Saturday, August 31, 2013

Praise Instead of Practice?


My heart, O God, is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.
Psalm 108:1-5


My husband and I practice at all hours of the day according to our schedules for that day.  I'm afraid that we might disturb our neighbors.  Because we're church musicians, the music we practice is mostly church music arrangements or anthems...on trumpet, organ, piano or a combination.  I think I need to look at my practice time as "[making] music with all my soul."  Maybe then it will be praise instead of practice.




Friday, August 30, 2013

Free As A Bird


Jesus told the people who had faith in him,
 "If you keep on obeying what I have said, 
you truly are my disciples. 
You will know the truth, 
and the truth will set you free.?" 
John 8:31-32

Some know Him as just a name.  Others know Him because of stories they have heard.  Some even went to special classes or school to learn more about Him, not because they wanted to but because they were sent and it was expected of them.  Some even call Him "Lord" and yet do not really know Him.  Jesus' words here discredit their knowledge, for only if you carry Jesus with you in your very being (heart and soul) do you truly know him and are able to keep His commands.  Still we fail because of our humanness but He gave us the power of His forgiveness if we recognize our sin and ask for Him to forgive us.  We are free as a bird...
no guilt, no shame...
to fly.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Romans 10:9-10


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Howl or Sing?


They wander about for food
    and howl if not satisfied.
But I will sing of your strength,
    in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
    my refuge in times of trouble.
You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
    you, God, are my fortress,
    my God on whom I can rely.
Psalm 59:15-17

I can be a growly-bear at times, especially in the morning.  The act of praising God is a matter of will for me, especially when things are not going my way.  Sometimes I'd rather pout than smile, especially when I'm tired.
Yep, I'm a case, especially when I have everything in heaven and on earth for which to be thankful.
It's all a matter of choice...
howl or sing.
What will I do today?

I woke up singing the choir anthem in my head today, "I Will Joyfully Sing" by Mary McDonald, and it brought joy to my heart.  I've made my choice.









Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Like the Eagles


Praise the LORD, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  
Praise the LORD, my soul,

    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5

I've always loved these verses but wondered about the eagle part.  A couple of commentaries have possibly answered some of my questions.  One said that as the eagle ages its upper beak can grow over the lower one and eventually it will cause him to not be able to eat and he will die of starvation.  He has to continually file his upper beak on rocks to allow this from not happening.  If he does so, he will be able to eat and regain his strength.  The Christian's spiritual life, as he ages, can wane and he will have to continually sharpen it on the Word of God.  When he does so, God will allow ministry opportunities that suit his age and thus he is renewed as if he were young again.
As I get older, I'm seeing this happen.  Never in my life would I have imagined doing what I am doing now at my age.  God is good and has "satisfied [my] desires with good things."

Praise the Lord, oh my soul.  You have provided me so many benefits.



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Returning to the Light


And God said, “Let there be light,”
 and there was light.
  God saw that the light was good, 
and he separated the light from the darkness.
Genesis 1:3-4

I searched a long time for a verse that "spoke" to me today.  I read many wonderful truths and words from Christ but I wasn't spurred to share.  I found this at the beginning, a good place to re-read.

What would we do without light?
What would we do without The Light of Life?

    When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said,
     “I am the light of the world. 
    Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, 
    but will have the light of life.” 
    John 8:12




Monday, August 26, 2013

All Good Things


The LORD God is a sun and shield:
 the LORD will give grace and glory: 
no good thing will he withhold from them 
that walk uprightly.
  Psalm 84:11

The Lord is all in all.  He provides the light yet protects us with the shields of nature.  He gives us work yet provides us sleep as well.  He gives us health but allows us to be sick on occasion so we can depend on his mercies.  He puts us in families so we can know the joy of acceptance and have empathy for the lonely enough to include them.  Every good thing comes from him and the "upright" acknowledge that fact and praise him for what they have and what they can give to others.



Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tossed?


But when you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm. If you are that kind of person, you can't make up your mind, and you surely can't be trusted. So don't expect the Lord to give you anything at all.
James 1:6-8

Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995



I believe this is a pretty straight-forward message for today.  I like the way the Contemporary English Version just puts it out there.



Friday, August 23, 2013

Needing Some Peace?


When I said, “My foot is slipping,
your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
            your consolation brought me joy.
Psalm 94:18-19

I found this passage this morning and decided it was a good one for me this week...accompanying a new choir at school, back at teaching piano after a hiatus of many years, a last minute accompanying job for a 50th wedding anniversary tonight (found out yesterday), picking music for Senior Adult Choir and a women's quartet (my husband has about 20 picked out and I'm the deciding factor), practicing for music I may or may not play while I stand in the wings for a full-term young mother due this weekend...when my daughter called.

It's enough for her being pregnant with #4 but add moving to a new house 2 1/2 weeks ago, homeschooling her kids, keeping the food stocked and on the table in a timely manner, putting away the massive amount of stuff needed to live, having a stomach bug and THEN finding that a mouse has been eating your homemade bread...well, that's more than one Mommy can handle! 
I'm praying for peace for you, baby girl.

The world needs peace.  Every household has its pressures and every job its problems.  On top of all of that...it's so "worldly."  Where is God in all of this?  Where is peace...?
...just a prayer away...


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wanting More?


He who did not spare his own Son,
 but gave him up for us all—
how will he not also, along with him, 
graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32

Never satisfied?  Always wanting more?  Didn't get what I ordered?  Down in the dumps?  Life never treats me right?

I REALLY NEED TO GET OUT MORE AND LOOK AROUND!




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Leaning on a Web


Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh?
    Can reeds thrive without water?
While still growing and uncut,
    they wither more quickly than grass.
Such is the destiny of all who forget God;
    so perishes the hope of the godless.


What they trust in is fragile;
    what they rely on is a spider’s web.
They lean on the web, but it gives way;
    they cling to it, but it does not hold.
Job 8:11-15

Why do we continue to cling to the ephemeral when God has the eternal to be grasped?  We're a foolish and wicked generation.  It looks like things haven't changed much and we don't seem to learn from previous generations.

You are my strength,
 I sing praise to you; 
you, God, are my fortress, 
my God on whom I can rely.
Psalm 59:17



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Portion and My Cup


LORD, you alone 
are my portion and my cup; 
 you make my lot secure.
Psalm 16:5


I value the special time I have in the mornings with God's Word and a cup of coffee.  Both are gifts from God...
but not in the same category.



Monday, August 19, 2013

Wisdom Is A Tree



She is a tree of life
to those who take hold of her;
    those who hold her fast will be blessed.
Proverbs 3:18


Wisdom, again. 
 I guess these verses hit me hard since I've been known to have allowed Wisdom to escape me too many times.  Getting older, I've established that it is a gift from God and sometimes I have to realize I need it and ask for it.  I'm constantly in need and don't ask enough but when I do and hold tightly, I'm blessed.



Friday, August 16, 2013

Going to College

Union University Clock Tower

Teach me knowledge 
and good judgment,
 for I trust your commands.
Psalm 119:66

My oldest grandchild is going to college today--Union University, the Alma Mater of my husband and me, our three children and their spouses.  It just seems right.  It was his choice, though, as it was for our children.  They all wanted to go to a "Christian College" so we started looking and they wound up there.
"Christian College" is in quotes because the evil force invades all things "Christian."  My prayer is that, along with knowledge, he will have good judgment by trusting the commands under which he was raised.  I'm excited that we live close and that I will probably see him in the Music Department!  Yes!  He's a music major!  How great is that?  A fun day is ahead for all of us--his family, my daughter's family and the two of us--a mini family reunion at Union. (Missing you and yours, BDS.)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

We Know We Shouldn't...But...



Whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, 
because their eating is not from faith; 
and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Romans 14:23

The old adage, "When in doubt, don't.," is solidified in this scripture.  This chapter gives both the vegetarian and the carnivore permission to eat what they want if they are convinced it is good for them to do so.  The matter remains between them and God and we have nothing to do with it.  I stand in judgment too many times of large people who chow down and vegetarians who refuse good meat.  I'm sinning when I do so.
  I know what is good for me to eat and yet, in the confines of my own home, I eat it anyway.  I need to listen to my conscience, a.k.a. the Holy Spirit, who says, "You shouldn't have that."  I argue and say, "One won't hurt," and I eat it anyway.  I need to realize that God knows what is best for my body and tries to tell me what to eat, drink, watch, listen, etc.
Now, why don't I do what He says?
Yet, again, I'm sinning and I know better.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Honored Guest?


These are the words of the Amen, 
the faithful and true witness,
 the ruler of God’s creation.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
 If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, 
I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Revelation 3:14,20

We are a complaining nation.  Nothing seems right in our homes, work or school.  We act as if we deserve the best when we are not willing to give our best first.  What's going on?  We don't care what we say, to whom, in what tone of voice, or where we say it.  I believe we have forgotten that Christ is with us, our Emmanuel...in us.  I don't know about you but I tend to forget who sits in that empty chair at my dinner table.




Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What? Me Work?



For we are God’s handiwork, 
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
 which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

God has a good work for us to do today.  In our "Me Work" we'll find it if we are alert to the Holy Spirit's leading.  He made us especially for it and he wants us to do it.  If we don't he'll bless someone else with the task.  Don't end your day without that blessing.

Photo: Artist Trading Card 2008 by Sally L. Smith

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Stitches


    He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves,
     “Quiet! Be still!” 
    Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
    Mark 4:39

Packing to move daughter and family, drying knives, stabbed finger, 3 hours and 5 stitches in finger, moving day today, herding children, playing for wedding this weekend...looks like I need a little quiet in the storm (we all do.)  Depending on Jesus to pick us up out of the waves this week.  Thank you ahead of time, Jesus.