Tag Archives: praise

Can you top that?

Kim and I went to see illusionist David Copperfield years ago. In a career that has spanned over 40 years, his illusions have included making a Learjet disappear, escaping from Alcatraz, levitating over the Grand Canyon, and making the Statue of Liberty vanish. He is the best-known and most commercially successful magician in history. He even owns a chain of islands in the Bahamas!

The challenge for people like Copperfield is that the next illusion has to be better than the last one. He has to be more sensational. He has to cause consternation at higher levels than ever before. He wants to go beyond “How did he do that?”

Our featured song this week was written by George Beverly Shea, the man best known for his singing at Billy Graham crusades for many years. The text for the worship service is Psalm 8. Both Scripture and song extol the magnificence of the Creator – the One who brought the universe into being and breathed life into humans.

“There’s the wonder of sunset at evening, the wonder of sunrise I see;

But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul is the wonder that God loves me.”

“O Lord, our Lord, Your majestic name fills the earth!”

The songwriter and the psalmist knew that God didn’t have to top anything. He didn’t have to come up with a new trick. As our knowledge of the universe expands, we realize more and more that there is no end to the wonder of God’s creation. As we grow deeper in our relationship with the Lord, we realize we will never fully explore the depths of His love for us.

Oh, the wonder of it all!

Getting it right

Sometimes you need a mulligan. A little girl named Lois wrote a letter to God:

“Dear God, I like the Lord’s prayer best of all. Did you have to write it a lot or did you get it right the first time? I have to write everything I ever write over again.”

This time of year offers some do-overs. It’s a great season to let grudges go and choose forgiveness over resentment. Nothing clears the heart like remembering the grace we have been extended. If God treated us like we deserve, none of us would be pleased.

At Thanksgiving, I cannot help but think of experiences shared with family and friends. I realize that time is fleeting and we are not promised tomorrow. It always strikes me when I officiate at a funeral. We cannot afford to waste time. We must cherish moments we are given and live in them fully.

Words need to be spoken. Perhaps they are needed to close a breach. Nine of the hardest words in the English language are: “I am sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.”

Perhaps they are needed to express sentiment. How can you not tell people who matter to you that you love them?

Words don’t come easy? Show your gratitude. Express your thanks. That’s what young Ruth did when she wrote this: “Dear God, I think the stapler was one of your greatest inventions.” Ruth may need to get out more.

Don’t ever let your list of petitions outnumber your list of praises. God deserves our praise even if we don’t deserve our blessings! “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing!”

Give Him the glory

Russell Wilson plays quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks NFL team. He led his team to this year’s Super Bowl. He was one play away from consecutive championships. On the one yard line with 20 seconds to go, Wilson threw a pass on a slant route that was intended for teammate Doug Baldwin. Down 28-24, the pass reception would have won the game. New England Patriot Malcolm Butler jumped the route, intercepted the pass, and sealed the game.

In typical fashion, Wilson accepted responsibility for the play: “I put the blame on me – I’m the one who threw it. It’s something you learn from, it’s something you grow from.”

In many ways, Russell Wilson isn’t typical. In a game where huge egos are on full display, he goes about his business with higher priorities than jaw-dropping stats or staggering contracts. When he was drafted by the Seahawks with the 12th pick in the third round in 2012, few people believed that he would be the success he has proved to be. He was too small; he didn’t possess an NFL arm. He just won.

If you followed him into the locker room before a game, you would notice his earphones. Most players listen to music before games. But he is listening to contemporary Christian music. Then you will see him bow by his locker to pray. “I’m not a hyped person. I try to stay relaxed,” he says. During the game, you can hear him sing softly one of his favorite Gospel songs in the heat of the contest.

Wilson makes it clear when interviewed that his life isn’t centered on the fame and glory of success in the NFL; his life is focused on his relationship with Jesus Christ. “It’s like I put on the whole armor of God so I can take God everywhere I go – mentally, physically, and spiritually.”

His life verse comes from John 3:30: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

With all his success, Russell Wilson has a firm handle on what matters most. “Win or lose, it’s about Him for me. It doesn’t matter the ups and downs, the good and the bad, just keep Him first.”

You and I don’t have to perform on a stage with millions watching. But the only Audience that matters is watching. He deserves our best even as He deserves our trust and obedience. He deserves the glory.

 

Easter people, serve Him this week. Gather with your brothers and sisters to study His Word and worship this Lord’s Day.

Along the Journey – Now where did I put that?

You left in a rush this morning. You’re not as attentive as you should be. You get to the office and look down. One black sock and one blue one or one black shoe and a brown one.

You walk out of the mall and stop as you gaze out at an ocean of cars. You have no idea where you parked. You start clicking your remote, hoping you’re close enough.

You’re late and you can’t find your keys. Some helpful person in your life asks the inevitable question: “Where were you the last time you had them?” If you knew that, you would go there and pick up your keys.

Someone walks up to you with a sly grin on his face and says, “I’ll bet you don’t remember me.” He’s right. You don’t.

Possible solutions:

  • Keep an extra pair of socks, shoes at the office or in your car or just don’t wear socks and shoes.
  • It was time to buy a new car anyway.
  • Buy a chain and hang your keys around your neck and never take the chain off.
  • Smile a lot, pump his hand, slap him on the back, and bluff your way or carry a pictorial directory of every person you ever known.

Life happens. We forget things or misplace things. The older we get, the more often it seems to happen. Give yourself, and others, a break. Try to remember the important things, like:

  1. How blessed you are and how thankful you should be
  2. The people in your life who matter so much
  3. How important it is to pray, to worship, to praise
  4. How great it is to live in a free country
  5. How precious time is
  6. How good God is, all the time

While you’re changing socks or looking for your keys, spend a moment thanking God for the gift of your life. You may forget a lot of other things but please remember that!