Monday, July 23, 2012

LOL: in Praise

Memory/Meditation Verse: Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Don’t stay in the stronghold. Leave and return to the land of Judah.” ~ 1 Samuel 22:5 (HCSB)

Living Out Loud has been my focus this year. As I get deeper into this concept, God is getting louder. The louder He get, the more we hear Him, right? But hearing alone is not loud enough for our response to Him. We have to do something about it and that is what I am learning.

The same message keeps spreading before me. It has been in my pastor's sermons, in my quiet times, in my readings, on the radio and with a message this morning on TV.

Pastor Jentenzen Franklin is one of my favorite ministers to watch on TV. This morning he spoke of the chaos of our lives and he stated...

"Gratitude is the seed for more of God in your life."

I post it again on today's blog because it is something I have learned well in my relationship with Him. No matter how bad life could get for me, I have learned that turning to scripture has been my life line, my salvation from a mental, physical or spiritual breakdown.

Scripture has breathed life into my soul when I wanted to throw in the town. Scripture has made God my best friend, the one I run to first. Scripture has closed the wounds of my past and covered me with protection.

I have been strongly convicted that Scripture alone isn't the only recipe for a fulfilled life that Lives out Loud. You cannot Live Out Loud without praising God. Its not just the praising of what He has done in your life, which is necessary, but more so, it is the praising of who He is.

On this particular morning Jentenzen Franklin from the Free Will church in Georgia referenced our memory meditation verse above. A gem hidden in the Old Testament that spoke so loudly for Living Out Loud. David was running from his chaos-Saul. He was hiding in his chaos.

Isn't that so like us?  To run from the problem or the pain? To  hide or wallow in it? If I am honest here, it sometimes takes me a good 24 hrs to clear my heart and mind and respond appropriately to the stressor. And how should that response be? Look at our memory/meditation verse again...

Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Don’t stay in the stronghold. Leave and return to the land of Judah.” ~ 1 Samuel 22:5 (HCSB)

What did Gad tell David to do? To leave the hold that had him gripped and paralyzed from Living Out Loud. But not just to leave but to do what? Did you know that Judah means praise? Gad instructed David to leave the chaos, the pain and to instead praise.

Such strong implications for us today. Supporting implications from my previous post you can read here. Selflessly living and seeking God for who He is and not just for what He does for you. Selflessly seeking God because He is enough. Reacting to His greatness in gratitude and humility.

This week, I am focusing on Living Out Loud in praise. Praising Him in my quiet times, my prayers, and throughout my day for who He is. A constant praise that will draw Him closer to me. Words of praise no matter the situation. Yes, I will still pray for his covering on my children, healing for a sick friend, wisdom for a difficult situation but maybe worded differently...praising and thanking Him of His control and His outcome of the need.

Thank about it. He knows what is on our heart before we even pray the words, right?  If so, then instead of asking God to cover a wayward child far from a godly life, maybe you praise God in that He is in control of that child's life, teaching them life lessons for His greater plan and thanking Him for loving her and protecting her when you cannot.

Maybe you spend a day praying back praise verses to God about His glory and majesty. No request. from your end...just praise and reverence to Him. Imagine the depth of love that grows within your relationship with Him?

Selflessness and praise go hand in hand when striving to Live Out Loud your relationship with God. Here are some verses to help carry you through this week as leave your chaos and turn to praise instead. I skimmed through my bible for verses I have underlined in purple to signify God character. Here are a few to use this week as you praise Him for the fullness of who He is...

Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?  ~Deut 3:24 (NIV)

Yahweh, the God of our ancestors, are You not the God who is in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can stand against You. ~ 2 Chronicles 20:6 (HCSB)

The Lord is holy and kind. Our God is full of tender love. ~ Ps 116:5 (NIV)

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 (NIV)

Christ is all, and is in all. ~ Col. 3: 11b (NIV)

God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,  who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen. ~ 1 Tim 6: 15b-16 (NIV)

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.  Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. ~ Heb. 7: 25-27 (NIV)

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” 
~ Rev 4:8b (NIV)

Friday, July 13, 2012

LOL: Selflessness

Memory/Meditation verses: "...asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you will know him better. I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people. And you will know that God's power is very great for us who believe. That power is the same as the great strength God used to raise Christ from the dead and put him at his right side in the heavenly world." Ephesians 1: 17-20 (NCV)

Live Out Loud...that has been my motto for this year. I have been hit with a lot of internal realizations of how silent my life has been for God. I am too embarrassed to identify those here but my heart just down right aches over it.

This year has been more defined by chaos than anything else. Oh, it could be worse and I am thankful that its not. But the reality was I had come to a point of throwing my hands up in the air and screaming "Seriously God?!?!"

We have all felt that way at times and we all get through it, right? I seriously don't know how people live without faith in God, our Creator. It is in my chaos that my heart yearns to reach out to just those people...people suffering with the same sufferings of my own life but without the Ultimate Healer. My soul desires to serve and minister to the chaotic lives of my fellow humans because there is a Peace that surpasses all understanding in all of it.

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Phil 4:7 (HCSB)

Chaos will control my thoughts when I allow it. It deprives me of my spiritual, mental and physical well-being. This past week I allowed chaos's grip to do just that. Late one night when I couldn't sleep I was skimming through my favorite on-line book store and I came across this book an Internet friend Jenny Smith had recently wrote...

Could the timing had been more appropriate? Had I not just said the words on this book cover before turning on my computer? Yes. Parts of my life may be crumbling around me and stress levels may be higher than they have ever been and my God puts this book cover in front of my eyes and delivered it to my mailbox in a record two days! I read the title and that still quiet voice drew me to the words "I hear you, now hear Me."

I have made it to page seven and I have had to stop and ponder this sentence God laid on Jenny Smith's heart. She is referencing the crowd that was following Jesus in John 6...

"Instead of recognizing and embracing the fullness of the Provider they were stuck concentrating on the provisions"

Christ had performed a tremendous miracle by feeding the 5000 and how did the people respond? They followed Him for the miracle, not for who He was. They were a people desperate for a Savior, living chaotic lives and all they wanted was the miracle. When there wasn't more...they walked away.

Ouch. My heart grieves.

How many times have I prayed for the miracle in my chaos more concerned on the provision than the Provider? How many times have I asked God to go above and beyond in my life for my own desires, maybe not His?

Do I not see Him in the chaos? Am I not praising and worshiping Him for who He is anyway? Do I not thank Him for the blessing I have in spite of my chaos? Am I any different than these people who walk away from Jesus when I turn from scripture and allow the chaos to consume me more?

How many times must one walk down that road to know the calm in chaos is all about resting in Him and His Word? I KNOW THAT yet in my selfishness, all too often I choose to fret over the situation even when I reach for the Scripture.

The fullness of God in my life and my reaction to Him...appreciation, praise, love, thankfulness, more importantly.....SELFLESSNESS.

"Gratitude is the seed for more of God in your life" ~ Jentezen Franklin

Living out loud is selflessness. The chaos is all about me. The Peace that surpasses all understand is all about Him.

I love those God moments in my life. I want others to see that in their chaos. My heart yearns, my heart grieves, and my heart is humbled that God gives me this chaos to learn from and then to reach out to others through.

Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”  ~ John 6:27 (NKJV)

Father, Abba, my Holy and Sovereign God, I praise you for you and all that you are. Last week when I stood before that massive ocean, I sense your power and majesty. In my chaos I praise you for that same power and majesty of who you are. Use my chaos to draw me closer to you and to draw others to you. Lord, I am tired of being me to live selflessly for you.  I want to follow you for who you are, not just for what you do in my chaos. ~ Amen

Striving to Live Out Loud ~ Pamela