A Psalm of Praise unto the Lord, My God!

A Psalm of Praise

Last Sunday, Pastor Crowe encouraged us to read Psalm 18 and then write one of our own. Here is mine that I have composed to tell of His goodness to me. This is my way of giving praise to my Lord and my God who sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins.

My Psalm of Praise!

A Psalm about the Greatness of the Lord unto Me!

Lord, Your ways are above all others and You desire a heart that is devoted to You.

I praise Your Holy Name for You are slow to anger and filled with compassion to those who love You and are called by Your Name.

Lord, You have sustained me in my darkest hour and restored to me more than what was taken from me.

Your Word restores, guides, and brings hope to the weary and forsaken.

You alone have the power to reconcile broken relationships when all hope was lost.

You equipped me to serve in ways that I would never have imagined before.

Your faithfulness and mercy are beyond description.

Your steadfast love is my mighty fortress and tower of refuge to run to in time of need.

Great is Your compassion and faultless is Your love.

Your patience knows no limit, yet, You will not tolerate sin nor the proud forever.

You will exalt the humble and bring down the haughty for You are sovereign.

You are righteous and just against sin, yet You will not reject a broken and contrite heart.

There is nothing can be hidden from You.

My finite mind cannot begin to comprehend Your infinite grace and mercy. I need only believe and trust in You. Amen!

 

Therefore, I want to challenge you to write your own psalm of praise. It is a wonderful way to chronicle all the great things He has done in your life.

For a Related Link: Tell of the Goodness of the Lord.

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5 Books Worth Reading and Why

5 Books Worth Reading

I thought that I would tell you about some of the books that I have read and why they are worth your reading. There are three that have helped me personally and two that were for leisure reading. I do hope that you will take the time to read at least one.

2 Books that Will bring about Positive Change.

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Here is a book that I do believe is worthy to be read by everyone. We all could use a refresher when it comes to personal boundaries. I know that I did when I first read it and then worked through the workbook that goes along.

One more important thing I learned was about personal responsibility. For example, I am responsible only for my reactions and interactions but not for others’. Yet I am responsible to others. This means I am to be forgiving and honest with people. This helped me not to try to “fix” others when they are unhappy or angry with me. I had to learn to let others have their own feelings and deal them for themselves.

There is so more I could say but I want you to explore this book for yourself.

Beyond Boundaries by Dr. John Townsend

This book was a great help to me following the previous book. In it, Townsend helped me to work on restoring relationships. Two key points from this book are how to reestablish appropriate connections in strained relationships and restore former relationships to a healthy dynamic.

I cannot begin to tell you how much this made a difference in my life. Just let me tell you that I have improved relationships with certain family members that I thought I had lost. I give Thanks to God for the relationships I now have with people I love.

I Can’t Say Enough About This Book.

Never Go Back (10 Things You Will Never Do Again) by Dr. Henry Cloud

Do you want a read that will make you think and bring about some much-needed change? Well, this is it!

The first four chapters struck a chord with me. Each chapter begins with Never Again…. For instance, this first chapter is “Never Again…Return to What doesn’t Work”. This chapter talks about not repeating old habits that failed like relationships with unhealthy people. One must break the cycle in order to improve.

In chapter four, you are to Never Again…Believe that You Can Please Everyone. Yet again, this struck a chord with me. I grew up wanting to please people. Dr. Townsend gives good reasons not to please everyone.

Don’t take my word for it! Read it for yourself

2 Books that You Won’t Want to Put Down.

Not By My Own by Whit Devereaux

Once you start reading it you will not want to put it down. She tells her own story in the third person which makes for an intriguing read. Yet, this is not a read for the light of heart. Whit went through some really tough times, however, she brings it to a beautiful ending.

I still highly recommend this book to anyone who needs to be inspired by someone else’s life story. You can find it by following this link; Not By My Own.

Emily 1873 by Marie Bockman Cariker

Do you love a good mystery?

Well here is just the book for you. I had a hard time putting down. Marie writes a wonderful story of mystery and faith. There was just the right amount of the gospel in this well-written tale. I was moved to tears at one point. Marie takes you back in time.

You can find her book at Xulon Press; Emily: 1873.

Other Books I have read: The Truth About Happiness and Finders Keepers Losers Winners.

 

 

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Are You Ready to Contend for the Faith?

Contend for your faith

Have you ever had to contend for your faith in Christ Jesus? In Jude 3-4, the author appealed to believers to contend for the faith against certain people who are ungodly and perverted the grace of our God and denied the Lord Jesus.

So what does it mean to contend? When used with a subject it means to assert or maintain earnestly. Therefore, one is to be ready to assert and maintain the reason for the hope that is in them.

Why? You Ask.

Because times are upon us that our faith will be challenged. There are several places in the Bible that we are urged to stand firm in our faith. I particularly like where the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians to be “watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love, 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 ESV.”

The Apostle Paul was very good at exhorting believers to stand firm in the faith. One fine example of this is in Philippians 3:17-4:1. He told those in Philippi to imitate him and keep their eyes on those who walked according to the example that he had set. Times were tough because there were enemies of the cross, however, Paul reminded the believers of their citizenship in heaven. Therefore, they were encouraged to stand firm in the Lord.

Likewise, there are enemies of the cross still today and we, too, are to stand firm.

Count It as Joy to Contend for the Faith.

In James 1:2-4, we are to count it joy when we meet various trails. Contending for our faith is definitely a trail. This is a testing of our faith which produces steadfastness. In turn, if we let the steadfastness have its full effect in us we will be complete and lack nothing.

Another thing to consider is that we are not left helpless. According to Luke 12:11-13, we don’t need to be anxious in defending ourselves or worry about what to say for the Holy Spirit will teach us what we ought to say.

Nor are we to turn away for Jesus said that if we deny Him He will deny us before the Father. Turning away can be seen as denying Him because one is not standing firm in the faith and acknowledging Jesus before others.

How We Ought to Answer.

Just tell your story! No one can refute it because it is your testimony. In gentleness, love, and truth, give the reason for the hope that is in you. For greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. You have an opportunity to plant a seed in someone else’s heart that only the Holy Spirit can cause to grow and hopefully take root.

Therefore, do not be afraid to speak, for God is with you wherever you go!

How have you had to contend for your faith? Please leave me a comment.

Related link: Be Ready to Give a Reason

If you want to read more on the subject, check out Kate’s link, 15 tips to help win arguments re Christian Faith on social media.

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Adoption: Earthly Compared to Heavenly

Adoption

Earthly Apotion

Adoption is a beautiful and wonderful experience for both the adoptive parents and child or children. For the child, it is heartwarming to be chosen. For the parents who are looking, I can only begin to imagine what the feelings might be when they have found the child or children they desire.

My two brothers and I were adopted by our step-dad when I was 12. My youngest brother was most especially excited about it. Not too long ago my adopted-dad, to whom I now call Dad, reminded me that he chose me for his daughter. It felt good to know that at the time.

Chosen is a very good feeling. Remember, how you felt when you were chosen to be on someone’s team in school? I remember standing and waiting to be chosen but was often the last one chosen.

Adoption gives a child that special feeling, too.

Adoption by Our Heavenly Father Through Faith

Romans 8:15-17 talks about a spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Abba means daddy. Have you ever called out to God, “Daddy?”

In the sermon on Sunday, Pastor Pohland spoke on Fatherly Adoption. It is from the heart of the one adopting, thus God chose me and other Christians. Our inheritance in the kingdom of God will not decrease as the number of those adopted in increases because heaven nor eternal life can be subdivided. This is unlike earthly inheritance which decreases with the number of descendants.

In sending His son to die for our sins, He gave us the right to become children of God to all who receive and believe in Jesus name (John 1:12-13).

You can find this theme in more places than one. In 2 Corinthians 6:18, God says that He will be a father to you and you shall be sons and daughters to Him. In Galatians 3:26, in Christ Jesus we are all sons of God, through faith. Galatians 4:5-6 repeats the same idea as in Romans 8:15-17.

Isn’t it good to know that you are wanted by your heavenly Father?

If you liked this you might also like: Redeemed, Defined and Explained.

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Where I Serve the Lord in My Church.

Please allow me to tell you about the ways I serve in my church. There are a few ways that I am blessed in serving. The one thing that I have come to appreciate is how God calls me out of my comfort zone to do so.

Serve the Lord

Serving Individuals with Unique Challenges.

First and probably the biggest blessing is God’s calling to serve the Rock House Bible class. The Rock House is a separate organization that provides homes and work for unique individuals with differing challenges. They arrive by vans and escorted by their drivers.

We have 25-30 class members who have mobility issues, learning disabilities, and a couple who are blind. They are a very loving group to those who serve them yet they do have their challenges often with each other. Some are not able to communicate clearly.

Even though they all have their own challenges, each one is created in God’s own image. Therefore, they are to be treated with love and respect as much as the neuro-typical person is. I believe that they each fit the least of these that Jesus refers to in Matthew 25:31-46. I am blessed by each one and grateful for the opportunity to teach them about Jesus and God’s Word.

We are currently working on confirmation teaching. This month we are on the unit about the Apostles’ Creed. I love this unit because it is our statement of faith and what we believe about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

I Serve the Lord with Gladness.Ways I Serve the Lord

The second area where I serve the Lord is in Joy Mission Circle. This is a group of women who meet once a month to support various missions and for Bible study. It is a small part of a larger organization, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. We provide meals for VBS, Lenten Suppers, and Advent Devotions. We support missions through our mite boxes where we collect our change. I am amazed at how far reaching pour mites go to support both state and national missions.

Last but not least, I am further blessed to serve on the Capital Zone as Vice President of Christian Life. My duties are to encourage other societies to utilize the LWML website, organize rallies which there are 2 every year, and the Capital Zone retreat. Furthermore, I have had opportunities to attend 3 Texas District conventions since 2010, and my first National Convention just this year.

Thank the Lord!

I rejoice in the Lord, my God. By no means, do I mean to boast of myself. For God has made all of this possible. Apart from God, I can do nothing. He works in me and through me. All glory belongs to Him.

Related link: 5 Things that I Love About my Church

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Three Key Points About the Name of Jesus!

Three Key Points

At the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) National Convention in Albuquerque, NM, our scripture verses was Philippians 2:9 This verse begins with a, therefore, thus, what comes before it is important. Hence, we will key on the following verses.

 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8 ESV

The Three Key Points Are!

One, Jesus didn’t hold His equality with God over people. Thus, He didn’t use it to his advantage. Think about this for a moment. Here, He was with great power at his disposal, yet, He set that aside to do the will of His Father.

Second, He humbly took on the likeness of man. Therefore, He knows what it is like to be human and suffered many things while on earth. He was tempted yet without sin. He fulfilled the law whereas we could not.

The third and most important is that He was obedient to the point of death. This was no ordinary death like a heart attack or from old age. It was an excruciating and shameful death on a cross, though Jesus scorned the shame that came with it. There was a purpose in His death.

This is why God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name above all names and that every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!(Philippians 2:9) Indeed, Jesus is the name above all names! He is the key to eternal life.


Related link: Excruciating Means Out of the Cross or Crucifixion3 Key Points

 

 

 

 

 

 

Footnotes:

  1. Philippians 2:5 Or which was also in Christ Jesus
  2. Philippians 2:6 Or a thing to be held on to for advantage
  3. Philippians 2:7 Or slave (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface)

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The Greatest Gift Ever Given!

Gift of faith

What is the greatest gift you ever received?

If you were asked what is the greatest gift that you ever received, what would be your answer? I am sure that there are a number of things that come to mind. Such as a car or maybe a baby would be your answer. How did you respond to the person who gave you that special present?

Well, we have been given the greatest gift ever given. It is a freely given. There are no strings attached. You can’t earn nor can you pay for it. Once received you cannot lose it. This special freely given treasure is referenced several times in the New Testament.Gift

What is it? You Ask.

It is the gift of faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

How do I know that it is Freely Given?

I find that answer in Romans.

Romans 3:23-25 ESV, 23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

Romans 5:15 ESV, “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.”

Don’t you appreciate a free gift? We all do. But yet, this one is often rejected. This is sad but true.

Nevertheless, when someone receives something of great value as a present there is much excitement and they want to tell everyone about it.

So What are We to do About the Gift that We have Received?

We are to go tell others about it. After all, if you were forgiven a large debt, would you not want to shout it out from the mountaintop? This is what has been done for us through Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should respond as the Apostle Paul did.

2 Corinthians 9:15 ESV, “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!”[i]

 

 

[i] Scripture references: English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

 

 

 

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Three Scriptures to Pray When in Need of Peace

3 Scriptures on peace

My Go to Scriptures on Peace.

  1. Isaiah 26:3 ESV You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts inYou.

There have been many times that I have used this verse to get me through turmoil. God will and has kept me in perfect peace when my mind is/was focused on Him and I trusted Him. I often prayed to God that He would help me to keep my mind on Him. He was always faithful. It is not easy to keep one’s mind on God when in the midst of trouble. However, it is the only way to get to the other side. God is greater than any problem that I ever face.

  1. Romans 12:18 ESV If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

This verse speaks to me about my responsibility to others. I am to strive to live at peace with everyone and recognize when it is not possible. There will be times when I have to walk away and leave it in God’s hands. Again, I am responsible for my part in any relationship.

  1. Philippians 4:6-8 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

In order to achieve the peace that passes all understanding, I am to pray to God when I am anxious. I am to make everything known to God by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. Then the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard my heart and mind. Therefore, when I am facing any hardship all I need to do is turn to God in prayer and give Him thanks for the answers. God will give me His peace that only He can give.

3 scriptures on peace

Final Thoughts

These scriptures are just a few of my go-to verses that have given me strength. God is the true source of everlasting peace. I pray that these will encourage you also. What verses do you use?

Related link: 5 Bible Verses on Grace.

 

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There is More Meaning to the Word Believe.

Believe

When I Say that I Believe in Jesus What am I Really Saying?

This is one of my favorite word studies, because there is so much more meaning to the word, believe. In the dictionary, it is defined as “to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.” Yet, in the Greek word, pisteuo, to believe, has more meaning to it than this.

We can all have confidence in something like our jobs, our families and even our cars. However, believing in Jesus is more than mere confidence. Pisteuo means to be persuaded of, to place confidence in, to trust, and reliance upon. I like to think of it this way. Picture yourself hanging on a rope. There is a knot tied at the end and you are hanging on for dear life. Jesus is that knot in the rope.

Furthermore, when I say that I believe in what Jesus did for me, I am saying that I am relying on Him, trusting in Him, adhering to Him and clinging to Him. Yes, I have confidence to but I am sold out and I know that He has me in His right hand. Therefore, I have assurance of eternal life and I can be reasonably happy in this life.

How do I know that I am right in believing? Good question. God’s Word tells me so. John chapter 3 clearly states it many times that whoever believes in Jesus will be saved and whoever does not believe is condemned (John 3:18, 36 ESV).

For Your Information.

The word believe/r/d/s is found 84 times in the book of John and 39 times in the book of Acts. The Apostle Paul made it quite clear to people in Antioch. He told them everyone who believes in Jesus is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the Law of Moses (Acts 13:39 ESV). So my question to you is “In whom do you rely upon, trust in and cling to?”

If you like word studies, check out this related link: Redeemed, Defined and Explained.

 

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Redeemed, Defined and Explained!

To Be Redeemed

Oh Joy! I am Redeemed!

This blog is inspired by another blog, “Don’t Be Perfect, Be Redeemed.” The word redeem/redeemed is found several times throughout the Bible. However, I want to focus on a couple of passages in the New Testament; Galatians 3:12-14 and Titus 2:13-15.

First let’s look at the meaning of the word redeem. According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, The Greek word for redeem in Galatians 3:13 is exagorazo, a strengthened form of agorazo denoting “to buy.” It is used metaphorically. Jesus has delivered us from the Law and its curse. He did so with giving His life on the cross. Doesn’t that sound like He wanted us because He willingly paid the price?

Second, the Greek word for redeem in Titus 2:14 is lutroo. Here it means “to release on receipt of ransom.” It Redeemedis used in a spiritual sense. Jesus gave Himself to ransom us from all lawlessness. Not only did He set us free but He also did so to purify for Himself a people for His own possession. He desires for us to zealous for good works.

In summary, to be redeemed means that Jesus bought and/or ransomed me from the Law and its curse and all iniquity. He did not have to but did so out of love for me. Therefore, I am His and bought with a price. I am no longer slave to sin nor am I destined to pay the price for my sins. Yet, while we were sinners Christ paid your debts as well as mine.

Be Sure to Check Out Allie’s Blog

In the aforementioned blog, Allie reminds us that Jesus doesn’t want our perfect. He desires us and we are to remain open and vulnerable to Him. Thus rejoice! And shout I am redeemed! To God be the glory!

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