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 )
One of my favorite names for God is “Maker of Heaven and Earth” because it spoke peace to me in a crisis a few years back. At that time I searched for comfort one night by leafing through the Psalms. I came upon Psalm 124:8—“Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth (NKJV).” I could relax. No matter what happened, my hope was in the God who made heaven and earth. It would be all right.
So when God points out to Job in Job 38 the greatness of His creative acts, I’m reminded to praise the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Some things to praise God for from Job 38:4-11 NIV:
You, Lord God,
- Laid the earth’s foundations;
- Marked off its dimensions;
- Shut up the sea behind doors when it first burst forth;
- Clothed it with clouds;
- Wrapped the sea in darkness;
- Fixed limits for it;
- Told the sea, “You can come this far, no farther,” and “Here is where your proud waves halt.” (And it obeyed.)
“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation. Oh, my soul, praise Him, for He is my help and salvation! All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near. Join me in glad adoration.”–from the hymn ”Praise to the Lord the Almighty” (lyrics and video at https://www.godtube.com/popular-hymns/praise-to-the-lord-the-almighty/
“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.)
When the people of Israel witnessed God’s thunder, lightning, trumpet sound, and smoking mountain at Sinai, they “trembled and stood afar off” (Exodus 20:18).” “And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin’” (Exodus 20:20 New King James Version– NKJV).
Psalm 5:7-8 (NKJV) says, “…In fear of You I will worship toward your holy temple. 8 Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face.”
Father, I pray that I will learn to fear You as I ought. Teach me the “fear of the Lord” so that I worship only You. Lead me in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake (Psalm 5:8 and 23:3). Make Your way straight before me (Psalm 5:8), giving me grace to walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it (Psalm 119:35). Amen.
Psalm 103:17-18 “But the LORD ‘s love for those who respect him continues forever and ever, and his goodness continues to their grandchildren (18) and to those who keep his agreement and who remember to obey his orders.” New Century Version
God’s love lasts forever! His goodness extends to the grandchildren! What wonderful promises! But are they for me, or only for others? Am I one who qualifies to receive them?
Do I respect (fear in other versions) the Lord? Well, I do reverence Him and worship Him alone. I’m growing in letting my life revolve around Him and trusting Him above everything and everyone. Do I keep His agreement/covenant? I’m not sure what that looks like, but I know I belong to Jesus Christ, God’s Son and seek to follow Him, and I think that might be what it means to keep God’s covenant.
Do I remember His commands to do them (obey His orders)? God’s commands are to love Him with all I am and to love other people. I’m learning to do that more and more, although I still stumble. [Thank You, Lord, that Your mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) and that there’s no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).]
Yes, these promises would surely be for me also.
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.)
Among some other papers, I found a small spiral-bound notebook that belonged to my dad. It will be handy for quick notes of needed groceries, reminders, and prayer requests. When I use it, I’ll think of Daddy. Actually I do many things which remind me of Mama and Daddy, who have already passed into God’s presence.
Maybe that’s something like taking communion. Jesus said His disciples should eat the communion bread and drink the cup in remembrance of Him. When I take the bread and wine/juice, it reminds me of what Jesus has done for me in taking my sins to the cross. It also makes me remember His resurrection and His soon return to take God’s children home.
Revelation 22:12 “Look, I [Jesus] am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.”
He comes, and His reward is with Him. Oh friend, be ready!
Isaiah 55:6-7: “Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.
(Both Scriptures New Living Translation)
(Picture courtesy Andy Oldham: https://andyoldhamphotography.wordpress.com/ )
Genesis 41:16 (New Living Translation) says, “’It is beyond my power to [interpret dreams],’ Joseph [told Pharaoh]. ‘But God can tell you what [the dream] means and set you at ease.’” In The Message, “set you at ease” is “set Pharaoh’s mind at ease.”
It’s often beyond human power to do things. That’s why a doctor may say, “We’ve done all we can.” Those with faith may even add, “It’s up to God now.” Also, when I’ve sought help for problems from human beings, I’ve often been asking more than they can give.
But God is healer, problem-solver, dream-interpreter, provider, peace-giver, source of wisdom, and so much more! He can give us peace of mind. I need to seek Him always, because human power and human wisdom are limited, but He is almighty. And because He is all-wise, He will do what is the very best.
I’m not saying that God doesn’t use people, because He does. He used Joseph to interpret the dreams. But Joseph was careful to give God the glory because the interpretation was from Him. I want to remember to acknowledge and glorify God for every grace and gift I receive also.
In Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul says that he prays for believers “16 that [God] would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
(New King James Version)
Verse 20 is often quoted in assurance of God’s ability to answer some request. But I’m thinking it applies more to the context in verses 16-19 than I’ve really considered before. God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above—
- Strengthening our inner man through His Spirit
- Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith
- Rooting and grounding us in love so we can comprehend the extent of Christ’s love
- Our knowing from experience His love (which is really beyond understanding)
- Our being filled with all the fullness of God
These were the things Paul prayed for the Ephesians, and it’s a wonderful prayer for us followers of Christ to pray for one another. Paul is saying that all glory belongs to God because He can do all this by His power working in the believers, and He can do far more besides.