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Monday, September 2, 2013

How Great Thou Art


 
 A few weeks ago, our church service began with the congregation singing the hymn, “How Great Thou Art.”  As the meaningful words to this song were lifted high in adoration to God, a beautiful sight brought tears to my eyes and deeply touched my heart.  There, in the back of the church, slowly making her way to a pew was one of our dear seniors, a sweet lady whose smile has always been contagious.  The main thing that brought my attention to her was not the fact that this precious lady was using a walker to maneuver her way into the church, but rather it was the joy on her face as she sang the words of the song.  Her countenance reflected not only joy, but a commitment to be in church in spite of the difficulty of getting there.  It was evident that this is a lady who has loved and trusted in Jesus for many, many years, and one who is going to finish well when her time on earth is no more. On her face was the assurance that she will one day stand in the presence of the One who has been her comfort, help, and hope.   At that moment, she will hear these words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21 There was no question that she was confident of the “greatness” of God.

This dear lady encouraged me that Sunday morning without knowing it.  Moments like this remind me what a wonderful thing it is to be a child of God!  I am also reminded that He is bigger than any problem or frailty we might have; that He will never leave us or forsake us, whether we are young or old; that His love for us encompasses more that we can possibly imagine; that we are NEVER too old to serve and praise Him; and that He alone with give us strength, wisdom, and the commitment to live out our lives in a manner that is pleasing to Him.

Prayer:  Dear God, indeed, how great Thou art! Thank you for being with us all the days of our life, and for the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  We give you thanks for others who encourage us and inspire us not only with words, but by the manner in which they live their lives. Help us to be strong in our faith and love for others, as we commit everything that we are and ever hope to be to You alone.  I pray this prayer in the name of Jesus.   Amen.

 
How Great Thou Art
O, Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars; I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
 
When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze. 
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin. 
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart;
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And there proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!” 
Chorus:
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Go Light Your World



When Jesus spoke to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

"While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." John 9:5

"You are the light of the world.  A city built on a hill cannot be hidden." Matthew 6:14

"In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind." John 1:4

"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." John 12:46

A few weeks ago, while running errands around town, I was listening to Christian music. As I've said before, this type of music has always ministered to me in such a powerful way. If I am feeling down, it lifts me up. If I am happy, it makes me happier. For me, music always turns an average day into a GREAT day, because through these anointed words, I find and experience life more abundantly!

That day in the car, the song that is posted above entitled, "Go Light Your World," sung by Chris Rice began to play. I sang right along and the more I sang, the happier I became.  Its' words held deep meaning to me.  But, there was another reason I was loving this song.  This was my "YES" moment!  I knew God had given me some much needed direction! 
 
For two days, I had been preparing a report to be given at a Christian organization in which I hold a cabinet position. As is the case with each monthly report, I was in need of my customary opening word of encouragement.  Until I began listening to this song, I had nothing. Zero! Then the song--then God! I truly love how He works!  As the song played, I knew that these were the words I was to build my opening statement upon in my report. And, so I did.  At the meeting the next evening, I quoted a related scripture and then read only one verse of the song, along with the words to the chorus.  These words were a perfect way to encourage my sisters and brothers to continue carrying their candles to a lost and dying world; to never fail in sharing God's Word and love with others as the Holy Spirit directs; and to always prepare their hearts for carrying the Good News of Jesus Christ.
 
As Christians, not all of us have allowed our candles to burn brightly. There are many reasons for this, some of which could be: compromising our faith for things of the world; the feeling of inadequacy to share our faith due to lack of training; or fear of rejection.  We need not fear because we are only a vessel that God desires to use. He will prepare and equip us. All that He requires is that we be willing and ready for the task(s) He sets before us. 
 
I am praying that you will do as I have done for at least 3 weeks now.  Listen to the song above, begin to sing along and find yourself having a GREAT day.  And I am praying that a fire will be ignited inside your heart with a burning desire to follow Christ at all costs as you carry your candle and "go light your world."
 
PRAYER:  Father, God.  Thank You for being a perfect Father to us.  Thank You for love and life in Jesus Christ.  I pray that you will give us stamina, wisdom, direction, and love when carrying the light of Jesus to the world.  We love you and praise you for all you have done for us.  Please help us to do Your will each and every day.  Thank you for Your most powerful and beautiful Word that brings life as we read it.  It is the wellspring of our life.  It is our very breath. This I pray in the precious name of Jesus Christ, the One who died for my sins and the sins of the world.  Amen.
 
 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Prayer of Jabez


“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, "Because I bore him in pain." And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!" So God granted him what he requested.  I Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV
 
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8a NKJV 

Prayer is our intimate conversations with God. I Chronicles 4:9-10 is often called The Prayer of Jabez.  Jabez is only mentioned one time in the Bible and it is in these two verses of scripture where we find the accounting of his petition to God.  Because God granted Jabez his request, we can rest assured that we will be able to experience the same effect of God's power in our lives as Jabez did.  When we have the heart of God, we are humbled in our asking and that touches His heart.   

When we seek God, He has promised to draw near to us. What a joyful experience to know His intimate presence throughout every hour of our day.   Our only motive and desire should be to exhibit more of the character of Jesus, so that we are better equipped to share His love with others as the Holy Spirit leads. 

PRAYER:  Father God, thank you for this example of Jabez; a man who stepped out in true faith believing that You were more than able to honor his request. Thank you for this man who had a large concept of who You are and who honored You by seeking Your blessing.  Thank you for honoring his prayer because he sought You. Strengthen each of us to follow the example of Jabez.  This I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Monday, February 25, 2013

God's Hands

 
 


The song posted above entitled, Precious Lord, Take My Hand, was written by Thomas A. Dorsey in 1932, after the heartbreaking news that his wife and newly born son had both died. He cried to the Lord to "lead him through the storm, through the night." A few weeks after this tragic event, Dorsey fingered the keyboard of a piano and created the lines of "Precious Lord, Take My Hand." God continued to lead Dorsey by the hand until he had written more than two hundred fifty gospel songs.  
 
“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” Isaiah 49:16a 

"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you." Isaiah 41:13 

Today is in God's hands and so are you.
His hands are strong and will uphold you;
His hands are great and will enfold you;
His hands are gentle and will embrace you;
His hands are protective and will cover you;
His hands are reassuring and will quiet you;
His hands are powerful and will defend you;
His hands are parental and will train you;
His hands are masterful and will conform you;
His hands are compassionate and will care for you;
His hands are healing and will renew you;
His hands are calming and will comfort you;
His hands are giving and will bless you.
The hands that hold you will never let you go. 

*Roy Lessin, DaySpring co-founder and writer 

PRAYER: Father God, how wonderful to know that Your hands are always there reaching down to us. Thank You for leading us through our storms of life. Please linger near us and be our comfort and peace throughout each day. I pray this in His name, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.




 
 


 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Great Is Thy Faithfulness



"Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23
 
I guess you might say that the song posted above, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, sung by Chris Rice, is my theme song. Of all the Christian songs that I love, whether they are hymns, contemporary, or Southern Gospel music, this song is at the top of my list. It has powerful depth and meaning to me. 
 
Almost two years ago, when the Lord (and others) began prompting me to do a bit of inspirational writing via a blog, I had no doubt that Great Is Thy Faithfulness would be the name of the blog.  My experiences throughout  life bear witness to the fact that God has been more than faithful to me in every way, even during those times when I have not always been one hundred percent faithful to Him.  So, I gave my blog its' title out of gratitude, and as my own personal testimony of God's constant faithfulness in my life. The message of this song is powerfully uplifting to me. It enables me to live with a spirit of grateful praise each day, no matter what type of circumstances may surround me.
 
I want to briefly introduce you to the writer of this song. Thomas O. Chisholm, was born July 29, 1866 in a crude log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky. From his humble beginning and without the benefit of a high school or advanced education, he somehow began his career as a school teacher at the age of sixteen in the same country school where he had received his elementary school training.  After accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior, he became editor of The Pentecostal Herald and was later ordained as a Methodist minister.  Throughout his long lifetime, Mr. Chisholm wrote more than twelve hundred sacred poems, many of which have since become prominent hymn texts.
 
While many enduring hymns are born out of a particular dramatic experience, Great Is Thy Faithfulness was simply the result of Mr. Chisholm's "morning by morning" realization of God's personal faithfulness in his life.  Shortly before his death on February 29, 1960, Thomas Obediah Chisholm wrote:
 
"My income has never been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now.  But I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care which have filled me with astonishing gratefulness." 
 
What a wonderful background story of a man who obviously thought about God's faithfulness to him.  Furthermore, down through the ages, countless numbers of people have been extremely blessed to hear his expression of gratefulness through the words of the song.
 
How about you?  Have you thought about God's faithfulness to you recently? Have you thanked Him and expressed your gratefulness for His blessings upon you and your family? I can assure you, that if you but look, you will see  clear evidence of His faithfulness surrounding you at all times.  And, it is GREAT!!
 
PRAYER:  Father God, thank You for Your faithfulness.  You give us strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.  You are faithful to us not just every now and then, but all the times--24/7.  You do not change, nor do Your compassions for us change. For this we cannot help but sing, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness."  Bless each person reading these words, composed by human hands, but with a heart that desires for others to know You in a real and personal way.  Give each one Your joy, love and compassion today. This I pray in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
 
Information on Thomas O. Chisholm taken from "Amazing Grace-366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions."  Kenneth W. Osbeck
 
Scripture: New International Version