The Applause of Nature

The noise of the day had quieted. I relaxed on the deck. I felt a gentle breeze blow across my face. Then I heard it! I heard the sound of nature. The leaves of the trees were swaying with the wind. They were rustling against each other. I heard the trees clapping their hands!

Psalm 47:1 NKJV says, “O clap your hands, all you people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

The trees were clapping their hands and shouting triumphant praise. I wanted to follow their example.

I realized the trees were able to clap their hands (their leaves) with the wind’s help. Wind is also a description of the Holy Spirit. I meditated upon my reliance upon the Holy Spirit’s help. Jesus says in John 14:16-17, I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.Because the Holy Spirit nudged me that evening, I was able to perceive God’s glory in my surroundings.

I clapped my hands. My soul shouted praise.

As I remained upon the deck, my eyes glanced towards the western horizon. An awesome sunset was displayed. I paused to applaud. God had created a majestic masterpiece by painting beautiful colors across the sky. I exclaimed my approval by praising Him for His artistic performance.

Once again, I was quiet. I faintly heard another sound. I discerned that it was the voice of the stream flowing near our property line. The water produced audible vibrations as it meandered downstream. Psalm 98:8 begins, “Let the rivers clap their hands.My heartbeat was in rhythm with the water’s claps and slaps.

It was a delightful evening. I experienced the atmosphere’s accolades.

Nature clapped. And I clapped my hands. I also clasped my hands in prayer. Proverbs 15:8 tells me that the prayer of the upright pleases the Lord. I wanted to fulfill the words of David in Psalm 141:2. “May my prayer be set before You like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

I experienced the promise of Isaiah 55:12. “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

A Cornucopia of Gratitude

November 28 is when the people of the United States of America will celebrate Thanksgiving in 2019. A cornucopia is a common symbol of the Thanksgiving season. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary describes a cornucopia as “a curved, hollow goat’s horn or similarly shaped receptacle (such as a horn-shaped basket) that is overflowing with fruit and vegetables.  It is used as a decorative motif of abundance.” It is also known as a horn of plenty.

Historically, one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations took place in 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast. This was after the colonists’ first successful corn harvest. I can imagine a goat’s horn filled with an abundance of harvested crops placed in the center of the table. It probably was a horn filled with plenty of corn, squash and pumpkins. Everyone expressed their thankfulness.

As a child, I remember my mother placing a cornucopia on our kitchen table during the Thanksgiving season. It was a horn-shaped wicker basket filled with artificial grapes, apples, and pears. (We ate the real fruit.) It was our horn of plenty. It was a reminder of God’s bountiful provision. We were thankful.

Today, I imagine myself being a cornucopia in the flesh. I am filled with an abundance of gratitude to God. I do not look like a cornucopia but my heart is overflowing with thanksgiving. A musical horn produces a pleasant melody when it is played. Maybe I am a human horn of plenty vocally expressing praise and gratitude to God for His bountiful blessings.

The following scriptures are examples of the spiritual fruit that is flowing out of my carnal cornucopia.

I give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
His love endures forever.
I Chronicles 16:34

I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.
Psalm 7:17

I will give thanks to You, LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all
Your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1

I will come before His presence with thanksgiving,
I will shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods,
Psalm 95:2-3

I will praise the LORD. I will give thanks to the LORD,
for He is good; His love endures forever.
Psalm 106:1

Let me give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
Psalm 107:8

And whatever I do, whether in word or deed,
I do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:17

Thanksgiving is more than just the name of the holiday when we gather together for a feast of food. As we look at the cornucopia, may we be reminded of the true meaning of our Thanksgiving. May Thanksgiving Day be a day of giving thanks.

 

Praiseorama

I want to create a new word: praiseorama.

My concept for praiseorama originates from panorama. A panorama is defined as an unobstructed and wide view of an extensive area in all directions.

I suggest that a praiseorama is a portrait of a spiritual atmosphere of positive praise. No derogatory words, thoughts or actions to obstruct our perfect view of God. Just praise in every direction.

Click – click – click. A camera records visual images. Then, numerous individual photos are combined to create a panorama. Speak – speak – speak. We declare our praise unto the Lord. Then, we gather together a multitude of verbal declarations to create a praiseorama.

The following verses are appropriate scriptures to speak forth.

Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD!
Jeremiah 20:13

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.
Psalm 34:3 NKJV

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
Psalm 100:4

Because Your loving devotion is better than life,
my lips will glorify You. So I will bless You as long as I live;
in Your name I will lift up my hands.
Psalm 63:3-4

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
Philippians 4:4

For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
He is to be feared above all god
s.
I Chronicles 16:25

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.
Psalm 29:2

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are His
.
Daniel 2:20

Exalt the LORD our God and worship at His footstool;
He is holy.
Psalm 99:5

You ar worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor
and power, for You created all things,
and by Your will they were created and have their being.
Revelation 4:11

A panorama allows for an unbroken view of the whole region surrounding an observer. A praiseorama allows us an unbroken view of God’s environment.

My Reader, I encourage you to develop your own praiseorama. Surround yourself with praise – shout it out! Psalm 22:3 says that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. So, as you praise Him, He comes into your presence. The Lord surrounds you when you praise Him. A praiseorama creates an awesome environment that is more than just a grouping of pictures. A praiseorama becomes a spectacular manifestation of the Lord.

enJOY – JOY – JOYful

JOY – a simple three letter word with big potential. Add a couple of letters
and we have ENJOY or JOYFUL. How about REJOICE?

Let’s play around with JOY today. We will also do a little language study.

JOY
To begin, we must know what JOY is.
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, . . .
Galatians 5:22
Joy is one of the nine attributes of the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit is the result of the
Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. It is not something we can conjure up by ourselves.
The prospect of the righteous is joy
Proverbs 10:28
Joy is the reward of living in right relationship with the Lord.
the joy of the LORD is your strength
Nehemiah 8:10
Joy is more than a feeling when it is the Lord’s joy. It imparts
spiritual strength to our internal muscles.

ENJOY = in joy
En” is a prefix that transforms a noun into a verb. Enjoy means to cause
a person or thing to be “in joy.”
In Your presence is fullness of joy
Psalm 16:11 NKJV
When we are in the presence of Jesus, we are in joy. Through praise,
we enter the Lord’s presence and enjoy Him.
I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.
Jeremiah 33:6
When we trust the Lord, we will enjoy His promises. If we enjoy something, we are in joy.

JOYFUL = joy full – full of joy
The suffixful” is defined as “full of” or “plenty.” We become “joyful” when we are full of joy.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13
God fills us with His joy. The Holy Spirit gives us more than a little bit of joy.
When we are “full of joy,” joy bubbles up inside and flows out of us.
This joy overflows to others. It even extends into the atmosphere.
That is what I call being “joyful!”
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Psalm 98:4 ESV
When we are full of joy, we desire to joyfully praise the Lord. We let our joy overflow to Him.

REJOICE = re-joys
Re-joys” is my play on words for “rejoice.” The prefix “re” means “again.”
Joys” is more than one joy. We can experience joy in multiple ways at numerous times.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4
Paul encourages us to “rejoice” twice in one verse. The New Living Translation says,
Always be full of joy in the Lord.”
This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
I say it again—rejoice!”
Psalm 118:24 NKJV
We have the choice of whether or not to rejoice. First of all, we must know and receive God’s joy. Then we can enjoy Him – be in joy. When we are filled of God’s joy, we are joyful.
We experience joy, and then more joy. This fullness of joy multiples into “joys.”
Because of these “re-joys,” we rejoice.

JOY – ENJOY – JOYFUL – REJOICE
Let us summarize our study of joy with a few final scriptures.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5 NKJV
We will not always feel joyful or have joyous experiences, but we do have God’s
assurance of forthcoming joy.
I (Jesus) will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
John 16:22
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples before His arrest and crucifixion. He speaks the same words to us in our challenging times. His joy is everlasting and cannot be taken away.
Shout to God with joyful praise!
Psalm 47:1 NLT
Let us praise God for His promise of joy. Let us rejoice together because we are full of joy.

Inhabit or Inhibit?

Inhabit” and “Inhibit.” Two words. Only one different letter in spelling – a tremendous difference in definition. Inhabit means to live in or occupy a space. Inhibit means to hinder, restrain, or prevent an action or process. We have the choice of whether to allow the Lord’s presence to inhabit us or to inhibit His work in our lives. This is a very sobering thought.

INHABIT

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” – I Corinthians 6:19
If each of us is a temple of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit inhabits or lives within us. When the Holy Spirit inhabits us, He helps us live a holy lifestyle.

Ezekiel 37:27 NLT promises, “And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” How can we be confident that the Holy Spirit inhabits us, when we cannot see Him? Psalm 22:3 KJV says, “The Lord inhabits the praises of His people.” While praising the Lord, we gain a deeper understanding of His character and nature.

The way to not inhibit, or hinder, the plans and purposes of God is to allow Him to inhabit and live in us.

INHIBIT

When the Holy Spirit inhabits us, we grow spiritually. We choose whether or not to accept the Holy Spirit’s help. Pastor Bob Reeves of Calvary Assembly of God has said, “Only God can create growth, but we can inhibit growth.”

In God Is Good, Bill Johnson says “God is a sovereign God. He reigns over all and everything belongs to Him. Nothing is outside of His reach or concern. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. But is He in control? This is not a question of His ability or His power and authority.” Johnson believes it is more accurate to say God is in charge than that He is in control. For example, although we are in charge of our homes, not everything that happens under our roof is necessarily our idea or is approved by us.

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” – Isaiah 59:2 NAS
God gave us a free will and our choices affect His work in our lives. We can inhibit the Lord. He has given us abilities and it is our choice as to how we use these abilities and gifts.

INHABIT NOT INHIBIT

Do not quench the Spirit.” – I Thessalonians 5:19
It is possible to inhibit, or stifle, the Holy Spirit who inhabits us. So, I search the scriptures to find out how to avoid inhibiting the Spirit.
Proverbs 3:5-7 instructs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.”
James 1:6 says, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
We must not rely upon our limited understanding nor doubt God’s ability.
The Lord spoke to Zerubbabel in Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.”

Inhabit or inhibit – one little letter makes a big difference. Think about the letter “A” in inhabit as focusing upon the Almighty God. In contrast, think about how the “I” of inhibit as indicating what I can do.

It is our choice. We can lift up our hands in praise and yield to God’s plans. Or, we can take things into our own hands and leave God out of the equation. Jesus says in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

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