Cultivating a heart of gratitude and praise
I sang “His Eye is on the Sparrow” for a funeral today of a man about my age who deeply touched my life with His love for the Lord. I taught his children music. He taught me about passion for Jesus, love of family, selfless service and worship. He ran 21 miles the day before He went home to be with Jesus. The service was a reminder of how precious life is here on earth. I want the moments of my days to count for eternity. Another one of my students buried her father today as well. The reality of life and death is weighing on my spirit. I’m so grateful for the lives the Father weaves into mine...the tapestry of His love and truth and grace. I have so much to learn. He has so much to give. I’m overwhelmed with the sense that I need to slow down and soak in all He has for me, all that He is.
And yet the holiday season is here..... and all that comes with it. This year as we enter the season of Thanksgiving and then fast forward into Christmas, I think it’s important to pause and consider what it means to cultivate a heart of gratitude and praise. It’s that kind of heart that will lead us into a lifestyle of worship. It is our calling in life, what we were created for. Yet sometimes in the busyness of these seasons of abundance, we get caught up in the festivities, the family and friends, the feasts …..
and neglect the One whom we celebrate,
the Giver of all gifts.
The perfect sacrifice of Jesus opened the way for us to the Father so that our sacrifices, imperfect as they may be, are now acceptable to God. We see in these verses in Hebrews 13 that God wants our lives to be a constant reflection of His goodness and grace. That means my deeds and words should speak the heart of Jesus in my everyday walk and the celebrations of life. The only way that we will be able to magnify God with the “fruit of our lips” in continual praise is if the roots of His Word and character have taken hold deep within our souls.
Our worship takes two primary shapes. We worship with our words - the fruit of our lips of praise that profess His name, and our deeds--
as we do good and share with others.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find that hard, especially in this season of the year. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and end up exhausted just trying to survive until it’s over.
And that’s not why He came.
Each year I have to be intentional to set aside time during this season to spend with the Lord in His Word and prayer. It seems everyone wants a piece of me and there’s not enough to go around.
Do you ever feel that way?
I wonder if this year you might consider with me trying to make the holidays different - to make worship and praise the priority. I love the way Ruth Meyers describes worship. She writes that she likes to think of worship as a beautiful crown adorned with two brilliant jewels. “Mounted in the crown of worship - the basic act of offering God our lives, of honoring Him as God - are the jewels of praise and thanksgiving.
Jewels that radiate the glory of God, to His delight and ours.”
A dear friend years ago gave me a little plaque that I have treasured and found to be true in my life. It is based on Psalm 22:3 and reads,
“Praise is the pathway
into His presence.”
When we need to experience His presence in the midst of difficult circumstances or the frenetic pace of life, it is praise that often leads us there. So I’m asking God to develop within me a deeper heart of gratitude in every circumstance and situation throughout each day.
Won’t you join me?
I’ve been thinking of planting a little winter garden of blooming plants around my fountain. It looks pretty sad right now, but I was recently given some beautiful pansies and petunias. They are such hardy flowers here in our southern winters. They bloom and radiate beauty despite the cold and gloomy days. Our hearts need to be cultivated and nurtured just like my little fountain garden.
Developing a heart of gratitude and lifestyle of worship begins when a seed is planted in a heart of desire. Praise and worship which flows from a heart of gratitude has to be cultivated and nurtured. It doesn’t bloom automatically. The spiritual garden where the heart of gratitude grows is nurtured by many of the disciplines we’ve been exploring in this series and will look at in future weeks:
-spending time in the Word of God
-surrendering and depending on His Holy Spirit
-choosing to walk in His will and ways
-growing in the knowledge of God’s character
When we choose to cultivate His spiritual garden in our hearts His beauty radiates within us.
So in this week of Thanksgiving let’s nurture our hearts with His Word. Choose some Psalms to ponder that focus on praising the Giver of all things. Some of my favorites are
Psalm 18, 23, 27, 33, 62, 63, and 145.
Begin each day in surrender to the Holy Spirit and choose to walk in a manner that honors His name and brings hope to the hurting and lost.
Choose an attribute of God’s character to focus
on this week such as
His faithfulness, love, wisdom, compassion,
or one of His glorious names….
Savior, Provider, Healer, Shepherd, King, Refuge, Bridegroom….
Consider the beautiful names in the image here.
Look up Scriptures that display His name or attribute each day and then look for ways the Lord is displaying that aspect of His character to you. Take time to thank and praise Him for His pursuing love in your life through the people
and circumstances you face.
For years I have used a little devotional book full of Scriptures entitled “31 Days of Praise” by Ruth Meyers
to turn the focus of my heart off of myself
and my circumstances
toward a heart of praise.
Our worship and praise is richer when we focus on
who God is, what He does, and what He gives.
Below is one of the entries from her book:
“My heart rejoices in You, Lord, for You are my strong shelter in times of trouble and danger and stress, my hiding place to whom I may continually resort...my Father who lovingly provides for me...my Shepherd who guides and protect me...my Champion who upholds my cause as His child and defends my highest interest...my Bridegroom who delights in me...my God who is mighty to save, who rests in His love for me and rejoices over me with singing, with shouts of joy. You are my inheritance, my share in life, the One who satisfies my longing soul and fills my hungry soul with goodness.
I praise You for Your love and Your wisdom. You are too wise to ever make a mistake, too loving to ever do anything unkind. You act on my behalf, accomplishing what concerns me and fulfilling Your purpose for me as I call on You. Thank You that You love me deeply and tenderly. You are compassionate and gracious, full of lovingkindness, ready to forgive, patiently considerate, and generous beyond imagining. You desire my love and rejoice to do good things for me. You delight to give me the desires of my heart as I delight myself in You. How precious is Your love to me, O God! I sing for joy as I take refuge in the shadow of Your wings!”
Psalm 27:5;71:3;91:1-2;Matt.6:25-26;Psalm 23:1-2;Isaiah 62:5b; Zephaniah 3:17-18; Psalm 16:5-6; 107:9
Psalm 57:2;138:8;86:5;103:8;Matthew 22:37;Jeremiah 32:41;Psalm 37:4;4:367;63:7
I know that this week is full of family and festivities for most of you who are reading. My prayer for myself and for you is that Jesus will be the center of it all. I pray that we will choose to focus on planting the seed of desire into our hearts to live a life of gratitude and praise to our Lord beyond this Thanksgiving week. As we choose to cultivate and nurture a heart of praise, His Spirit will lead us into a lifestyle of worship.
I’ll save that topic for the next blog as we enter the Christmas season and purpose to keep it sacred and devoted to the One who came to save us.... the One whom we worship and adore.
Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!
May we cherish the moments with family and friends and look for opportunities to serve and share the love of Jesus… offering our sacrifice of praise.
We never know what the next day will bring.
Rest in the truth that as His eye is on the little sparrow,
He watches and cares for you.
May you experience the pathway into His presence this holiday
as you choose to cultivate a heart of gratitude and praise!
With a grateful heart,
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Her heartbeat raced with a sense of urgency and desperateness when she learned that the one she loved and longed to see was very near. On a quest throughout her house, she thought, "What shall I bring to show the depths of my love?' Her mind searched through every fathomable idea of a special “something,” something precious that she held dear that she could use to express the passion of her heart. She grabbed her chest to try and control the anxiousness within her spirit. Her soul ached and yearned with an unspeakable flood of emotions. She thought, “If I could just pour out my love…” She searched through all of her little treasures and turned her house inside out to locate the perfect gift. Scrolling through her mind: flowers would never work, they will surely fade, money is not appropriate, and preparing food is only momentary and won’t last. The mental list continued. At last, she placed her worn hands on one small, special alabaster jar. It was esteemed as the highest quality, sealed and containing a precious ointment or perfume…
With determination and a rapid pounding of her heart, she slowly approaches the reclining men as they are eating at the Pharisee’s house. Her shoulders are sunken and her head is bent low and a tear begins to trickle down her cheek. It is him! As she stands behind him, and at his feet, her tear-filled eyes gaze upon him tenderly. This woman begins to remember who she is and how she has been regarded, a sinner. Her overwhelmed core shook within her small frame as her trembling hands tightly grasped the alabaster jar. Her humbled heart burst forth a flood of tears as she cries upon his feet, kisses them and breaks open this jar of oil and anoints them. She completely abandons self and offers all she has adoring and passionately worshipping him while caressing his feet. Oh what love and humility is demonstrated!
The above story is how I imagine the sinful woman approaching Jesus as told in Luke 7:37,38.
And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was
reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and
standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears
and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with
In my private time with the Lord, I ask him to show me all sorts of new and interesting things. Having grown up going to church all the time, VBS, Sunday school, and countless Bible studies, sometimes I feel like I’ve heard it all. I need fresh eyes when I read and a deeper, richer understanding. There is much to glean and learn from the Living Word.
For the last couple of weeks, the Lord has impressed me to look closer at “approaching” Him. My hearts desire is to spend much time researching and investigating this topic. I have just begun to skim the surface! There are many ways in which Jesus was approached, and for many reasons. This week, I am asking you to join me in pondering not only how Biblical characters approached Jesus, but how we, as modern day believers approach Him.
Scripture tells us in Hebrews 4: 16 “…to come boldly to the throne of grace…” Join me in discovering hidden truths about approaching God.
I have devised a little thinking map (graphic organizer, as teachers call it) to help us journey through this process. I have listed the 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Where, Why) for you to consider as you do your own search and pondering. Take it an extra step and place yourself into the history of the event. Look for key words and phrases that will help facilitate transporting you to that era. Use your imagination to enable you to “see, smell, hear, touch or taste” the event that has taken place. Use Bible dictionaries, handbooks, commentaries, and a concordance to help you in your study. Ask yourself, “What did it (this account) mean to the biblical audience during the reading and writings of that day?” Then, apply it to today. How does it relate to you specifically?
When reading the passage from Luke, one word and phrase in particular kept jumping out at me. It was that she stood behind him. After doing a little historical and cultural study, I learned that as they ate, they reclined indicating that is was a banquet or Sabbath meal. It was common to invite a visiting rabbi or teacher to the Sabbath meal after he had taught in the synagogue. If this was a banquet meal, Jesus may have been invited because of his reputation as a prophet. With his feet put out behind; and between the couches and the walls of the room, there was a space for servants to wait and serve, and such are therefore said to "stand at the feet"; and the phrase is used, as descriptive of servants in waiting (n); and in such a situation this woman put herself, as being also ashamed and afraid to come before Christ, and look him in the face. *
There are many real heartfelt reasons for not wanting to approach a person face to face but rather come from behind.
As I first began to ponder approaching, I equated it with an emotion of fear. Then, I linked it with approaching authority or someone that I highly respect. I have recalled many times when I have had to approach people of these positions and some are even my friends! My hands sweat and shake, my heart races, I begin to worry about how to convey my message, will the right words come out, what will my body language exhibit, will I be able to look directly into their eyes, I catch myself looking away, what will they perceive if they look past my eyes and into my heart? All of which are self-focused! The woman in the book of Luke abandoned everything when she approached Jesus. She was overtaken with humility and love for her Savior.
I have been blessed to experience this same unspeakable passion for my Lord. The moaning’s and groaning’s of my burning heart can only be expressed through the Holy Spirit. I must admit, those precious times are few; but when I do approach Jesus as this woman did, a sense of cleansing, love, and spiritual satisfaction abound as though the Father is hugging my heart tightly and ablaze with indescribable joy!
I long to sit at the feet of Jesus and share intimate moments of honesty, truth, healing, laughter, joy, tears, and love. We can do this....we must simply approach!
The lingering question is, “How do we approach Jesus?” Is it as this sinful woman or is it like the others we find in scripture? Have a great week thinking about this topic and studying His word. Here are some names for you to research: Jarius, David, Nicodemus Peter, Paul, Mary…just to name a few. I'd love to spend time with each of you, bonding our hearts together and speaking of this great love we share for the Father.
Barnes Notes on the Bible
New American Commentary –Luke Logos 5
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I have just returned from our Chapel choir retreat. My weekend was truly blessed as we worshiped, listened to the Word, prayed, sang, and shared in life together. It is a beautiful thing when people who love the Lord gather in unity for one purpose and give their hearts over to the Lord in worship. As we sang together this morning in the beautiful little Chapel with the sun pouring in on us through the glass windows, the Holy Spirit moved powerfully among us. I wept as I experienced the beauty of worship with those who suffered greatly from loss and pain, yet still worshiped with hands upraised and voices uplifted through the tears. We were free to praise him. Some knelt, some wept, some rejoiced, but all worshiped at His throne. We brought what we had to give to minister to the Lord and pray for one another. We shared communion - ate the bread and drank the wine in remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins. His saving grace covered us. The Holy Spirit of Jesus counseled us in His Word and poured out as we embraced one another in the power of His love that has forever changed us.
We came to prepare our hearts and voices to sing the Christmas musical and left having experienced His Joy - Jesus, the joy of every longing heart. The lyrics of one of our Christmas songs is still ringing in my heart.
“Joy of every longing heart
You find us where we are,
Waiting for You, Waiting for You.
Love to make the broken whole,
You rescue every soul waiting for You,
Waiting for You.”
This weekend I was blessed by the fruit of the Spirit at work in the lives of these choir members. They are all juggling demands in their own lives. They sacrificed financially and with precious time to come and invest in a weekend of rehearsals to prepare to bless others in the Christmas season. The evidence of the Spirit’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control all touched my life with grace this weekend. When the Holy Spirit of Jesus is at work you cannot miss His beauty and power.
This brings me to Faith lesson #2 in this series - Juggling the Demands of Life with Grace.
Surrender to the Holy Spirit in prayer each day.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you....... But the counselor, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 14:15-17, 26 ESV
One of the most transforming times in my life came when I read a little book called, “They Found the Secret.” At the time, I was a young mom and I was desperate, overwhelmed and worn out with ministry, frustration and disappointment . There was an anxiousness in my spirit that was always there. The Lord used this little book to open my eyes and heart to my need. It was a book of stories about men and women, some famous, some not, who were laboring in ministry with hearts for the Lord and his people. They each had come to a place in their lives as believers where they were at the end of themselves and were then confronted in different ways with their relationship with the Holy Spirit.
“They had believed on the Savior, yet were burdened and bewildered, unfaithful and unfruitful, always yearning for a better way and never achieving by their efforts a better life. They came to a crisis of utter heart surrender to the Savior, a meeting with Him in the innermost depths of the spirit; and they found the Holy Spirit to be an unfailing fountain of life and refreshment....”
V. Raymond Edman
It was in the testimony of a man named Dr. Wilson in “The Yielded Life” that I saw myself. At a point of despair in his life, a traveling missionary asked Dr. Wilson, “What is the Holy Spirit to you?” After some discussion and orthodox answers he replied truthfully, “He is nothing to me. I have no contact with Him, no personal relationship and could get along quite well without Him.”
The missionary challenged him that was the reason that His life was so fruitless even though His efforts were so great. Dr. Wilson acknowledged his fear of becoming a fanatic and the fear of giving the Savior an inferior place if he exalted the Spirit. That night Dr. Wilson confessed his mistreatment of the Holy Spirit in his Christian life and surrendered his life and body totally to the Holy Spirit of Jesus within him. His life and ministry were transformed.
That night after reading His story I laid out my own life on my living room floor in surrender to my Lord and the Holy Spirit. I began the practice of surrendering to the Holy Spirit and asking my Savior to fill me with the fullness of His Spirit each day.
Ephesians 5:18 - Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit.” This verse in the present tense in essence says, “ Be Being filled with the Holy Spirit”, continually give over control of your life to Him.”
This yielding, this place of abandon and total surrender and dependance on Jesus has made all the difference in my life and it will in yours. Perhaps the Lord is bringing you to that crisis of belief in your need. Are you willing to offer your life in total surrender and filling of the Holy Spirit?
It is death to self that leads to the abundant life with Jesus. It is faith that will bring us to the reality of His abiding fullness and presence within.
Jesus cries out in John 7:37-39
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
My life came to a point where I knew I could go on no longer unless God filled me with more of Himself. It was a thirst for God that has defined my life ever since. I had to come to the end of myself first. I had to be emptied in order to be filled. God in His grace will allow pain, sorrow, disappointments, brokenness, darkness-whatever it takes to bring us to a place where we recognize our desperate need for the Spirit of God. It is a personal journey we each must take. We must come to the place where we cry out with the psalmist,
“My soul thirst for you God, for the living God.”
Being filled with the Spirit is not just a helpful addition to our lives. It is the power by which we live life with Jesus. Being filled with the Spirit begins with a holy hunger, a thirst for a closer walk with God.
“The desire to be filled must become all absorbing in your life. If there is anything in your life bigger than your desire to be a spirit-filled Christian, you will never be a spirit-filled Christian until that is cured. If there is anything in your life more demanding than your longing after God, then you will never be a Sprit-filled Christian. I have met Christians who have been wanting to be filled in a vague sort of way for many years. The reason they have not been filled with the Spirit is because they have other things they want more. God does not come rushing into a human heart unless He knows that He is the answer and fulfillment to the greatest, most overpowering desire of that life.”
A.W. Tozer - The Counselor
As we seek to juggle the demands of our lives with grace, it is the Holy Spirit who will lead and guide us. As we learn the joy of surrender we begin to see the fruit of His Spirit start to take over. In time our words and actions bear the fruit of His Spirit. Often others will notice a difference before we do.
We each must answer the question - “Who is the Holy Spirit to me, what is my relationship with Him? If your answer is I don’t really know, I have no personal relationship, I’m afraid or ignorant of how the Holy Spirit works in my life as a believer, then dig into God’s Word and spend time in prayer asking Jesus to fill your life with the power and fullness of His Spirit. Through your saving relationship with Jesus you have the divine power of His Spirit living within you. It is the Holy Spirit that will illuminate God’s Word and enable you to bear fruit in your life and ministry. In time you will learn to recognize His voice, His gentle nudging, His power and counsel, His abiding presence and will for your life and you will not turn back.... for your life will never be the same.
No eye has seen
no ear has heard
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him
but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10
God has a plan for the work for us and for His kingdom. He is willing and able to reveal to us what His plan is. He is the great teacher. We must learn to wait upon Him to show us His will. It is God that gives the grace and the power. “What is done in the will of God, the strength of God will not be withheld from it. What is done in the will of God must have the mighty blessing of God. And so let our first desire be to have the will of God revealed...God can only reveal His will to a heart that is humble and tender and empty. God can only reveal His will in perplexities and special difficulties to a heart that has learned to obey and honor him loyally in little things and in daily life.”
I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power
through His Spirit in your inner being. Ephesians 3:16
The rush and demands of life can take over us. We must persevere and purpose not to let it. We must ask forgiveness if we have not honored the Holy Spirit as we should. grieved Him, and allowed self and the flesh of our own wills to work where the Holy Spirit should have been honored. The Holy Spirit in His spirit of love is willing to bless.
Will you choose to honor Him in surrender today and seek the Spirit's power in your own heart and life to conquer self, cast out sin and work the beautiful image of Jesus within you?
Jesus, thank you that your death and shed blood accomplished full salvation for me.
Thank you that my sins are forgiven and I have the hope of eternal life.
Thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit to live within me as a fountain of living water to refresh and renew my mind.
I humbly pray that You will fill me today and minister to me and through me.
I surrender to Your work and power within me.
Holy Spirit take possesion and dominion over my life.
May Your Spirit enlighten me and nourish me in Your Word.
Strengthen me in my inner being and fill me to overflowing
with the love of Jesus into the needs of others.
By Your grace teach me how to live a holy life that always brings honor
and glory to my Savior, Jesus.
In the power of Your Holy name, Amen
If you have a moment, Be blessed by the prayer and truths in the song on the youtube link below -Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God - by Keith and Kristen Getty
In His love,
Resources and recommended reading - “They Found the Secret” - V. Raymond Edman
Wonderful Counselor - A.W. Tozer, God in You - David Jeremiah, Absolute Surrender - Andrew Murray,
Joy of Every Longing Heart, lyrics by Cottrell, Smith, and Moffitt
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The Helping Hand (1881), painted by the French artist Emile Renouf, was introduced to me as a 2nd grade student. Recently, I experienced a flood of joy when I was surprised to see a replica of the painting gracing the wall in a beautiful room at The Houmas House Plantation. The memory of seeing it for the first time, studying about it, and re-connecting with the image delighted me once again. However, upon viewing it as an adult, I discovered a different perspective and I asked myself, “Who is helping whom?”
Commentaries inform us that this painting is of a grandfather and his granddaughter one early morning. It looks like the little girl is trying to row the boat and help her grandfather as they go fishing. See how hard she is concentrating on her job? She thinks she is really helping him. Where is the old man looking? Grandfather, contentedly smoking his pipe, looks at her fondly. He knows that the small strength she has in her arms isn’t really much help in rowing the boat, but he seems to be enjoying letting her try. Look at how her pockets are bulging? What do you think she is carrying in her pockets? What do you notice about the young girl’s eyes?
My perspective is not that she is helping him, but that he is helping her! You see, I am like the girl in the boat. The grandfather is as my heavenly Father and He is helping me on the sea of life. The oars are too large for my tiny hands as my face reflects an intense concentration on the tasks before me. I feel the overshadowing fondness of the one helping me. Though the painting portrays the feeling of early morning, cool weather, and feelings of loneliness displayed on rosy cheeks, I perceive it as a moment of tender “watchful care.”
In the painting we see the girls pockets seem to have something heavy in them. I question myself as to what is in them. My answer…my little treasures. These are the little things that I carry with me everywhere…they are hidden…precious…as if the things a child carries to help them feel secure. As the grandfather looks down, he knows what has been carried aboard. This does not concern him because he also knows that with time, they will no longer be needed as her maturity increases. She will hand them over and let them go freely.
The perspective with which Renouf painted indicates that we are watching from the dock as they row away. Many more observations can be made when looking closely at the details of this painting; inside the boat is dry, there are other boats on the horizon, there is fishing net, a mast is propped on the bow just to list a few. The painting suggests a specific time period. Look at the clothes. The boat has no motor and the fishing equipment is antiquated. There is so much to be considered in order to get a proper perspective on the intent of the artist. Who would have thought that so much information could be gleaned from this one painting?
Studying scripture is much like looking at a painting! Many things need to be considered before getting a clear picture of the passage; but be careful, you don’t want to get a skewed perspective.
Take a look at these skewed images:
These perspectives are easy to identify, but what about one of watching and listening to a pianist or professional musician. You think they are awesome and it appears that music comes to them naturally. Did you ever really stop to consider that it took them a lifetime to learn, study, and practice their art form? The same is with an artist or even literary works. Not all things are seen and understood clearly.
Perception within communication is very important! This past week I was making sure that the high school auditorium was available for my kindergarten musical. When the assistant principal got back with me about its availability, she said that it was already booked! For years, having experienced much trouble with double booking the stage, my initial response was negative. “Yikes, now what will we do?” was the question I emailed her. Her reply, “Sorry. I should have known better than to use passive voice! It is booked by us!” After a brief panic and a sigh of relief, I realized that my perspective on the matter was negative. I assumed that it was booked by someone other than us, not that it had been previously booked by us! Perspective! Important!
Derived from Latin, per = through and specere = to look, (through looking) we get the English word perspective.
Thinking through perspectives in the Bible, I recalled some of my favorite stories:
I experienced a real life example that hit me Sunday morning at church. Perspective? How is it that we can’t see? I don’t see with a holy lens! I would have never thought that the music we sang would or even could have been written by its composer, having known him as a kid. And as I saw and worshipped with the one’s leading, playing guitar and drums, I would have never imagined them to help me enter into the courts with praise! Perspective….once skewed. We don’t see with the love or compassion of Gods eyes. We look on the outward, but God looks at the heart.
1 Sam. 16:7
I wept, elated that God had revealed Himself to those young men. I wept, because I couldn’t see the wonder that God prepared for them. I wept, for myself, because I often have a tainted view of God’s best for me.
I praise God for revealing Himself to those kids, to men of the Bible, and to me. God’s perspective is perfect. He sees the whole. Our vision is dimmed, skewed, partial, and blurred. This is why it is important to ask for a clear revelation, a fresh viewpoint, and holy enlightenment. It is only when He choses to reveal Himself that He can been seen.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen,
nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:
for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
1 Corin. 2: 9,10
So in studying scripture, or even stepping into your day, pray first for a cleansing of personal perspective. In almost all of the above examples, perspectives are unclear without an understanding of the whole picture! Revelation occurred because God declared Himself, He called out, and He made Himself known.
Go to God's word. Look at every Biblical passage as a painting with an array of many colorful details. Become familiar with the background knowledge of history, language, culture, relationships and location when and where it was written. Observe every word and phrase to glean insight. When you have done this, seek to understand how it relates to you and everyday life. Place yourself in the painting! He is a living God and His Word is living, too! Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart and that you would have wisdom to understand and a perspective from Gods heart. You will be amazed at what He so desires to reveal to you. He waits for you to seek and call out. Perspective...take His! Look through His Holy Lens!
Seeking Holy Perspectives,
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