Preparing the Table

(Images provided by Pixabay.)

Today is the day before Thanksgiving in the United States of America. Many of us are busy preparing food for our dinner and all of us should be preparing our hearts for the holiday. Thanksgiving provides us the opportunity to set aside a particular day to focus upon those things for which we are especially thankful. While food will fill our stomachs, gratitude to the Lord will fill our souls for His ample provision and protection. Today, I want to combine thoughts of preparing food and preparing our hearts.  Let’s focus upon the table the Lord prepares for us. While I may be busy preparing physical food for a special day, the Lord prepares spiritual food for us every day.

You (the Lord) prepare a table before me . . . .
Psalm 23:5

What does the table the Lord prepares look like? I think of the table as being the communion table. When Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples, He instituted the Last Supper known today as the sacrament of communion. Matthew 26:26-28 says, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is My body.’ Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.’” The table and elements of communion portray Jesus’ broken body and spilled blood (the bread and wine/grape juice) upon the cross (the table). 

In comparison to the dinner table, the communion table has greater significance.  While gathering with His disciples for the Passover meal, Jesus showed us an example of gratitude. He gave thanks for the bread and the wine before He shared it with His disciples. We must make it a priority to give thanks to God for our blessings before we eat the food on our Thanksgiving table tomorrow.

Does the Lord offer additional “food” at His table? The bread and the wine/grape juice of the communion table are the best “food” because they symbolize Jesus.  However, I want to consider some additional spiritual food. First, there is milk and meat. Hebrews 5:12-13 says, “by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the nature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.Some Bible translations say “solid food” but the King James Version says “meat.”  Meat is the word I want to consider. Milk and meat can refer to physical food, but  what does the writer of Hebrews mean? According to translations of the Greek language, “milk” is gala meaning the basic teachings of true Christianity and “meat” is broma describing the deeper spiritual doctrine of the Gospel. Fruit is also available. Galatians 5:22-23 describes this fruit, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

 Now I want to compare the  food I am preparing for Thanksgiving dinner to spiritual food. The Lord’s milk is not the same as the milk in the refrigerator.  Neither is spiritual meat like the turkey I am preparing to put in the oven. God’s milk and meat fill a spiritual hunger while my milk and turkey only curb physical hunger for a few hours. Although my cranberries and apples are tasty fruits, they are not nearly as life-giving as the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus, as the Bread of Life, is more satisfying than the yeast rolls I am baking.

What does the Lord ask of us regarding the table He has prepared?  Psalm 34:8 invites us to “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”  We can be refreshed and satisfied when we are in His presence. Also, the foods placed upon His holy table allow us to savor spiritual food.  Psalm 119:103 says, How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!What a delightful table the Lord prepares for us! His bountiful table is available 365 days a year while my Thanksgiving table is prepared only one day of the year.

Today is the day of preparing food and hearts for the Thanksgiving holiday. Tomorrow our family will gather around the table to eat the food I have prepared. Before we eat, we will take time to bow our heads and offer a prayer of thanksgiving. We will continue to express gratitude throughout our conversation during the meal. We willGive thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” according to Psalm 107:1. We will also be thankful for the spiritual table where we can gather throughout the year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Advertisements

Everything!

“Everything” is all-inclusive! When I was a little girl, my mother helped me learn me how to pray by giving me a simple prayer outline. She suggested that I pray, “God, thank You for ______ and ______.” I was to fill in the blanks with two things for which I was thankful that day. Sometimes it would be easy for me to fill in the blanks. Other times, I might just pray, “Thank You, God for everything!” This could have been my prayer because my heart was so full of gratitude that I could not choose two specific things. Or, it might have been an easy way out because I was too tired to think. Today, when I think about thanking God for everything, it involves a greater risk than I perceived as a child. Can someone be thankful for a diagnosis of cancer? Can another person be thankful for losing their job? At this point in my life, I do not always find it easy to thank God for everything. However, I do still pray about everything. I have discovered some all-inclusive scriptures I want us to think about today.

Jesus looked at them intently and said,
“Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God.
Everything is possible with God.”
Mark 10:27 NLT

Nothing” can be replaced with “everything” when we allow God to work on our behalf! This verse from the gospel of Mark is Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler who asked what he must do to inherit eternal life. Humanly speaking, neither this man nor any of us can do anything to inherit the kingdom of God. Admitting that we can do nothing opens the door for Jesus to do everything for us. Jesus did it all! He died on the cross to pay the price we cannot pay.

The other factor we need to remember is that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and His power, we become capable of doing the impossible even though we are human. I recently heard Bill Johnson  encourage us to not run from the impossible. We are told in Acts 1:8, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” The power of the Holy Spirit is the power of God for whom nothing is impossible and we can receive that same power. Bill Johnson pointed out that this power of the Holy Spirit in us is enough for us to do the impossible. We can do the impossible not because we are human, but because Christ through the Holy Spirit lives and works through us. This leads us to the next scripture.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NLT

Everything” is “every thing.” From this verse, I gain the confidence that I can do everything that I encounter in life because Christ promises to give me the strength to do what I need to do through the power of the Holy Spirit. I should never say, “I can’t.” When faced with a regimen of chemo treatments for a cancer diagnosis, one may feel overwhelmed and be tempted to cry out, “I can’t do this!” However, Paul assures us that we can do the “everything” facing us because Christ will be with us and working for us during the duration of the treatment. Years ago, my uncle underwent numerous treatments for cancer and I remember my mother commenting that she did not know how he was able to keep going in spite of the side affects etc. However, less than a year later, she faced similar cancer treatments and I witnessed the grace of God sustain her during her time of trial. I need to have the mindset of “I can” rather than “I can’t.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
John 15:7

Everything: can be “whatever.” This verse can be dangerous if we do not focus upon the complete verse. We must not skip over the “if” qualification for receiving what we wish or ask for “ if you remain in Jesus and His word”. In I John 5:14-15 the “if”qualification phrase relates to God’s will, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.” God is able to do everything we ask when we become so attuned to Him that whatever we ask is always in accordance with His will. Although God may not answer in the way we expect, He is able to give us everything as He promises when we surrender everything to Him allowing all our thoughts and desires to be His thoughts and desires. Psalm 37:4 NASB says, “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desire of your heart.” When we delight in Him, our desires are transformed into His desires.

Now there is another “if” scripture for us to consider.

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked.
“Anything is possible if a person believes.
Mark 9:23 NLT

Anything” is “everything!” In this scripture, Mark tells of a man who came to Jesus asking if He was willing and capable of releasing his son from the influence of an evil spirit. Because this man was thinking of Jesus’ capability from a human perspective, he was questioning Jesus’ ability to set his son free. Jesus responded by reassuring the man that through faith and trust anything and everything is possible. Like this man, we must be careful that we do not prevent the Lord from doing what He promises to do because of our lack of faith. We also need to remember that although anything is possible, God will only answer our prayers in His way according to His time.

And we know that God causes all things to work together
for good to those who love God, to those who are called
according to
His purpose. . . . predestined to
become
conformed to the image of His Son,
Romans 8:28-29

All things” is “everything!” The point to remember from this scripture is that while God is capable of causing everything to be used for His good, He does not cause everything that happens to us. Referring back to my simple prayer outline, I can pray “Thank You, God, for how You are going to use my current experience, whether it be positive or negative, for Your glory.” That is quite different from asking a recently unemployed person to pray, “Thank You, God, for my losing my job.” I like the thought that God gives us all kinds of situations so He can give us all things.

When we encounter all kinds of situations, God has the opportunity to reveal His faithfulness to us by showing us how He actually uses all the things we experience for good. God will use everything we encounter to make us more like Him. We may not like everything we experience but we still need to embrace everything and allow God to turn negative situations into positive life lessons. 

“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth
by your great power and outstretched arm.
Nothing is too hard for you.
Jeremiah 32:17

Everything” can meannothing.” Nothing is too hard for our Lord who created everything with His hands. Today, everything we experience passes through the hands of Him who created us and our surroundings. He continues to hold everything in His hands, so we do not need to fear anything we experience. If He could create this world we live in, then He can take care of it. There is no reason for us to doubt His ability. Truly, there is nothing too hard for God to do!

In Genesis 18:114, the Lord asked Abraham, “Is anything too Hard for the Lord?” My Reader, how do you answer this question? How does your response to this question affect how you feel about everything that happens in your life and how you handle every situation you encounter? May you remember the words of Colossians 2:10 in the Living Letters, “So you have everything when you have Christ.”

(Click on images to find the credit for appropriate images.)

 

Unplugged

The image posted above is a calligraphy drawing done by our granddaughter Grace. It was appropriate that she showed it to me on a day when we did not have electrical power at home. The previous afternoon we had experienced a wind and rain storm that caused us to lose power. We had become unplugged from our source of electricity!

After the storm, we went out to get something to eat (without electricity I was not able to prepare dinner) and we saw a broken electrical pole and downed wires. The culprit of our power outage was a big tree that had been uprooted and entangled with surrounding electrical cables. As a result, there were pockets of darkness throughout our neighborhood: 6 homes on our street, almost 30 on another street along with an additional 15-18 homes on the third street. It seemed strange that only certain homes in our tract lost power while others remained unaffected. The homes appeared to have diverse connections to the source of electricity, and that influenced whether or not power was lost.

Why different power connections exist within one neighborhood still does not make sense to us in the natural, but I see a supernatural picture of a similar circumstance that is understandable. How securely we are wired to the Lord affects our response when spiritual disturbances blow our way. If we are deeply grounded in our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, our faith will not likely to be uprooted when doubts rain down upon us. James 1:6 says, “… you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” The Amplified Version of John 16:33 says, “In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration, but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted!] I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” As a result of our wind and rain storm caused by nature, we were frustrated by our loss of electrical power. However, because of our faith in Christ we were assured that this inconvenience did not have any power to harm us. We were still connected to the greater power of God. Matthew 22:37-39 tells us how to stay connected, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Romans 8:39 tells us, “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Nothing can separate us, or disconnect us, from the power of God’s love!

There is power in God’s Word and God’s Word reveals the power of God. We serve an omnipotent God and our primary source of His spiritual power is His Word. Let me share a few scriptures that will help us recharge our spiritual batteries.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed,
for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that
this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
II Corinthians 4:7

For nothing is impossible with God.
Luke 1:37

(He) is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to His power that is at work within us,
Ephesians 3:20

As I stated earlier, storms can cause us to become disconnected from our source of power both physically and spiritually. Let me conclude by sharing a couple of songs that also speak of additional sources of God’s power, namely the blood of the Lamb and the name of Jesus. There Is Power in the Blood of the Lamb was written by Lewis E. Jones in 1899 and still has a vital message for today. The specific words I want to emphasize are as follows, “There is power, power, wonder-working power in the blood of the Lamb. There is power, power, wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb.” The second song is Break Every Chain by Tasha Cobbs. Again, there are a few specific lines for us to focus upon. “There is power in the name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain.

Mu Reader, I hope you physically have the luxury of electrical power in your home and may you spiritually stay connected to our omnipotent God who is the source of our sacred power. Do not become unplugged!

Are You Thirsty?

In a Sunday morning message, Pastor Bob Reeves made the following statement, “Jesus died thirsty so we will not go thirsty.” I have been thinking about this comment and want to share with you some of the understanding I have gained.

First of all, I validate the fact that Jesus died thirsty by noting the scripture of John 19:28, “Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’” The soldiers who were near the cross offered Him wine vinegar on a soaked sponge. He took their drink but then spoke His last words, “It is finished.” This little bit of liquid could not have satisfied His thirst. He was still thirsty when He died.

The fact that Jesus died thirsty is rather ironic because He promises us living water. Listen to Jesus’ words in John 7:37-39, “‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” Notice that Jesus does not say that He is the living water, but that He will give living water, the Holy Spirit. Such a beautiful satisfying promise for us!

There are two kinds of thirst – physical and spiritual. We all crave to have our cup filled at various times throughout our lives. At one point, we may desire a drink to satisfy our physical thirst while at another time we will experience spiritual dryness. There is reference to both thirsts in Isaiah 44:3. The Lord says, “For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants.Isaiah 12:3 refers to spiritual water, “Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.

In the fourth chapter of the gospel of John, we have the story of Jesus asking the Samaritan woman for a drink of well water. John 4:9-15 says, “The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?’ Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’” In the beginning, Jesus and the woman were talking about physical water but their conversation concluded with reference to spiritual water. While our physical thirst needs to be repeatedly satisfied, Jesus told the Samaritan that when she received the living water of the Spirit, she would not thirst again. He still offers us this same message today. The Holy Spirit will continually give us a fresh drink of living water. However, we must heed the words of Paul in I Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.” We may be able to quench our physical thirst but we must never allow our thirst for the Holy Spirit to be quenched to the point of not desiring His ongoing supply. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” The Lord promises in Jeremiah 31:25, “For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.”

In his sermon, Pastor Bob emphasized that it does not cost us anything to satisfy our thirst but it cost Jesus everything. It cost Jesus His life. The offer of free water is noted in Isaiah 55:1, “Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat.” In Revelation 21:6, Jesus says, “to the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.” John describes the source of this water in Revelation 22:1, “Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

I identify with the Psalmist in Psalm 42:1-2 who says, “As the deer pants for steams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Jesus still hears our pleas for Living Water. While being thirsty upon the cross where He died, Jesus paid the price and provided the source for water through the Holy Spirit. I like the wording of John 7:38 NASB, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” Not only do we receive this spiritual drink from the Lord, but we also have the privilege of offering it to other parched people around us.

My Reader, are you thirsty? Drink deeply of the Living Water!

SNOOPY!

I have a special email friend and fellow blogger who writes on the website “Esther’s Petition.”  In one post, she asks “What Are You Like, God?” When reading her inquiry, I knew I was about to be challenged and to learn something new about God. Without reading further, I stopped and personally prayed “What Are You Like, God?” The Lord answered Bette’s question with one word, “snoopy.” The Lord answered my question by telling to “think about Snoopy.” I want to share both of our responses to this question.

When I hear “Snoopy”, I think of the Peanuts cartoon by Charles Schultz. Although comical, I can glean some spiritual insight about who the Lord is from this little beagle. The first thing I notice it that DOG is GOD when spelled backwards. Hmmm. Maybe there is more to this dog than a cartoon for me.

Most of the time Snoopy is portrayed as living on top of his dog house rather than living inside it. Snoopy lives outside the box. This reminds me of the Holy Spirit who is with and upon and in us. Jesus tells His disciples in John 14:16, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” We see this promise fulfilled according to Acts 10:44, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.” Finally, Paul says in I Corinthians 3:16, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”

A common phrase originally accredited to Frederick the Great of Prussia says that a dog is man’s best friend. Snoopy is Charlie Brown’s dog and best friend. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” And in John 15:15 Jesus says to His disciples , “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” I am reminded of the old hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus

In some cartoon strips, Snoopy thinks he is another kid belonging to the gang and on occasion he even tries to be a player on the baseball team. From this perspective, I see Snoopy as both a dog and a kid reflecting Jesus as Son of God and Son of Man. Jesus acknowledges Himself as both in scripture. In John 5:16-30, we find Jesus as both Son of God and Son of Man. Jesus begins by explaining how He can only do what He sees My Father doing which reveals Him as the Son of God. However, in this passage in verse 27, Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of Man by saying, “And he (God the Heavenly Father) has given him (Jesus) authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.” Then, after Jesus was arrested and before He was crucified, He was brought before the Sanhedrin and Luke 22:70 records, “And they (the elders of the people) all said, ‘Are You the Son of God, then?; And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Yes, I am.’”

OK. I have shared mt lighter version of how God revealed what He is like to me. Now I want to highlight what my friend learned from her encounter with the Lord. God revealed to her that He is snoopy in a curious sort of way. He does not want to be snoopy to find fault, criticize, condemn or gossip. He just wants to know how He can best soothe our hurts and strengthen our weaknesses. Bette concludes by quoting II Chronicles 16:9 KJV, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect towards him.”

My Reader, are you willing to ask the Lord what He is like to you? You can be assured His answer will be enlightening, and it may even be humorous.

Jesus as Lord amidst the Leaves

(Click on images to find the credit for appropriate images.)

Autumn is a beautiful time of year in upstate New York. The trees boast of beautiful colors along the hillsides painting a gorge of grandeur. We went on an outing to Letchworth State Park, a visible sanctuary of splendor. During our hike, a scripture and a song were playing in my mind.

He who trusts in his riches will fall,
but the righteous will flourish like foliage.
Proverbs 11:28 NKJV

While walking along the trails of the park, we noticed that multitudes of leaves had already fallen upon the ground. We became aware of the crunching sound under our feet. There was no visible beauty in the brown leaves that covered the ground and crumbled with each step we took. The withered yet crispy leaves were like the fallen riches mentioned in Proverbs 11. When we trust in riches, we trust in things that are uncertain and undependable. Like the dried leaves, riches can be blown away by the wind. It is possible for them to be here one day and gone the next. Leaves fall, and so can those who trust in riches. Proverbs 23:4 NLT warns, “Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit.” Another scripture to remember is I Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

What a contrast between the dry leaves beneath our feet and the leaves that still hung on the tree branches overhead! Splashes of orange, gold, red, yellow along with a few remaining green leaves remained attached to the sturdy arms of the tree. The fall foliage painted a pleasing portrait for the eye to behold. In John 15:5, Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Although Jesus uses the terms vine and branches, we can make the comparison of Jesus being the tree and we as believers are the leaves. Just as the fall foliage flourishes, so will believers flourish. Psalm 34:15 declares, “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their cry.” and Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.

I will look up for there is none above You
I will bow down to tell You that I need You
Jesus Lord of all 

I will look back and see that You are faithful
I look ahead believing You are able
Jesus Lord of all, Jesus Lord of all

These phrases are part of the song I Will Look Up by Elevation Worship, and these are the words I was singing while hiking through the park. As we meandered along the trails, I was beholding the glory of God in nature and discerning His greatness supernaturally. When I looked up I saw the beauty of the leaves still attached to the tree and I realized that nothing was above our God, Creator of heaven and earth. (He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them– He remains faithful forever. Psalm 146:6) When I looked down, I saw dried leaves and I was reminded of my need of my Creator. (God, the LORD, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth.Isaiah 42:5 NLT) When I looked back upon the trail we were hiking, I saw again the natural beauty behind and the faithfulness of Jesus to guide every step I have ever taken. (Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6) When I looked ahead, I got another glimpse of the beauty of the park we had not yet seen and I also believed Jesus would guide each step I was yet to take throughout my life. (A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way? – Proverbs 20:24)

Throughout this day, we became aware that fall was a good description of this season as we watched leaves fall from trees. Also, the fall foliage offered us a beauty not visible at any other time of year. There were lessons to be learned from the leaves we walked upon as well as the lovely leaves we stopped to gaze upon that were still attached to their branches. However, the primary lesson learned is declared in the final phrase I quoted from the song by Elevation Worship: “Jesus Lord of all!” Jesus was evident in everything we saw and experienced throughout our day at Letchworth State Park. Philippians 2:10-11 expresses it well, “so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow,, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (my emphasis) Other scriptures that confirm the lordship of Jesus are Romans 10:9 (If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.) and I Corinthians 12:3 (and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.) According to Wikipedia, “Jesus is Lord” is the shortest creed of faith expressed in the New Testament.

My Reader, will you declare with me, “Jesus is Lord”?


 

Be a Prays-er

Prays-er” is a word used by Cindy Jacobs in the book Possessing the Gates of the Enemy. The uniqueness of this word Cindy created has given me much to think about. Most of us will say that we are pray-ers who talk to God asking for His help in situations in our own lives and in the lives of others. However, if I say I am a “prays-er” I am describing myself as a person who praises the Lord while I am praying. As a praiser, or prays-er, I choose to praise Him because of who He is, not because of what He does for me. I praise Him because He is the Creator of all things and the One who has given me life. I praise Him because He is my Savior, Lord, Healer, Deliverer, Defender, Provider, Protector, etc. He is loving, gracious, merciful and kind. God is good! He is worthy of my praise! Psalm 29:2 says, “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.” I want to fulfill this scripture by being a prays-er.

Psalms is probably the best book of the Bible for references to praise. (My Reader, you may want to do more research on your own regarding praise scriptures as I cannot begin to be inclusive in what I share. I just want to create within you a desire to become a prays-er.) Psalm 145:3 is a good starting point for praise. “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.” Psalm 100:4 instructs us, “Enter gates His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 150:2 NLT says, “Praise Him for His mighty works; praise His unequaled greatness!” David and the other writers of the Psalms were definitely prays-ers!

As a leader of the Israelites, Moses sets an example of the importance of praise when he personally declares in Exodus 15:2, “The LORD is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.” Moses refers to the Israelites as well as himself when he says in Deuteronomy 10:21, “He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes.” Flipping a few more pages of our Bibles, we find other references to praise.
I
Chronicles 16:9 instructs, “Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.” Reading a little further in this chapter, I Chronicles 16:25 says, “For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods.” None of these people limited their conversations with God to requests. They praised God for who He was. They were prays-ers!

Being a pray-er, requires more of us than asking God to help us and meet the needs of those around us. Paul says in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Petitions are a part of prayer but so is praise. When we praise the Lord for who He is, we will worry less because we will become more aware of His character and nature. When we praise the Lord for who He is, our faith is built up and we have the confidence to thank Him for what He is going to do. Praise is a powerful part of prayer! Be a pray-er and a prays-er!

Since there are scriptural references to praise in both the Old and New Testaments, praise is not restricted to a particular time period. In Isaiah 43:21, the Lord declares, “the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim My praise.” This is amazing! One of the reasons God created us is so that we can become prays-ers! Moving into the New Testament. we read I Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” Praise is pertinent for us today! God desires our praise – He wants us to be prays-ers!

Acts 16:25-26 tells us, “But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.” The combined power of prayer and praise resulted in freedom from the bondage of prison. The same wonder-working power of God is available to us. Paul and Silas are an awesome example of prays-ers!

Praise is mentioned in the apocalyptic books of Daniel and Revelation. Daniel 2:20 says, “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His.” John says in Revelation 5:11-12, “Then I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels and living creatures and elders encircling the throne, and their number was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands. In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’” It is interesting that the angels also praise the Lord. One of my favorites scriptures is Philippians 2:9-11, “God highly exalted Him (Jesus), and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” This indicates to me that I will be a prays-er not only while I am alive on earth but throughout all eternity! What a privilege!

I am a pray-er, a person who prays (talks to God), but I am also a prays-er, a person who praises (lifts God up and honors Him for who He is). I acknowledge with the prophet in Isaiah 25:1, “LORD, you are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.” I personally declare Psalm 104:33, “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” and Psalm 145:1-2, I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise You and extol Your name for ever and ever.”

My Reader, will you be a person who praises the Lord in addition to being a person who prays to God? I encourage you with the words of Hebrews 13:15, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.” Be a prays-er!