REJOICE IN HIM

“Let Israel rejoice in him.”—Psalm 149:2.

joyful praiseE glad of heart, O believer, but take care that thy gladness has its spring in the Lord. Thou hast much cause for gladness in thy God, for thou canst sing with David, “God, my exceeding joy.” Be glad that the Lord reigneth, that Jehovah is King! Rejoice that He sits upon the throne, and ruleth all things! Every attribute of God should become a fresh ray in the sunlight of our gladness. That He is wise should make us glad, knowing as we do our own foolishness. That He is mighty, should cause us to rejoice who tremble at our weakness. That he is everlasting, should always be a theme of joy when we know that we wither as the grass. That He is unchanging, should perpetually yield us a song, since we change every hour. That He is full of grace, that He is overflowing with it, and that this grace in covenant He has given to us; that it is ours to cleanse us, ours to keep us, ours to sanctify us, ours to perfect us, ours to bring us to glory—all this should tend to make us glad in Him. This gladness in God is as a deep river; we have only as yet touched its brink, we know a little of its clear sweet, heavenly streams, but onward the depth is greater, and the current more impetuous in its joy. The Christian feels that he may delight himself not only in what God is, but also in all that God has done in the past. The Psalms show us that God’s people in olden times were wont to think much of God’s actions, and to have a song concerning each of them. So let God’s people now rehearse the deeds of the Lord! Let them tell of His mighty acts, and “sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously.” Nor let them ever cease to sing, for as new mercies flow to them day by day, so should their gladness in the Lord’s loving acts in providence and in grace show itself in continued thanksgiving. Be glad ye children of Zion and rejoice in the Lord your God. C. H. Spurgeon

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Ice Cream is Soul Food

While purging some old papers I came across a story my sister shared with me back in 1997.  It was sent to her anonymously so I can’t give credit to the author. Upon reading it again, I felt compelled to share its timeless message with you.

Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, “God is good. God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And liberty and justice for all! Amen!” Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby I heard a woman remark, “That’s what’s wrong with this country.  Kids today don’t even know how to pray.  Asking God for ice cream!  Why, I never!” ?

Is God mad at me?” As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.  He winked at my son and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.”

“Really?” my son asked.

“Cross my heart.”  Then in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing),  “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream.  A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.”

Naturally, I bought my kids’ ice cream at the end of the meal.  My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.  He picked up his sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, “Here, this is for you.  Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes and my soul is good already.”



The elderly gentleman’s actions set the stage for a teachable moment for mom, the little boy and of course the woman.  We get so caught up into religious ideology that we forget Christ said to come unto Him with the simplicity and heart of a child.  Our grown up ways cause so much misalignment with our Heavenly Father and with each other.  The streets, workplaces, schools and churches are filled with people ready and willing to “rain” on your parade, inflicting their brand of “righteousness.”  However, we don’t have to become a carrier of negative attitudes and behaviors.  Each moment present the opportunity to cast our lot with the likes of the elderly gentleman, whose brief encounter, listening to the beauty of a child’s prayer, opened the door for joy. In that moment the sound of childlike innocence and laughter brighten the room, and gave purpose to an ordinary meal.  He  made a deposit into the little boy’s heart and soul which the little boy appropriately withdrew and transferred to the woman.  “Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes, and my soul is good already” he stated with the blessed assurance that God was not mad at him, and that he could share his blessing with her.

When was the last time you made such a deposit? ice-cream-sundae

Christ told us to love our enemies, and those who mistreat us. Perhaps if we shared our ice cream with those who need it, there would be a little more joy, love and forgiveness in those places that are much too dark and dreary.   Share some today.   You may be surprised to discover just how really good for the soul ice cream is.

 

 

2014

2014 has arrived with all the usual fanfare, a party in New York Times Square, fireworks, parties, parades, and of course football games.  These elaborate demonstrations are over.  Here is the question of the day.  Have you already broken a new year resolution?  Researchers report the first Monday after new year’s is the most depressing day of the year. People are back to work and depressed they had to go back to the job.  Many have already given up on keeping the new year’s resolution to stay fit.  Others are despondent because they didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas, or are sad due to the lost of a loved one.  Whatever the reason the party is over, and now things back to “normal.”    For many normal is not good.

However, we are called to shine a bright light for those who are experiencing dark days and moments.  God sent a million, million lights of love in the world – that would be us.  “God doesn’t call the qualified He qualifies the called.”  We are “the called.”  Share your bright light and the love of God today.  Someone out there needs it.

Sing Praises for God 2013 and 2014

The psalmist wrote, “It is good to give thanks to the lord, to sing praises to the Most High.  It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening, accompanied by the ten-stringed harp and the melody of the lyre.” Psalm 92:1-3 NLT

Today many are preparing for new year’s eve celebrations.  In just a few short hours 2013 will be history.  The precious gift of time is cause for celebration as well as an opportunity to give thanks to the Lord for all He did in 2013.  The psalmist encouraged us to sing praises to God.  For it was by His Grace and Mercy we celebrate life and His gifts to us.

During this holiday season, my husband and I have had so many reminders in the form of phone calls, cards, texts, FB, visits with family and friends and gifts. These were priceless drops of love from heaven.  They felt like rays of love coming from the throne of Grace.  God was saying I heard your prayers, I know your hearts and thank you.  This time has been glorious, and I am so grateful.

Now, as we prepare for tonight’s watch night service where songs of praise and thanksgiving will be heard, we extend to you and yours blessings for the new year.  Sing farewell to 2013. Sing praises to God and welcome to 2014.

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Reflections

Forty five years ago today, God presented me with an enormous assignment, that of mother to a beautiful daughter.
Becoming a parent launches you into the mysteries of life, love and living unlike any other role. At every stage you learn so many things about yourself, your own parents and God. And with each lesson learned you give way to the most precious of all things-love.
As I think about my daughter, and the years I’ve been granted, I thank you God for allowing me the privilege and honor of being her mother.
Happy Birthday Coquese. I am proud to be your mother.

And God saw the light

“And God saw the light.” Genesis 1:4
Commentary from Charles Haddon Spurgeon

This morning we noticed the goodness of the light, and the Lord’s dividing it from the darkness, we now note the special eye which the Lord had for the light. “God saw the light” –He looked at it with complacency, gazed upon it with pleasure, saw that it “was good.”  If the Lord has given you light, dear reader, He looks on that light with peculiar interest; for not only is it dear to Him as His own handiwork, but because it is like Himself,for “He is light.” Pleasant it is to the believer to know that God’s eye is thus tenderly observant of that work of grace which He has begun. He never loses sight of the treasure which He has place in our earthen vessels.  Sometimes we cannot see the light, but God always sees the light, and that is much better than our seeing it.  Better for the judge to see my innocence that for me to think I see it.  It is very comfortable for me to know that I am one of God’s people–but whether I know it or not, if the Lord knows it, I am still safe. This is the foundation, “The Lord knoweth them that are His.”

You may be sighing and groaning because of inbred sin, and mourning over your darkness, yet the Lord sees “light” in your heart, for He has put it there, and all the cloudiness and gloom of your soul cannot conceal your light from His gracious eye.  You may have sunk low in despondency, and even despair; but if your soul has any longing towards Christ, and if you are seeking to rest in His finished work, God sees the “light.”  He not only sees it, but he also preserves it in you.  “I, the Lord, do keep it.”  This is a precious thought to those who, after anxious watching and guarding of themselves, feel their own powerlessness to do so.  The light thus preserved by His grace, He will one day develop into the splendor of noonday, and the fulness of glory.  The light within the dawn of the eternal day.  Charles H. Spurgeon

So, let your light shine in the darkness, so the world can see the goodness and glory of God, and rejoice for the King of kings. “And God saw the light, and it was good.”

Be blessed this day,  light-bearers for Christ.

Is There A Church In Your House?

“The church in thy house.”  Philemon 2

C.H. Spurgeon

Is there a church in this [your] house? Are parents, children, friends, servants, all members of it? or are some still unconverted?

Let us pause here and let the question go round–Am I a member of the Church in this house?  How would father’s heart leap for joy, and mother’s eyes fill with holy tears if from the eldest to the youngest all were saved!  Let us pray for this great mercy until the Lord shall grant it to us. Probably it head been the dearest object of Philemon’s desires to have all his household saved; but it was not at first granted him in its fulness. He had a wicked servant, Onesimus, who, having wronged him, ran away from his service. HIs master’s prayers followed him, and at last, as God would have it, Onesimus was led to hear Paul preached; his heart was touched, and he returned to Philemon, not only to be a faithful servant, but a brother beloved, adding another member to the Church in Philemon’s house.  Is there an unconverted servant or child absent this morning? Make special supplication that such may, on their return to their home, gladden all hearts with good news of what grace has done! Is there one present? Let him partake in this same earnest entreaty.

If there be such a Church in our house, let us order it well, and let all act as in the sight of God.  Let us move in the common affairs of life with studied holiness, diligence, kindness, and integrity.  More is expected of a Church than of an ordinary household; family worship must, in such a case, be more devout and hearty; internal love must be more warm and unbroken, and external conduct must be more sanctified and Christlike. We need not fear that the smallness of our number will put us out of the list of Churches, for the Holy Spirit has enrolled a family-church in the inspired book of remembrance.  As a Church let us now draw night to the great head of the one Church universal, and let us beseech him to give us grace to shine before men to the glory of his name.

[Is there a church in your house?]

Are you a passionate worshipper?

When was the last time you really worship? I mean experience God’s presence to the point you felt free.  Are you a passionate worshipper? Oftentimes, our culture conflicts with our inner desire to “enter into the Holy of holies.”   As one writer wrote, ” Passion for His presence will mark all that we are, and nothing will be more important than maintaining His presence in our midst.”   Feeling the blaze of the Lord, the oil of joy, and the beauty of His holiness transcends earthly pleasures.  It lifts us.   “Simply being with Him cleanses, refreshes, and satisfies.”

So much of our “worship experience” on Sunday is more performance than passion, more formal than informal, more staged than serene.   Now it has becomes an activity mainly marked by singing, clapping and perhaps dancing.   It lacks genuine connection with Him who is our all in all. Our worship experience with God should be so much more.  It should be like the sounds of heaven, where the angels and 24 elders continuously sing glory and praises to God and our Lord.  Passionate worship should make us one with the angelic chorus…our voices, our lives moving in harmony and rhythm to the great “I AM” in gratitude and thanksgiving for joy that besets our souls.

Are you a passionate worshipper?  Passionate worship should be daily, and not just relegated to a few short minutes on Sunday.  When was the last time you really worship God?  Can you recall it?  Where was it?  What were you doing?  How did it make you feel?  Does your life, your essence express glory to Him who is worthy of all our praise? Just like the 24 elders around the heavenly throne, we should worship Him each and every day.  We should never limit when to worship God.

How does one become a passionate worshipper?  God provided very clear and specific about what is biblical worship.

  1. Standing  – 2 Chronicles 9:7
  2. Lifting our hands – Psalm 28:2, 1 Timothy 2:8
  3. Clapping our hands  – Psalm 47:1
  4. Bowing – Psalm 95:6
  5. With all forms of instruments – Psalm 150
  6. Loudly, with crashing symbols – Psalm 150
  7. Dancing – Exodus 15:20; Psalm 30:11
  8. Leaping – Acts 3:8
  9. Shouting – Psalm 47:1

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord”, everyday.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise, daily.  Passionate worship; expressions of joy and thanksgiving transforms our spiritual walk.  It releases us to experience more of the abundant life.  We become healers, givers, providers, mighty men of valor,  virtuous women, builders of God’s kingdom, creators of beauty,  restorers of the breaches.  Passionate worship puts a finger in the oozing hole of guilt, pain, and suffering.

God wants us to worship to Him with all of our hearts, all of our hearts, and with all of our souls.    When we experience exuberant, intense, intimate, passionate worship, it releases “joy unspeakable.”

Passionate worship is loving God.  Are you a passionate worshipper?      

Joy’s Fountain

A Classic Devotional from D.L. Moody

“Happiness is caused by things that happen around me, and circumstances will mar it; but joy flows right on through trouble; joy flows on through the dark; joy flows in the night as well as in the day; joy flows all through persecution and opposition.  It is an unceasing fountain bubbling up in the hearts; a secret spring the world can’t see and doesn’t know anything about. The Lord gives his people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to him.

Joy is love exalted peace; peace is love in repose; long-suffering is love enduring; gentleness is love in society; goodness is love in action; faith is love on the battlefield; meekness is love in school; and temperance is love in training.  The world does not understand theology or dogma, but it understands love and sympathy.”

God, thank you for the joy that transcends all situations, problems, conditions.  Help me this day Lord to walk more closely with you, and be a Joy foundation filling up all those empty vessels with Your everlasting joy.  Amen