I received an invitation that reminded me of a painful incident from my youth. I prayed:
“Jesus, You were there when it happened. You longed to quiet my pain, but I thought I had to handle it myself. Why couldn’t I receive Your love and comfort? Perhaps back then I knew You only as a far-away God or as a Spirit who didn’t enter the reality of my daily teenage world.
“But now I know You better. You are Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth. You are also the God who loves each person You created. You see us, not just as a group, but also as individuals. “And You are the God of all comfort, the God who knows when a sparrow falls and who counts the stars and yet also knows the ever-changing number of hairs on my head.” (See 2 Corinthians 1:3, Matthew 10:29-30, Psalm 147:4.)
Dear Lord Jesus, Savior, Friend,
I want to sing Your praise again.
You are my life, my God, my King,
Ruler over everything.
Jesus, You are all I need.
I want to learn Your voice to heed
So I can walk in Your good plan,
Son of God and Son of Man.
Anger tries to push You off Your throne.
Bitterness turns my heart to stone
I reject these things that cling to me
And accept Your offer to set me free.
O Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Cleanse and heal and make me whole,
As I repent and seek Your face
And the kingdom of Your grace. Amen.
(See Ephesians 4:31.)
God’s love doesn’t depend on your behavior.” How many times have I heard this and even said it myself? Yet recently a friend unearthed a stubborn place in my heart that didn’t believe that. This spot of unbelief lets in fiery arrows that cause me to stumble. One day I prayed, Dear Father, I feel so out-classed by some of the Christians I’ve met. They serve you well in career and marriage/family and seem to grow steadily in their relationship with Jesus. I hesitate to share my real thoughts with such people. Although I’m sure they don’t think themselves superior to me, I think myself inferior. Perhaps God answered with this bit of verse:
Don’t believe Satan’s lies, dear child. Just lift up your eyes to Me and look— My heart for you is written in My Book. You are loved. You are prized. Your value cost Me My Son’s life. So doubt no more about your worth, And don’t compare to others on earth. Relax, receive. Choose to believe. My love depends not on you, but Me. And though your trust falters, My love never fails. Go forth in joy And know I am with you whatever assails.
“Search me O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV). I will turn away from the offensive ways of unbelief which You, God, have exposed, and I will return to trusting You with ALL my heart and not leaning on my own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
Some years back, a Bible Study group I joined sang a song based on 1 Peter 2:9:
“But you are a chosen generation,
A royal priesthood, a holy nation,
A peculiar people, that you should
Show forth the praises of Him
Who has called you out of darkness,
Out of darkness, out of darkness
Into His marvelous light,
Into His marvelous light.”
As I said before, how wonderful to be chosen, and how marvelous to be called for a purpose! Lord Jesus, thank You for making my life worth living. Amen.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” –1 Peter 2:9
Colossians 1:13 also talks about that amazing transfer from darkness to light.“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.”
The One who put the stars in space
Prepares in heaven for me a place,
And someday I will see His face.
Jesus Christ my Savior.
On the cross unjustly slain, He took away my guilt and shame. For all my sin He took the blame. Such love, my Lord and Savior!
My thanks and praise seem so small Since You, Lord, sacrificed Your all To redeem creation from our fall, Mighty Lord and Savior. (By Tricia 6/5/2019)
“Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.” (Fourth verse of Isaac Watts’ hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”)
“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3 NASB)
Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me bless His Holy Name!
O Lord, You paint the eastern sky with sunrise every morning,
And at end of day You brush sunset colors over the opposite canvas.
Dark of night reveals the multitude of stars which populate the heavens.
Your creation praises You! I will join them with a song of joy.
I will praise and thank You for the symphony of blooms in our front yard.
The Bridal Veil and Forsythia blooms began the melody.
Then the Bradford Pears added their white-frosted branches to the mix.
Their flowers faded out, but the lilacs chimed in with their fragrant purplish mounds.
Our Spirea bushes pour forth fountains of flowers.
The flowering cherry trees add their own notes of beauty.
And daffodils, daylilies, and irises of various hues complete the chorus
To You, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Let Your people praise You! Let all the people praise You, Creator and Lord!
People can admire creation’s beauty and write about its loveliness. Some can paint replicas of nature on canvas. But we couldn’t begin to create life. You alone create living things, whether plant or animal.
You are the awesome, amazing, living God! Let everything that has breath praise You! Amen.
From the hymn “God Who Touchest Earth with Beauty”
photo by Tricia Opitz
God, who touchest earth with beauty, Make me lovely too; With Thy Spirit re-create me, Make my heart anew.
Like Thy springs and running waters, Make me crystal pure; Like Thy rocks of towering grandeur, Make me strong and sure.
Like Thy dancing waves in sunlight, Make me glad and free; Like the straightness of the pine trees, Let me upright be. …
(Lyrics by Mary S. Edgar; music by Frederick Arthur Gore-Ouseley)
(Source – Baptist Hymn Book )
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” (Psalm 19:1)
Lord, You make the wind blow and cause grass to grow.
You give the birds their wings and a song to sing.
You awaken green in spring
From brown of earth’s sleeping.
You paint sunrise at each morning’s light
And sunset near the edge of night.
You give light and breath to all, great and small.
Awesome, almighty–no measure of Your worth,
Maker of heaven and earth.
To those who seek You, You offer more and better life.
Yes, You bestow unbreakable, eternal life.
All thanks and honor to You, O God Most High.
You give rich, abundant love and grace.
O Worthy Lord, please accept our praise.
“[Ask] the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. … that the hand of the LORD has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:7, 9-10)
(Scriptures are from the New American Standard Bible.)
The melody of beginning light and mingled blues and pinks in the skies of sunrise.
The blend of golds and oranges and reds of the waning light of sunset.
A chorus of singing birds and wind in the trees, chattering squirrels and flowers in the breeze at noonday.
Clouds may roll in and shroud the skies in darkness with lightning and thunder and power of strong winds,
Varied voices of God’s people singing praise to Jesus, King of Kings and creator of all things.
Moon and stars and galaxies far, and birds at rest within their nests sound notes of night time.
Near and far, day and night, it’s only right that all things and all people everywhere would lift songs of praise to the God of all.
These thoughts brought to mind the hymn “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” by Isaac Watts.
The lyrics include such lines as: “I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise,” “I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day,” “Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,” “…All that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care,” with “And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.” An excellent acapella version of this hymn can be found at I Sing the Mighty Power of God.
Psalm 8:1 “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens!”
Isaiah 6:3 “And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!’”
Jeremiah 10:12-13 says, “He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. 13 When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens: And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”
(All Scripture quotes are New King James Version.)
John 15:4-5, 7-8 NKJV “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. …7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit….”
If I live in Jesus and He in me, then His Spirit can produce much fruit in me. (The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—Galatians 5:22.) Without Christ I can’t produce these things in myself. In fact, it looks like (from John 15:5) I can’t do anything of lasting value without Christ’s abiding in me and I in Him.
Then John 15:7 says that if we abide in Christ, and His words live in us, we can ask what we desire, and it will be done. But as I look at verse 8 along with this one, I think that this “what we desire” is more about bearing fruit for God’s glory than about things we might want for ourselves or others Abiding in Christ and He in us and His Word living in us will help us stay on the right track. Living in Jesus
Living in Your presence, Lord Jesus,
Your Word living in me—
Your blessed Holy Spirit
Breaking the chains—set this captive free.
Speaking Your Word to my spirit,
You opened my blinded eyes.
Your love and grace are amazing.
Your Word in our hearts makes us wise.
Your kindnesses outnumber my counting.
Your goodness outstretches our reach.
Oceans of love you pour on us.
Your good ways, to us You will teach.