The drama of praise

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord. – Psalm 150

I just feel like praising God this morning. Last night, we had the first drama team meeting after a four or five year hiatus. It was wonderful seeing the new faces, but to have the “experienced” faces come back really filled my heart. There were hugs and laughter. I asked the question of when we started drama, and I was surprised to learn it was 17 years ago … really? Wow! I know God really has a mission for this team, and I’m excited to see it all unfold. I know it will be awesome.

Praising God just feels so good. It’s the best “medicine” on the days that are hard. Although it’s easy to praise when things are going great, our faith shows brighter to praise God when we struggle. This isn’t only for the benefit of others, but it is for us. It doesn’t show what we’re made of, but what God is made of.

Prayer: Lord, I praise you this morning from the depths of my heart for your goodness to me. I pray I find moments to praise you today. Amen

Faith Tip: Read aloud the psalms of praise like Psalm 150.

Can you feel the love?

English: Traditional Devil's Food Birthday Cake

English: Traditional Devil’s Food Birthday Cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lord, what are human beings that you care for them,
    mere mortals that you think of them?
They are like a breath;
    their days are like a fleeting shadow. – Psalm 144:3-4

I remember a few years ago I was leading a meeting in Grand Rapids when a birthday cake was rolled out and everyone started singing “Happy Birthday.” I looked around and asked, “Who’s birthday is it?”

They laughed and said, “It’s yours.”

I was so touched by their thoughtfulness. Even though my birthday was a few days earlier, I didn’t think anyone would really care or remember.

Isn’t that how we see God sometimes? Why would he ever care about or remember us … we are mere mortals. We are humans that make bad choices quite a few times, so we can be frustrating to God who continually tries to lead us down the right path in life. But in his love and great patience, he cares for us always. We are never far from his thoughts. He wants us to have the best he can offer us … the best is yet to come because of his great love.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for caring about me. I pray that I can reflect your love and care to others I see today. Amen

Faith Tip: Think about the special ways God has cared for you. Now think about how you can care for others as opportunities come up. The more unexpected … the better.

Your plan for today.

Right Brain Planning {elements}

Right Brain Planning {elements} (Photo credit: stargardener)

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain. – Psalm 127:1

I am planning for my day what I am going to do. The day includes meetings, writing, preparing food for a gathering tonight, and a late night telephone meeting. These are all good things, but unless I know God is there and empowering and directing me, it has no value. I have come to realize that every part of my life is being built on for God’s purpose … not mine.

All of us make plans each day and for the future. We need to discern the ultimate goal of our plans and look through spiritual eyes what God has in mind. His plans are so much bigger than ours. Without the Lord, our plans are futile.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for today. I pray that I walk in obedience in the plans you have set for me today. Amen

Faith Tip: Pray for God’s enlightenment as you plan your day for him.

Help!

English: Brooding Mountain Top Ben Ledi at 879...

English: Brooding Mountain Top Ben Ledi at 879 metres watches over the River Teith. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm 
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore. – Psalm 121

These promises from God refreshed my soul this morning. I have been putting in a lot of late nights at the computer trying to keep up with the deluge of work recently put on my plate. Please don’t think I am complaining, because I am not for I love the work I do. But there are times when I wonder, and I have been there before, how am I going to do all of this?

God has walked me through these types of days before and I am sure he has done the same for you. He is faithful. Knowing that at all times God is watching over me and protecting me gives me great peace.

We can go forth in this day knowing that the times we don’t know which end is up that we can look up to the mountains as the psalmist says and know without a doubt where our help comes from.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the daily plan you have laid out for me and helping me to accomplish all that you would like me to do. I pray that I lean into you during those times when life gets busy. Amen

Faith Tip: Lots to do today? Keep this psalm in mind as you go throughout your day.

The refuge you can trust

Refuge Refresh

Refuge Refresh (Photo credit: Adam_Wood)

It is better to take refuge in the Lord 
than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes. – Psalm 118:8-9

I have learned from different experiences in life to enjoy the moment. As my schedule fills up with various meetings and activities, I enjoy the relational aspect of these things. Relationships are important to me and know there is purpose in the people for whom I come in contact. I truly believe it takes a village to accomplish great things.

However, I have also learned that people can let you down. I know I have let others down throughout my life and that I have been let down. It’s part of human nature. No matter how perfect a person may seem, whether they are rich and powerful, or a spiritual mentor, at some point, they will show their humanness.

God is always a safe place to go. He can be trusted more than any human on earth. Depending on God is where we need to be and not on people. The Lord is a safe place.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for being that safe place for me where I can run when life seems too hard to handle. You refresh my soul. Amen

Faith Tip: Think about the people you trust the most. They are God’s gift to you, but they don’t replace the ultimate value of the Giver.

Silver, gold, rocks and other unrelational items

English: Image of a pet rock

English: Image of a pet rock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But their idols are silver and gold, 
made by human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk,
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them. – Psalm 115:4-8

Remember pet rocks? This was a product that relied totally on the marketing of the idea of the perfect low maintenance pet. There were promises of relationship and commitment, but actually it just sat on a shelf and collected dust. I imagine someone going in their yard and finding stones to make a family. People would talk to their rocks and take them places. Pretty sad.

It’s the same with our spiritual relationship with idols. We want to believe they can do things for us, but in reality, they are nothing … they are not alive. God is alive and desires a deep relationship with us. Not only that, but he has power to do anything. But we have a choice to make. Do we place our trust in a rock, a piece of wood, money, success, etc. or do we trust God?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for being my living God whom I can talk to any time. You respond with your great love and grace, and I know that you love me dearly. Amen

Faith Tip: Consider what it is you are trusting today. If it’s not God, you may want to reconsider.

Teaching grace

Jinda's nail salon

Jinda’s nail salon (Photo credit: quinn.anya)

Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
for I trust your commands.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.  – Psalm 119:66-67

I’ve been going to Tulip City Beauty College to have my nails and hair done. Not only is it nice on the budget, but it has been a wonderful experience helping students master their craft. The instructors are there for the students as they work on clients.  The staff and students have been a blessing to me as I have come to know them.  As a student was working on my nails, they made a small mistake and felt so bad about it. I let them know it’s not a big deal and we are learning together.  I think of the times through my life that I have been shown grace, and have learned to show that same grace to others. It was through the tough times that I learned the most about grace.

It takes challenges in life to get our attention. As we journey through them, we get our greatest teachings and learn about trusting God and his word. If we didn’t have difficulties, we wouldn’t care about growing in our spiritual walk because everything would seem fine. Why would we want to rock the boat? But God has so much that he wants to show us. An attitude of neediness is a good place to be when it comes to our relationship with Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the times you have helped me grow. You have never left me to fend for myself, but always held my hand to guide me in the way I should go. I pray your grace will be experienced by others through me. Amen

Faith Tip: Be intentional on showing a large amount of grace today to those God wants to touch.