The first song I remember my mother and grandmother singing to me was, “Jesus Loves Me.” As a three-year-old I sat on my grandmother’s lap and asked her to sing it over and over again. We all still sing or hum this song to our children today whenever they need it. Why? We were made to worship.
To worship God is to walk into a familiar, welcoming place. To worship God is to know we are truly home, acting on a desire deep in our souls. Long before we rationally understand the truth of Christ, we want to praise someone or something for bringing love, joy, and hope into the world.
We are made to be worshipers - worshipers of God from the heart - thinking and working worshipers. Teach us to worship, Lord. Not just to be
emotionally ecstatic, but true-hearted worship of You, my spirit with Your Spirit.
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. (Psa 95:6-7)
Your righteousness reaches heaven, God, You who have done great things; God, who is like you? (Psalms. 71:19)
An awesome promise is made over and over again in the Bible: Whatever “it” is, God can handle it.
Our life isn’t always easy. Sometimes it is far from it! Life can be very, very difficult. But even then, during the darkest moments, we’re protected by a loving Heavenly Father. When we worry, God can reassure us. When we’re sad, God can comfort us. When our hearts are broken, God is not just near, He is already there. So we must lift our thoughts and prayers to him. When we do, He will answer our prayers. Why? Because He is our shepherd, and He has promised to protect us now and forever.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John10:11)
I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my own know me. (John 10:14)
Lord, you are our Shepherd. You care for us. You comfort us. You watch over us. We will praise you Father for your glorious works, for your protection, for your love, and most of all for the gift of your only son.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentation 3: 22-23)
We are experiencing difficult days for our nation and for our families. But, thankfully, God is bigger than all of our challenges. God loves us and protects us. In times of trouble, He comforts us. In times of sorrow, He dries our tears. When we are troubled, weak, or sorrowful, God is as near as our next breath.
If you are concerned for the well-being of your family, you are not alone. We live in a world where temptation and danger seem to lurk around every corner. We - parents, grandparents, and children alike - have a good reason to be watchful. However, despite the evils of our time, God remains steadfast. Even in these difficult days, no problem is too big for God.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalms 121: 1-2)
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Rom. 12:2)
This verse is a familiar challenge for us to let Christ change our lives as we renew our minds.
Conform and transform are pivotal words that contrast to concepts Paul teaches in this verse, and there’s quite a difference between the two. Conforming to something, like to worldly values, influence, or trends, is something that more or less happens to us without much effort. The word conform comes from the Latin conformare, meaning “to fashion of the same form.” It basically means to “go with the flow.” The prefix of transform is “trans”. It also has its roots in Latin, but it means “across, beyond, or through.” We cannot transform ourselves, it is beyond us. Only the power of God word can transform us.
Paul’s life provides an example of moving from being conformed to being transformed. As Saul, he conformed to the pharisaical tradition of his people. He (Saul) says of himself: “I persecuted God’s church to an extreme degree and tried to destroy it. I was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors” (Gal. 1:13-14).
This was the old Saul. Everything changed for Paul, however, after encountering God on the road to Damascus see (Acts 22:6-21). That was the beginning of a radical transformation that would reshape his identity and his mission. God wants to transform us too.
Let us not be conformed to the things of this world. We all come from different backgrounds and upbringings, but we can allow God’s word to transform our life to his will.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isa. 40:8)
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)
The past week has been a devastating one for the Gulf Coast region. So many have lost possessions, homes or even loved ones. The magnitude of devastation is yet to be seen as it will take weeks for waters to recede in some areas and the full extent of the wrath of Harvey to be known. But in the midst of chaos, God’s people have trusted in Him.
During the storm, brother was checking on brother, making sure everyone was accounted for and assessing who had come through relatively unscathed and who had suffered damages. Once the sun came out, you came out in droves to assist those who had been affected. Food was provided, crews for mucking out houses showed up, total strangers would come by and bring food from local restaurants for workers.
While this area has experienced the worst devastation seen in most of our lives, we also saw the love of Christ come shining through as, without committee heads or “formal” organization, the congregation girded their loins, rose up, sought and took care of needs.
This is “religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father” as James 1:27 states. We have much work to continue to do as this region slowly recovers from what is being called “the worst disaster in Texas history”. We have much opportunity to continue to shine the light so brightly beamed this past week. We commend you for your love driven response as you continue to do what God’s people do best.