The Goal Is Equality

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

This devotion is the 200th devo. Wow! Thank you for reading and supporting me! <><

Readings for June 27, 2021: Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Lamentations 3:22-33; Psalm 30; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43

Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. 2 Corinthians 8:13-15

In this week’s scripture reading, Paul is telling the Corinthians about how the Macedonian Christians, although poor themselves, were exceedingly, and surprisingly, generous towards the collection that was being taken to provide for the poor in the church at Jerusalem. Paul is trying to encourage the Corinthians to give as well with the ultimate goal being that all people are cared for and that equality is achieved among all the churches.

This passage is for us too; that as brothers and sisters in Christ, we should support one another so that one does not experience poverty while another experiences plenty, but that together we support each other and have all that we need. Funny isn’t it; that this is exactly the type of thing we are hearing over and over again, in the media, these days? We are bombarded with how there is so much inequality for so many different groups, demographics, and cultures these days. However, the blame is always shifted to this organization or that, to this government party or that leader.

Perhaps we should take Paul’s words to heart for ourselves. Instead of laying blame on others for the inequalities, what about if each of us became accountable to being the agent of change for another person. Whether it be a phone call or social distant visit for socialization, a meal to sooth hunger pains, clothes to help dress, a card to encourage, or money to help cover an expense, think about how you can provide a little bit of equality to someone who is living in want. Let’s stop placing the blame elsewhere, and be the people Christ calls us to be by being part of the solution to bring equality to those around us. In Christ, this is our privilege. Let it also be our goal.

Prayer: Dear Lord, in so many ways you have blessed me. Show me who is in need of something you have exceedingly blessed me with. Open my heart to give willingly, like the Macedonians, in order to raise others up and lessen life’s inequalities. Be with all of your followers that we may care for each other and those around us. To you alone be the glory! In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Do You Still Have No Faith?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for June 20, 2021: Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Job 38:1-11; Psalm 124; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13; Mark 4:35-41

. . . A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 37-41)

Have you ever found yourself in a scary position like the disciples did in this story? I know I have. My fear-filled moments didn’t occur on a boat in the middle of fierce waves and winds, but they remained fierce storms for me, none the less.

The thing that gets me about this story is that the disciples were in the physical presence of the one who could rescue them from the storm. They were face to face with Jesus, the long awaited Messiah, yet they remained frantic and feared for their lives. I wonder if they would have reacted the way they did if Jesus wasn’t there. I wonder if, despite their fears, they would have spent time in prayer asking God for protection from the storm and a safe return home. I wonder if they would have acted more like Daniel when he was faced with the lion’s den, or like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, when they were faced with the fiery furnace. For these people, their faith in the Lord gave them the assurance of knowing, without a doubt, that no matter what they were faced with, their God could deliver them. And even if they weren’t spared, God was still worthy of all their praise and loyalty. So despite all things, they remained faithful to the Lord and trusted him to get them through all of life’s stormy trials.

Personally, I would much prefer to have the faith of Daniel and his three buddies, than that of the disciples as displayed in this story. I would much prefer to know I can go to my Lord in prayer at any point of any day, lay my requests and pleas before him, and trust that he will answer me according to his will, instead of fearing that just because I am not in his physical presence or that he may not be physically paying attention to me, that perhaps he doesn’t know what’s going on. I would much prefer the blessed assurance of knowing that my God is worthy of my praise and thanksgiving despite what is happening to me in my life’s journey, instead of feeling like I have to question him and his intentions because he’s not acting the way I think he should; “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Yes, I would much prefer to have faith that makes others question why I do things, than have the Lord question me, “Do you still have no faith?”

Well, the awesome thing is that after Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples did have a solid faith in our Lord, just like those faith-filled people of the Old Testament. With the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives, we too can have that faith that trusts the Lord above all things and in every circumstance. Yes, the disciples may have had the opportunity to see and spend time with Jesus physically, but it wasn’t until Jesus ascended into heaven that they depended on all that Christ had promised them, of proclaiming him as Saviour of the world, and clinging to the assurance that he now lives in his heavenly home, preparing a place for them, for you, and for me.

Yes, the disciples may have seen Jesus, “but blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29b) So, let go of the old adage, ‘seeing is believing’, and live your life in the assurance that ‘believing is not seeing’, and know without a doubt that Jesus has conquered sin, death and the power of the devil, and trust that he will get you through every and all of life’s trials, as you call upon him, no matter how big or small they are. He lives to guide you through your days on Earth and into eternity according to the will of his Father. He remains the only one who can still the storm, shut the lion’s mouth, and stand alongside you in all of your life’s fiery blazes. To him alone belongs all glory and praise!

Prayer: Dear Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. Please do not let my actions and giving into my fears make you question my faith as you did the disciples. I pray that your Holy Spirit strengthen me to live a life of faith and trust in you, as Daniel did. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

No More Regrets

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for June 13, 2021: Third Sunday after Pentecost

Ezekiel 17:22-24; Psalm 1; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (11-17); Mark 4:26-34

Blessed is the one whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1: 1a, 2-3

Do you have regrets? Most people have regrets. Making life decisions are difficult. It’s hard to know which way to turn sometimes in life. Then there are those decisions you’ve made on a whim or based on your feelings or pressures from others. In many such cases, the outcome of those decisions may not have been for your good because you had no guidance to know what would be the best for you. Maybe they were enjoyable and good decisions in the moment, but the long term effect of the decisions has been detrimental to you, your relationships, and maybe even your life as a whole.

While you can never go back and erase your past, you can stop and begin to seek the truth and guidance that will be for your good both now and in the future. This guidance comes from the Lord. This guidance is written in his Word. This guidance is for you because of his love for you. He created you and he desires what is best for you. Yes, it includes his Ten Commandments, but there is so much more. Take time to get to know God’s truth for you in his word in order to make solid decisions which will take you into the future with assurance of His presence and blessing, and no more regret. For his words are truth and by living in them, you will be as it says, “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.”

But just to be clear, by following his Word and his laws for your own life does not mean that the execution of your decisions will be perfect, that you will never fall on hard times and that you will never sin again. In fact, it is for this very reason that Jesus came to redeem us- you and me- to pay the price that our sins deserve because we can’t do it ourselves. So when we do fall short, we can approach God and ask for the forgiveness that Jesus has won for us on the cross, and we can start again, trusting that God will continue to shape us, and guide us to walk in his ways to his glory and our own good. In fact, through the gift of repentance and forgiveness, we can even address those past hurts and regrets, and the Holy Spirit will cleanse our hearts and lift the weight of regret that has plagued us for years. In the Lord, there need be no more regrets, only a life lived to its fullest.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your word and your guidance for my good. As I trust in your ways, I will not fear regrets. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105) In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

What’s Inside That Worn Out Tent?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for June 6, 2021: Second Sunday after Pentecost

Genesis 3:8-15; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1; Mark 3:20-35

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. . . . For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Corinthians 4:16, 5:1

The older I get the more precious this passage means to me.

Throughout my thirties, I served as a deaconess to a beautiful congregation.  During my years as their deaconess, there was a retired pastor who was a member of the congregation. He had great wit and humour and always had something off the wall to say like, “Eat your prunes!” I remember on many occasions, with a little chuckle he would say to my husband and I, “Enjoy your health. What a blessing it is! It doesn’t last forever, you know.” My husband and I would give a little laugh and wish him a good day, all the while not giving his words much thought.

Well, now that we are in our fifties, we have begun to experience the loss of the healthy, vibrant, strong bodies we once had. Aches and pains have begun to take hold. Although this pastor went home to be with the Lord a couple years ago and is enjoying his new spiritual home, his words still put a smile on my face every day. He was right. Health is a blessing and we don’t realize how precious it is until it starts slipping away.

But why do we act as if it is a surprise. This aging process has been part of our lives since the fall into sin with Adam and Eve. Our earthly bodies were never meant to last forever since the fall. It is for that reason God set in motion a plan to redeem us and call us back to himself. You see, it is for this reason that God promised a Saviour to Adam and Eve, and all of humankind, in order to draw all people back to him for eternity, like he first desired. This world is not the be all and end all. Oh no, not at all!

Photo by Luca Baggio on Unsplash

So as we put our hope in Jesus’ saving grace, and his Spirit renews and strengthens us every day through God’s holy word, may we become more dependent on his strength and less dependent on our own, especially as we see ours slip away. Let us continue to inwardly grow, and blossom in Jesus as we fix our eyes on him and the joyous spiritual body that awaits us, free from aches and pains, and filled with joy and peace to overflowing.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank you for the health of my body. On those days when the aches and pains seem more than I can bear, let me rest in you. Let my soul rejoice and my heart sing your praises for all your goodness to me through my loving Saviour, Jesus, in whose presence I shall one day be. In his name I pray. AMEN!

Thank-you Lord For Sending Them

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for May 30, 2021: The Holy Trinity

Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29; Acts 2:14a, 22-36; John 3: 1-17

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:5-8

At the time of writing this devotion, the pastor that has had the most influence on my life has just gone to be with the Lord. This man of God was such a tremendous influence on my life. He was my pastor and teacher during the two years of confirmation when I was in grade 7 and 8. I still remember him trying to guide the class, a bunch of young people, to be pure. In particular, I remember him saying that, as young people, we should abstain from kissing. Well, that really stuck with me throughout my teenage years, and guided my actions when dating. However, I did feel I was being a bit of a rebel when I did kiss a boy.

Our Wedding Rehearsal

Then 6 years later, there was our wedding which he officiated, as well as, the marriage classes that he guided me and my now husband of thirty-three years through before the big day. We were young but he was always supportive and kept guiding us back to the Lord and his will for marriage. He emphasized that a marriage takes three – husband, wife, and God. This truth has gotten us through- the Lord has gotten us through- many situations over the years. He even guided my husband through adult confirmation classes. His patience and wisdom won my husband’s heart, as well. Yes, this man of God was a servant of the Lord and you couldn’t help but love him and know that his words were true.

Then years later he was God’s instrument through which I learned about the Diaconate – the role of a Deacon in our church body. As the District President, he was in our home to help guide our church council through the start of our congregation’s vacancy when I learned about deaconesses. He was patient with me as I asked many questions about the diaconate and delayed the relevant outcome of the meeting. However, I knew that same night that becoming a deacon was what I was being called to do. Even through the obstacles for me to take the required schooling – taking seminary classes, finding babysitters, having the academic institutions across Canada work together on my behalf, etc. – he walked with me through it all. Yes, God used this faithful man to guide me to answer the Lord’s call in my life with, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” I thank the Lord for sending him to me in order to help me hear God’s call for me and my life.

So, if there is someone in your life that has been influential to drawing you to the Lord and learning of his ways, his love, and his will for your life, take time to thank God for them and if possible, send them a thank-you for being faithful servants of the Lord. May we all answer God’s call like Isaiah, with repentant hearts and a resounding ‘Here I am Lord, Send me.” And then, patiently walk beside others on their life’s journey with the Lord, this side of heaven.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank-you for  (name a faith mentor in your life). Please keep them in your care. Help me to be as faithful. This day, there is someone who is seeking you. Here I am Lord. Send me to them. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN!

Pentecost Praises

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for May 23, 2021: Pentecost

Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 139: 1-12 (13-16); Acts 2:1-21; John 15: 26-27; 16:4b-15

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. John 15:26

As long as I can remember, I have always loved Pentecost. Pentecost is the day where we focus on and celebrate the Holy Spirit. When the One that Jesus promised to send to us after he ascended into Heaven, comes to begin his work among the body of Christ – the Christian Church.

I love Pentecost so much because I love, like the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit and his purpose among us. The Father has given His Spirit to us for the sole purpose of drawing us to Christ. He is the one that implants that seed of faith in our hearts and minds. He is the one that continues to draw us to the truth of Jesus. When we approach the Lord with a heavy and repentant heart, he is the one that removes the very heaviness of our guilt and fills us with Jesus’ joy. He is the one that binds all believers as one body, the body of Christ, like the ever flowing blood and ligaments within all living bodies. And through him we breathe and live a new life in Christ. This is called being Sanctified; having our being kept in the faith of Jesus as Lord and Saviour of our life. This is the awesome work of the Holy Spirit strictly for you and for me.

Photo by Marc Kleen on Unsplash

Thanks be to God for his Holy Spirit among us! May our proclamation of the Holy Spirit give him praise for drawing us to Jesus our Saviour and then working to keep each of us – you and me- in the faith, however that looks in our lives. Whether you are burdened and don’t know what to pray, the Holy Spirit speaks on your behalf. (Romans 8:26) In all things he desires to fulfill in you Jesus’ command to love thy neighbour by instilling in you his gifts of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23a). And best of all, it is the Holy Spirit who instills and continues to securely keep your faith in Jesus, your Saviour, through his working in the Word and means of grace, and to guide you to fulfill all the works the Father has planned for you by the gifts and abilities he has given you, to his glory. (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Therefore, this week as we approach Pentecost, may we rejoice in the Holy Spirit as he is among and within you and all believers in Christ, and may we profess together the words of the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed and its meaning:

Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean? I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true. (from Luther’s Small Catechism)

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, ever dwelling in the holiest realms of light; Holy Spirit, ever brooding, o’er a world of gloom and night; Holy Spirit, ever raising those of earth to thrones on high; Living, life-imparting Spirit, You we praise and magnify.

Holy Spirit, ever living as the Church’s very life; Holy Spirit, ever striving through us in a ceaseless strife; Holy Spirit, ever forming in the Church the mind of Christ; You we praise with endless worship for your gifts and fruits unpriced.

Holy Spirit, ever working through the Church’s ministry; Quick’ning, strength’ning, and absolving, setting captive sinners free; Holy Spirit, ever binding age to age and soul to soul. In communion never ending, you we worship and extol. (from the Lutheran Service Book page 650, Holy Spirit Ever Dwelling) In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Who Hates A Lil’ Lovin’

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for May 16, 2021: Seventh Sunday of Easter

Acts 1:12-26; Psalm 1; 1 John 5:9-15; John 17:11b-19

Jesus said, “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:14-17

Last week our reading focussed on how by loving others, we are showing that we love God. Yet, this week we read that believers in Jesus, despite loving others, will be hated. How can that be: if we are loving others, how can they hate us? Well, let’s look at Jesus.

Jesus loved everyone and he had compassion on all who came to him. He taught and he held fast to his ministry of sharing God’s love and plan of salvation to all people. Despite how people reacted to the hearing of God’s love for them and his plan for salvation, Jesus kept loving and proclaiming. He didn’t make excuses or sugar coat his words because he was afraid someone wouldn’t like what he had to say. He didn’t judge people but he didn’t excuse them either. He matter-of-factly stated God’s desire for them and their life, while still showing care and compassion. Although many loved him and believed he was/is the Saviour of the world, there were many who did not come to faith and others who hated him enough to kill him.

In this light, as people who believe in Jesus as the Saviour of the world, may our love for others be based on the need to share the love and salvation of Jesus to all, while still holding fast to God’s ways and never denying him in our own life. For the love we share is not a whimsical blind love that does everything that someone else wants us to. It is a gentle, caring love based on God’s love for them and his desire to bring them back to himself as his cleansed, renewed and redeemed child. It is a love we share because we have received and experienced firsthand his grace and mercy, his love and salvation. Therefore, as you are asked to share the love of Jesus, may you hold fast to God’s ways for your own life. And do not be afraid if some people hate you for it, but pray for them that the Holy Spirit will continue to draw them to the saving grace of Jesus.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to hold fast to your ways and your truth as I share your love with others, even when I’m afraid. Be with those who may hate me for loving you or ridicule me for proclaiming my love for and faith in Jesus, my Saviour; a faith that may seem foolish to them at this point in time. For you desire all people to come to the knowledge of your truth. So please open their hearts to let go of any fear or doubt, and to receive you, your peace and salvation. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

God’s Commands Are Not Burdensome. Really!

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for May 9, 2021; Sixth Sunday of Easter (Mother’s Day)

Acts 10:34-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1-8; John 15:9-17

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the World. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:1-5

At first glance, it may seem that to love God is very law based: “carry out his commands”, “keep his commands”. At first when I see this, I think of the Ten Commandments and how Jesus says to even think a hateful thought is just as bad as murder. If carrying out his commands is based only on this realization, I am defeated before I can even start. But then, he goes on to say that his commands are not burdensome. What?! This thought just burdens me more, because these commands can be difficult. Many times my thoughts, words and deeds lay me before his throne full of guilt. I am stuck in my sin and cannot escape. It would seem I am incapable of following his commands and thus showing my love to my Heavenly Father. O woe is me!

Yet, for many Christians, they base their love for God on this way of thinking. On the other hand, this way of thinking can also lead to a sense of judgement towards others: “They’re not acting right” or “They’re not godly enough” or “My love for God is greater than yours because I hold the commandments better.” It almost becomes a bullying behaviour. In fact, in some historical events, it was bullying. So, is this really how we are called to show our love to God?  The answer is a loud, resounding NO!

As we read, in Jesus, we show our love for God and his children when we keep his commands, and these commands are not burdensome. So what are these commands?

Well, let’s look at what Jesus himself says:

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. . . . My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:9-10, 12

In this light, to show our love for God and his children, is simply to love them. Does that mean we can ignore all the other commandments? No, but by living in God’s love and asking the Holy Spirit to fill us with his fruit- love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control– all the other commandments fall into place. As it is written, “against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

Although these commands seem much more bearable, they have their challenges for us sinners too, especially when we are called to love our enemy or those that are different from us. However, it’s in those times of denying our own fear and hard heartedness that the love of Jesus shines even more brightly through us. For isn’t that exactly how Christ demonstrated his love for us when he faced the pain and journey to the cross. Yes, while we were still sinners and his enemies, he died for us.

Therefore, with the eyes of Jesus may we see all the people that God puts in our path today, and always, as his precious children, and love them. Let us ask the Lord for the ability to be patient, gentle, self-controlled, … and faithful.  And in those times that we fall short, and our sinful nature gets the better of us, may we lay our guilt before him and be assured of his forgiveness. Then may the Lord use such opportunities for others to see his love in action through our repentance and humility towards those we have sinned against. Yes, with God’s help keeping these commands to love does not need to be burdensome. Oh they may not always be easy, but they need not be burdensome.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me so much and being an example of how I am to love others. Help me to love all people, especially your children, but even those I may not know or can’t love on my own. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

PRAISE THE LORD! Psalm 150 The 3W&H of Praise

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for May 2, 2021; Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 150; 1 John4:11 (12-21); John 15:1-8

Praise the Lord,

Praise God in

his sanctuary;
    praise him in

his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with

the harp and lyre,
praise him with

timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with

the strings and pipe,

praise him with

the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with

resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

Psalm 150

Psalm 150 is all about praising the Lord. It is the 3W&H of Praise:

Where is the Lord to be praised?

Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. (verse 1)

I like the Message’s interpretation of this verse, which says:  

Praise God in his holy house of worship, praise him under the open skies.

The praises of God shall be heard in his house of Worship, the church. So enter his Sanctuary with the expectation of hearing his praises. Do not neglect yourself the privilege of basking in the praises of the Lord during your church’s Worship services. For it is here where the church on Earth is joined with the Saints in Heaven in singing his praises.

Also, his praises shall be proclaimed in all of his creation, and in the lives of his creation. So take time to listen to his praises resounding all around you from that which he has created, and give thanks.

Why is the Lord to be praised?

Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. (verse 2)

Yes, we can see his power in the mighty seas, in the roaring winds, and in the pounding rains. All the earth proclaims his power. Also, creation exhibits his immeasurable details in the countless living things, from plants to trees to bushes to vines to humans to animals to plants to birds to fish, and the list goes on and on. However, his power and greatness does not end with the creation of the world as given in Genesis 1. Let the Lord be praised for his surpassing greatness and love as shown in all that Christ has done for us, and in his power over sin, death and the devil. He has conquered death in his power and might, and has proclaimed salvation to those who believe. Praise be to God for this act of love, power and surpassing greatness!

Who is to praise the Lord?

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. (verse 6)

Everything in all of creation that lives is to proclaim his praises. Of course we hear the sound of praises from all the varieties of birds of the air, and the calls of the wild. However, how awesome is it that all of humankind shall proclaim the Lord’s praises. His praises are not kept for a select few, but each and every human being. Therefore, may everyone, on the earth now and in heaven above, resound the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light!

How is the Lord to be praised?

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. (verse 3-5)

I love these verses! Alongside the praises coming from our lips, are the praises made to the Lord through the sounds of the vast array of instruments. These instruments range from percussion to strings to brass to winds. They include the blast of the trumpet to the sweetest sounds of the harp to the awakening clashes of the cymbals to the floating timbres of the lute to the soul reaching chords of the strings. All the instruments of the earth are worthy of proclaiming the praise of the Lord. For it is not the instrument itself that is worthy, but the heart of the person by whom the instrument’s sounds are being made.

So, Praise the Lord with your voice and dance for the joy of the Lord, lift up the sounds of your heart in all you touch and join in praising the Lord with everything that has breath in his holy house and in all of creation. Praise the Lord!

Prayer: Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. (Psalm 8:1) Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. (Psalm 51:15) To you alone be all glory, honour, and praise! In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

The Voice You Can Trust Despite The Crowd

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for April 25, 2021; Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 4:1-12; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16-24; John 10:11-18

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. They [too] will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:14-15,16b

My husband has a unique and very loud whistle. When our children were young, his whistle came in very handy if we were trying to round up the family, especially when we were in public areas and we had lost sight of any one of our children. When the family heard the whistle, they knew Dad was calling. We all were to stop what we were doing and follow the whistle.

I remember a time when my husband and I were in a crowded concert hall and in the midst of all the hustle and bustle we got separated. Within minutes I heard the whistle and immediately began looking in the direction of the sound. About 20 meters away, a few stairs up a staircase, stood my husband sounding his call to me.

On another occasion, we were attending our daughter’s graduation. Off in the distance we could see all the graduates filing into their seats. Once we saw our daughter in the ocean of gowns in the massive auditorium, my husband gave out one whistle and her gaze turned and she spotted us. She knew we were there and we were cheering her on.

Yes, over the years that whistle was the sound that always let our family know that my husband was close by and we were all safe. It was the sound we could trust and which we followed, even if we couldn’t quite see him. Even now as adults our children, and now grandchildren, know my husband’s whistle and they find comfort in hearing it.

In the same way, as our children and I recognized my husband’s call and could trust that it would lead us to safety, Jesus the Good Shepherd, calls to us, his flock, and we can trust that his voice will speak truth and lead us to safety. His voice does not sound like the world sounds. His voice is heard through his word and in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. His voice does not contradict what our Heavenly Father has told us. His voice directs us to repentance and forgiveness, and speaks love and guidance, safety and protection. It is the voice we can truly trust always, now and when we walk the path from this world into eternity. So wherever you are at right now, stop and listen, and you will hear the Good Shepherd calling you to safety and to rest in his loving arms.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, my Good Shepherd, thank you for always calling out for me to stay close to you. Help me to always listen and to not be afraid. In your name I pray. AMEN!

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