***This article was originally posted on LIVE IT OUT! Click HERE for more from Sarah Martin
Jumping in feet first. That is the best way to describe my attitude and actions before God started reigning me in and telling me to keep my head down. You see, it is in my nature to forge my own path. When I get a "great" idea, I'm all in. But, as I've splashed in the pool making a mess with water all around me, God is faithful anyway. He grabs my hand, pulls me out, wraps a towel around me and says, sit...child. Sit still for my ways are higher. I own the high way, the best paths.
The past few years the Lord in His sweet, high way leads me down paths where I am challenged to quietly grip His hand and take one step at a time. Feet first with big splashes is not my motive any longer. For, those big splashes only serve to cause noise in my life; distract from His grace and Higher way. So, I look to God's most right path in expectation that road will lead to more gratifying kingdom success.
Press In, Pour Out, Pour Forth
The Eternal is right in all His ways, and He is kind in all His acts. (Psalm 145:17)
If we were to search a handful of Bible translations we would see a few different words in place of kind. We would take in the words holy and gracious to describe our Lord and all of His acts and works. Oh in His ultimate purpose for the universe, our God takes us into account. He is kind in how He deals with us though we are not deserving. He is gracious to pour out blessings and pour out Himself (Jesus!) for us though we nailed Him to the cross. He is ever holy and righteous. Period.
Lord! Even when the road ahead is foggy and uncertain...we praise Your high way.
Lord! We take your hand daily walk in in the Your footsteps, Your gracious and trustworthy footsteps.
Lord! We slow down, even sit down on this journey when tempted to chase ahead of Your timing.
Lord! As we journey on your High way, let us see more and more and more of Your goodness...and we will make much of You along the way.
Will your feast today lead you to choose His high way? Go for it...God is good.
Where Credit Is due
Today let's keep the feast simple. No, it won't lose it's impact yet it will reinvigorate our perspective. In a moment, after you read this I'm going to ask you to shut the lid to your laptop or slid the off screen or do whatever you have to do to disconnect for just a bit from your technology of choice. Not yet, though. We have some pressing in to do before we pour out...literally out.
In the following Scripture, do you see some key words? All (all creation!), saints (holy people), bless (bless Him!), thanks (a form of blessing!).
All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, And Your saints shall bless You. (Psalm 145:10 ESV)
All creation will stand in awe of You,O Eternal One. Thanks will pour from the mouths of every one of Your creatures; Your holy people will bless You. (Psalm 145:10 THE VOICE)
This verse reminds me of when Jesus makes an amazing point. It is the great Triumphal Entry before Easter where the crowd declares, "Hosanna! Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” But then a Pharisee, one who attempts to squelch the joy of the occasion encourages Jesus to stop them. Can you imagine? Jesus responds...
I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out. (Luke 19:40)
I've always read this verse and thought: Oh No! Let us not leave it up to the rocks!
All of creation speaks of the goodness of God. Our God is creative and impressive and infinitely wise. He made this earth with us in mind to enjoy and revel in and He is still involved in this creation. Though, some see God as the One holding the snow globe type earth and admiring His creation from afar. Let's praise God, bless Him for holding us in His mighty hand with intricate involvement. Oh we see His handiwork everywhere if we choose to look, really take notice.
He is so very due praise and honor and blessing that if we, as the crown of creation, neglect our duty (pleasure filled duty), creation itself will fill in the gap.
Oh let us give credit where credit is due!
Pour Out and Pour Forth
Will you go out with an open heart to investigate God's glory all around you? We don't have to live in the middle of a beautiful farm or stand in a bountiful garden to see it. There is glory to be found in cities, at school, on the commuter train...in interacting with His people. Living to intentional engage with God's creation regardless of the location is worship in and of itself.
Breath it in
Breath it out
Give God the credit due His name.
Leave it NOT up to the rocks!
If I mentioned 3 words, would you know personally what I mean? Would these words conjure up for you the same type of emotions that swirl around in my heart, too? The Cool Club. Three words that embody what I was never a part of. Even writing this puts me back to the halls of junior high and awkwardness ever abundant. It puts me back to that broken heart from being excluded. Not fun.
As an adult I see the cool club all around me. And it makes me so mad. I even see it in the church. I see it as an "us verses the world" mentality as we swoop away in our comfort zones and with our perfect facades knowing that we are "ok" because we are "saved" and "going to heaven."
Oh it is so much more than that!
Press In and Praise Him...
But the Eternal’s goodness is not exclusive—it is offered freely to all. His mercy extends to all His creation. (Psalm 145:9 THE VOICE)
The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. (Psalm 145:9)
The veil that contained God's upmost holiness in His temple tore in two when Jesus breathed His last breath on the cross. (Matthew 27:50-54)
God's absolute, manifest glory from that moment forward stood available to any and all who would come to Him. Free to all, yes, as God's word says. Available to His entire creation.
Not one excluded.
But it is more than saying the sinners prayer and declaring with an "us verses the world" heart that we are now "saved." Oh yes. We are saved from eternal separation from the Almighty. Yes. But the more comes in to play when we take our place and take part in God's kingdom. It is here and now.
There are people to serve.
There is love to first pour out to God and then to our neighbor...even when it hurts and when it is uncomfortable.
There are those who feel excluded, not worthy, unacceptable.
Is your heart burdened for those who live excluded...not knowing His inclusive mercy and love?
This is my prayer these days. For my heart to soften and for my self righteous pride to dissolve.
Will we allow God to use us, yes US, to partake in His work. Will we worship by exclaiming to God's creation that He freely extends mercy. They are not excluded. Will we go the distance and walk alongside and lead them to the cross to be included? Jesus did the work. We have the privilege of witnessing the miracle, the transformation. Our faith and worship will grow stronger in the process!
Psalm 145 was the original inspiration for Just RISE UP!: A Call To Make Jesus Famous. Want to be a part of the generation who rises up for His renown? Check out the book HERE.
***This blog originally posted on LIVE IT OUT! blog.
Above All Else Day 8: He Loves Us Regardless
Today, on this Monday might we tackle a big topic? Let's start the week out right.
Go ahead and soak in today's Above All Else Scripture and then we will dig in.
The Eternal is gracious. He shows mercy to His people. For Him anger does not come easily, but faithful love does—and it is rich and abundant. (Psalm 145:8 THE VOICE)
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalm 145:8)
I firmly believe that if we are to truly worship Him today (based on the words of our Psalm 145) and feast with a heart of gratitude for God's mercy and grace-filled, steadfast love, we simply must come at it in a state of repentance. For if we truly grasp His holiness, His righteousness, we also grasp that outside of the cross, we simply are not.
Oh but for Jesus we are but filthy rags not worthy to sit in, to press into His presence.
Sounds harsh? Sure does.
Oh but for Jesus! The slate is wiped clean and our King welcomes us in sparkling white and pure.
Just like a Monday is a new week, a new start.
Is this new news to you? It is not for me, honestly. Every since I was a young sixteen year old kneeling beside my bed and asking for forgiveness of my teen-age type sins, I knew this truth. But knowing this truth meant checking off a box and striving to be a good girl. It was only when I got a handle on two important aspects of WHO God is that my worship changed in a drastic way:
~God is holy. Upmost righteous. Pure. Worthy of only purity in His presence. Therefore, He is fully justified in all of His actions of judgement.
~God abounds in love, merciful, gracious love. So much so, He made a way through the cross for us because of this outright love.
God is big enough to be just and wrathful, demanding holiness AND overflowing in love for us.
Do you believe that today?
Several years ago I began a journey to wrap my brain around the dumbfounding but fact filled truth. Because God is BOTH Just (holy and pure) AND abounding in love, I looked at my actions differently. For me, this was a turn key moment toward living my life as worship and thus living to please Him because He is worthy. This is more than the "check the box" mentality. This is more striving to be the good girl so that God would love me because I pleased Him. No, Psalm 145 tells us that God loves us regardless.
What if we decide to do life differently, evaluating our actions bent toward sin because we desire to please Him because we love Him back?
What if we actually acknowledged our sin in confession and then DID SOMETHING to change that behavior? (Repentance. A churchy type word but oh so necessary!)
Let this be our feast today. Thanking Him that He loves us regardless. Thank Him for giving us daily glimpses into His pure holiness when we sit at the table and make much of Jesus.
I'm really excited to dive into this topic with you further! Will you join me in my 5-week online study of Just RISE UP!? All you need is your Bible, a journal, and a copy of Just RISE UP! More info HERE.