Continual Sacrifice

Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name.

—Hebrews 13:15

 

I am learning more and more about praising God.

Perhaps it would be better stated if I said that I am learning more and more to praise God for the things in my life.

Not just actual things like a house or a car, but situations, too.

Praising Him for what is happening in my life and what has happened.

God is worthy of praise.

That doesn’t change according to earthly circumstances.

As I am beginning to think about praising God even on occasions when difficulties arise, I am coming to understand that He allows events in my life and He will work for my good through them.

 

 

 

 

 

therefore

I Want To Make Music

I truly do want to praise the LORD throughout my life.

Because He has given me the ability to do so, I want to make music to praise Him.

My hope every day is in God.

He has always been faithful to me.

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Hallelujah! Praise the LORD, my soul!

I want to praise the LORD throughout my life. I want to make music to praise my God as long as I live.

Do not trust influential people, mortals who cannot help you.

When they breathe their last breath, they return to the ground. On that day their plans come to an end.

Blessed are those who receive help from the God of Jacob. Their hope rests on the LORD their God,

who made heaven, earth, the sea, and everything in them. The LORD remains faithful forever.

Psalm 146:1-6

make music

Sing

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Birds sing to the Lord.

When lions roar, they are singing, too.

As the dolphin jumps for a moment from the water with elegance and grace, it is “singing” to the Lord.

The golden butterfly sings as it flutters from bloom to bloom.

All the creatures of the earth sing to the Lord, their Maker.

Shouldn’t we, as well?

 

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Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
 Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

—Psalm 96:1-3

 

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sing

 

 

 

 

 

The Benefits of Freedom

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Christ has freed us

so that we may enjoy

the benefits of freedom.

Therefore, be firm in this freedom,

and don’t become slaves again.

—-Galatians 5:1

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What does it mean to be free?

The dictionary says,

“to make free; set at liberty; release from bondage, imprisonment, or restraint.”
In the verse above, what if we thought of it this way?
“Christ has made us free, set us at liberty, released us from bondage, released us from imprisonment, and released us from restraint.”
Butterflies are a perfect picture of a creature released from bondage.
As a caterpillar, they cannot fly.
Trapped within the chrysalis, they cannot even move along the ground.
But then, freedom comes!
As they emerge from the the darkness around them, they are suddenly flooded with light and with wings made for flight, they soar into the air, free to fly!
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benefits of freedom

Come and Talk With Me

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My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with Me.”
    And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”

—Psalm 27:8

The rose bush growing by the walkway to my front door has always delighted me.

I don’t believe it has ever had more than eight roses at once.

Most of the time, it has only one or two crimson red blooms.

As I come home from work or leave the house in the morning, often I am greeted with a new bloom.

When I notice a new rose, I am always pleased inside.

The part of me that reaches out to grasp the newness of the moment, night or day, responds to the blessing of the beautiful sight and smell sent to me on a thorny stalk of green.

It’s as though the roses say, “Come and see me.”

When I awaken in the morning, when I am falling asleep at night and at any moment throughout the time in between, God’s voice may bloom in front of me, saying, “Come and talk with Me.”

I want my heart to always respond, “LORD, I am coming,” reaching out to grasp the newness of that moment with God, night or day.

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my heart

Go to Your Room

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When you pray,

go to your room

and close the door.

Pray privately to your

Father who is with you.

Your Father sees

what you do in private.

He will reward you.

—-Matthew 6:6

Quiet moments.

Time spent seeking God’s guidance.

Listening with our hearts for our heavenly Father’s words to gently, yet clearly, speak to us.

There is no communication more precious and priceless…

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close the door

The Desires of Your Heart

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The sun was setting as I went for a walk in the neighborhood.

I consciously thought of enjoying the time, taking in the reality of the moments I was being blessed with.

The sunlight was still falling on the trees in the orange grove beside my house, giving them a warm glow as they nestled in the thick green grass that had succumbed to the shadows.

Turning around, I noticed the flowering Crepe Myrtle trees in my yard, towering high with bundles of color.

A dog barked in the distance.

Gopher turtles had dug holes in the ground to shelter themselves in many places I walked.

The pink, fluffy clouds to the south looked like a lovely painting.

If I had decorated a room especially for someone, I wonder how I would feel if they entered it, but failed to notice or appreciate the decorations?

Day after day, God creates unspeakable beauty in our surroundings.

He gives it especially to us, to appreciate and enjoy.

Instead of hurrying through the hours and moments I am given, failing to notice and appreciate the creative works of His hands, I should take the time to enjoy what He has prepared with a thankful and grateful heart.

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Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

—Psalm 34:7

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When I Am Afraid

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I’ve been afraid before.

Afraid as a child.

Afraid as a teenager.

Afraid as an adult.

Fear causes an inner turmoil that grips us, whether we are in a dentist’s chair or waking from a troubling dream.

Whatever the situation may be that causes the response of fear, we are never alone in it.

God does not abandon us when circumstances in life become frightening.

When we are afraid, we can put our trust in God.

We never, ever walk alone….

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When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.

—Psalm 56:3

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afraid

I Have All That I Need

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The Lord is my shepherd;

I have all that I need.

He lets me rest in green meadows;

he leads me beside peaceful streams.

He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths,

bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk

through the darkest valley,

I will not be afraid,

for you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff

protect and comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me

in the presence of my enemies.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil.

My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me

all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord

forever.

–Psalm 23


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all that I need

Those In Need

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We have a family member that is ill.

They have been in the hospital for quite some time and their condition has been a matter of prayer through these past days and weeks.

When an illness strikes, it can be overwhelming.

What about treatment?

What about medications?

Which hospital is best?

What doctor should be chosen?

Yesterday and today were especially trying with a lot of details as our family member is being transferred to another hospital.

As I was driving down the highway just before sunset, I suddenly saw a rainbow in front of me.

I stopped the car at a local business and got out to take some photos of the glowing arc in the sky.

Driving a little further, I stopped again—this time at a service station near a lake.

Because it was so beautiful, I just had to have more pictures!

While I was looking at the rainbow, “Everlasting God” by Chris Tomlin came on the radio.

I started singing along, agreeing in my heart that God truly is the everlasting God.

He comforts those in need.

Our family is in need right now.

I am reminded that God will meet our needs as our hope is in Him.

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You are the everlasting God,
The everlasting God,
You do not faint, You won’t grow weary

You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need,
You lift us up on wings like eagles

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord…

—Chris Tomlin

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He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

—Isaiah 40:29-31

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weary

From the Rising

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Standing on the dock of the intracoastal waters, I had a prime vantage point for viewing the sunset.

The fiery ball of light before me was vanishing behind a blanket of clouds low to the horizon, giving the illusion of

of mountains in the distance.

As the light danced on the gentle ripples of the water’s surface, it mirrored the subtle colors of gold and gray above.

Psalm 113:3

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.

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rising

I Have Overcome

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16.33

What trouble do you have today?

Has this trouble stolen your peace?

Has worry replaced calm?

Jesus has overcome.

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overcome

Make a Loud Noise

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As I was turning into my friend’s neighborhood, I happened to look toward the west.

What I saw was so incredible!

A giant anvil cloud was absolutely bursting into the atmosphere.

It appeared to be so large, it dwarfed the houses and trees below.

Pulling my car to the side of the road, I immediately got my camera out to photograph such a stunning sight.

From where I was, the massive cloud structure made no sound, yet its presence was loud and commanding.

Psalm 98:4 reads,

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”

In those moments, the clouds and the sun sang a duet of silent, yet loud, praise to their Maker.

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loud noise

He is the Radiance

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My rosebush was just two big.

It had grown tall over the years and I had not pruned it as I should have.

Several days ago, I decided to drastically prune the bush, cutting off almost every branch.

Gathering the cut branches, I put them all in a vase of water, hoping that I could use these cuttings to have other rosebushes in the yard.

Today was the day—-I decided to plant several of the branches in two flower beds.

As I was planting them, I noticed a neighbor at the edge of her yard, photographing the sunset.

From where I was, the scene was blocked by the house next door.

When I went to investigate what she was photographing, I, too, wanted to capture that moment forever!

Taking a quick photo with my phone, I went inside and retrieved my camera to take more photos.

Beams of light soared through the sky, emerging from silver lined clouds of gray.

Soon, another neighbor was out photographing it, as well.

We were all quite captivated by the glorious display.

Hebrews 1:1-4 reads,

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

Jesus.

The radiance of the glory of God.

When I look at the setting or rising sun, I can only imagine what Heaven will be like where the glory of God shines forever and ever, without end.

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exact imprint

And With My Song

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The melodic sound of the cardinal rang out all through the yard.

He had found his way to the very top of one of the tallest trees.

There, for all to hear, he sang….

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The Lord is my strength and my shield;

my heart trusts in Him,

and He helps me.

My heart leaps for joy,

and with my song

I praise Him.

—Psalm 28:7

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my song

I Lack Nothing

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The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
     He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for His name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
 Surely Your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

—Psalm 23

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dwell in

Greatness, Power, Splendor

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The sunset was blazing with brilliant light that shot through the sky above the clouds on the western horizon.

Driving along the highway, I was captivated by the splendor of such a scene.

At some point, I looked the other direction, toward the east.

I was almost startled by what I saw.

Subtle pink sunbeams had traveled through the atmosphere and formed a dynamic display of dazzling light on the opposite horizon.

How glorious the sky looked!

The same God who holds the universe together and paints the heavens with color and light is the God who loves us with an everlasting love.

Do you know Him today?

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splendor glory

Hold Me Fast

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In our day and age, travel is so common. There are many, many people today who have journeyed thousands of miles away from home–not once, but several times. I have a friend who will be flying to the opposite side of the world tomorrow morning. I can’t keep him safe, but God can. There is no place that we can venture where God is not. And wherever we are, His power and presence will hold us tightly–safely–in the grip of His love.

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If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

    if I settle on the far side of the sea,

 even there your hand will guide me,

    your right hand will hold me fast.

—Psalm 139:9-10

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In Amazing Ways

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Sing praises to the Eternal!

Everyone, everywhere should know that God acts in amazing ways.

—Isaiah 12:5

Have you seen God work in amazing ways?

Sometimes, He may be working in an amazing way all around us, but we are focused elsewhere and we miss it.

Could it be that I could miss God at work?

How could I tune my senses to listen, look for and recognize God’s amazing acts all around me?

Every moment brings the possibility in which the miraculous works of God may be displayed.

Knowing that can bring a sense of excitement and awe as I anticipate His presence.

God truly acts in amazing ways.

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The Lord is Good

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What does it mean to depend on God?

To trust Him in every area of my life?

What does it mean to trust His goodness?

How can I search for Him throughout all of my day?

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The Lord is good to those who depend on Him,
    to those who search for Him.

—Lamentations 3:25

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depend two

He Refreshes My Soul

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The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

—-Psalm 23:1-6

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green pastures light

eternal light

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There are times when the magnificence of the sky captures my attention.

On this day, the sun was breaking forth through an opening in the clouds.

Other beams were bursting out with brilliance from behind.

If God allows us to see such resplendent scenes while we are here on Earth, just imagine what it will be like when His glory will replace the light of the sun and the moon!

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“No longer will the sun be your light by day Or the moon be your light by night; I, the Lord, will be your eternal light; The light of my glory will shine on you.”

—Isaiah 60:19

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eternal four

All the Earth

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Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
    sing the glory of His name;
    give to Him glorious praise!
 Say to God, “How awesome are Your deeds!
    So great is Your power that Your enemies come cringing to You.
 All the earth worships You
    and sings praises to You;
    they sing praises to Your name.”

Selah

—Psalm 66:1-4

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all the earth

Love Endures Forever

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After completing a photo session with a client late this afternoon, I stepped over to the side of the road to look at the ornate landscaping.

A rod iron fence was separating the road from the grassy lake area below.

Admiring the lush, red flowers before me, I photographed them up close.

As I looked down the road, I realized that the flowers were not only in front of me, but they lined the pavement as far as I could see.

If I traveled down the road a little farther, I’d still be graced with the beauty of the delicate red petals.

Psalm 136:26 reminds us to–

“Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

No matter how long our journey is, God will love us the entire time.

Even though I couldn’t see it, I knew there had to be an end to all those flowers blooming along the road.

At some point, they would cease to adorn it.

God’s love isn’t like that.

It endures.

It endures forever.

It endures forever as far as we can see with our incredibly limited understanding, plus on and on with a divine steadfastness we cannot fully comprehend.

If things are difficult for you right now, why not take a moment to visualize God’s love for you.

It’s right there in front of you, and if you look up, you’ll see that His love will be there to greet you with each new step that you make.

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