Today’s Worship Walk

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Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

I just finished a day of substitute teaching. I like the job a lot of the time, but some days are just plain stressful. That can be said about most kinds of work, for sure. When I first started, I’d try to recover from a difficult day by complaining, sometimes after eating a few cookies first! But God has been reminding me that what I truly need isn’t momentary relief, but a calm, peaceful spirit as I go through my day. Only He can provide for that need, and He’s promised to show me how to walk in peace, no matter easy or tough an assignment might be.

 

 

God desires our worship. But what does that mean?

41kAt+enL0L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_My book, “Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper” and ebook, “Worshipping Like David” offer practical teaching and activities to help you grow in this area!

 

 

 

Today’s Worship Walk

 

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“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8

I don’t know about you, but handling change gracefully is not one of my strengths. It’s turned out, though, that this season of my life has been full of shifts and adjustments, all of which are out of my control. When I find myself getting unsettled with so many new and unexpected things happening around me, this verse provides just the comfort I need. It’s a reminder of God’s steadiness and a promise of His faithfulness. It’s also an invitation for me to look beyond my circumstances towards Him. The peace He offers is just a prayer away!

 

God desires our worship. But what does that mean?

41kAt+enL0L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_My book, “Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper, A 30-Day Devotional” and ebook, “Worshipping Like David” offer practical teaching and activities to help you grow in this area!

Today’s Worship Walk

 

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“He must increase, but I must decrease.

The one who comes from above is above all…”

John 3:30-31

 

These words by John the Baptist show a keen understanding of who he is, and who Jesus is. And rather than bringing John discouragement, this awareness fills him with joy! When his followers feel threatened by Jesus’ new ministry, John reassures them that this change is part of God’s bigger plan. No frustration or self-condemnation, just humility and contentment.

 

Question to Ponder: Do you look to God to show you what your ministry should (and should not) be?

 

God desires our worship. But what does that mean?

41kAt+enL0L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_My book, “Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper, A 30-Day Devotional” and ebook, “Worshipping Like David” offer practical teaching and activities to help you grow in this area!

Today’s Worship Walk: Philippians 1:9-10

 

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And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ…”                                                            Philippians 1:9-10

 

Love is meant to grow in our lives, both in quantity and quality. God’s Word is full of verses about loving Him, ourselves and others. But here Paul challenges us to go to a whole new level.  If we want to be pleasing to our Heavenly Father, we will not only seek to love more, but more deeply each day. Then we will have a more mature kind of love that blesses us and glorifies Him.

 

God desires our worship. But what does that mean?

41kAt+enL0L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_My book, “Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper, A 30-Day Devotional” and ebook, “Worshipping Like David” offer practical teaching and activities to help you grow in this area!

Christian Quotes: John Wesley

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“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can,
In all the ways you can, in all the places you can,
At all the times you can, to all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
― John Wesley

 

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Galatians6:9

Friday’s Worship Walk

 

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But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.” Psalm 52:8

 

I don’t have any olive trees in my yard, so this oak will have to do. But I think the message can translate! Wherever we reside, our lives can be healthy and fruitful when we look to God as our Source.

Question to Ponder: In what area of your life do you need to trust God more?

 

God desires our worship. But what does that mean?

41kAt+enL0L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_My book, “Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper” and ebook, “Worshipping Like David” offer practical teaching and activities to help you grow in this area!

 

 

God Made My Backyard A Retreat

God desires our worship. But what does that mean?

41kAt+enL0L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_My book, “Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper, A 30-Day Devotional” and ebook, “Worshipping Like David” offer practical teaching and activities that will help you grow in this area!

 

 

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”             Jeremiah 31:25

 

My backyard is one of my favorite places. On our first tour of the house, I caught sight of it out the dining room window and fell in love. The upper level right outside the back stairs leads to a set of stone steps. Down below sits half an acre of grass, broken up by a small patch of trees in the middle, and woods at the far edge of our property line.

A closer look shows that we are not great landscapers or gardeners. Most of the charm came through the work of the house’s former owners, who cleared a lot of trees and planted a lot of annuals. I’m embarrassed to admit that in the 20+ years we’ve lived here, it’s been all about maintenance rather than improvement.

But I can confidently say that no one else could have enjoyed this yard more than me. Whether it’s been watching the snow fly from inside in winter or hanging out around the fire pit on a summer evening, I’ve appreciated every angle of sunlight and change of color as the months go by. This Summer, I’ve been reminded of how special this small piece of land has been to me, and how God has used it to bring blessing to my heart.

Two particular examples come to mind. One was in early August during a busy spell, when the morning sun was bright and the air was clean. To paraphrase Maria in The Sound of Music, “The yard called to me.” Coffee cup in hand, I took myself out, walked the length, and settled on the top step. I soaked in a sense of both healing and delight – and spoke my praise out loud.

The other instance was not so delightful, but it was just as powerful. During one of my first afternoons alone all summer, I stepped outside just as before. But this time, my heart was heavy. Within a few seconds, tears were streaming down my face and I was crying out to God. But once again, a sense of healing came, this time with a calming touch. I sat on the step and let myself be quiet, waiting for what God had to say.

One of the greatest things about my yard is that God knew how much I’d treasure this space, and gave it to me as a loving gift. He wants to give all of us places like that, where we can find refreshment and joy in His presence.

 

 

 

Lessons From My Cat

God desires our worship. But what does that mean?

41kAt+enL0L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_My book, “Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper, A 30-Day Devotional“, and ebook, “Worshipping Like David” offer practical teaching and activities to help you grow in this area!

 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139

A while ago, I wrote a devotional titled, “Lessons From My Dog,” which was inspired by my English Setter, Marcie. In the devo, I said how God uses all sorts of things to teach us – including pets. Think about it. We spend time feeding, petting, playing with, and even cleaning up after them. It makes sense that we would make some observations along the way right?

Let me just quickly restate a couple of the lessons I’ve learned from my dog.

First, Marcie’s shown me that it’s good to simplify. Her to-do list is pretty short: get up, go outside, get some good food, go back to sleep and repeat. I could do with a simpler daily plan myself.

Next, she reminds me that it’s good to check my heart attitude. Marcie is “slow to anger and abounding in love”, and her ability to forgive and forget quickly puts me to shame!

Finally, Marcie proves it is good to live in the moment. I often try to think ahead or rehash the past – sometimes my body and mind end up in separate time zones!  Embracing today – that’s where I’ll find joy.

Now for my other furry friend. Because, as God has used Marcie, He’s also used Galaxy, our white longhaired kitty with pale blue eyes and double paws. Here are some things I’ve picked up from her:

It’s good to know who you are and where to get your needs met. Now, I don’t think my cat’s a Christian (is that even possible??), yet she acts like she really understands this Psalm 139 verse. It is special to be her, and we all need to remember that! I, on the other hand, struggle a lot with feeling very un-special. I need to think about those words of King David, for they are as true for me as they are for her.

Galaxy shows me it is good to know what my needs are, and who to go to for them. I’m the one she goes to, and she asks eagerly and repeatedly until I provide the food or attention she’s looking for. She becomes like the woman Jesus mentions who pesters the judge with her request until he gives in. Like Galaxy, I should know who to go to with my most important needs. My Heavenly Father already knows what they are – Jesus said so. In fact, He’s waiting to hear from me.

And finally, my cat has taught me that It’s good to make time for play. In fact, when she doesn’t get enough play time, she gets restless – her meow actually sounds a little grumpy. I don’t blame her – that’s how I can get without time to rest and play, too. God and Galaxy are telling me I need to lighten up!

The toys don’t have to be fancy, either. When we first got Galaxy, I went out and bought toys that rolled and jingled and dangled. But do you know what she likes best? A piece of kitchen twine that she can chase around – perfect for her. Now, chasing twine is not my thing. But laughing with a good friend over coffee, or taking a walk outside and soaking in sunshine? Those are my kind of toys!

I want to finish all this with the final thought from my “dog Devo”: “Who’d have thought that a dog (or cat) could be so wise?” Well, God did! He blesses us with our animal companions, and then works through them to make us smarter. Pretty clever, don’t you think?

 

True Strength From God



“The Lord gives strength to His people…”                         Psalm 29:11


I’m listening this morning to the annual reading of names at Ground Zero in New York City – the victims of the September 11 attacks, as well as at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa. And earlier, as I watched police carry in one of the flags from the Twin Towers to the sound of a bagpipe and drum corps, I found myself tearing up all over again. It’s amazing how so many years later the moments and emotions of that day well up so quickly. Most of us can remember where we were that morning, the dismay and outright fear we felt when it became clear the plane crashes had not been accidents. We, as a nation, became united in terror and grief.

One of the first things I felt in those days, after the initial shock, was admiration for people like the first responders who ran into the towers, the clergy and mental health workers who hurried down to local aid stations, the people around the world who opened their homes to stranded travelers during the air flight ban. It was the best of human nature on display in response to the worst of it.

A measure of goodness does exist inside each one of us, as well as an impulse to help our fellow man. But anytime I see such selflessness, I am convinced there is more going on. You could give credit to an adrenaline rush or desire for fame. But I choose to give glory to God instead. Think about it – why would someone choose to put themselves in obvious danger to save a person they don’t even know? Or how could they lay their own sleep and food aside for days at a time to give trauma counseling to strangers? These acts are echoes of Jesus in a fallen world that often doesn’t even acknowledge Him.

The word “strength” (and related terms) is used over 350 times in the Bible. It is used first in the Old Testament to describe God’s innate power to create and save (“…he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength…” Numbers 4:37). And it is then used in verses onward to the end of the New Testament as a reminder of where our true strength comes from. (“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” the apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4.)

This is the strength Jesus leaned on as He gave Himself over to death for us. And there are hints of that strength shown by people in the world every day. Just imagine – if God has the grace to enable unbelievers to do good works, how much more does He want to equip His children to be “heroes” for His kingdom?

 

God desires our worship. But what does that mean?

41kAt+enL0L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_My book, “Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper, A 30-day Devotional“, and ebook, “Worshipping Like David” offer practical teaching and activities that will help you grow in this area!