Posts Tagged ‘music’

Giving Thanks Is God’s Will

November 29th, 2017

Giving thanks honors God and values others.

 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are that,

“giving thanks is God’s will.” 

This year, our family decided to have our traditional Thanksgiving dinner outside, rather than in our dining room as has been customary. With four generations, along with friends, that is quite a full house. Our son and daughter along with their spouses, and our ever-growing family circle of grandkids with their spouses, and great grandkids from five years old and younger, gathered with friends from in town and out, as well as new friends from Romania. It was a beautiful, pleasant day with much conversation and lots of memories – some with tears – but most with joy and gratefulness.

Around large wooden cable spools for serving and dining, we visited and ate under the shade of Mesquite and Huisache trees – with curious visits from our dogs, miniature donkeys, and Hercules (our son’s horse). After a few moments of grateful Communion (a tradition begun by request of a grandson a few years earlier), plates were filled with turkey and ham, mashed and sweet potatoes, vegetables, salads followed by pumpkin pies, pumpkin crunch cake, banana pudding, and assorted Bundt cakes. Needless to say, no one went away hungry.

As the evening came, the great grandkids became the focus, enjoying rides across the pasture in the jeep with their dad, or down the road in a wagon pulled by a doting grandpa. As the sun faded and shadows lengthened, family and friends sat around a warming fire and laughed and remembered moments of life together, until farewells and bed time. We remain thankful to God for His faithfulness, and to one another for friendship.

My thought today is this. Thankfulness honors God and values others. Giving thanks is a lifestyle. Thanksgiving is just one special day on our American calendar. The apostle Paul encouraged true believers, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19-20 NIV. When do you give thanks? Always! For what do you give thanks? Everything! To Whom do you give thanks? To God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! The Apostle Paul seemed astonished when he described unthankful people. “They knew God, but they wouldn’t worship Him as God or even give Him thanks.” Read Romans 1:20-23 NLT. Giving thanks is the doorway to worship. Read Psalm 100 NIV.

Paul was consistent, even insistent, in his instructions to New Testament Christians, “Be Thankful . . Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through [Christ Jesus].” Colossians 3:16-17 NIV. The seeds of gratitude in your heart are the source from which giving thanks flows in your words and through your life. The Apostle Paul was clear. Whatever your circumstances of the moment, you always have cause to give thanks. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 NKJV.

That indescribable Gift is Jesus, God’s Son who died on the cross for your sins and mine, and rose again from the grave, ascending to Heaven so that you and I may have eternal life with Him. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 NIV.

The writer of Hebrews summarized my thoughts better than I could, “Therefore, by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to never remain silent when you have every reason to give thanks.







Christian Communications 2017

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True Worship

March 18th, 2011

“People the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” John 4:23 NAS

“Worship is the recognition of God’s proper place and your fitting response of devotion.”

My thoughts today are about “true worship.”

Worship happens instinctively. You were created to worship the One who created you. When you do that it feels natural because worship is in your DNA, an undeniable and unchangeable part of who you are. When you do not worship God, you will find a substitute – someone or something, maybe yourself. You will worship; the question is only who or what you will worship.

People become puzzled about worship, when worship is confused with a place rather than a purpose. If you were not raised “in church,” and sometimes even when you were, you can be unclear about worship. Let’s get back to basics; God’s opinion and instruction matters most.

Jesus met a woman at Jacob’s well outside the city of Samaria. Read John 4:4-26 NKJV. It was the middle of the day, an odd time for this unusual woman to come to draw water. Jesus began a life-changing conversation with her about thirst, natural and spiritual. It was quickly obvious that she was confused about a lot of things – life, relationships, and worship.

When the conversation turned in the direction of spiritual life, she was concerned about the proper place for worship – the Samaritans in Samaria, or the Jews in Jerusalem? Does it really matter where? Not to God, but it seems to be an issue with many people.

Most times we are also confused, because we are conflicted about how to worship. Where a person worships reflects what they think worship should “look and feel like,” and that usually translates into their preferred style of music and familiar manner of expression – contemporary or traditional, fast or slow, rock or religious, exuberant or contemplative, etc. Those things are not about God or worship because worship isn’t merely about style or music. Those are about you, your experience, familiarity, and preferences mostly.

Know this: worship is not about you; it’s all about God! God’s priority is about who and why you worship, not how you do that or where you do so; true worship is your recognition of God’s proper place in your life and your fitting response of devotion to Him.

With personal knowledge and good authority, Jesus said, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know . . true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:22-24 NAS. You are someone for whom the father seeks; your worship is His joy.

The most basic reality about worship is your personal and growing relationship with God, “the Father.” How can you worship “the Father” you do not know, and how will you know “the Father” you do not worship? Your worship can only deepen and grow as your knowledge and relationship with God matures and grows. Worship is way beyond music; music is merely an expression of the soul worshiping.

True worship pours out of a sacred life, lived beyond a church’s walls. “Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life – and place it before God as an offering.” Romans 12:1-2 The Message. Now, that’s what worship looks and sounds like!

My prayer for you today is that you know God personally and worship Him truly.

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You’ve Got to Have Heart

April 23rd, 2010

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22 NIV

“What you carry in your heart affects much more than you imagine.”

My thoughts today are, “you’ve got to have heart.”

Do you know what’s really in your heart? The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart and examine the mind . .” Jeremiah 17:9-10 NIV. Sounds like we might have quite a problem here. The heart can be a tricky thing. How could you take an inventory of your heart, and why would you do so?

The Bible uses the heart to describe who you really are at your core, and what you are about. Maybe that’s why the Bible finds it important to distinguish that “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV. If that’s where God looks, it would seem wise that occasionally and regularly you took time to look there as well. I find that I need God’s help to really look into my own heart. I have to cry out sincerely with the Psalmist, Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties. And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV. Do you know what the cry of God’s heart is? See Deuteronomy 5:29 NKJV.

I knew that the heart would be a major theme of Scripture, but was amazed at the near innumerable times and ways the heart is described in both Old and New Testaments. A quick reading of those occurrences of the word in a Bible Concordance is both enlightening and sobering, and would be time well spent. What you carry in your heart affects much more of everyday life than you might imagine. The Bible describes “the hidden man of the heart . . which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:4 NKJV. Never allow anything to hide in your heart that you do not want expressed in your life.

At the source of things either good or bad, you will find your heart. See Matthew 12:34-35/15:18-19 NKJV. The heart is the place where love is born and faith resides. Mark 12:30-31 NIV/Romans 10:10-11 NKJV. But that’s also where doubt lodges, before disturbing your thoughts – where desire is birthed, then expressed in behavior – where attitudes are formed that are then evidenced in words and deeds. I think you get the idea.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 NIV. Do you know how God does that? He cleanses and changes your heart by His Word and Spirit. “For the word of God is living and active . . it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart . . through the Holy Spirit who gives us new birth and new life by washing us.” Hebrews 4:12 NIV/Titus 3:5-6 TEV. See Ephesians 5:26-27 NIV.

Here is a practical application that can make your day a better day. A clean heart is the basis for a cheerful heart. “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22 NIV. My grandmother would have described the idea this way, “It’s good for what ails you.” In reading your Bible, have you noticed how many times Jesus began His words by first saying, “Be of good cheer.” That’s a good place to start, whatever the situation or latest news. Choose to live cheerfully, “making music to the Lord in your heart.” Read Ephesians 5:18-20 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that your heart is holy and happy in God.

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