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 that 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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Let’s Feast on God’s Word

God’s Word Can Be a Feast!

The sermon at yesterday’s ordination of our new pastor was in regards to looking to God alone for all things. The scripture for the sermon was Psalm 62:1-2 and the title was  “Be Strong in the Lord.” Sure, I am blessed and probably a little privileged yet it is to God alone that I can find true rest for my soul. So, I elected to feast on God’s word alone today.

I set aside my desires for food and looked to God and His word for sustenance. This morning, I began meditating on Psalm 62. I focused on keywords such as alone and only in verses 1,2,5, & 6. It is in God alone that my soul waits not in my husband, family or friends. God only is my salvation, my rock, and my defense not my accomplishments or my possessions. I am to wait only upon God not in food or in the approval of men. My hope and expectations are in the Lord. I shall not be moved for God alone is my defense and my fortress. Therefore, I will look to God alone for rest for my soul and for my salvation. I will not be moved.

Reading further, I see that I am to trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times. Yet, I have not done this. I have mistakenly put my hope and trust in my relationship with my husband. Though he is a kind and caring man, he is human and therefore not perfect. I am wrong to look to him to satisfy my soul the only way God can.

Breakfast  & Lunch Meditations

By 9 a.m, I turned my meditation to feast on Psalm 139. From the first 6 verses, God revealed to me that He knows everything about me. There is nothing that He does not know; not even my thoughts are secret. His hand is upon me and He is all around me. His knowledges is too infinite to comprehend. I take comfort in knowing that I am known by God. Therefore, when I feel that no one understands me, I need only to remember that God know everything about me.

As I sat down to lunch, I again focused on the above Psalm with verses 7-13. I reflected on the fact that there is nowhere I can go to escape God’s spirit. Whether I go to the mountaintop or to lowest valley God is there. Whether I fly to great heights or go to the bottom of the ocean God is there. Even the darkness cannot hide me from God. Consequently, I am never alone for God is always with me. When I feel lonely, I only need to remember that God is with me wherever I go.

In addition, I added music to my time with God. I listened to and sang “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and “Be Thou My Vision” at lunch time. As I continued with my readings for snack, I worshipped the Lord in song with “How Great Is Our God” and “Here I am to Worship.”

Final Thoughts

To conclude, God is good and He alone is all I need. How great is our God. There is no one like Him in all the earth. His Word does satisfy the soul. I will take comfort in Him knowing that He knows me and loves me just the same. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

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Defining Moment Has Come!

Where I find my defining moment

What I Have Learned from My Defining Moment.

Over the past couple months, I have been exploring the “how” God is being worshiped in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) in the area that I Live. Today, I reached a defining moment when it comes worship.

The LCMS has a particular order to the way worship service is followed. This what is termed the substance which is not to be changed. What may you ask does this mean? There are a number of things that are a part of the substance such as confession & absolution, the creeds, baptism, Gospel reading, communion and the Lord’s Prayer. This is what comprises a liturgical service. The way or order that these follow is what is termed the form.

‘As long as the substance remains the same, the form may change’ is the way one part of the LCMS looks at worship. I have visited a few churches and seen the various forms that worship has taken. From what I have seen so far there was one service that the form effected the substance. There were a quite few parts of substance that were not present. At two other services, the form was different but the substance was present with only one or more parts absent. My home church, I believe, has found a very good balance where the substance remained and the form was altered so that all parts were present.

My defining moment came when God helped me understand that what is the most important is the condition of my heart. Man judges the outward appearance but God judges the heart. If I am worshiping Him in spirit and in truth at my church then I am where I belong.

My Conclusion

I recognize that where I currently worship is right for me because God’s truth is taught through scripture reading and the creeds and He is worshiped in song. It is through confession and absolution that I admit that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I receive forgiveness of my sins through communion.  I am also able to worship Him in spirit and in truth for who He is. Therefore, I am a Christian who chooses to worship in an LCMS church.

Where are you able to worship God in spirit and in truth? Check out this Related Link: 5 Things I Love about my Church!

(1 John 1:8-9, Acts 4:12, 1 Samuel 16:7, John 4:23-24)

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Air Force Training and Service to My Country

My Air Force Training

My Years of Training in the United States Air Force

 After high school, I went to Air Force Basic Training in San Antonio, Texas, in the summer of 1984. Following basic training, I went to Colorado for Air Force Technical school. I was training to be a munitions system specialist. I would go on to handle, store, inspect, and deliver Aircraft munitions. After training, I went back to Bergstrom AFB and served 2 years there in the Air Force Reserve.
I made an attempt at living at home and commuting to the University of Texas. I majored in electrical engineering, big mistake. Physics class presented me the hardest course. I joined the Air Force ROTC which only made it harder because I had to take 15 to 18 hours a semester. Yet, I had too much fun in the ROTC. I especially enjoyed going to football games. Gradually, my grades started to reflect this and I had to drop out. I made the decision to go full-time active duty.

Going from Reserves to Active Duty

In 1986 after going active duty, I went to Tyndall AFB in Pensacola, Florida. This would be my first active duty assignment. I was a bit of a recluse there and I met my first husband while stationed in Florida in 1987. In August of 1988, I received orders to go to Korea for a remote tour. In February of 1989, I flew home to get married and returned to Korea to finish my tour and change my follow on assignment.
My husband returned to Florida and received his orders for Morbach Air Base, Germany. I distinctly remember putting in for a joint assignment knowing that God would answer this request. God indeed answered because I later received my orders to Hahn Air Base. By September 1989, I was in Germany. I found out that I was pregnant in October 1990. We were in Germany until his death in December 1990. I took a hardship assignment back to Bergstrom AFB.  My son was born in July 1991. I would be there until the base closed in 1992. As of July 15, 1992, I was honorably discharged from the military. God was with me every step of the way. He was my comfort and mainstay.

My Faith in God Sustained Me

It was times like this that I look back and see one set of footprints in the sand and know that Jesus carried me through. If it was not for my faith in Jesus, I am not sure how I would have managed to get through that time in my life. However, I am now blessed with a handsome young man that my son has become. I am grateful for the places and experiences that I went through as well as for all the people I met along the way. I leave you with this verse because God never wastes a hurt.
 
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
 Related Link: My Story
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me and impart to you what I have learned from His Word.
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New Self: A Change in Our Hearts

Change in our hearts

Our Hearts are Keys to the New Self.

This is the final part in a series on the New Self of which this makes 5. In part 4 of this series, Characteristics of the New Self, I discussed Colossians 3:11-13. We learned what we were to put on. This part we will discuss the change in our hearts as a result of Jesus in our lives.
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:14-17 ESV.
Here we are instructed to put on love which binds things together, to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts and be thankful. In verse 16 we find the how to, through letting word of Christ dwell in us going on to teach and admonish one another.
The key here is that it is a matter of the heart. First, we are to let the peace of Christ and His word rule in our hearts and second being thankful in our hearts to God.

My Personal ExperienceHearts changed

Ephesians 4:21-32 is another passage on putting on the new self. I particularly like verse 29, Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (ESV) This means that one should be mindful of what comes out of one’s mouth as not to hurt or harm others. One ought to think of something to say that would build the other person up instead.
God has often afforded me the grace to hold my tongue at times. He helped me to remember that once words are spoken I cannot take them back. I also think of how I would want to be treated and try my best to be kind. Again, I may not always get it right but I do my best to promptly admit when I do wrong and ask for forgiveness.
In conclusion, as a follower of Christ, I am called to live differently.  By the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit and study of God’s word I can be the light in this dark world. I am changed from the inside out and I like who I have become in Christ.
May you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Tomorrow I will have another acronym for your consideration.
 

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New Self: Put Away Old Habits

Old Habits

Put Away the Old Habits.

 In my post titled A Paradigm Shift, I discussed what we were called to put to death. Apostle Paul continues to tells us to put away old habits of the sinful nature. Therefore, we continue on a theme.
Colossians 3:8-10, “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
In verse 8, look at the contraction here. It is a turning point. You were once living in sin BUT now you must put them all away. Your action is required. There is no and, if, or but about it. The rest of the verse lists those things that one is to put away. These are the old habits of our sinful nature.
In verse 9, we are told that we are not to lie to one another because we have put off the old self with its practices. Lying is to be a thing of the past, in with the new and out with the old. After all, Christ has made you a new creation.
In verse 10, we are to put on the new self which is being renewed in the knowledge after the image of its creator.  How is this done? We are to be transformed by the renewal of our minds through God’s Word.  Renewal in the Greek means to replace thought process in error. God’s word replaces that error in us. This is what makes us different from the world and what should draw others to Christ as they see that difference in us.

Look for the Next Post on this Theme.

In part 4, we will look at the characteristics of the new self in verses 11-17. In my next post, I will share with you God’s cell number.
 
What efforts are you making to replace the thought process in error in order to put off the old self and embrace the new self?
 
 
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New Self: A Paradigm Shift is Needed

Paradigm Shift

What is a Paradigm Shift?

A paradigm is a framework of basic assumptions and ways of thinking about something, for example, a worldview. A paradigm shift is a change in those assumptions and ways of thinking to another point of view. Often it is not easy to make the change. However, this shift is exactly what the Apostle Paul is wanting believers to do. Think of it like crossing a bridge to the other side of a great chasm.

Put to Death What is Earthly in you.

We pick up the post on Put on the New Self, part 1. We are focusing on Colossians chapter 3. In part 1, we covered Colossians 3:1-4. Today’s passage is verse 5-7. 
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these, you too once walked, when you were living in them,” (ESV).

You might ask, how does one put to death that which is earthly in us?  Good question! This is where the paradigm shift begins. Here we will use scripture to interpret scripture. Romans 6:13a reads, “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness.” We are to choose not to sin.

The earthly things that we are to put to death are listed in the second half of verse 5 above. Ephesians 5:3 tells us that sexual impurity and all impurity or covetousness must not even be mentioned among us as is proper among the saints. Covetousness is referred to as idolatry (Eph. 5:5). Idolatry is the worship of an idol or a physical object as a representation of a god. So when one desires what someone else has, one is putting that desire before God in one’s life.

Paradigm

We are not Helpless. We have a Helper.

However, we are not left helpless. 1 Corinthians 10:13 reads, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Therefore, as followers of Christ, we have a way to avoid the temptation to sin and God will provide that way out. God gives us the power to put to death that which is earthly in us through the study of His word, prayer, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
To summarize, the paradigm shift is not only to see our sins as God does but to have a desire to put them to death.  The Holy Spirit enables us to resist temptation and will convict us when we have a need for it.

Next in the series: Put Away Old Habits.

 

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