Sing Out

“The LORD is ..  my song
(Psalm 118:14)


Reflection:
Humans have over the years composed many songs, not a few of which have been to glorify themselves. However, as our eyes are opened to the wonderful truth of the Lord, and our hearts and spirits respond to the revelation of His love and salvation, we may discover that one song rises joyfully above all the others.

The worship of God is the sweetest of all, and often it is enough just to sing out the name of Jesus. For me true worship must rise like a soaring eagle up into the heavens, and then descend into complete and holy silence  – where it is enough just to whisper again and again the one precious ‘name above all names’ – and then to be completely silent and silently complete in the stillness of the Spirit.

Also, and whenever I can, I love to ‘sing out’ in speech the wonders of this God of Love and of the love of God. He is truly ‘beautiful beyond description’ and, when I let Him, ‘my all in all.’ I have many stories to tell of God’s relationship with me, over all the ups and downs of my journey – of His love, presence, help, forgiveness and sharing of Himself. They all form a part of ‘my song.’

Response:
Recall and record some of the ways in which God has blessed you. Thank and praise Him for them. There are some wonderful songs and hymns that can be downloaded from ITunes – and the lyrics will be on the Internet. Use them if you wish as an aid.

Prayer:

Touch my spirit Lord with Your beauty and Your love. Help me to respond as You lead me into worship and the wonder of Your presence. Amen.

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Open Your Eyes

“O LORD
Who is like you– majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory, working wonders?”
(Exodus 15:11)

Reflection:
Our vision of God defines our lives.

We can ignore Him, treat Him casually – by paying Him lip-service or turning to Him only when we need help – or we can take Him seriously – to the extent that He becomes our life.

His revelation of Himself through creation, through His history, through His great acts and ultimately through His Son Jesus Christ, is stunning. It is a revelation of awesome power and might, of unbelievable compassion and mercy, of immaculate justice and righteousness, and of breath-taking beauty and love.

If our vision slips then our faith, hope, love and integrity begin to go as well.

In times such as these there is a great need for those whom He has called to Himself to renew their vision, re-establish their foundations, and glory in the wonder of our marvellous God. One of our greatest gifts and weapons is our heart-felt love and worship of this God who is at once Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Response:

“Immortal, Invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.”

Prayer:

Lord God Almighty, keep me conscious of Your glory, honour and power – and of Your great beauty and love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Thank You

2017-02-06

“He is your praise; he is your God,
who performed for you those great and awesome wonders
you saw with your own eyes”
(Deuteronomy 10:21)

Reflection:
Any child can show us that asking is the most natural of prayers. They also often show us how saying “Thank You’ has to be learned and become a habit. It is the same in our relationship with the Lord.

 Prayers of Thanks and Praise are vital in our lives for three reasons. One is because God is worthy of the acknowledgement and honour. Another is that they make us recall what He has done and is doing in our lives. The third is to bring to mind the great promises that He has given us as his people.

We are surrounded with the gifts of God.  The awesome wonder and beauty of creation and all that it gives us. The marvel of modern technology, medicine and scientific research. The gift and talents that are a part of each individual. Music, art, literature and sport.

There is the wonder of God’s love, His forgiveness and redemption, and the awesome and terrible sacrifice of Jesus Christ with the breath-taking reality of His resurrection and ascension. In addition there is the life-changing and enhancing gift of the Holy Spirit as our guarantee of the life to come.

Add to these the wonder of a sunrise and sunset, the early morning song of the garden birds, the haunting cry of a distant fish-eagle in the mist, the laughter of a child, the love of a dear one, and the companionship of friends. And what about the deafening authority of a black-clouded thunderstorm with arrows of spine-chilling light flashing through the heavens to both reveal and then blind us to the surrounding view.

These are only a few examples, but is it any wonder that the scriptures, and in particular the psalms, are packed with thanksgiving to God for all that He has done and provided – and with praise to the honour of this God who has done it all  out of His great love. Time and again they exhort us to follow the example of the psalmist,

  • “Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1)
  • “I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders” (Psalm 9:1)
  • “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4)

Try and weave thanksgiving and praise into your day as you travel through it. When something strikes you tell God how much you like it and how wonderful He is for what He has done – and allowed you to notice, appreciate and enjoy. Sometimes when I wake during the early hours I allow my mind to go back over some of the people I have known throughout my life – and I thank God for them and the blessing they have been. I also pray for them wherever and however they may be.

Response:
Take time to notice, to appreciate and to be grateful – there is so much.

Prayer:

Lord please open my eyes to the countless blessings that have been, are and will be a part of my life. Thank You for Your generosity and the abundance of Your love. You are so wonderful, so loving and so aware of what will bless me and I am very, very grateful to You. Amen.

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Sing!

2016.05.18

“The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.”
(Psalm 118:14)

Reflection:
‘The Lord is my song.’

Humans have over the years composed many songs, not a few of which have been to glorify themselves. However, as our eyes are opened to the wonderful truth of the Lord, and our hearts and spirits respond to the revelation of His love and salvation, we may discover that one song rises joyfully above all the others.

The worship of God is the sweetest of all, and often it is enough just to sing out the name of Jesus. For me true worship must rise like a soaring eagle up into the heavens, and then descend into complete and holy silence  – where it is enough just to whisper again and again the one precious ‘name above all names’ – and then to be completely silent and silently complete in the stillness of the Spirit.

Also, and whenever I can, I love to ‘sing out’ in speech the wonders of this God of Love and of the love of God. He is truly ‘beautiful beyond description’ and, when I let Him, ‘my all in all.’ I have many stories to tell of God’s relationship with me – of His love, presence, help, forgiveness and sharing of Himself. They all form a part of ‘my song.’

Response:
Recall and record some of the ways in which God has blessed you. Thank and praise Him for them. There are some wonderful songs and hymns that can be downloaded from ITunes – and the lyrics will be on the Internet. Use them if you wish as an aid.

Prayer:

Touch my spirit Lord with Your beauty and Your love. Help me to respond as You lead me into worship and the wonder of Your presence. Amen.

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Phot0: (c) Catherine Bondonno

 

Privilege of Praise

2015.05.12

“to the praise of his glorious grace,
which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”

(Ephesians 1:6)

Reflection:
God has revealed something of Himself in many ways, including the wonder of creation and His great acts in the lives of His chosen people. The supreme revelation of His glory and grace are given to us in and through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. However, we only begin to grasp something of them as ‘the eyes of our heart’ are opened by the Holy Spirit.

Then, as the Light enters into and begins to touch our spirits and minds in new and transforming ways, the revelation of God’s grace-filled glory calls forth a response within us and from us. We begin to understand that the privilege and honour of our calling as the children of God is to worship and praise Him in thought, word and deed – every aspect of our lives – and to lead others to see and praise Him as well.

It starts within each one of us – the call and response – to live to the praise of His glory.

Response:
I am holy – set apart by God and for God – to honour Him with my life and living.

Prayer:

Father bless me with Your Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that I may know You better – and worship and praise You with my life. Amen.

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Telling God

2015.05.05

“Praise be to the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ”

(Ephesians 1:3)

Reflection:
Many people find it fairly easy to praise others but difficult to praise God. Our praise of others is often our delighted response to something they have done. It could be a child with a good report, a sportsperson after a special achievement, an artist for a beautiful composition, a musician in response to a lovely rendition, a cook for a delicious meal and many others.

Once we stop to think, and to look around us, we find that we are surrounded by things for which we can sincerely praise the Lord. From glowing sunsets to magnificent waterfalls, sparkling seas to stately trees, soaring eagles to darting swifts, sun-kissed leaves to fragrant roses, majestic mountains to trickling streams – the list is endless. Then there are the miracles of new-born children, the soul-stirring beauty of music, the breath-taking grace of ballet dancers and the life-changing reality of love – not to mention all the modern conveniences that we enjoy.

For all these we can indeed turn to God with not just a ‘thank-you’ but more. It shows not merely enjoyment but deep appreciation as well – of both the object and the One from whom it came. Something like, “Father that … is so lovely. You created it and allowed me to enjoy it. You are so special.” Or “Lord I needed that – encouragement/medication/opportunity – and You were behind it. You love is amazing.”

As we become increasingly aware and seek to honour God we will find that He appears to become more present in our lives. Through the recognition and appreciation of what He has given us and done for us our understanding of His great power and love grows. But most importantly we discover that He is, in fact, worthy of praise and it becomes our joy and privilege to give expression to it.

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom
Who can fathom the depths of Your love
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above

And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You

(Mark Altrogge)

Response:
Take time to look – see – and respond. He deserves it and you will be blessed. Practice it and it will become quite natural.

Prayer:

Help me Lord to discover more about You and to rejoice in You . Amen.

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Praise God

2015.04.28

“Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD,
for he is good; his love endures forever.”

(Psalm 106:1)

Reflection:
Many times in Scripture we are encouraged to give thanks to God.

It seems to me that my days are filled with sights, sounds, tastes, fragrances, feelings, objects, emotions, blessings and people for which I can thank God. A home, food, clothes, work, family, friends, gardens, nature, birds, animals, modern conveniences and the wonder of love are just a few. And then of course there are the wonderful ways in which He has revealed Himself to us and been active in our lives.

I was amazed again today at the grandeur of a large white cloud in full sail against a deep blue sky. The fluffy edges were a blindingly light-touched white and rimmed the soft and gentle rosy-grey beneath. I have watched in wonder as a little girl just six months old slept peacefully in my arms; listened to magnificent music; looked at members of my family as we ate together, and listened to the happy chatter and laughter that surrounded me. I’ve sat down at a computer and read the messages and information that appeared almost magically on the screen. I’ve looked at the garden in the fading light of the day – enjoying the colours and variety of shapes and textures – and listened to the birds quietening themselves for the evening ahead. I’ve drunk a long cool drink by only moving one hand, and heard a plane fly high overhead. There is no shortage of things for which to be thankful.

Sometimes I am happy to say simply, “Thank You Lord for….” At other times I can be more descriptive and say that a beautiful sunset is breathtakingly lovely. I still like the story of a man who would thank God by saying, “Jesus, you did it again! Good work, Jesus! I like that, that’s really like you!” There is a fullness of heart there to which I’m sure the Lord responds.

If you enjoy or value something then tell God in your own words, as you would a friend. The more you do so the more you will find to appreciate. The more you tell Him the more you have a chance of one day hearing Him say to you, “I like it too!”

Spend a day more in thanking God than asking. It makes a difference to both of you.

Response:
Mentally list six things that mean a lot to you – and thank God for them.

Prayer:

Father, please open my eyes to the blessings in and around my life – and help me to appreciate them. Amen.

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Sing Your Song

Bird singing

“The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.”

(Psalm 118:14)

Reflection: ‘The Lord is my song.’
Humans have over the years composed many songs, not a few of which have been to glorify themselves. However, as our eyes are opened to the wonderful truth of the Lord, and our hearts and spirits respond to the revelation of His love and salvation, we may discover that one song rises joyfully above all the others.

The worship of God is the sweetest of all, and often it is enough just to sing out the name of Jesus. For me true worship must rise like a soaring eagle up into the heavens, and then descend into complete and holy silence – where it is enough just to whisper again and again the one precious ‘name above all names’ – and then to be completely silent and silently complete in the stillness of the Spirit.

Also, and whenever I can, I love to ‘sing out’ in speech the wonders of this God of Love and of the love of God. He is truly ‘beautiful beyond description’ and, when I let Him, ‘my all in all.’ I have many stories to tell of God’s relationship with me – of His love, presence, help, forgiveness and sharing of Himself. They all form a part of ‘my song.’

Response:
Recall and record some of the ways in which God has blessed you. Thank and praise Him for them. There are some wonderful songs and hymns that can be downloaded from ITunes – and the lyrics will be on the Internet. Use them if you can as an aid. I have been greatly blessed recently by the singing of Marilla Ness.

Prayer:

Touch my spirit Lord with Your beauty and Your love. Help me to respond as You lead me into worship and the wonder of Your presence. Amen.

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(Bokmakierie bird – Telophorus zeylonus by Johan Swanepoel)

Songs of Praise

stars 8

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.”

(Psalm 19:1-2)

Reflection:
I walked out into our backyard one night and looked up. It was a cloudless night and, even in our suburb, enough of the sky was visible to make me pause in awe and wonder. The stars shone out from the dark depths of space like diamonds on the deep blue cloak of God. I stood in stillness and let His glory touch me for those precious moments. How great is our God indeed,

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” (Psalm 33:6)

It is a mighty and marvellous act of creation – by an almighty, beautiful and loving God. They sing His praises in sounds and words that we cannot hear and reduce us at last to the silence of true worship and adoration. I found myself longing for less of me in my life and more of God – more than I knew I could handle but not more than I could desire. I have a longing sometime to just disappear into His love and glory – like a wave on the beach slips back into the vast and all-embracing ocean.

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2)

How much more precious were those moments and the thoughts and feelings that they prompted, than everything that the world has to offer in terms of pleasure, wisdom and achievement. How much more to hold onto in the times of pain, sin and sorrow.

God speaks to us in so many ways, not least in and through our everyday exposure to His creation. It is a message worth perceiving, believing and receiving. It is worth our deepest response.

“O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the works Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.”

Response:
Look, Listen, Worship

Prayer:

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

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Yes, O Yes

11224-w520

“Praise be to the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who has blessed us in the heavenly realms
with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

(Ephesians 1:3)

Reflection:
This week we have reflected on some of the things God has done for us, described by Paul in verse 4. It is small wonder then that He began His great outpouring of God’s blessings with these words of praise.

He blesses God for blessing us with every conceivable blessing. Not only is no blessing missing – for he refers to ‘every spiritual blessing’ – but he sees us as having been blessed with a depth and abundance beyond anything we could have imagined, expected or hoped for. In addition these blessing are given from, and secured in, ‘the heavenly realms’. They are not subject to the influences of the passing world as we know it, nor to the activities of man or evil spirit. As Paul would say elsewhere,

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

God’s love and blessings are secured for us in heaven in Jesus Christ and here through the Holy Spirit whom He has given to us. They are available for us to believe, accept and embrace with thanksgiving. And so

“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy– to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25)

Response:
God’s love and blessings are so much greater and abundant than we conceive. Let their waters flow into your spirit, heart and mind in a never-ceasing stream – no matter what your present situation.

Prayer:

Father I believe and receive Your love and blessings. Please help me to continue even in the face of the world’s pain. Amen.

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