The Good Life is Found in Jesus!

Good life

The Good Life!

In church on Sunday, July 31,2016, the title of the sermon was “The Good Life.” The scripture for the message came from Ecclesiastes 2: 2; 12-14; 2:18-20. Yet, the message was not only in the sermon but also in the hymns that we sang.

Our opening hymn was “Speak, O Lord,” which we learned sometime last year. I, especially like, the first verse of this hymn. The melody is rich and beautiful. Here is the first verse.

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of your holy word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes, for Your glory

In this verse, I find, in order, to experience the good life, I need God’s truth planted deep inside me.  If I allow God to use His word to shape and fashion me into the likeness of Christ, my acts of love and my deeds of faith will be for His glory. Certainly, God alone has the power to fulfill His purpose in me.

The second hymn that spoke to the message was “What Is the World to Me.” This hymn tells of the importance Jesus is to me. From verse 1, I read that Jesus alone is my treasure and my soul’s delight. Jesus is what I truly prize above all things in the second verse. Though the world seeks after wealth and is never satisfied, I am content because my Jesus is my wealth in the third. Therefore, Jesus is my all in all; what is the world to me.

The Message

Furthermore, the sermon spoke of chasing after wealth and things apart from God is vanity. It is unjust to toil and labor and then to leave it behind to those who did not toil for it. Yet, Jesus gave it all away for us. One cannot find the good life apart from Him.

Overall, The service left me wanting more of Jesus and my worship was richly blessed. Hence, I shall seek Him first.

Related Link Hope is Found in Jesus

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There is Power in the Name of Jesus!

Though the World Would Shut Jesus Out.
He Prevails!
The Triumphal Entry 
As Jesus entered Jerusalem on what we have come to call Palm Sunday, people then were crying out, 
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory to the highest!” 
The Pharisees, religious leaders of the time, told Jesus to rebuke his disciples but Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very rocks cry out.” 
Today, there are those who would have the name of Jesus censored from television. Yet, His name prevails thanks to a number of strong Christian artist who refuse to be silenced. Here is a link, Jesus’ Name Be Lifted Up, to view the artist and their astounding performances. It takes courage to take a stand for Jesus and it makes my heart glad to see young people refusing to be silenced. I pray that we will continue to see more and more people young and old alike praise the name of Jesus wherever they are.
It has been my experience to watch a room clear when Jesus is discussed. If there were no power to His name then why does His name effect peolpe the way it does? I will worship and adore His name until I die. Praise the name of Jesus!
Try as they may to keep Him out, the name of Jesus will prevail. To God be the glory!
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
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My Fortress is God!

Worship Him for He is Our Fortress!
As I read the scriptures listed, there are a number of songs that come to my mind that sing of God as our fortress and He is our deliverer. One of my treasured hymns comes to the forefront, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, written by Martin Luther. This hymn is one of the most recognized and loved hymns.
The second definition of fortress is any place of exceptional security; stronghold. Therefore, God is our place of  exceptional security; our stronghold. In the hymn, God is our bulwark never failing. Bulwark is defined as any person or thing giving strong support or encouragement in time of need, danger, or doubt.  God is my bulwark that never fails and He is where I can turn to when I am in need of encouragement and support. He also provides support in my husband and friends.
In the second verse of this hymn, Jesus is called the Lord Sabaoth meaning He is the Lord of armies. Jesus is the power that will defeat our mortal enemy for his doom is sure. God’s kingdom is forever. This is why I love to worship God through singing the fore mentioned hymn for He alone is my fortress and bulwark; no matter what the enemy throws at me, God is the winner and has defeated him through His Son, Jesus.
God has brought me through a lot of difficult times in my life and has brought about reconciliation in relationships with my family. To God be all praise and glory forevermore. I want to encourage you to draw closer to Him.
How has God been your fortress or bulwark? Give Him the glory!
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. 
Psalm 62:2 
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Worship Him A New!

With Hymns!
Author, Stephen P. Starke
There is something majestic, beautiful, and worshipful about traditional hymns. In churches today, there seems to a push to leave hymns behind and move toward contemporary praise songs. I wish that this was not the case. I am blessed that where I chose to worship the Lord has a blend of both hymns and today’s praise music. I have made the hymn above a link to video with music and lyrics to this wonderful hymn that I have been learning at my church. 
What is key in the songs we sing is the message. What are the words telling us? Are they pointing praises to God and of Jesus and Him crucified and raised again to life for our salvation? Do the words bring Him honor and glory? Or do they makes us happy with a catchy tune yet void of any true meaning? 
In the aforementioned hymn, it is in the last line of verses 1-3 that strike my heart. Verse 1, “O holy, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth; Your majesty and glory fill the heavens and the earth.” 
Verse 2, “O all-majestic Father,Your True and only Son, and Holy Spirit, Comforter – forever Three in One.” 
Verse 3, Then by Your resurrection You won for us reprieve –  You opened heaven’s kingdom to all who would believe.
This hymn is a versification of the Te Deum laudamus done by Stephen P. Starke in 1999.  It was published in 2006. The tune is from Gustav Holst’s The Planets, specifically the movement “Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity.”  The tune is from a section in the middle of the movement.  Both text and tune combine to create a majestic hymn that confesses so much about our God and especially what He has done for us by sending Christ to redeem the world. (I found this information from another link discussing this hymn.)
I truly hope that hymns do not become a thing of the past. There are a number of songs on Christian radio that inspire me yet there is something about hymns that call my heart to worship God in spirit and in truth.
I would like to encourage you to explore your hymn book and find one that moves you to worship God in spirit and in truth.
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
Revelation 5:13b
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A Time is Coming!

The time is now to worship God. I had the honor of participating in a Passion play in March. It started off with the Samaritan woman at the well. I particularly like the passage of John chapter 4 where Jesus is talking to her about worship (4:19-24). He tells her that a time is coming when God will be worshiped neither on the mountain nor in Jerusalem. The Amplified Version emphasizes that in spirit is from the heart, the inner self. I think of it as heartfelt worship for who He is, what He has done, and what He is yet to do. It is not going to matter too much about form but more as a matter of the heart. God knows my heart, therefore, He knows when I worship Him in spirit and in truth.
One of the greatest weapons that Satan has is our battle over how others choose to worship. It is a driving wedge in congregations and church organizations. Who am I to judge how another chooses to worship as long as they are worshiping in truth according to God’s word? Jesus came to testify to the truth. He is the truth, the way, and the life. If people want to use praise music and raise their hands then they should be allowed that freedom. God wants our hearts to be filled with His praise and thanksgiving. Do not allow Satan to rob us of our true worship and the glory that it brings God. I need to focus on the condition of my heart and not be concerned over someone else. I can only pray for them. I cannot persuade them. I choose not to condemn someone if they want traditional hymns and liturgy. It may be right for them but for me my heart sings for God with both traditional hymns and contemporary praise music. The time has come to worship God for who He is.
One of my favorite phrase is, “The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart.” It is what is in my heart when I go to worship that is important. Humility is admitting to myself that in the face of God I am worthless but because of Christ I live. Therefore, I ask God to search my heart, to test me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me. Lead me, Lord in the everlasting way (Psalm 139:23-24). 
How is your worship? Have you found yourself to be critical of how someone else chooses to worship God? 
I leave you with Psalm 139:1-3;
O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me.

You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];
You understand my thought from afar.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
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Ways to Worship God Daily

Looking at the Psalms
Psalm 29,66,95, & 96
 29:2, Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.  
There is a footnote that holiness could also be holy attire. This could be a reason that we dress so formerly for Sunday worship. But could we not also be mindful of what we wear on a daily basis out of respect for God and for ourselves? There many ways to worship Him on a daily basis.
 66:4, All the earth worships You and sings praises to You; they sing praises to Your name.
 We do sing Him praises when we gather to worship on Sunday but do we sing Him praises when we are not in church? Could we not incorporate some praise music into our daily lives? 
95:1-2, 6, Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! … Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
Make a joyful noise? When was the last time you made a joyful noise unto the Lord? Bowing down is a matter of the heart and humbling oneself before our God. It signifies surrender.
96:3-4, Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.
When was the last time you shared your God story with someone and told them of the marvelous things that He has done in Your life? For me it has been amazing to share my God story with others. It has been healing, uplifting, and I have been a blessing to someone else.
Long and short of it is to tell of His marvelous works, make a joyful noise unto the Lord, and sing praises unto His name. This is just s few ways to worship His majesty. We honor Him in all we that do by remembering that it is in doing unto others and sharing Him with those we know that brings Him honor. If we live a life that is God honoring then others will want what we have.
May your life bring Him honor and thus be worshiping Him. In what ways can you worship God on a daily basis?
My Prayer: Lord God, may all that I say and do bring honor to Your Holy Name. Forgive me, Father, when my actions do not bring You honor. Amen.
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Study How God was Worshiped

In The Old Testament
Examples from
 Genesis, Exodus, Judges, 2 Samuel, 2 Chronicles
As I have been putting together a Bible study on worship, I have come across some really interesting people and times of worship in the Bible. They include people like Abraham’s servant, Moses, Gideon, David, and corporate worship of Israel. I particularly found one time that David worshiped God to be of interest because it came after a loss. You can find this story in 2 Samuel 12. Read 2 Chronicles 29 and learn how Israel worshiped together and why. I have learned that God is to be worshiped at all times and this includes times of despair or tragedy. Worship includes song and dance as well as cleanliness and proper attire.
In the study I am working on, I ask readers to look at what led people to worship and how they worshiped. Worship is more than just praise. There are many times in my life that have led me to worship Him. He has kept me from harm and has blessed me in so many ways. I am blessed to be called out to speak, to write a Bible study, and write this blog. He keeps me humble for I know that none of this would be possible without Him. Apart from Him, I can do nothing of significance for His kingdom, yet, with Him all things are possible. You see, I want to learn how I can worship the Lord anew. I am sharing some of what I have been working on so that you, too, might desire to worship Him anew.
Psalm 29:1-2
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
My Prayer: Almighty God, You alone are worthy of all worship & praise. I do desire to worship You anew. Amen.
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Worship Hinges on Honor

Give God Honor For
Who He is, What He has done,
& What He has yet to do.
I have come to realize that I do not worship God enough for the above reasons. Worship is more than just praise. It is honoring Him in all that I purpose to do. God is worthy of my respect and esteem. After all He created the heavens and the earth and has given me life.
Giving Him honor for who He is; Lord God Creator of all that is and was and ever shall be, sovereign Lord full of grace and truth, and a God of steadfast love. By being a good steward of His creation and giving Him His rightful place in my life.
Giving Him respect for what He has done; rescued me from death and the devil through Jesus’ death and resurrection and the many other blessing in my life such as a son and my heart’s desire in my second marriage with grown children whom I have come to love with all my heart. By telling others of His goodness and grace, and loving my family & friends as well as in singing praise songs.
Giving Him Honor for what He has yet to do; prayers waiting for God’s timing to be answered and for the return of Jesus to bring God’s kingdom. By continuing to stay in His word, attending corporate worship, and giving to those who serve His Name.
How can you give God honor in your life?
My prayer: Dear God in heaven, hallowed be Your name. May all I do and say bring You glory and honor. Help me to at the end of my day to look and see where I did or didn’t give You honor and seek Your forgiveness. Amen.
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Great is the Lord!

Psalm 145
They shall speak of the might of Your awesome deeds,
    and I will declare Your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of Your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
Continuing on a theme, God is great no matter what I am going through. I heard it said that when God wants you to grow He makes you uncomfortable. Therefore, I will praise Him for the times in my life that He has made me uncomfortable. Often it is personal conflicts that make me the most uncomfortable. My biggest hang up was having to make someone else uncomfortable with a decision or choice that I made. I have come to realize that it is not wise to make myself uncomfortable for the other person’s sake. If I am honest and speak in truth and love both parties are far better off.
Without growth, one becomes stagnate and therefore makes no progress in becoming all that God has created that person to be. Growth does not come easy or cheap. There is some discomfort and cost but the outcome far exceeds it all. For me, I like what God is doing in my life and I enjoy life and I can fully love others as Christ would have me to do. With God’s help, I am learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable in my life knowing that He is wanting me to grow.

How has God made you uncomfortable? Give Him thanks and praise for He is good!
My Prayer: Dear Father God, thank You for making me uncomfortable and forgive me when I grumble about it. Help me to see where You want me to grow. Amen.
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God is Good; All the Time!

Psalm 145
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    His greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends Your works to another;
    they tell of Your mighty acts.
I know that it is the easiest to say this when all is going well but it holds true even when times get tough. Looking back on this year so far I have had some tough times. 
I have had to go to the emergency room on New Years day and two surgeries in the same month; God is good! 
I have had another surgery in May; yet, God is good!
There have been three deaths in my family thus far, one was my biological father; God is good! 
There have been changes in key relationships for the better; God is good!
There has been an addition to our family, the birth of my niece, Yeah, God! God is good! 
Though my life may be buffeted by good times and turmoil, God has remained faithful and unchanging. I have seen amazing answers to my prayers. Though there are those who would refute my belief in God, I will continue to put my trust in Him for He has proved Himself time and time again. His greatness, indeed, no one can fathom! I will tell of His mighty deeds!
I encourage you to look back and see what God has done in your life since the start of this year. Remember and treasure His mercies.
My Prayer: Dear God, You are, indeed, a good and just God. Thank You for Your tender mercies. May others be inspired to look back and see Your greatness. Amen 
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