So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for this truth. Please help me to be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Lord, thank You for bringing this verse to my attention. Thank You for using it to show me my errors. Lord Jesus, You alone know what is best and I choose to surrender myself before You and Your will. Thank You for loving me always. Thank You for granting me understanding and being guided by Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for Your patience with me. Thank You for continuing to renew my mind through the washing of Your Word. Lord Jesus, I praise Your holy name! You alone are able to bring beauty from ashes, to set the captive free, to redeem us. Thank You! May Your name be glorified! May all the nations praise You. May our lives bring You the honor You deserve. I praise Your holy name, Jesus! I love You. Thank You for first loving me. Amen.
Psalm 103:1 NKJV — A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
David is the one who penned this psalm and it is rich with spiritual truths.
He begins with a command to himself: “bless the LORD, O my soul; and And all that is within me, bless His holy name!”
One might reflect that his command to both his soul and all other inner parts was purely poetic.
Yet, is there not an application here?
Can anyone not relate to having their soul in conflict with their thoughts or their emotions in conflict with their understanding?
Thus, David is covering every part of his inward man by stating: “and all that is within me”.
Psalm 103:2 NKJV — Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Reflection upon the character of God and the works of His hands is important and should be the reason for our whole worship.
Psalm 103:3 NKJV — Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
Through Jesus’ sacrifice, our sins are forgiven!
No illness, no infirmity, nothing which is common here of physical issues shall be present in Heaven.
Not only did Jesus pay the price for our sin, it is by His stripes we are healed.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 KJV
As incredible as all of this is, King David continues with his list.
Psalm 103:4 NKJV — Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
The Bible records multiple times God saved David’s life and He is still working in ways we may not even realize to redeem our lives from destruction.
Psalm 103:5 NKJV — Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
David acknowledges that it is God who provides and sustains him.
Psalm 103:6 NKJV — The LORD executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed.
The Lord God is just and He is righteous.
It is through history, we can clearly see His Sovereignty.
He raises up kingdoms and He brings them down.
He is both merciful and full of justice, giving many opportunities to repent from sin and return to Him, but also executing punishment for wickedness.
Truly, we, like King David, have many reasons to praise God.
The psalm continues to list the reasons we should worship and it ends as it began.
Psalm 103:22 NKJV — Bless the LORD, all His works, In all places of His dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Let us join with David in saying: “Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!”
Dear Lord Jesus,
I praise Your holy name! Like David, I choose to reflect upon Your wonderful works and Your amazing ways. Lord, You are goodness and truth. You are our hope and Your salvation is our joy. Lord, thank You for Your Word which has given us the truth of who You are and what You have done and are doing. Jesus, thank You for the innumerable blessings You pour out. Thank You for Your creation which is beyond my understanding. Thank You for the Sun, Moon, and stats, and the beauty as well as other benefits we enjoy from them. Thank You for the air we breathe and the water we drink, the food we eat. Thank You for sustaining us day and night. Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for teaching us what love truly is and loving us to the death and beyond the grave. Thank You for Your promises. Thank You that You will one day return. Thank You for the security of a soul safe with You. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
Because our youngest daughter graduated from high school.
Praise the Lord!
He has been so faithful to her and she has grown in so many ways.
Honestly, I don’t know where to start counting His blessings.
It is why there’s a cross on her tassel instead of a year.
Anne put it there because,
“God is the One who brought me through this, and it’s my way of thanking and remembering His goodness to me.”
I just smiled and nodded.
For Anne to complete her GED has been a long and difficult journey.
Anne has always found book learning challenging.
Reading was especially difficult.
I kept looking for patterns, something which would guide me as to what she was grappling with.
God brought us some solutions during her 5th grade year.
She was experiencing health issues and our doctor sent us to a specialist.
“Migraines, she having migraine headaches.”
The doctor spoke so matter-a-fact about it, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.
“Isn’t she too young for that?!”
He calmly explained it was unusual, but not impossible.
He gave me some things to try and foods to avoid.
We made the changes and she improved.
About the same time I was able to find an eye doctor who found out why Anne would pass an exam, but was struggling to read anything in the afternoon.
She has an unusual eye fatigue problem, her dad, my husband does as well.
When the eye doctor caught it, she ordered glasses right away and explained that Anne’s eyes couldn’t hold a focus after 15-20 minutes.
I remember thinking, “No wonder she’s struggling in school!”
In middle school I’d taken her and two siblings to a tutor who specialized in helping those with learning disabilities.
After doing lessons twice a week for over a year, I received some training from her to work with the kids myself.
My husband’s job had changed and we couldn’t afford the lessons any longer.
Then we took the big step.
I went to the school district and asked to have Anne and her sister tested for learning disabilities.
My husband and I had done that for our son years before, so it wasn’t an unknown.
I can’t say enough good things about the people we worked with in the school.
They were God’s blessing to our family and I love them.
Anne and Bell began taking one class a day in the SPED room after both being classified as having learning disabilities.
When we moved here, I was nervous.
Being a homeschooling family is one thing, but having your students on IEPs and still homeschooling is another completely.
God was so patient with me and my fears.
That summer held so many changes.
Before our move here, Anne’s health went seriously down hill.
Our doctor had me make a food journal and we started noticing a pattern.
Anne is hypoglycemic and if she doesn’t eat protein every four hours she has all kinds of trouble.
So, with our move came a new schedule which included Anne eating protein often.
When school began we contacted them and began the meetings.
(If you don’t know the process with an IEP, just trust me, there’s meetings.)
I explained to the head Special Education teacher we had just moved from a tiny rural place (like 800 people total) to where we were now (sitting in a highschool with 1,000 students) and how we were willing to do whatever was required.
Anne had to begin attending class, twice to three times a week depending on the schedule.
It was not a little frightening.
After the first week I mentioned Anne’s trouble in dealing with the mob of students as she was trying to make her way to class.
The teacher changed her schedule so she’d be coming and going while regular classes were in session.
We were so surprised and thankful, Anne actually began enjoying her class.
After about a month of this, Anne had finished all the required testing and we had another meeting.
“We can not provide services for her, because she no longer has a learning disability.”
I couldn’t find the words to express my joy at the improvements she had made.
Anne no longer had to attend the high school, we simply continued her education at home and praised God for this unexpected blessing.
After all her struggles, it was very understandable that she felt a good deal of concern about her ability to pass the GED.
She studied and took practice tests as well as online classes.
She stuck to it and a week ago she passed her final test.
We are excitedly awaiting her diploma.
God has answered our prayers and provided for her in incredible ways.
We are enjoying this month with our graduate.
She’s going to be leaving us for the summer.
God put it on her heart to live with my mom and care for her while Mom under goes two surgeries, first on her right foot and then the left.
We will miss Anne so much, but are so glad she’s doing this.
My heart can not contain the joy I have when I see my children walk with Jesus.
Paul’s words speak clearly for me:
Philippians 1:3 KJV — I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your faithfulness. You are incredible and I praise Your holy name. Lord, thank You for each of our children and how You are guiding them. Lord this journey of our daughter’s has been difficult, but it’s made the end so much sweeter. Thank You for blessing her in these things. Thank You for teaching her about trusting in You. Lord, whatever the next chapter holds, we will praise You. May her life bring glory to Your name. Amen.
Because no one before or since has been audience to such a choir.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:13-14 NKJV
Nothing the human mind can imagine will ever be able to replicate the praises of the angels.
The mere sight of one angel would be impressive.
Not to mention terrifying (there’s a reason they normally say, ‘Do not fear.’)
But what does a host of angels look like?
What did it sound like?
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” Isaiah 6:1-3 NKJV
The prophet Isaiah got a glimpse into heaven, he recorded both what he had seen and what he heard.
The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: Revelation 4:8-10 NKJV
“You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:11 NKJV
Both accounts tell us that worship and praise is continually before the throne of God.
How appropriate for a heavenly choir to be at the birth of the Christ.
Although, our abilities to comprehend some things about heaven are limited, this we can both understand and practice.
God is worthy of our praise.
Let us join the choir and worship the king of Kings!
Psalm 100:2 NKJV — Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.
Psalm 95:1 NKJV — Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Psalm 98:4 NKJV — Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for showing us a tiny glimmer of the wonders of heaven. Lord, thank You for reminding us that the angels praise You continually and so should we. Lord, there is such joy in worship and praise, and I am so thankful to be able to praise Your holy name. Lord Jesus, be magnified this day! Let all those who are called by Your name praise You. Amen!
God deserves all our praise, but to truly praise Him from our hearts is an honor for us as well.
God’s Word tells us the very rocks would cry out if praise was absent.
Revelation gives us a glimpse, around the throne of God where we see constant and continual praise.
With this knowledge it seems praise would be as virat as food, yet is it?
Are we purposeful about praising God?
Do we think to praise throughout our day?
If not there is no better time to begin, fill your day with moments of praise.
Nothing was ever written requiring our praise to be accompanied by beautiful music.
It’s nice, but not necessary.
What is required is our hearts.
God doesn’t want a ritual, He wants our love.
He doesn’t want a robotic recital of words, cold and distant.
He wants the honest confessions of joy and thankfulness which we all owe to Him with every breath.
The reason praise must come from our hearts is it means we have taken our eyes and fixed them upon Him.
When we do that, stopping to proclaim all that He is and has done, we are lifted up from the mire of daily sinful world and into the presence of God.
Talk about an honor!
The Creator of the Universe looking forward to meeting with each one of us, and it can happen in our moments of praise.
What a wonderful opportunity!
How pleasant to purposefully sew praise and worship into the fabric of each day.
It won’t come if we don’t choose it.
To praise is a privilege and today, I’m choosing to walk in it.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for today. Please walk with us and guide us this day. Lord, we have so much pulling at our hearts and minds, things which would distract us from You. Please help us to find moments of praise and thanksgiving throughout the day. Please, wipe away anything which would try to hinder our praise. Lord, if there is something which is holding back our hearts from You, a sin which has tied us up in bitterness, fear, worry, selfishness or any other sin, please show it, that we might repent. Hold us in Your hands. Lord, place a hedge of protection around us and keep our feet from wandering. Help us to keep You as our priority and to allow You to guide us continually. Lord Jesus, thank You for all the gifts and blessings. Lord, thank You for those things we see as difficult or unexpected, for You can work through it all. Lord, please help us to be unswerving in our faith, like Job. Willing to praise You no matter the circumstances. Praise You, Lord! I praise Your Holy name!
It had come just the day after other unsettling news.
All of which snuffed out my expectations for the next few weeks.
It also led to prayer.
Prayer for others whose lives significantly have changed on very short notice.
My heart poured out to the Lord over this news for the majority of two days.
It was late afternoon, as I was again praying, that I realized my heart had not simply been praying more, I’d also been praising more.
With the emotion of instability had come a deep need to praise God through it all.
I realized God Himself was drawing me to the answers for all the requests.
Just because I don’t know what the future holds, nor where the path leads, I do know the One Who does.
He’s got everything in His hands and I can praise Him while I wait.
Yes, it’s a temptation to try and plan, make guesses, look for possible options, prepare for…
It’s all fruitless.
Instead, my time is much better spent in praising God, waiting upon His direction, lifting up those He places on my heart, and doing the task at hand.
Infact, as I settled back into this routine, my unsettling emotions vanished like smoke in the wind.
All my emotions were wrapped in the assurance I have in Christ.
Then came the thoughts.
And I know they didn’t come from God.
Doubt began to whisper an entire string of “what if…”
At first, I didn’t recognize these as the voice of doubt and answered each one.
But gradually I began to see the direction the questions were trying to take my mind.
Which was when I stopped answering and started praising God afresh.
As if a light turned on, and the cock roaches flee, my soul returned to peace.
Doubt went scurrying.
What an incredible, awesome God!
He supplies all my need.
Even when I don’t realize it.
For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright. Psalms 11:7 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for walking with each and every one of us. Thank You for being our rock of refuge. Thank You for holding us when things are unsettling. Lord, we praise Your Holy name as we look to You in all these things. Every circumstance is used by You, for what the enemy meant for evil, You work into our good. Lord, we can not see nor understand all the things which go on, but we can hold fast to Your truths and Your Word. Lord, let our lives shine brightly the love of God. Let our hearts rest securely in Your love. Thank You for being our Salvation and our provision. Please let us bring glory to Your name, Jesus. Thank You.
It was the first day of school and she was looking forward to seeing her teachers and the school secretary.
But what I had been unaware of was how she was feeling.
So when my husband called to inform me he was driving from work to pick her up I was surprised.
“She said her chest is really hurting and she’s taken her rescue inhaler a lot. It’s not helping. Should I get her to the Urgent Care?”
After more conversation we decided the best course of action required her relocation.
Tim and Sis had gone to a movie, so I texted them to get in touch with me when they were available.
Sis texted back right away asking what I needed.
After a brief explanation they responded promptly.
Despite the fact that Tim had to get up at 3am for work, they left the theater to meet my husband on his way up.
He too had to be up very early so it cut the three hour drive nearly in half.
When she arrived I gave her a breathing treatment and put her in bed.
The following day I watched her closely, spoke to the nurse at her doctor’s office, implemented her suggestions and prayed.
I was relieved by the end of the day.
By today’s end, my heart was encouraged by her progress.
She has an appointment next week and I’m hoping we can pin down all of the details on her health.
It’s just another step in the walk of life.
Sometimes I want to be frustrated and angry.
I want to feel sorry for myself and pout.
But those things are a waste.
They waste my efforts upon useless nonsense.
Instead my energy is much better used to praise God.
Praising Him for my husband, daughter, and son-in-law.
Praising God for the nurse who listened and gave me the right direction for her treatment.
Praising God for the provision of house, bed, food, medicine, and the physical energy to take care of our girl.
And it’s another step of faith.
Do I trust God in all things?
Will I choose to follow no matter how hard it gets?
Has my relationship with my Jesus more room to grow?
And since yes is the answer I can look forward without fear.
Because no matter what the day holds,
it’s simply another step
in the adventure.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your faithfulness. You know it’s been a temptation to look at the problem instead of at You. Please help me to keep my eyes focused upon You. Please continue to carry our family as we walk this path. Hold us in Your hands and let us look only to You. Please break in pieces anything which would hinder our relationship with You. Thank You for all the ways You are working through this walking.
She asked about the kids and what they were doing.
She asked about the teddy bear I was crocheting.
She inquired after other things.
Then she asked about my health.
Which frankly, hasn’t been good.
I explained the diagnosis and how our house has something which seems to aggravate my condition.
I even mentioned the possibility of my staying with Tim and Sis for a while to get away from the house.
She was so full of compassion.
Her heart was in her eyes as she asked what she could do.
“Pray, we just want to know exactly what God wants us to do,” I replied.
“Can you leave it all on the alter?”
It surprised me, but I understood.
Then I continued on to explain all the good God has brought through this.
I told her so many things I’ve learned walking in this.
And I’m certain there’s more to glean.
When I was very sick in 2011, I learned a lot, and it was worth it.
I remember a person, after hearing all our family went through in that period, commenting:
“Well, praise the Lord He got you through it all, but I bet you hope He never takes you through something like that again.”
I had smiled and shook my head.
“No, I am so much closer to the Lord through this. I’m willing to walk through anything, He can break my arm if it means growing even closer. Whatever He wants to do is fine by me.”
And here I am.
Not with the same thing and not to the extreme that was, but nonetheless ill.
And I don’t know what other people feel or think, I can only account for my thoughts and emotions.
But I’ve accepted a few things.
I want to be healthy again.
But I’m okay if I am not.
I want to live and do things and serve others.
But if my time is short or my path different than I want, it’s God Who knows what is best.
Nothing on this earth is worth me holding too tightly to,
even my life.
The only true treasures are eternal.
And through it all I want to praise Him.
He deserves every praise, honor, and worship.
He deserves my gratitude with every breath.
I don’t always like the circumstances, especially when my physical body is struggling a lot, but there is always something to praise Him for.
The longer I walk with Jesus the more I understand this verse:
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:” Job 13:15 a
No one, besides Jesus, lost more than Job.
Yet he never leaves his God.
And I agree with Job.
I will trust Jesus, no matter the cost.
And as I lay awake with a migraine I can praise Him.
He has done so much for me.
He has blessed me in so many ways.
His love overwhelms me.
His faithfulness astounds me.
Why would I choose anything other than praise?
I don’t know what you are walking through. I don’t know what pain, trauma, or hurt which has scarred you. But I can say from my own experience that nothing I have tried to do on my own terms has brought me joy and peace like total surrender to Jesus Christ. I’m going to reach out to you and encourage you to lay everything at the cross. Dreams, ideas, opinions, even opportunities, nothing can bring the peace that passes all understanding, only total surrender. If you would like prayer, I’d love to pray for you. Even now as I hit the publish button it will be with prayer. So, please feel free to contact me. May God richly bless and encourage you.