Talk to God, Not Just About

This devotional is brought to you by a sermon from John Piper that is necessary to every person on their Christian journey.

Psalm 23 teaches us the importance of communication with our Father, that it is important that we talk about Him to others, but that we also talk to Him.

In verses 1-3 David refers to God as “he”:

“The Lord is my shepherd…
He makes me lie down…
He leads me…
He restores my soul.”

Then in verses 4 and 5 David refers to God as “you”:

“I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me.
You anoint my head with oil.”

Then in verse 6 David uses third person:

“I shall dwell in the house of the Lord.”

What we must learn from David in Psalm 23 and other psalms is that we should not talk about the good news of God without having a personal relationship with the God we talk about. We should frequently interrupt our talking about God with talking to God.

Let us move from the general to the specific with God. Not only should God be someone we speak about, but someone we speak to.

Not far behind the theological sentence, “God is generous,” should come the prayerful sentence, “Thank you, God.”

 

Made A Way

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19)

How many of us can testify that God made a way?

Can testify that you’re standing here only because he made a way?

We all have been in situations where we have wondered if there is a way out of our problem.

Illustration: Abraham found himself in such a predicament when he took Isaac, his only son up to the mountain to sacrifice him before God. Yet, just in the knick of time God provided a solution. The Bible says, “Gen. 22:9-14, “Abraham built an altar and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven. “Abraham! Abraham! Here I am, he replied; do not lay a hand on the boy, he said. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord will provide. (El-Shaddai)”

No matter what predicament, problem or difficulty you are facing the Lord has a way when there seems to be absolutely no solution in sight. God always provides a solution to any problem we are facing in the will of God. It is important that we like Paul understand how God makes a way when there seems to be no way. Paul wrote, “It is God who is at work in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13,14) In order to be more like Jesus Christ we need to allow the Lord to motivate us and enable us to do the things that are humanly impossible.

There is nothing that is impossible! I am standing here, rather sitting here, writing to you all to express how God made a way. School seemed like a far out fantasy, the prospects of continuing my studies at the University of Toronto did not seem probable with the money I needed to make in order to get back in. Last week something happened, a way was made. With help from a great person that I know God sent my way to help make a way I was able to pay off any school fees for the past year and the upcoming one. With almost a year on my back, kicking and screaming, throwing in the towel GOD MADE A WAY. Around 10 thousands dollars earned, all the long days and nights were worth it because I can see, in a spiritual realm, mountains moving and stronghold breaking. I don’t know how but he did it, he ALWAYS does it. A few months ago I wondered how I could make it through this test but he had it all figured out.

I don’t know why he kept me, saved me, helped me but I’m grateful!

God specializes in showing His power in hopeless situations. Israel was in just such a place when God parted the sea before them (Ex. 13:17-14:31). Daniel was protected in the lion’s den (Dan. 6:10-23). Paul and Silas were delivered from prison (Acts 16:25-40). We must believe that it gets better and ask the Lord to make us increasingly more like Christ in our thoughts, words and deeds.

This week’s song is Made A Way by Travis Greene

Lyrics:
Made a way
Don’t know how but you did it
Made a way
Standing here not knowing how we’ll get through this test
But holding onto faith you know best
Nothing can catch you by surprise
You’ve got this figured out and you’re watching us now
But when it looks as if we can’t win
You wrap us in your arm and step in
And everything we need you supply
You got this in control
And now we know that

You made a way
When our backs were against the wall
And it looked as if it was over
You made a way
And we’re standing here
Only because you made a way
You made a way

Now we’re here
Looking back on where we come from
Because of you and nothing we’ve done
To deserve the love and mercy you’ve shown
But your grace was strong enough to pick us up

And you made a way
When our backs were against the wall
And it looked as if it was over
You made a way
And we’re standing here
Only because you made a way [x2]

You move mountains
You cause walls to fall
With your power
You perform miracles
There is nothing that’s impossible
And we’re standing here
Only because you made a way

You made a way [x4]

Don’t know how but you did it
Made a way
Don’t know how but you did it
Made a way

Don’t know how but you did it [x4]

Don’t know why but I’m grateful [x4]

Don’t know how but I’m grateful

And we’re standing here
Only because you made
And we’re standing here
Only because you made a way
And we’re standing here
Only because you made

Grateful People

Happy Monday 🙂 Here’s another dose of Music Monday

Grateful people UNITE!

When has there ever been a group of grateful people ready to unite and share how grateful they were? It’s safe to say never, not even in church.

Instead, there are unsatisfied groups of people who often feel neglected or even unequal with a common complaint.

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28).

Let us sing out and proclaim our gratefulness to a great God.

There are at least 10 notable grateful people in the bible.

#10 Jonah (Jonah 2)
When we think of Jonah we tend to think he was anything but grateful. But have you read Jonah’s prayer from the belly of the fish lately? He deserved a grave at the bottom of the ocean for trying to run away from God and Jonah realized that. He was grateful that God rescued him, not just from the whale but also from what should’ve been. Filled, seemingly with thankfulness, Jonah confesses, “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.” Later, he says, “I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to [God].” Like so many people, Jonah had to get to one of his lowest points, literally, in order to be brought up out of it with gratefulness.

#9 Healed Leper (Luke 17)
Ten lepers encounter Jesus. All ten seemed to believe that Jesus was who He claimed to be. In response they cried out to him for healing. “Master, have pity on us!” Jesus asks them to visit the priests, and on their way they were made whole. Only one responded with a spirit of gratefulness. He “threw himself” at Jesus’ feet and praised him. It’s surprising that there weren’t a few more of the former lepers at His feet. “Were not all ten cleansed?,” He asks. “Where are the other nine?” This man stood out of the crowd because of his gratefulness.

#8 Moses (Exodus 15)
With all the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea Moses sings a song with gratefulness spread through every line.

“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.
Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.
The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.
Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.
And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.
10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
11 Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.

#7 “Legion” (Mark 5)
Before he met Jesus this man lived among tombs and spent his days cutting himself with stones. He was suffering because of an impure spirit living within him. Jesus comes and sends these spirit into a herd of pigs. This man was notably a different person and couldn’t seem to stop telling people about Jesus and what he’d done for him. His testimony was his praise!

#6 Mary, the Mother of Jesus (Luke 1-2)
In Luke Mary breaks out in praise and thanksgiving, saying things like, “[God] has done great things for me!” It’s because of this unmistakable, not to mention lengthy, statement of outright thanksgiving that Mary is a notable grateful person.

#5 The Woman Who Anointed Jesus (Luke 7)
Can a person be too thankful? God says no, man says yes. This woman in Luke 7 is so grateful for Jesus’ presence she wets Jesus’ feet with her tears. She then dries them with her hair. Following this she kisses them and finally pours her perfume on them. She’s obviously responding to Jesus’ apparent acceptance of her. And her response is full of gratefulness. Her gratefulness convicts me. It has no fear. No boundaries. Although she speaks no words, sings no songs, writes no psalms but her gratefulness is evident. She’s a doer, not a talker. Praise is not just words.

#4 The Father of the Prodigal (Luke 15)
Although the story points to the prodigal son and his return home it’s important that we look to his father. The father doesn’t care what any of his neighbors think or the judgment they might have held towards his son he was thankful to see his son again. He proclaims, “…this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” That’s just about the most profound and thankful scripture. It’s obvious this father is supposed to represent God himself. Despite the way we behave, our God has a lot more to be thankful for in our return.

#3 Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4)
Nebuchadnezzar’s story begins with a lot of personal statements in response to all he believed he’d done, “is not this the great Babylon I have build… by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” Although his story begins with a lot of “I’s” and “my’s” it ends with a lot of God. Given the ultra-lowly state he’d been in as God reduced him to a wild animal, living remotely alone, and eating grass like an ox. He “praised the most high.”

#2 Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2)
Out of desperation, she asks the Lord for a son. She says up front, “God, if you answer my prayer now, here’s how I’ll thank you later.” She commits her unborn son to God’s service. “I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life,” she promises. Hannah expresses pure praise and gratefulness with language like, “I delight in your deliverance.” Even in uncertainty she is grateful!

#1 David (2 Samuel 6)
When it comes to expressions of thanksgiving David leads the way. Some of the Psalms gives us an insight into David’s gratefulness. But these weren’t just words of praise used by David, his life reflected his gratefulness. David was a dancer. David “danced before the Lord with all his might.” His leaping and dancing “before the Lord” was too much for Michal, his wife. She scolds him later for “uncovering” himself before others, using words like “shameful” to describe his behaviour. David basically tells her that he was dancing for a crowd of one and that’s all that mattered. David, “celebrated before the Lord.” Sometimes the Michal in me wants to question if he praised too hard, or was too thankful. Evidently, David didn’t think so and neither did God. Let us remain grateful and praise for a crowd of one.

(List provided by http://wadeswalktowork.blogspot.ca/2010/12/most-thankful-people-in-bible.html)

I want these few on my team! I want to make this list of grateful people.

Now tell me, where are my grateful people?!

This week’s song is Grateful People by Anthony Brown

Lyrics:
CHORUS
Show me the grateful people
Where are the grateful people
I need to know where I belong,
‘cause I’m one of the grateful people

Repeat 4X

The early morning’s rising, just to see another day,
say I—Am—Grate—Full
For Life, health and strength and for every way He’s made
You ought a’ say I—Am—Grate—Full
For keeping me through dangers that were seen and unseen
You ought a’ say I—Am—Grate—Full
For looking past all my faults and seeing all of my needs
You ought a’ say I—Am—Grate—Full

VAMP
If it had not been for the LORD who was on my side
I just don’t know where I’d be
You don’t have to know the whole story,
Just know my God has been good to me
And if you agree, then help me, help me, help me say…
For waking me up this morning—thank You
For starting my way—thank You
Clothed and in my right mind—thank You
You brought joy along the way—Grateful People
For life, health and strength—thank You
Joy you gave to me—thank You
You broke every burden and chains—thank You
And gave me the victory—Grateful People