thirty-three

WORSHIP:

“A song to our strong God! A shout to the God of Jacob! Anthems from the choir, music from the band, sweet sounds from lute and harp, Trumpets and trombones and horns: it’s a festival day…” Thank you for establishing days to celebrate! And thank you for music, and so many varieties of music! And no wonder we feel like celebrating, because “I hear this most gentle whisper from One I never guessed would speak to me: ‘I took the world off your shoulders, freed you from a life of hard labor. You called to me in your pain; I got you out of a bad place.'” Amen!! (from Psalm 81)

CONFESSION:

Remind me always, to be open to your goodness, to run to you when I’m feeling desperate, and to keep these doors open through worshiping you. May I always seek you, and be full of you. When I look to you for help (and so often I need help from myself!), I will be “radiant with joy”, and “no shadow of shame” will darken my face! (Psalm 34:5-9)

 

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after Good Friday

Just thinking, about sacrifice. Since it is the end of Lent, when lots of people try to give up something for 40 days.

I’m often feeling challenged about that, because I do have so many comforts. Then I comfort myself by saying that every time I have to work to cook a meal, or clean the house, etc., it’s a type of “sacrifice” that I do for my little family. Or, it’s important to “sacrifice” to keep myself healthy (exercise, proper nutrition, proper sleep), so that I can do the work that I’m supposed to do and be the help that I need to be. True to a point I suppose. But I know it’s kind of a cop-out.

Of course, there is no doubt that we can never ever, even try, to match God’s sacrifice for us. And he took the punishment so that we wouldn’t have to. Also, you can see how over-thinking this could lead to the kind of extremes that people in the past have done, like mutilating themselves, or putting their bodies through other extreme physical things. I love to point out to myself how the Bible says that God gives us “all things to enjoy”.

But I just want to think about it. What are all the comforts I enjoy? Too many!

  • this soft chair I’m sitting on
  • the fact that I get to put my feet up every time I sit in it
  • the fact that I get to sit here quite often
  • a very comfortable bed to sleep in at night (actually two of them, HA!)
  • a beautiful home to shelter me (much, much more than is really needed)
  • much, much more food than is really needed–and so much to choose from, and so many ways to cook it
  • lots of water to keep me clean and hydrated
  • peace from the noise of the outside world, rooms to escape to if I need to
  • all kinds of recreational activities, hobbies, etc.

These are general, kind of “basic” things, but many of them I would feel like I was dying, if I had to give them up! Some of them I couldn’t even try to. I wonder if I could only sit on hard chairs for 40 days, or sleep on the floor at night? Nah, not going to be that silly!

Lots of missionaries DO give those things up: I heard of one who lives in a hut the size of her bedroom at home, and uses a type of “porta-potty”, etc. I remember thinking, when I was a young kid who was just coming to Christ, that I was afraid that God would ask me to be a missionary in Africa, or something like that. And then I realized that he would not ask me to do that… Now I know that original feeling is quite proper: we should begin by assuming that we ARE to go, until we know that’s not what God has in mind for us particularly. Of course, these days I would not be so afraid of going to Africa, except for physical, health-type of reasons (I’m old!)

Anyway, I have no idea where this is going! :P Nowhere, really. Just wanted to jot down my thoughts.

 

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thirty-four

WORSHIP:

Praise you that whenever we’re tempted to say, “the Most High has turned his hand against me”, all we need to do is remember what you have done–even “your wonderful deeds of long ago”. Your Word is so precious, and I’m so thankful for the abundant opportunity I’ve had to learn it, so that those deeds can be “constantly in my thoughts”, and when I’m in need of them, “I can’t stop thinking about your mighty works.” Even those long ago stories of how you rescued your people after 400 years, how Abraham and Moses had to wait for so many years to see your plan unfold, can be so encouraging to remember! Your ways are indeed holy, and no “god” that I might see around me is as mighty as you. (Psalm 77)

CONFESSION:

Lord, help us to remember that you have given us authority “over all the power of the enemy”, even to walk among poisonous snakes, and that you said “nothing can hurt you”, no one can lay a hand on us, if we’re carrying out your plan. We will even be able to crush those snakes. Help us to take that authority, in faith–as we pray, and as we do whatever you lead us to do. (Luke 10:20-21)

 

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waste your life

It was such a waste! All that perfume, just poured out, and it was expensive enough that a lot of useful things could have been done with the money obtained by selling it–lots of help for the poor, etc.

Jesus didn’t see it that way. Because it was an act of worship. (See Mark 14:3-9)

“Worship the wrong things and nothing else will come out quite right. But worship the living God who has given himself for us in the sacrifice for us in the sacrifice of Jesus and you have a new sense of what matters and you will prioritize your life accordingly.”

“Waste” you life on the one who “wasted” His life on you. Love comes first, and then you will care about his agenda, which includes the poor. Radical generosity “flows from worshiping God.”

“Put God ahead of all else as the only one worthy of your worship and you will find you are pouring yourself out in all sorts of beautiful ways in service to the world.”

(Great devotion today from my YouVersion plan–by Redeemer Presbyterian Church.)

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thirty-five (a trip through Psalm 73)

WORSHIP & CONFESSION:

We were just talking about the need to remember that God is good (+ sovereign), in order to move from complaint to trust, in our lamenting…

“No doubt about it! God is good–good to good people, good to the good-hearted [he knows our heart]. But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness.” Why? Because “I was looking the other way, looking up to the people at the top, envying…. ” those who “have it made”, who “have nothing to worry about, not a care in the whole wide world…. Pampered and overfed, decked out in silk bows of silliness.” These are people who use words to kill and bully, “full of hot air…. People actually listen to them–can you believe it?”  (Sounds like certain politicians!)

Lord, help us not to betray “your dear children” by “giving in and talking like this”: feeling like “nobody’s minding the store”, that we’ve “been stupid to play by the rules”, that we’ve had nothing but “a long run of bad luck… a slap in the face… a splitting headache”. Ahhhh! But there it is! We feel those things: “Until [we] entered the sanctuary of God.” Praise you for that sanctuary, in the various places that we find it! “Then [we see] the whole picture”! How those seemingly “getting away with it” people will suddenly come to disaster, on their slippery road “with a final crash in a ditch of delusions.” Then, “in the blink of an eye… we wake up and rub out eyes…” because they’re gone–“There’s nothing to them. And there never was.”

Help us to admit our own ignorance, “a dumb ox in your very presence”–and after the very next comma, “but you’ve taken my hand”! You tenderly lead, like a Father his child, and even “When my skin sags and my bones get brittle” (old age!)

“You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want on earth!”  If we lose everything else in the universe, every other possession material and non-material, as long as we have You, we will be okay (more than okay!) When everything is falling apart, “God is rock-firm and faithful.” How amazing that we can be “in the very presence of God”, and yes, “how refreshing it is!” Help us indeed to make You our home, and to tell the world what you do!

 

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Case for Christ posts in order

Having checked all over my settings and not finding a way to make posts show up in the order they were posted, when you click on a tag (or category, for that matter), I’m putting links in this post, in the right order, for all the posts/notes I made on The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel. (But as I said often enough–it’s great reading, if you can get hold of the book yourself!) It should be easy enough to skip over the other stuff that is sometimes in these other posts. A lot of the titles have nothing to do with the Case for Christ content in them, lol.

Settle in, there are 95 of them!!! (Too bad I didn’t/couldn’t make a Page for it, way back then!)

  1. segue
  2. you, the juror
  3. appetite for bananas?
  4. the whole truth
  5. that’s my story
  6. what’s YOUR agenda?
  7. we saw it happen!
  8. EH!!!
  9. you said what?
  10. are you able to do what you intend?
  11. truth takes the tests
  12. portion problems?
  13. I’d prefer not to tell
  14. I was here
  15. combobulate
  16. copies of copies of copies
  17. Impressive Numbers
  18. all i’s dotted
  19. the most traveled roads
  20. intrigue!
  21. mythical
  22. little things are important
  23. history lessons
  24. take a deep breath
  25. interpolations
  26. jello, popsicles,
  27. exciting times
  28. stubborn?
  29. The Day the Earth Went Dark
  30. Wow, and wow
  31. Faith and Hope
  32. checking it out
  33. since Easter is near
  34. so many stories
  35. mixed
  36. evidence, evidence, evidence
  37. For fun
  38. theological agenda?
  39. just because
  40. fluffiness
  41. yay for may!
  42. based on symbol, or
  43. can faith and history
  44. who do you think you are?
  45. just breezing by
  46. are You mad?
  47. Stir it up!
  48. When the Doctor needs help
  49. fun and madness
  50. transcendent, unprecedented
  51. Jesus the Hypnotist
  52. mistaken for a demon?
  53. Preposterous!
  54. the questions continue
  55. Today is a singing day!
  56. blow away the chaff
  57. Christology
  58. Can you enjoy a mystery
  59. a lesser god
  60. Hell!
  61. Who’s got the POWER
  62. paint-a-picture
  63. time keeps on slipping
  64. You can know
  65. Are you for real?
  66. Look into it for yourself.
  67. Coincidence? Fabrication?
  68. Intentional Fulfillment?
  69. Don’t accept my word for it!
  70. The Month of Hearts
  71. Rated X
  72. Are you suffering?
  73. slow death
  74. taxes and
  75. pathetic!
  76. from How to Why
  77. Hope!
  78. happy spring
  79. details, details
  80. Embarrassing
  81. ANYTHING
  82. See if this gets you
  83. Waiting, waiting
  84. Don’t leave your Mind behind
  85. God has
  86. Nothing is ever perfect
  87. grasping at straws
  88. distracted
  89. testimony
  90. Circumstantially
  91. Ten thousand
  92. Celebrating grotesque
  93. The explanation is the hard part
  94. Now what?
  95. We ourselves
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thirty-six

from Psalm 71

WORSHIP:

  • You are my retreat,
  • a guest room with wide open spaces.
  • You are my vast, granite fortress,
  • where I am free from the grip and the clutch of “Wicked” and “Bully”.
  • You’ve been my bedrock since childhood,
  • You keep me going when times are tough.
  • The day brims with your beauty, and my mouth brims with praise.

“I’ll write the book on your righteousness, talk up your salvation the livelong day, never run out of good things to write or say…. Now I’m telling the world your wonders; I’ll keep at it until I’m old and gray.” >>> :D :D

CONFESSION:

Help us to come “in the power of the Lord God”, to take the authority that you command us to take–in prayer battles over the Enemy, the Deceiver of men’s hearts. Help us to get the news out about your “strong right arm”, and to cause “those who tried to do me in” to slink off ashamed.

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from Mentored to Mentor

Something I’ve discovered about living in a home with stone floors: they are hard on your feet! So now I’m in the process of  finding some good, thick, foam slippers to wear.

But yeah, hi! I’m actually posting, wow! Reading over 10 years worth of blogging certainly shuts one up. It’s made me feel like “that” person was totally different than the one inside me nowthat one talked waaaay too much! Sam said I should totally STOP reading them all over again, but I just want to go through and tag them a little better, so that it’s easier to pick and choose which ones to read again. (And someday, I’m going to make a post with links for all the Case for Christ notes, to fix the fact that they show up in reverse order.) Now that I’m up to mid-2011, it doesn’t seem quite as bad. Perhaps I improved?

Anyway, all that note-taking on sermons and Bible studies has perhaps finally graduated me: do you know, I’m now a “teacher” in three different areas?

  • The Wednesday morning 3-year olds, though one is constantly wondering (and sometimes being pleasantly surprised) if they’re actually getting any of it.
  • We host our small group, and I lead the Bible Study part–actually, we teach each other.
  • I’m a Marker for the Perspectives course! (So that’s only “kind of” teaching.)

In case you’ve forgotten, Perspectives is that missions course that we took way back in 2012, and there’s also a tag for it over there to the right. We’ve never stopped talking about it, and to actually be a marker–I’m still amazed that I’m doing this!! I’m “teaching” missionaries!!! This is one of those things that I never thought I’d be qualified for, and that just seems so valuable, it’s quite a wonderful privilege, to me.

Mind you, the other two things are also teaching missionaries, and missionaries-to-be! And both are also very valuable.

So there you go, I finally made another post. “See you next month!” Maybe. ;)

(Funny, 5 years ago I also complained about talking too much, etc.)

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thirty-seven

WORSHIP:

Praise you Lord, that we only need to call on You, and our enemies vanish; and you fill us with laughter and song! Not only “us”, but all heaven sings out, cheering you on, clearing the way for you, riding on the clouds! For you are the caring Father of Orphans, and the Champion of Widows! You give homes to the homeless, and lead prisoners to freedom. Hallelujah–“day after day” you “carry us along”. (ps. 68)

CONFESSION:

May we always be like a “fountain of praise” as we face the battles of life, expecting you to “parade your power”, your splendour and strength, a “terrible beauty” streaming from the sanctuary! (ps 68)

Help us always to respect you Lord, and be looking for your love; knowing that you are ready to rescue us in bad times, and that in lean times you hold us together. Remind us to depend on you, and that you are everything we need. (ps. 33)

 

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thirty-eight

My sermon words this week: “Remember=worship=joy”. The context is the Israelites complaining in the desert, and the title was “I’m sick of this!” They had just been rescued from slavery, for heaven’s sake–only a few days beforehand. Like the little boy the pastor mentioned, who was having a meltdown in Disneyland and said to his dad “Why did you bring me here?!”

We just need to remember: where we’ve come from, how God has been with us, how he is with us now, how mighty and amazing he is, how much he loves us, how many times in scripture the situation seemed so dark–but worked out for something wonderful (Joseph’s story, Ruth, Lazarus, the disciples at the Last Supper, etc.). When we remember, we can’t help but worship, and how often have I said that worship is so important!

Everyone uses different things to help them worship (to help the remembering), like music for example. Scripture is another good thing to use to spur you to worship, especially the Psalms. Which is what I’ve been up to with these number-title posts–making prayers from scripture, to read over again. This morning, I just feel like copying the verses right out.

WORSHIP (Psalm 66:1-6):

  • “All together now–applause for God!
  • Sing songs to the tune of his glory,
  • set glory to the rhythms of his praise.
  • Say of God, ‘We’ve never seen anything like him!’
  • When your enemies see you in action,  [enemies could be bad habits, temptation]
  • they slink off like scolded dogs.
  • The whole earth falls to its knees–
  • it worships you, sings to you,
  • can’t stop enjoying your name and fame.
  • Take a good look at God’s wonders–
  • they’ll take your breath away.
  • He converted sea to dry land;    [now here’s the remembering]
  • travelers crossed the river on foot.
  • Now isn’t that cause for a song?”

CONFESSION:

Help us to realize quickly when we are under your “heavy hand of discipline”, when our body is wasting away and we are groaning all day and weak. The sooner we confess, the sooner we can receive your forgiveness, and experience freedom! May we not need that “bit and bridle” to follow your advice, remembering that you take us on the pathway that is best for our lives. Thank you that you not only advise, but watch over us! (from Psalm 32)

 

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