Monthly Archives: September 2014

Our Standard Response

Quick leaps across time zones leave me feeling scattered for days. Driving across time zones is easier than flying because my body can catch up slowly but surely with whatever the standard time happens to be.

For a period in their history, God’s people were scattered throughout the ancient Near East and across different time zones. Psalm 113 is proof that no matter where they found themselves the standard for their lives became praise for their God who is full of liberating power, majesty and glory. It became their only response.

Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised!
The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!
Who is like the Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

I am ever mindful of brothers and sisters in Christ scattered across many time zones living in poverty and barrenness for the sake of the gospel. I am humbled when I hear stories of how many of them respond in praise even in the midst of persecution.

More and more, may our prayers be lifted up for the persecuted Church wherever the sun rises and sets.  And may praise be our standard response each new day, for truly there is no God like our God!

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Living Rightly

It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved,
he will be remembered forever.
He is not afraid of bad news,
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is steady…
Psalm 112:5-8a

My father-in-law turned 80 years old this year. Realizing he is finally an “old” New Englander, he commented that it might be fun to kayak and explore the little islands off the coast of Maine for his birthday. So my determined sister-in-law set in motion plans to make it happen. And despite busy schedules that interrupt our best intentions of gathering regularly where we all live within 30 minutes of each other, my husband and I along with his brother and sister and their spouses traveled many hours from Northern California to Bath, Maine.

Yes, we kayaked and explored Malaga Island in the Casco Bay of Maine. But we also celebrated a man who has dealt generously with his family and conducted his business affairs with justice. Like you and I, his life has not been lived perfectly but it has been lived rightly by trusting in the Lord. Beyond his Yankee ingenuity, his firm faith has steadied his life and brought blessing to the lives of his children and grandchildren.

May all our hearts be steadied by living rightly before Lord who is gracious and merciful to all His children.

Wholehearted Prayer

I have always liked numbers. Therefore, I think Psalm 111 should get as much attention as Psalm 117, which is the shortest, and Psalm 119, which is the longest, because it is the only Psalm with the same 3 digits.

I have always liked praying Psalm 111. It is the one I go to when I feel half-hearted about praying. The voice of the Psalmist energizes and excites me, but more importantly invites me to praise and give thanks to God with my whole heart, as someone who is praying in fellowship with others who have seen the power of God’s works first hand.

See if you agree! Take a few moments and pray through Psalm 111 with wholehearted thanksgiving for the great works of God in your life.

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

Martin Luther wrote this about praying the Psalms wholeheartedly:
“Our dear Lord, who has given to us and taught us to pray the Psalms and the Lord’s Prayer, grants to us also the spirit of prayer and of grace so that we pray with enthusiasm and earnest faith, properly and without ceasing, for we need to do this; he has asked for it and therefore wants to have it from us. To him be praise, honor, and thanksgiving. Amen”

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Receive Again

Next year will be 30th anniversary, so we will plan a special trip or something. But this year, we did take time to receive again from the Lord and from each other the faithfulness, hopefulness and love that will help our marriage survive and thrive!

We rejoice
we celebrate
we receive again.
The faithfulness
we committed
to keep, forever.

We remember
we embrace
we receive again.
The hopefulness
we pledged
to have, and to hold.

We renew
we choose
we receive again.
The love
we vowed
to share, each new day.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;  but the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV).  Amen and amen!