All posts tagged praise

Joy in Suffering?

Years ago when I still wore a single digit sized pair of pants, a man I admired expressed his desire to go to heaven.

“I don’t understand.”

My friend elaborated, “When I am experiencing God in worship or praise or prayer, I sense His presence. I think how much better heaven will be.”

As I grow older, understanding dawns.

But there are still many mysteries. Like for instance Mark 10:29-30,

“Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.

I like the first part, but shy away from the “gift” of persecution.

Take a look at this verse.

philippians 1:29

Suffering is granted to us? Like receiving a wish from a genie?

Recently, I received a newsletter from Voice of the Martyrs. The back page revealed about 12 people who are imprisoned because they taught a Bible Study, or shared the gospel, or even attended an underground church. Some have been in prison for over 15 years.

Here is the issue…when I read this publication, many of those who have been imprisoned say things like, “Christ suffered, I am privileged to suffer for Him.” And when they are released, they go right back to preaching oftentimes to be thrown back into prison.

It is a mystery to me.

The only thing I can figure is when they are in prison, they experience what my friend described when he praised or prayed or worshiped. They somehow sense the Lord’s presence so intensely that they glory in it. Basking themselves in Jesus.

As an American, it is almost impossible for me to relate. Yet Scripture says that suffering brings joy. If the Bible says it, I believe it, so that settles it.

But don’t get me wrong, I am not praying for suffering. I think that would be weird. But I am praying for my brothers and sisters who are suffering. They are my eternal family and I love them, even though I haven’t met them–yet.

For today, I pray, and read God’s Word, and wonder.

Here is a nugget I read yesterday in Psalm 16:11, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand are pleasures forever.”

Even so, Lord Jesus come.

 

Jesus Has a Big Front Porch

Our voices echoed across mountains and dipped into valleys. Corn and beans dotted the sides of the peaks in a zig-zag pattern since they’d been planted by hand.

Savior, You can move the mountains, my God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save,

Forever, author of salvation, He rose and conquered the grave, yes, He conquered the grave.

Tom and I sat among about 35 travelers singing to our God in the setting on Honduran mountains. We’d been there for about 3 days, traveled to isolated villages to share the message of Jesus Christ, and now we shared, “Porch Time.”

That was my favorite time of the day. The team gathered together, talked about the day, shared their testimonies, prayed, and praised God with song.

So when Tom and I moved to North Carolina–a huge front porch donned the top of our must-have house list. After the construction men finished the 60 x 10 foot structure one young man said, “You should have just built the porch and left off the house.”

“That probably would have been okay with Pauline,” Tom said.

Porches carry cherished memories for me. Memories of friendship and laughter and solace–unhurried times that often feel “realer” than the rest of my busy life.

Thoughts like that ran through my mind as I studied John 14:1-2, Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. (NASB)

I grew up on King James Version where dwelling place is translated mansion. Don’t get me wrong, a mansion sounds great, but I don’t want to live in a mansion by myself. That’s lonely.

No, I want to live in God’s mansion with Him and my Savior and my brothers and sisters in Christ. I want to sit on the porch for hours (although I don’t think we’ll have hours in heaven) and talk and laugh and sing and pray.

On earth, we know our times on the porch have to end because we have other tasks and time is important…here. Not there.

Sometimes, I picture my parents sitting on the porch in heaven with their best friends, the Shiels. Jim Shiels is teasing Dad while Mom and Nellie Shiels sit together chit-chatting about this and that.

When we vacationed with the Shiels at The Salvation Army’s Camp Lake, or Army Lake, we’d sit on the screened porch lit only with the yellow bug light and talk for hours. When we’d get ready to go back home my father would say, “Let’s all join hands and sing.”

Jim would say, “Do we have to, Ramie?” And then he’d laugh and we’d join hands, sing, and then cry. This is what we sang:

Til we meet, til we meet, til we meet at Jesus feet,

God be with us, til we meet again.

I’m sure there’s was a great reunion and frankly, I can’t wait to join them. Cause I think Jesus has the biggest, bestest, porch. Ever.

But for now, I’ll settle for mine.

Come see me, friend.

I can’t paste the YouTube in here, but I’ll past the link. It’s worth the listen…BTW, we’ll be singing this on Sunday at Christ Community Church. Join us will you? Pretend it’s a porch…

 

 

 

The Day After Ash Wednesday

I didn’t grow up catholic. I did grow up in a Christian home. My parents served as Salvation Army Officers. I’m glad of that.

We celebrated Christmas by ringing bells at the kettle, conducting a slue of programs, and reading the Christmas story on December 25th. I had a happy childhood.

But I loved Easter. It was usually sunny, we ate chocolate, had breakfast at church, and my personal favorite–the Easter Egg Hunt.

In fact, I loved it so much, I carried on the tradition with my children when they were college age. Of course, the eggs had real cash money in them and my daughter almost lost her finger when she and my son fought over a $10 bill hidden in a plastic egg on our grill.

I LOVE egg hunts.

I egg hunt twice a day now. The eggs are even colored. Some are super-large. I eat them even though they aren’t filled with chocolate.

But somehow in the celebration of Easter as a kid and the traditions we’ve carried on as a family, I sometimes forget the profound effect Christ’s death and resurrection had in our world and has in my life and in the life of every true follower of Him.

Easter is the single most important event in history.

And it sneaks up on me.

Not this year.

Some people give up stuff for lent. I’m going to give stuff.

Praise.

I’m going to sing my way through the season.

I began today.

This is what I sang while on my knees this morning.

“Praise the name of Jesus, praise the name of Jesus. He’s my rock. He’s my fortress, He’s my deliverer in Him will I trust. Praise the name of Jesus.”

“I bless Your name. I bless Your name. I give you Honor, give you praise. You are the light, the truth, the way. I bless Your name. I bless Your name.”

“How great is our God, sing with me how great is our God, and all will see how great, how great is our God. Name above all names, worthy of our praise. My heart will sing how great is our God.”

What better way to start the day. Not with a fresh glass of OJ, but with a heaping portion of praise!

I’m gonna praise Jesus in song everyday.

Join me, will you?

Here’s the amazing Selah song I sang this morning:

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