this command into practice in your life?

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Israel, remember this! The Lord—and the Lord alone—is our God. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Through the Lens of Faith

When problems loom huge before us, do we look at them through the lens of faith, believing with God’s help our problems can be conquered, or do we look through the lens of fear, turning those problems into unconquerable giants?

I have to admit, this is an area I struggle with. Many a time I’ve allowed fear to keep me from stepping out to conquer those scary giants in the land.

When Moses sent twelve spies to scope out the land God promised them, ten of the spies looked at the land through a lens of fear. They exaggerated the proportions of what they saw. Large men became giants. They themselves became like insects. Walled cities became impenetrable. Looking through a lens of fear, these spies determined conquering the land was impossible.

Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, looked at the land through a lens of faith. They saw the same obstacles as the other ten spies. They saw the same large men and walled cities. Their faith, however, said with God’s help conquering the land as possible.

It took forty years of wandering in the desert before Caleb and Joshua entered the Promised Land they said could be conquered. Because of their faith, they enjoyed God’s blessings.

Because of the ten spies’ fear, they died in the wilderness. They did not enter the land and enjoy God’s blessings.

Like the ten spies who allowed their fear to become doubt to the point of refusing to enter the land and conquer it, our fears can become doubt, causing us to believe we’ll never conquer whatever it is that lies in front of us. We can exaggerate and enlarge our fears to the point of paralysis to move forward in faith. We can focus on the scary, and forget all about the God who promises to be with us in the midst of the scary.

I want to be like Joshua and Caleb. I want to look through a lens of faith. Instead of looking at the obstacles in front of me and allowing fear to keep me from moving forward, I want to look to God in faith. Knowing with God’s help, even my largest seemingly insurmountable giants can be conquered.

How about you?

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They told Moses, “We explored the land and found it to be rich and fertile; and here is some of its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and their cities are very large and well fortified. Even worse, we saw the descendants of the giants there. Numbers 13:27-28 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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