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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Weeping may Remain for a Night, but rejoicing Comes in the morning.

Weeping may Remain for a Night, but rejoicing Comes in the morning.
Psalm 30

                If our days are filled with situations which lead to nights of
crying and despair how wonderful it is to think and know and believe that joy comes with God in the morning! Just how is this possible? And what causes one to say thank you forever to God? It is because God has changed that person’s life through helping them when they needed God the most.
                Out of the depths God lifted up this psalmist and no one gloated over them. The one who was suffering called to God and he healed them. God brought them up from the grave and spared them from going down into the pit. From the lowest moments of their lives God lifted them up and kept them from going back down because God brought healing and wholeness.
                Because God has brought healing the psalmist is filled with joy and when we are filled with joy we are to sing and praise His name  Anger may last only a moment but God’s favour is forever; weeping comes in the night but joy comes in the morning.
                The psalmist continues to state “I will never be shaken.” Yet when God seemed to hide away there was despair and uncertainty. But then the psalmist called and cried out for mercy and for God’s help. And God heard this cry and enabled the one who was wailing to dance, the one who was in mourning to be filled with joy so much so that their hearts may sing to God and cannot be silent any more. They must give God thanks forever.
REFLECTION:
What a wonderful Psalm of praise! God helps those who are in need even in the depths o sadness, hurt, pain and questioning. All we need to do is to call for help and there will be healing.  Through this healing there will also be songs of joy, and they will feel compelled to praise God. Weeping if it occurs will be short term as joy comes with the morning. God will turn your life around. All you need to do is call for his help his mercy, and grace!
If you are in need of healing or find yourself in a time of despair, this Psalm tells us what to do- seek God’s help and healing and God will respond. God will lift us up from despair so much that we will want to dance and sing and praise God forever. And God just asks us to thank him.
God loves you and wants you to understand Him and how much he loves you. If you are in need of help and healing call upon him. Pray and ask for healing and help and God will lift you up, turn you around as you open your heart to believe and have faith.
PRAYER

Loving God hear my prayer as I call out to you. I believe you will help and heal me and this is what I ask at this time. Lift me up from where I am in despair and raise me up so that I will praise you forever. Enable me to believe and follow you always for you are my God and I am seeking you. I cry now to you with the hope and promise that I will have joy in the morning. In your name God, Thank you and all praise be to you. Amen.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Let the Redeemed .. Say so!

Let the Redeemed .. Say so!
  Psalm 107


                Let the redeemed of the Lord say that God is good
and that His love endures forever.
                This Psalm is a listing of those who were changed by God and through their redemption in faith, they can now say that God is good. This Psalm tells the before and after of people whose lives changed with God. From east, west, north and south—God’s people have been redeemed, transformed and changed!
                Some people wandered in desert wastelands. They cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he delivered them from their distress.  Some people sat in darkness and the deepest gloom prisoners suffering in iron chains. They too cried to the Lord in their trouble they he saved them from their distress. Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. They cried to the Lord in their trouble and he saved them from their distress.  And still others went out on the sea in ships saw the works of the Lord but they reeled and staggered away. They too cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he brought them out of their distress.  God heard their cries and he brought calmness, and led them to new life. God changed the circumstances of where each was and brought forth life through his great love.
                What a glorious and wonderful Psalm- God changed the lives of these people who were in various situations of distress and who had cried out for help. He brought changes to what was happening around them and they were changed. They were saved from their heartaches and distress. They were redeemed through God’s love. 
                But do the ‘redeemed’ tell the story? How extensive and wonderful this story may be if we could hear those people tell their stories of what happened to them. Yet this is the same today. What faith stories could be shared as we look to what God is doing today. People’s lives change with God but are we willing to tell our stories so that others may hear?
                God’s love endures forever. People of God tell your story of redemption!
REFLECTION:
Have you ever told your story of coming to know God, Christ the Spirit to another person? If yes, how did the other person(s) respond? What did you do next? If no why not or maybe you are still searching for God.

If you are searching for God, this Psalm takes in about almost every kind of situation people have found themselves throughout their lives and offers hope that is so wonderful we just have to share it. When you realize that you are in trouble and need help, God hears you. No matter what you are facing right now, cry out to God for help. He will respond to your need.  This response might be someone who comes to talk with you or even to listen to your story, and pray with you. Do not send them away—be with them and know that God is caring for you! And answer God’s call. If you do, you will be ready to give thanks to God!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Overflowing Gratitude

Overflowing Gratitude
Psalm 9
                Have you ever felt the need to praise God? Not just on Easter
morning when you realize the joy of Christ’s resurrection for yourself but on an ordinary day. What has prompted this need, this urge to praise God?
                Psalm 9 begins “I will praise you O Lord, with all my heart, I will tell of all your wonders.” (NIV). Leslie Brandt puts it this way: “I feel so exuberant I simply must express or explode” What an option—express praise to God or explode from within. But why the need to praise God?
                The Psalmist responds because God was with them and judged righteously against enemies. God destroyed the wicked, rebuked the nations and blotted out their names for ever. Enemies have faced endless ruin and God reigned forever. God reigns and so all who believe must praise God. God is the one who will judge the world in righteousness and justice. And those who know Him with trust in him because God will never forsake them.
                Therefore because God will always be with us we are to sing the praises of God; to proclaim loudly His deeds to the people. God doesn’t ignore his people but lifts us up and reminds us of His love.
                But do we know how much God loves us? God lifts us up in order that we might praise Him. God makes it possible to sing praise because He is with us always. There will be people who hurt themselves by forgetting God. And there are those whose needs will not be forgotten nor will hope be lost. “Is it any wonder my heart overflows with gratitude to God?”
REFLECTION:
How often do you consciously praise God? That is you offer your voice to sing about how God has touched your heart and life. Do you sing of your love for God and God’s love for you?  You might respond well it depends; It depends upon what you have been experiencing and what you are going through at the moment. It depends upon what you feel you need you should do when we praise God.
For some people praising God is not only singing or playing music; it is using the gifts and talents and skills and learning they have been given or acquired to praise and do the work necessary for the church and for the furtherance of God’s kingdom. One who does the finances may not be able to sing well but they are still praising God in what they are doing. And sometimes we limit ourselves in how we praise God. For many singing is how praise is done; standing up arms high to the sky and singing to uplifting music. For others it is simply saying quietly in one’s heart—“I love you God and I lift my voice.”
But no matter how you do it—do it! Praising God is worshiping God, and God likes receiving our praise. And when we do so, we are blessed through the Spirit which comes to us.
 PRAYER:

Wonderful God we praise you name and we rejoice in all that you do for us. We may not always feel the need to express or explode our joy to you but we praise you any ways. Give us reasons again and again to offer you praise so that we might feel the joy of your love forever. Amen.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

I Try, God

I Try, God
Psalm 56
                Have you ever felt that everyone was against you? So much
that in your evening prayer you tell God, “I tried, God, but….” Then you list why things did not go so well. This Psalm reflects the need for God to be merciful to the believer, the follower because of reasons beyond their control.
                We read that ‘people hotly pursue those who believe and they press their attack. Slanderers are pursuing them and in their pride are attacking. Words are twisted and harm is done. They conspire, lurk, watch where they are going and even seem to be eager to end one’s life.
But what is comforting for all who believe is that whenever one might become afraid there is no need. Those who believe need only to trust in God’s word. One need only to trust in God’s word, for which you praise and give thanks. One is to trust in God for God knows the laments and tears of your hearts. God knows and because we believe and have made promises to God, we need only to offer our praise and thanksgiving.  Because God protects us from those who want to hurt us, we need to fully trust God so that we might walk before God in the light of life.
This Psalm calls us to not give up even after trying to do what is right. God will be there for you even in those moments when you feel abandoned before those who disagree with you. All you need to do is call for help and God is with you. God will comfort, encourage and enable you to speak up for what you believe and what you are striving to accomplish as a child of faith. But you must believe that God is there for you.
 When you made promises and professed your faith do you recall what you said? “I am under vows to you, O God I will present my thank offerings to you,” states the Psalm. Whenever people attack or question you God will help you to speak and show who you are and what you might become. But you must be willing to let God fully lead your life. God promises that He will deliver you from death from those who are against you. God will also keep you walking forward in faith and prevent you from stumbling as He is able because God leads your life. But you must communicate with God and he will answer you and lead your life in the way it should go.
REFLECTION:
When you said you believed in God did you really know what your promises were about? What about now? Has your faith become stronger since saying I believe in God, in Christ and the Spirit? What would you consider doing to continue to grow as you ask and answer questions and read the Bible? When you pray do you experience God’s calming embrace and love? Calm your heart and share in this prayer.
PRAYER:
Holy God of grace I ask you to be with me this day. You know what the day will bring not only in weather but in who and what I shall encounter. Calm my heart, release from me any anxiety and call on me to do as you would like me to do. I am willing to try and to learn and grow in faith as you lead and guide me. Amen.     

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Make a Joyful Noise


Make a Joyful Noise
  Psalm 100
                Here we are midweek after one of the High Holy Days of the
Christian Year Easter and we are wondering how we are feeling about everything. Sunday’s service was filled with joy, and laughter and songs of faith which were uplifting. There was energy in the sanctuary as we offered praise and thanksgiving to God for raising to life His Son, Jesus. And through Jesus’ resurrection we have been given the gift and hope of eternal life. We are blessed!
                But the joy of Easter should not end with the closing chorus; Easter is a season, and the gift that we receive never goes away—Christ is alive and the joy we experience should be felt every day not just Easter Sunday morning.
                We had a beautiful sunny Easter day yet within hours this sunshine was changed to clouds rain and thunder. This lead me to think about how we change as individuals in mood, in time all because of what affects us and how we respond.  I just wonder if the joy we experience on Easter can be fully shared each day?
                Jesus is alive and we should be making a joyful noise each day. We have hope beyond this life. We have hope beyond this world all because Jesus died and rose to new life. But are we willing to live in this hope and with the joy we find in Jesus.
                As we begin this week after Holy Week I find myself a little tired after preparing for special services, getting home celebrations ready and then doing the regular tasks of living. But what carries me forward into this week is that I know Jesus is with me and I have the joy of the Lord. I have the wonderful love of Jesus in my heart and I will live forever because of him.
                Do you remember as a child the wonder and anticipation of opening your birthday presents? It was your day your gifts and then your cake. But afterward there is a let down- it’s a long time until it is your birthday again. Easter calls us to rejoice after hearing the passion story of Jesus’ death. Yet often we let go of the joy of Easter as we return back to work and school.
                The joy of Easter is something that we should strive to keep in our hearts each day. And so in many churches there is a celebration of Holy Humour- the joke’s on the devil—Jesus rose to new life and we want to continue celebrate with love and fun and laughter. Hopefully the joy will return as we hear how Thomas doubted that the disciples had seen Jesus. And then Jesus shows up and proves that he is alive!. Then there is much joy amongst the disciples.
Consider how you keep the joy of the living Christ in your heart? What do you do? Do you sing, pray, draw or create something wonderful? This is a challenge for this Easter Season. Make a joyful noise until God. Christ is alive.
PRAYER:

Holy God of love we praise you and we rejoice that you truly love us. You have called us to be with you and we celebrate Christ’s resurrection with joy. Keep us focused on you in this time and show us your way to live and love and laugh. IN Jesus’ name Amen.