Praise, Glorious Praise!

Meditating on Psalm 148.

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!

Praise the Lord from the earth…

Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and maidens;
Old men and children. (vv. 1,2,7,11,12)

Psalm 148 cries out to all of creation to praise God. Nothing and no one is exempted. From the heavenly bodies to creatures of the deep and every living thing in between – all must praise God. “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord” (Ps. 150:6).

Our powerful, glorious praise flings heaven’s doors wide open. It ushers in miracles beyond our wildest dreams – healings, lives changed, deliverances. It brings on God’s mighty acts and wondrous works: overwhelming victories in battle, great walls toppling down, earthquakes that open prison cells and unlock shackles, foul spirits fleeing.

The holy presence of God descends in heartfelt praise. And when it does, we will know peace that passes understanding, joy unspeakable and full of glory, hope that never dies, and a love — yes, a love that soothes all our broken places and covers all our lack!

So, praise God in the dark valley and on top of the mountain. Praise Him in the tedious climb and when you think you have no more strength left – you still have breath in your nostrils. Praise Him in the peals of rich laughter; praise Him in the midst of river of tears.

Praise God with your whole being, everyday that He brings. “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it!” (Ps. 118:24). Praise Him and do not cease, lest the stones will cry out!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven. (v. 13)

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God’s Treasury

When you pray, what do you imagine? I mean, for those Christians who worship the one true living God in spirit and in truth and not before an image. When you close your eyes tightly and focus on your prayers, what does your mind imagine, if it does at all. When I am desperate to reach the throne of grace and really want to give glory to the Lord in my thanksgiving and reach Him through my prayers, I do my best to imagine the throne room. As I give glory or implore Him with my supplications, eyes tightly closed, I imagine Him in His throne in all His glory: lifted high, bright white clouds covering the place, magnificent colors of the rainbow and reflections of brilliant precious stones emanating from the throne, the floor like a sea of glass, with thunderings and lightnings.

But try as I might, my imaginations are so limited. So, often, I just imagine the King of kings and the Lord of lords before me, bright as the sun. Though even in my mind, I cannot see His face. I imagine Him standing in front of me, listening to my words. If we really believe that the Lord is real and He lives, our prayers also become so alive. We are not talking to an impotent image made by man’s hands, but to the One who has all the power and might to move heaven and earth on our behalf! We worship God and give Him glory even though we cannot see Him. For all He’s doing in our lives, we lift up our praise to Him. For we know that every blessing we receive, even those hard graces which later turn out into greater blessings, comes from His hand.

Like me, you may also be in that place of waiting. Waiting for answer to our earnest prayers, for fulfilment of our deepest desire. And at times, we may grow faint in giving Him glory as we nurse our gloomy hearts. But when we look around us, at the things that have always been there but have been rarely noticed, we see the glory of God. And if our hearts are humble enough to let ourselves be caught in awe of what the Lord is showing us, we will be gripped in the beauty of His creation. Through these unexpected gifts, He will fill us with joy and we will be comforted right in our sparse places.

One time as I was scrolling down my FB newsfeed, I saw beautiful photos of God’s creation which were just uploaded by a brother in Christ. He and his companions were foraging the beautiful coral which emerged out of the waters on a low-tide morning. Our church’s outreach station in San Fernando, La Union is near the beach and how wondrous is it to walk on the coral barefoot, admiring the vibrant plethora of life hiding there! What I wouldn’t give to be there, walking, examining, and touching those beautiful living things God created!

I gazed at the photos longingly, yet, the Lord was filling my heart with joy and inspiration. Things like these, which our senses can feast upon, give us hope and inspiration to continue walking in faith. The King gives us glimpses of His glory through His creation. That day, on a quiet after-Christmas morning, in a place hundreds of miles away from the beach, I received God’s unexpected gift.

God’s treasury is full of good and perfect gifts. He sends out showers to make His children’s hearts glad. And because He’s the gift-giver, I will not lose hope in receiving the gift I so desire – my healing. Someday soon.

 Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea?
or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?

Where is the way where light dwelleth?
and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,

Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?
or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,

Hath the rain a father?
or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
Out of whose womb came the ice?
and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? (selected verses from Job 38)

(Photos courtesy of Brother Philip Delmendo).

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Wonderfully Made

The kids and I begin to read and discuss NKJV Greatest Stories of the Bible, reading through Genesis chapters 1 to 2. Hannah reads and we listen, although Tim does his best to keep his eyes open (we start quite late). Hannah keeps her eyes on the page and continues to read,  Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Tim yawns. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them … (Tim yawns for the nth time). I tell him to go to bed while Hannah and I finish our reading and discussion, but no, he wants to stay.

Young Hannah and baby Tim.

Hannah finishes reading, puts down the book and I ask, “What are the things that you learned here about the truth of God?”

She thinks deeply, then gives her answer, “That what God says comes to be.”

I am surprised by her answer. I have my own thoughts about what we have read and it doesn’t include that. “Great! Yes! That is so true! What God says comes to be. His word is very powerful. He is the Word.”

This truth about God is what makes us, His creation, fear Him. For we must fear God. I tell the kids this.

And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’ (Job 28:28)

I continue to discuss with the kids. Tim blinks his eyes trying to stay awake. He likes our Bible Studies but he’s often distracted.

Another truth about God that we can learn from creation is this: that He blesses. He is a God who blesses. Remember from the days of creation, He blessed the sea and everything in it, and blessed the first man and woman? We need not fear nor worry when we need something. We need not look elsewhere to find answer to our needs, great and small, nor doubt that our needs will ever be met.  We need only to remember that God is a giver of blessings and when we call upon Him, our Father in heaven, He will hear us and will bless us.

This truth about Him tells us about His great love for us. Though we rightly fear Him for He is God Almighty, we know also that His love for us never fails. It’s everlasting. Whether therefore He disciplines us or blesses us, it is all an act of love by a Father who loves His children.

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. (Jer. 31:3)

I ask Hannah again of more of her inputs about the truth of God from The Creation, and we almost say simultaneously, that God created us and we did not evolve from monkeys as scientists claim. The Bible says we were created in His own image and likeness.

And today, I remember this, as I thank and honor God for making me and fashioning me inside my mother’s womb 46 years ago today.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. ((Ps. 139:14, emphasis mine).

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,

The Two Offerings: Lessons from the Beginning

After Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden, Eve conceived and gave birth to a son, the very first child after the creation, and named him Cain. Then, Abel was born also. Cain became a tiller of the ground while Abel became a shepherd. One day, they both gave their offerings to the Lord: Cain, the fruit of the ground, his crops; Abel, the firstborn of the flock and their fat. God accepted Abel and his offering but Cain and his offering, He did not accept. This made Cain very angry.

(image from Google)

One might think, “What kind of gift did Cain offer to God? Why did God not accept him and his gift?” And one might be inclined to empathize with Cain. Was God not fair?

Abel offered the firstborn of his flock and their fat. One can imagine the sincerity of Abel and his love and honor for the Lord, offering only the finest of his flock – the firstborn. Maybe Cain’s heart was not that sincere and fervent resulting to his offering which left much to be desired? Remember, it wasn’t only their offerings God considered, but their beings as well, their character. What was their motive in offering to God? What moved them? Was it to please God through their offerings and worship Him? I think the answer to these questions would shed light as to why God judged them thus.

The Lord saw Cain’s anger and so asked him, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?”

Cain’s heart was not pure and God knew it, so He warned Cain, “And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Sin lied at the door of Cain’s heart, and despite God’s warning, he was not able to rule over it. He killed Abel his brother in his burning anger and jealousy.

The very first son of the earth was also the very first murderer. As Cain’s parents were banished from the garden of Eden and from the presence of God, so was Cain, now a vagabond. This was the fruit of Adam’s sin. Man was unable to save himself.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— (Rom. 5:12)

But God, in His everlasting mercy and wisdom, had foreplanned the salvation of mankind. Through His Son Jesus Christ our Savior, He has called us unto His presence once again, no longer vagabonds, wandering from place to place, lost. Now, we, the blessed recipients of His amazing grace, must also offer of ours and of ourselves to God. Do we do well as Abel did?

As we give of ours (tithes and love offerings) and of ourselves (praise and thanksgiving, prayer and fasting, service), what is the state of our hearts? Of our whole beings? For this God considers.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Rom. 12:1)

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,

The Light: Lessons from the Beginning

We go back to that very first day, from the very beginning, the first day of creation. On the first day of the foundation of the world, we get a glimpse of God’s plan for the salvation of mankind. Yes, even before the first man was created.

(image from Google)

In the beginning, there was only darkness. I can barely imagine that kind of darkness, maybe engulfing, choking, so thick and close one can hardly breathe. Deep, dark, and waters – the Spirit of God was in the midst of it all. Then His Word pierced through the darkness and void, “Let there be light.” And there was light.

The very first thing God created was —- light.

But is this light from the sun or the moon or the stars? That couldn’t have been because He created the sun, moon, and the stars on the fourth day yet! And this was the very first day. This light is His light.

…And light dwells with Him. (Dan. 2:22)

Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment… (Ps. 104:2)

Just like that very first day, God’s light pierces through our darkness and void. By His Word, He brings light to our souls that are in deep darkness.

The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. (John 1:9 NLT)

And He came to bring us life, life that is our light.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness… (John 1:4, emphasis mine)

Have you experienced the dark and void and deep? Have you fought their choking grip only to find you are powerless over them? Have you felt like you are being sucked into an endless deep and darkness and you have no strength to stop it? Helpless in that place where no one can reach you?

Or are you there now, my friend?

I’ve been there. When I found myself alone in the dark and void and deep and knew that no one could reach me there, I cried out for the only One who could. I cried out for the name – the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And He came. His light broke through my darkness shattering it into splinters. And He reached out for me.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:21)

Call on His Name. Cry out His name in your darkness, in your fear, in your emptiness, in your confusion. He will come. No darkness can stay in His light. He had done it from the foundation of the world.

He gives light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, He guides our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:79).

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,