From Hope to Praise

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 43:5

Have you ever been so down that you just couldn’t even sing even in church? You don’t need to feel alone because even King David the writer of the song book of the Bible, came to that place; and said so not once, not twice but three different times. David had bravely faced had Goliath and defeated him, but when he found himself hunted by his father-in-law and some of the same soldiers with whom he had fought beside in battle he became discouraged. Then his wife was taken from him and given to another man and he was separated from his best friend Jonathan and was forced to hide in the countryside. That was when he reminded himself that he would again praise God because all his hope came from Him. Yes, there are times when we as believers struggle to praise God. But God’s word gives us hope so that at those exact moments we can say, “Hold on! This is not the end! There is still hope! I will praise Him again!

Hope for the Soul

Our Great Comforter

Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted Matthew 5:4 NKJV

Frustration, a sense of failure, and helplessness conspired together this morning till tears flowed briefly down my face. Then God reminded me that my walk with Him is always and only by faith. To draw nearer we each must step outside the safety of our own understanding and onto the waters of trusting in Him alone. There comes a peace  knowing that following his footsteps means walking with Him among the billows! There is where I am reminded again that He is the Christ our LifeGreat Comforter!

Waiting at the Red Sea

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:13-14

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One of my professors at Bible college once told me that the Christian life wasn’t hard to live, it was impossible. In each of our lives the Red Sea represents the place of impossibility. It is impossible for us to become Christians, impossible to grow in our faith and impossible to accomplish anything which God has called us to do – without the miraculous grace of God. But God in His miraculous grace has a process through which He operates. The story of Moses and the children of Israel leave us an encouraging example.

Maybe you are in an impossible situation or if one is looming on your horizon like a dark cloud. Just begin where all good journeys begin: at the beginning! The beginning is facing the Red Sea with the sound of your enemies at your back. It is quite natural to feel a sense of panic, but in that in that dark and lonely moment remind yourself that God Himself has led you to that shore.

The greatest fear we face is the fear of the unknown. We don’t know what will happen. We can’t imagine how our life will be if x, y or z happens. But God specializes in doing his best work when we don’t understand. Let your faith work in the same way that you welcome anesthesia before surgery. Your confidence doesn’t lie in your ability to direct the surgeon’s hands but in the knowledge that He is doing it all for your good.

You will never have a greater opportunity to grow in your trust towards God. Nothing is by chance in this battle you are in. You haven’t taken a wrong turn and this is not a dead end. In fact you are in exactly the right place in your walk. God has brought you to your own Red Sea. Stand strong with expectancy and you will discover what only God could imagine to do next!

I Wake in the Morning Early

Earlier this year I shared a Rose Fyleman poem that I had set to music for a lullaby to our small children to which I added two verses and a chorus. I was so happy and surprised to see the number of people who seemed to enjoy this children’s song. Besides the U.S. and Canada,we had viewers in France, Libya, Australia and the Philippines. So here is a slightly better though not professional recording with a slide show. I pray you will be blessed.

From the Rising of the Sun

That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other Isaiah 45:6

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In the moment of deepest worship when no words can express the glory of God’s presence we come to the truth at the sun’s rising that there is no one else besides Him!

What Do You Think?

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Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

I am a daydreamer a bit like the Walter Mitty of the recent movie with Ben Stiller. I often imagine the worst when I am nervous or dream of greatness when I achieve some small success. My ideas seem to run in every direction like scurrying chickens in a barnyard. But when I turn to God’s word I find that I am called on to actively direct my wayward thoughts. God didn’t create us to be slaves to our thoughts but He designed our mind to be the servant of our spirit. Rather than simply drifting like a gull that follows every draft of wind God expects me to grab hold of the reigns of my creative thoughts and use them for good. His assurance today is that no matter the circumstance, no matter the difficulty we face, no matter the complications that lie ahead, there is also an ocean of good around us. God tells us to live our life for His praise.

Not the meanspirited way but the noble

Not the deceptive strategy but the just one

Not the tainted desires but the pure

Not the ugliness of life but the lovely

Not the juicy gossip but the good report

Not the biting critical remark but the gracious praise of others

Today – which is the only day we are promised can be a day for God’s praise if we choose to think like Him!

Starfish, Simplicity and Sincerity

For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.  2 Corinthians 1:12

In the ocean there are untold millions of starfish, but each one has its own unique place in the sea and holds on to life in its own special way. They don’t get lost because they hold on with their legs to where they are.  It is so easy when we are under pressure to pretend. We pretend we aren’t afraid when we face danger or we may pretend to know the answer when in fact we are confused. The problem with pretending is we tend to forget who we really are. The apostle Paul not only chose to remember who he was (and wasn’t), he also spent time reminding others of his weaknesses, problems and difficulties Paul’s style of life was sincerity and simplicity. He had discovered in fact that in the humility of his weakness God would help him more than ever. Rather than choosing to demand greater authority over his church, Paul wrote as a simple shepherd, concerned first for the sheep. IMG_5263

A thousand years earlier another shepherd, named David had chosen a similar path.  When preparing to face the Goliath. King Saul urged David to put on the armor of a king. But when David tried out the armor, he found that though it did offer protection, in the end it only weighed him down too much to fight.

It may be that today you are facing some Goliath of your own. Well intentioned people around you may be offering you the protection of the bulky armor of pride, success or acceptance. But just because somebody else thinks that something is best for us doesn’t make it so. God designed each of us with our own gentle weaknesses and abilities. We are all different starfish placed in God’s ocean exactly where He has planned!.David knew that he was no trained soldier. Just as David with the simplicity of his shepherd’s sling and staff, defeated Goliath, so we also with God’s help by sincerity and simplicity can dare to take on our giants today!