The LORD is my #Strength and my #Shield

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Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly REJOICES,
And with my song I will praise Him.

The Lord is their strength,
And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever.

—Psalm 28:6-9

The Path of Life

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Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

You will make known to me the path of life;
in your presence is fullness of joy;
in your right hand there are pleasures forever. 

—Psalm 16:9-11

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Wonders of the World

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Wonders of the World

By Patricia Knight

On a torrid day in August, with a steamy haze rising off the lake, it amazes me that the same body of water that solidly freezes into a two-foot block of ice in the winter has melted into a comfortable lake for swimming, just four months later. God produces wonders and miracles every day right before our eyes. Some of creation has become relinquished to common place, like the lake full of ice converting to the refreshing temperature we tend to expect in the summertime.  The whole scenario recurs every year without fail.  Our surprise level is often stunted with familiarity.

If God can pique our interest with the smaller observations of life, our hearts and minds are then prepared for more grandiose vistas. “The Lord has done great things and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:3). Feast your eyes on the arch of a rainbow until the prism colors melt into the blue sky. Follow the reflection of a full moon on the surface of the lake as a single canoeist divides its yellow beam. The lake will come alive with waterfowl swimming in formation on a moonlit night. A skier slicing through the newly fallen snow throws powdery white fluff in an arc in his wake. Bright sunlight reflecting off the ice coating a tree branch deceives us into thinking there are diamonds close enough to harvest. An infant’s first smile melts the most unresponsive heart. Grasp the tiny fingers in your hand and feel the trust.

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A loving God has created all of the wonders of the world. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)  A gigantic waterfall tumbling over rocks and bending trees, has mighty, surging power. It enables us to think big thoughts. A slice of canyon wall in the afternoon sun reflects all the earth tones of God’s palette. In autumn, the chlorophyll drains from the monochromatic green leaves as God drenches His paint buckets of color throughout the forests. At a distance a large snow-capped mountain against an azure sky literally appears majestic purple.

We have only to gaze upon the wide-eyed excitement of a child to realize we may take for granted some of the beauty and wonder of this world. Have we lost our sense of astonishment? Do we allow ourselves to meditate on the marvels of God’s creation? God takes great delight in lavishing His gifts and creations upon His own as He advises us to become more like little children. “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). Jesus was particularly referring to adopting the faith of a child; one cannot have faith without wonder and fascination.

Matt-18-4-Child-Flowers-25--AMPA child would consider novel the lowly but symmetrical spider’s web implanted with diamond droplets after a rain or the simple entertainment provided by a dandelion blossom. Consider the concentration of a child trying to catch the drips on an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. Youths watch the sun go down and the moon come up with intense interest. There is wonder and fascination at the grandeur of an eagle suspended in the air currents above. Chasing lightening bugs on a pitch-black night provides further exhilarating excitement.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1). Lightening streaking across a black sky causes tingles to radiate up and down our spine as we recognize its power. Engage a child in a game of identifying animal shapes in the clouds. Clouds accommodate our play; they are constantly shifting and remodeling. Watch the honking geese flying south in a perfect “V” pattern.

Observe the striated, meandering layers of colors in a sunset. Listen to the sounds in the night. Many animals are nocturnal and roam while we cloister ourselves away in our houses. Open a window and listen to the night conversation.

“For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God” (Psalm 86:10).  God has created all of the beauty, magnificence, and power that comprises our world. He wants us to be attuned to our surroundings so that we can visualize Him through His creation.

As beautiful as our world is, God provides more astounding opulence and grandeur in heaven. God has fashioned streets of gold (Revelation 21:21). Illumination is supplied entirely by the glory of God (Revelation 21:23). We are only given short glimpses of heaven, for it is too magnificent to describe in earthly words. Frequently in His Word, God assures us heaven will be a place of splendor and majesty and holiness. We will know only goodness and purity. Awe and wonder will permeate our surroundings as we stand in God’s presence. What indescribable resplendence and glory! Heaven far out-strips our imaginative abilities. The beauty on earth is but an introduction of what the eternal experience of the believer will be. Riches and joy will last forever.

While we remain on earth, we have tremendous opportunity to not only see with our eyes, but to experience with our whole being, the beauty around us.  There is neither excuse nor substitute for ignoring the treasures in lovely words expressed, unique occasions experienced, and magnificent creations purposely placed in our paths.

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Investigate your surroundings. Admire beauty and accomplishment. Elevate happiness and joy. Make a practice of serving others with goodness and kindness. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Let your gentleness be evident to all (Philippians 4:4-5).

Regardless of the season of the year, God provides myriad opportunities for adventure.  Non-essential activities of each day can rapidly clutter our lives and demand time that needs to be allotted for indispensable worship and service for our Lord and Savior. Look to Him and He will provide the peace and joy so essential to every aspect of our lives.  God will open our eyes to the glory of His creation in the physical world. Whatever the experience, God will elevate it and enrich it so that we can see Him through every wonder of the world. From that point, worship ensues. The more time we spend in fellowship with the Creator of the world, the more we see Him in His creation. God is as near as His next handiwork.

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Being Thankful for What We Do NOT Have

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Rejoice always;
praying without ceasing;
in everything give thanks;
for this is God’s will for you
in Christ Jesus.
—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Lately I’ve been pondering the concept of thankfulness. Often when I thank God for all the blessings in my life, I have also thanked Him for what He has not given me or allowed in my life. Have you ever prayed like this?

Okaaay, I can hear most of you saying. The rest are thinking, wait … what? are you serious?

Yes, I am very serious. I thank God for things I don’t have, that He has not allowed in my life. I’m not just talking about more serious illnesses than those I live with every day or cataclysmic events such as tornadoes and hurricanes. I’m referring to things like more money, maybe more (and more stylish) clothes or a bigger house. How about straight hair instead of the naturally curly mop I was born with? Or writing talent so spectacular that publishers come after me instead of the other way around?

It seems to me that the more we want, well… the more we want, like some vicious cycle. Contentment with what we have now is admittedly difficult because human nature always yearns for more. And yet, I’m wondering if allowing ourselves to feel this kind of contentment will result in that inner peace that is so illusive.

And isn’t that something to be utterly thankful for?

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Peace, mercy and love be yours in abundance. —Jude 1:2

Peace. Mercy. Love. These are what can be ours in abundance. And from personal experience, reminding myself that I have these things usually leads to my feeling happy and contented with what I have in the here and now.

Beloved, how about you? Have you learned to be thankful for certain things you do not have?

Happy 2014!

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 4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

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AnnaSmile…..

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Rejoice!

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Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always. —Psalm 105:1-4

AnnaSmile…..

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The advertising which may appear below is not placed by the author and is not to be considered as a part of this post or an expression of my views.