Give Unto the LORD

3451401920_3964aaa0a0

Psalm 29:2

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; 
Worship the LORD in holy array.  NASB

Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name;
Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.  NKJV

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.  ESV

God… Jehovah, I AM THAT I AM, His character, His creation, His love, His Son, His sovereignty, His sufficiency, His providence, His grace… deserves our worship.  There is no way we can ever give Him all that He deserves, yet we are to worship the LORD.  In our prayers, our devotions, our song, our praise, our adoration, we worship Him in honor and glory.  “In holy array”, “in the beauty of holiness”, “in the splendor of holiness”  is holy adornment, honor, as in wearing something that befits the occasion.  We wear our worship to honor the King.  We wear our love to give Him all the glory.  We wear our praise as we kneel before Him.

And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.  2 Chronicles 20:21

Father, may we seek Your face in all.  You have made us and called us to Your flock.  May we worship You in all the beauty of holiness to the very best of our ability as we lives our days on earth in these human bodies.  One day, we will be able to truly worship You as You so deserve.  I love You, LORD.  I pray in the Holy Name of Your Son.  Amen.

And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.  Revelation 4:8

5651296201_6d77f45830

060c36156ce02cf85edbfb9086719baf

Both Photos:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/naturegal/

Release? Renewal? Refreshment?

Question to ponder from Soli Deo Gloria:

“What about the summer brought about a release of things ready to be let go,
or a vacation that evoked a sense of renewal,
or how do you long to be refreshed as the summer winds down and fall begins?”

As much as I would like to answer the first two parts of this question, I cannot.  I have done nothing that brought release…YET…not taken a vacation that provoked renewal…YET… ALTHOUGH… I certainly do long to be refreshed, renewed, and released.  So the third part of this question is where I am… this moment, this place.  I stand upon ground that is built upon the Rock and ask for this time.

I am looking upon a time, right around the corner, that is to be a start for real closure to my Mama’s death this past January 30th.  We will head to Washington, D.C., for burial of her ashes with my father’s remains in Arlington National Cemetery.  It has been over seven months.  It takes time for the scheduling of funerals at this honored cemetery. Mama wanted to be buried with her beloved husband of twenty years, he having had died fifty-three years ago.  Time….  Not only will there be a sense of this closure’s beginning, but there will be a time for more complete closure with Daddy’s death.  We were just kids.  Fifty-three years is a long time.  Time….  This should allow for RELEASE of a long-lived life, 98 years, almost 99, our Mama…. Time.  At last.

Then there is family time as some of the family will be there and be together in a place where we once lived when Daddy was stationed in Washington, D.C., with the Navy as a doctor.  We have a house and neighborhood to revisit, recalling moments of childhood.  More RELEASE along with some REFRESHMENT that comes with recalling young, memories with both parents.

We will have a new child in our family with us there. We will meet this 16 month old, Mama’s first great granddaughter whom she never got to meet, but knew all about.  REFRESHMENT in new life. From this time together, and then separating to return home to three different states, we will share special memories together, quiet thoughts that will be ours alone, gentle peace that will float down upon us as we have finally been able to lay this precious woman to rest. This is something that needs to happen before the next stage can actually begin, for me. This brings RENEWAL for me. I have been a caregiver for fifteen years and have felt that weight being lifted these past months, but it is time to move beyond the walls of burden through this final act.

Yes, I miss her terribly, but am ready to have this funeral behind us with new outlooks ahead. We have been waiting. Time has been ticking. We could not move forward until this happened. TIME. Our dreams and hopes have been in the air. We will have time to revisit them each, listen for God’s calling, and see where life might be taking us next.  RENEWAL IS NEEDED HERE. It is coming in God’s time.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 KJV

3596251821_b0b6fb2a80_o

Father God, I lift this funeral and small family gathering to You, for Your will.  I thank You for my Mama and know that You have her in Your hands.  May we here on this earth rest in You as this funeral comes and goes, and may we continue to depend upon You for our all, our provision, our future steps, our care and comfort.  Father, You are my LORD and have held me close to You.  You are the God of all comfort, my comfort for which I am ever so grateful.  I praise You and know that You are calming my heart and preparing the way before us.  Thank You, Abba.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Through His Eyes and Mine

100_0917

A Quiet Game called “Photographic Memory”:
Everyone looks at the same photograph for 30 seconds.
Remove the photo and write down as much as you can remember about it.
The person with the longest list of items that are really in the photo wins!

As we look at God’s world, can we see, really see, what He created?  Or do we look past the beauty, the technicolor, the detail, the variants, the love, the indwelling, the calm, the preciousness in a child’s face, the innocence, the majesty… look past to see the mean, nasty, ugly, vicious, ridicule, gossip, anger, strife?  Oh, how I wish the world were without these things.  I want to be able to see only God’s beauty.  But this world is filled with such hatred and animosity and sin that it truly is hard to see past and even find the lovely some days, some moments.  But we are God’s children and He has created the beauty for us.   Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden and given the privilege to name the animals.  Adam saw all that God created.  God called it all good and very good.

Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.  God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.  Genesis 1:29-31

Let us take moments of each day and look beyond the worldliness of the moment and see His world through His eyes using our eyes.  It is beautiful and there is so much that is lovely.  Ann Voskamp, author of “One Thousand Gifts”, invites us to look for those things for which we are grateful…not just a birthday present or a bouquet of flowers, but the love of a mother, the wind in our hair, the bright pink of a rose.  “I want to see beauty.  In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep.”  — Ann Voskamp from “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are”.  I, too, want to see the beauty.  Can I see it in the vile, in the wicked, in the mean, or in the angry?  Yes, I know they are all around me, but I choose to see God’s best before I see the world’s worst.  Oh, yes.  I do mean this.

I am swept into tears as I type these words for the world is so deep in these terrible things and I just can hardly stand it.  I want love and peace and calm to surround me and everyone else.  I am a big wuss and cannot help that.  I trust and cannot help that.  I love and cannot help that.  I feel empathy and sympathy.  I want to capture the innocence of my childhood and live amidst it for always.  I am just too…no, not too, but I am me, just me, and I am who God created.  I want to be me and see the world as God created it, not as man has made it to be.  This is my Father’s lovely world and I want to see it as He made it through my eyes, even through my tears.  I wish it to be that way for all, but that may not be so in this day and age.  Yet, I can still pray for it to be so.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Colossians 3:12-15

Father, this is Your world as You made it.  The vileness and hatred that dwells here is not You, but You know it is here.  Father, if it cannot go away, disappear, then I ask You to hold my heart that it could stand to live in this world, but in Your arms.  May I see the lovely that is Yours, the angelic that is in that little one’s face, the glory in those flowers, the ruby on the hummingbird’s throat, the black and orange and blue in the butterfly’s wings, the delight in my husband’s heart towards me, the kindness I feel from people who cared for my Mama for five years, the gentleness of the breeze when it blows in from the north.  I want to know You, Abba Father, in Your world of beauty.  Amen.

 


7ec42bf5250e120e008c011f720562e2

United with Him

romans6_5

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?  May it never be!  How shall we who died to sin still live in it?  Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?  Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.  For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.  Romans 6:1-10 NASB

I laid my sins down, asking forgiveness.  Jesus took my sin to that Cross.  He hung on that cross for me.  I, too, died to that sin when He took it all.  He then rose from the Cross and I rose too… with Jesus.  I wanted to begin anew, and was born again… a new me.   Although the seed of sin is with me always, I am raised with Christ to walk a new life, a life free from that sin by obedience to Him.  This is my resurrected self.  Hallelujah!

Christ lives in me.  I live in union with Him just as two plants, growing closely to one another, grow together, become engrafted.  In Romans 6:5, the phrase “united with Him” reminds me of what I am trying to say here.  “United” is the Greek word symphytos meaning to be planted together, to grow along with….  I am intertwined with the life and death of Jesus Christ because I believe.  Finding definition for this unity I am given in Christ is in word after word: planted together, intertwined, engrafted, grown together, innate, kindred.

As a believer in Christ, I experience, spiritually, the “likeness of His resurrection” and then am raised anew with Him.  Romans 6:10 says that Christ “lives to God”.  As I am united with Him, I, too, am to live to God.  I am called to walk in His ways, in obedience, in love.

LORD, this is something I cannot do alone.  I know that it is impossible… for You are the One Who died for me, taking my sin to the Cross.  I kneel before You and ask You to teach me.  May I stand in intimate fellowship with You so that my new life would be consecrated to You and You Alone.  My word(s) for this year is “set apart”.  Being consecrated is to be set apart for You.  That is my desire.  May I be holy and acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit to You as I learn Your Way.  May I let the world know my gratitude from my countenance, LORD.  May I live with “holy gladness”, “holy boldness”, “cheerful holiness” as I live to God.   I pray in Your Holy Name, Jesus.  Amen.

7ec42bf5250e120e008c011f720562e2

photograph: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/1401.html

“holy gladness”, “holy boldness”, “cheerful holiness” from  Charles H. Spurgeon, in “Morning and Evening” August 14th

Indwelt

john1_14-spiritbecomesflesh


And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John bore witness about Him, and cried out, “This was He of Whom I said, ‘He Who comes after me ranks before me, because He was before me.”  For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God; the only God, Who is at the Father’s side, He has made Him known.
 John 1:14-18 ESV


May this Truth of Your indwelling go deeper and deeper as I read and ponder such beauty in the Word, beauty of the Word.  The Word, You, became flesh as I am flesh, but You are not as I am.  You are God and are All and I am nothing.  But You have made me something by adopting me as Your own.  Thank You for loving me as I am and for coming to dwell within me for the rest of my life on earth.  Thank You for sending Your Spirit to dwell within me, to guide, to pray, to nudge me.  You make it possible to live here on this earth for my time.  You provide all my needs.  You grow me from the inside as I dwell in Your Truth.  Guide me as I read and pray, LORD.  Please direct my paths.   You are the beauty in which I dwell and I am so very blessed.  One day, I shall dwell with You for always.  Oh, what a glorious day that will be!  Amen. 

graphic:  http://www.heartlight.org

For This Reason…

“For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them.  “They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;  for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”    Revelation 7:15-17 NASB

revelation7_17

Who are “they”?

“Reason” for what?

Why are they before the throne of God?

Why do they serve Him day and night?

What does it mean that He will spread His tabernacle over them?

How can they no longer have hunger or thirst?

 Why does the Lamb need to shepherd them?

Care for them?

Give them water?

And God will wipe away their tears?

So much to comprehend…


After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 
and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”  And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”  Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?”  Revelation 7:9-14 NASB

The saints, God’s children, worship their God Who offers salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.  They worship the LORD and the Lamb with joy and exaltation.  They have so very much to be grateful for as do I.  Worshiping with humility, in reverence, with praises to the glory, the wisdom, the power, the might, the honor of God…all wraps around the attributes and character of our God.  With thanksgiving, I fall before Him as “they” do.  Hallelujah!

He dwelt among us.  This same word in John 1:14, “dwelt” is the same word in Greek, σκηνόω, skēnoō, that also is “will spread His tabernacle”, meaning “that they may dwell in safety and security under its cover and protection”.  (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)  I feel so very comforted knowing that God dwells in me, over me, around me, through me.  So very blessed.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

The saints have been through tribulation, sorrow, pain, death, want, hunger, thirst, but nothing has separated them from the love of God.  No, nothing!

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39 NASB

Refreshment and security are theirs (ours) in heaven.  We shall have a tender Father and the Good Shepherd for always and forever.  Hallelujah and Amen.

May I humble myself that my heart turns to You, my Creator, and be attuned to the beauty and perfection that You are, my Father.  May I praise You with an heart that is growing to know You more and more each moment.  May my praises be filled with joy and happiness as I look forward to this day of meeting You face-to-face.  One day, LORD, I will be the perfected child You have told me about in Your Word.  Amen.

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  
To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.   1 Peter 5:10-11 NASB

Amen.

7ec42bf5250e120e008c011f720562e2

Source of some of my thoughts on this passage:  “Matthew Henry Commentary on Revelation 7”

Enter In

I have been singing Fernando Ortega’s “I am the Good Shepherd” over and over again of late.  The words of the song are:

I am the good Shepherd.

I’ll lay down my life for you.

Enter in, enter in, enter in.

I am the good Shepherd.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

As the Father knows me, I know you.

I know you, I know you, I know you.

And no one can take you away.

And no one can take you away.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You are the good Shepherd.

You lay down Your life for me.

Enter in, enter in, enter in.

You are the good Shepherd.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As the Father knows you, you know me.

You know me, you know me, you know me.

And no one can take you away.

And no one can take you away.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

john10_14-15

I seem to be drawing in close to My Shepherd to understand His words, His Word.

Jesus is the very Door through which, through Whom, I enter.  I enter to find my salvation.  I enter for my rest.  I enter for safety and security.  I enter in to Him for He is my All.  He is my trusted Saviour, the One to Whom I can run and know that I am loved.  I enter in for I know that He knows me and I can come to know Him as I draw near.  Oh, such blessings come with entering in.  I pray that you are willing to enter in too.  He is waiting for you as He did for me.

 The words of the song have me pondering John 10:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.  

“But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 

“To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

“When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.

“A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

“All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have [it] abundantly.

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

“He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters [them].

“[He flees] because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock [with] one shepherd.

“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.

“No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”   John 10:1-18

 

Father, as You know Your Son, may we know You by the One Who is our Door.  He shepherds us into the flock.  He loves us so that even when we are not of His flock, He brings us in and we become part of His flock… oh, this beautiful Shepherd.  We know His voice for it is the voice of God.  Oh, that I may hear.  How often, in my anguish, have I called out wondering if You hear me, but I know You do.  The beauty for me is that I have the privilege to hear You.  Oh, Hallelujah!  I praise the day that I entered in.  Amen. 7ec42bf5250e120e008c011f720562e2

Song:   copyright: “I am the Good Shepherd” words to song by Fernando Ortega

Photo of Sheep:  www.heartlight.org – Heart Gallery