Made Me Glad

A friend shared this with me today:

Charles Haddon Spurgeon :: Morning and Evening
August 14th — Morning Reading

“Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work.” — Psalm 92:4

Do you believe that your sins are forgiven, and that Christ has made a full atonement for them? Then what a joyful Christian you ought to be! How you should live above the common trials and troubles of the world! Since sin is forgiven, can it matter what happens to you now? Luther said, “Smite, Lord, smite, for my sin is forgiven; if Thou hast but forgiven me, smite as hard as Thou wilt”; and in a similar spirit you may say, “Send sickness, poverty, losses, crosses, persecution, what Thou wilt, Thou hast forgiven me,and my soul is glad.” Christian, if thou art thus saved, whilst thou art glad, be grateful and loving. Cling to that cross which took thy sin away; serve thou Him who served thee. “I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Let not your zeal evaporate in some little ebullition of song. Show your love in expressive tokens. Love the brethren of Him who loved you. If there be a Mephibosheth anywhere who is lame or halt, help him for Jonathan’s sake. If there be a poor tried believer, weep with him, and bear his cross for the sake of Him who wept for thee and carried thy sins. Since thou art thus forgiven freely for Christ’s sake, go and tell to others the joyful news of pardoning mercy. Be not contented with this unspeakable blessing for thyself alone, but publish abroad the story of the cross. Holy gladness and holy boldness will make you a good preacher, and all the world will be a pulpit for you to preach in. Cheerful holiness is the most forcible of sermons, but the Lord must give it you. Seek it this morning before you go into the world. When it is the Lord’s work in which we rejoice, we need not be afraid of being too glad.

Yes, this excerpt from the “Prince of Preachers” is in a style and beauty of language that seems so far away from my own current station in this world, but it has a voice and message that is timeless and that is in seemingly perfect unity with what my heart knows is true. 
He starts out at the heart of the matter, that all important question,  “Do you believe…” in sentence one. And as if that wasn’t bold enough, he hammers it home with “… what a joyful Christian you OUGHT TO BE!” In the continued opening of sentence two.
This approach might even be deemed as offensive or unwelcoming in many of today’s gathering places of those seeking enlightenment, self help, and betterment  (as long as it is only a tolerable sprinkling of God, of course). And some might even be offended at their main diet of religious and social gathering being seasoned with God, since He seems so unwavering and intent on His will being done. 
“Maybe just add Him as a garnish on the side so no one is offended”, they suggest,  “and then they don’t actually have to encounter Him in the midst of all this other pomp and circumstance and ceremony and entertainment.” Because the truth of God’s Word to them is still a harsh task master calling them to give up so many things they love more and greater — not a glorious and loving God who has the best for us in every promise, in every correction, in every discipline, in every trial, and in every victory over sin and death. 
Do you believe?
Or are you gauging your “own personal truth” by what you can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, feel and experience in your carnal flesh?
Is your belief hinged upon the flood of blessings to be expected in this life now for your investment in religious participation, swinging wildly back and forth between grumbling and praising based on the circumstance?
Or is it rooted firmly in that prize and portion  — that prize that is above and beyond all other worthless and perishing offerings that the enemy might offer?

The enemy is tempting you to take your eyes off of the Truth, the Way, the Life — the source of your joy. Have you turned away? Have you forgotten the sweet, sweet love the Lord has for you, Child of God?
Or do you remember?

Are you filled with joy abounding in every way? Peace that presses understanding? Love even for your enemies? Patience because you know He has a plan and a purpose that is beautiful and wonderful and you are a part of It?
Did you hear me right? You are A PART OF IT! I didn’t say you are apart from it, but that you are a part of It!

How much we have to be thankful for!

Oh, how glad we can bee when the Lord God Almighty is at work in us, and through us, and yes, even for us. Hallelujah! Because He is for us and not against us!

Great Joy

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. – James 1:2‭-‬6 NLT

The Lord is my shepherd; 

I have all that I need. 

He lets me rest in green meadows; 

he leads me beside peaceful streams. 

He renews my strength

He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. 

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. 

Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. 

You honor me by anointing my head with oil. 

My cup overflows with blessings. 

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalms 23:1‭-‬6 NLT

Are we fully trusting in the Lord to be faithful and true? Are we fully trusting that even this trial is meant for our good and for His glory? Yes, these questions,  this examining our hearts to see if faith and belief really lives there — it either brings us to the garden to rest humbly and trusting in His arms — or is has us far from Him and grumbling about not getting our own way right now. 
Surrender, and return to the garden, and be still and know that He is God. He is mighty.  Trust in Him. Follow Him. He went through hardships. He was wrongly accused and hated by those he pleaded for on their behalf. He faced opposition repeatedly from the enemy that wanted to hinder his work going forth and seeing many bright into freedom and belief and life abundant no longer bound by sin and death. Don’t think that you should escape the trials, but realize that the trials are the refining fires that purify your heart and that service as your living testimony that He lives in you.

[Mia, Daddy & Friends] “Mary’s Song”

A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.” Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.

Luke 1:39‭-‬56 NLT

Good News, Zion!

​How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” – Isaiah 52:7 NKJV

Good News, sons of Abraham, faithful servants, body of Christ, those who have ears to hear,  “Your God reigns!” And this is not news that anything has changed, for God has reigned since the beginning, even before He created the heavens and the earth. Even before He revealed Himself to the world as God come in the flesh, Immanuel “God with us”, He is, and was and evermore shall be.  

He bring us tidings of joy, peace in the storm, blessings and favor, and salvation to those who believe and abide in Him and He in them. He bring rain upon the just and the unjust and offers this example so that we might share His love and His light to a world lost in darkness and hopelessness, and sin and death. Rise up,  Zion, hear His call, lie dead and dormant no more, for He breathes life and salvation into those He calls. 

Have you received life? Have you confessed Jesus is Lord, and do you believe God raised Him from the dead? If so, the Word of God says, “You are saved! Go and sin no more.” (Romans 10:9,John 8:11) And Romans 10:11 and Psalm 25:3 tell us that anyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame. 
So we have much to celebrate this Christmas season, not the presents, or time off of work, or time with family – which are all wonderful blessings- but we celebrate the one from whom those blessings flow –

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will  be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” – Luke 2:9‭-‬14 NKJV

Life: A time for Birth, A time for Death

The time passes so quickly. 

Just 5 years ago. 

Excited about the new life on its way.
Crushed by the word cancer.

A new life arrives that touched us so deeply and changed everything.

Little Mia comes home from the hospital just in time for a white Christmas.
But as she comes home from the hospital,  another enters.

Empty seats at the Christmas table as we each faced our torn responsibilities.
Hearts stretched to the limits in joy and pain and searching for understanding.
A family faced with so much change,  so much change,  so much…

And along with the new year’s arrival, we found that our family was the same size it had been,
Missing one we knew and had memories with,  but holding one to make more memories.

Oh,  let’s make those memories count.

I love you Granddad. I miss you.
I didn’t get those last days with you,
You know my heart, you know my love,
Until that day when we are reunited –
We love you,  and hope we can carry the Ballinger name,
To God’s Glory and to your memory,
Thank you for your life,  your example,  your faith.

The ring placed back into my grandmother’s open hand,
I can’t hold back the rush of emotion even now.

The words and handshakes of an endless line of loving people,
Whose words I couldn’t even hear through the deafening numbness.

And the joy of baby Mia and the crushing responsibilities of being a new dad,
Gave me a distraction from my mourning and loss,
I stumbled through it all barely awake,  barely alive,
But we made it,  and we are making it,

And God honors your life and showed mercy on our family greatly,
Knowing the hole would be so great from your departure,
That He gave us Mia as a blessing and a renewal,
Just when His timing was perfect.

Thank you,  God,
Your ways are amazing.

———————

Miss you,  Granddad Ballinger. Love you.

“Remember when old ones died and new were born
And life was changed, disassembled, rearranged
We came together, fell apart
And broke each other’s hearts
Remember when

Remember when the sound of little feet was the music
We danced to week to week
Brought back the love, we found trust
Vowed we’d never give it up
Remember when”

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NLT
http://bible.com/116/ecc.3.1-8.NLT

A life of Praise

Psalms 9:1-8 NLT
I will praise you, lord , with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of you.
I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
My enemies retreated;
they staggered and died when you appeared.
For you have judged in my favor;
from your throne you have judged with fairness.
You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
you have erased their names forever.
The enemy is finished, in endless ruins;
the cities you uprooted are now forgotten.
But the lord reigns forever,
executing judgment from his throne.
He will judge the world with justice
and rule the nations with fairness.

PERSONAL COMMENTARY
———————————————

Wow, it would take the rest of my life for me to sing of all of the great things that He has done for me up to this point in life. It seems like I can never catch up in praise to the blessings that He pours out. So yes, I praise the Lord with my life. I praise Him from my heart, and it shines forth in my life in ways that I just can’t “turn off”.

When this Holy Spirit caught hold of my life, things changed, and they continue changing. I didn’t magically have full understanding of all things and I didn’t magically become free from all sin and temptation in my life – no. But what did happen was a change on the inside – a change from seeking sinful things to seeking Godly things – a change from focusing on loving myself to a focus on loving God and loving others.

And when this change happened, so many of those enemies in my life fell away – either immediately because I had no interest in them any longer, or through my resistance and reliance on Christ to be my strength, they fled from my life. I’m not speaking about people – no, people of flesh and blood aren’t my enemies – I’m speaking about that darkness that is devoid of God’s goodness, that absence of God’s presence, that place called sin.

Yes, I still stumble, I am not perfect. I make mistakes, I let people down at times, I fall short of the mark of perfection – but I’m reaching for that goal, I’m stevie forth my arms to God with my everything, because He is the one thing that I want and need to hold onto.

His power crushes those old things in my life that were chains and burdens. I watch in awe as those things that used to control my life and lead me down dark paths fall away, because I can see them now for what they are – traps, tricks, and danger placed in front of me by the enemy, but that God now uses to demonstrate His strength through my weakness.

And this renovating work of His refining my heart and cleaning out this temple for Christ to live in me and through me – this battle between His will and my rebellious flesh nature, it is won, even if all of the opposing troops have not yet been slain. Because I am surrendered to Christ. I want to see Him crush all those things in my life that are not an honor and glory to Him. I am now resisting the enemy and not resisting God’s will, and that is a game changer.

Yes, I need to surrender daily. Yes, there are still temptations and thoughts and situations that I encounter where I could have been wiser yesterday – and I examine them and try to learn from them for today. And this living Word of God that is written on my heart, and that speaks to me through the written Word of God, they agree in my Spirit and I know the truth of this Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ –

That God loved me so much, even when I was still in rebellion against Him, that He came in the flesh to our world as Jesus Christ, 100 percent man and 100 percent God, to live the example life showing us God’s true character and nature, demonstrating love, mercy, grace, honor, glory, righteousness and all the things that make God’s nature so different from the choices that we make when left to our own devices, and He died on the cross and rose from the dead to sit on the right hand of God with all authority to fulfill this great and undeniable demonstration of His love for me, so that I might know Him, and accept His offer of grace, and love Him in return, and so that He would come and live in me, and that my old nature would die as it is replaced with His nature. And I don’t say this with pride, because anything good is Him, and anything worthless is me. He is worthy of all praise.

But I do say this with boldness, because He died for each of us. Yes, for YOU.

Let’s be the Christ in us, today.

Let’s be the representatives and ambassadors for Christ that we are meant to be.

Let’s surrender to Him and see those enemies retreat, let’s watch as he crushes them beneath His feet and uses them as a stepping stone.

Let’s quit trying to win a battle under our own power, and instead understand that the real battle is already won – let’s see the opportunity to serve in His Kingdom even now, following in the footsteps of Christ’s example and teachings, loving and serving others, so that they might see the battle won in their lives as well.

I love you, friend.

Have a blessed day.

Praise

Psalms 7:17 NLT
I will thank the lord because he is just; I will sing praise to the name of the lord Most High.

PERSONAL COMMENTARY
———————————————

Praise.

Yes, let’s lift our praises to the Lord with our everything, with our whole body. Let’s praise Him with our voices in song, with our arms lifted high, and with dancing and great rejoicing!

Keep going – praise isn’t just a Sunday morning song at church – but that’s a great start of we aren’t yet involved in fellowship with other believers.

Praise.

Yes, let’s lift our praises to the Lord with our everything, with our whole mind. Let’s praise Him with our words in pray, with examining our lives for understanding and guidance, with meditating on the Word of God, on bended knee, with broken spirit, surrendered to His will, grateful for this free gift of grace, seeking to draw near to His presence.

Praise isn’t just prayers thanking God a few times a day – but those are great steps in a faithful walk.

Praise.

Yes, let’s lift our praises to God with our everything, with our whole spirit. Let’s praise Him by being yoked with the Holy Spirit of Christ in us, following The path of His will, bearing and growing the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives, filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. A life of love, mercy, and forgiving understanding towards those that are lost – a life of repentance and accountability and encouragement in our lives and the lives of fellow believers – a life of steadfast dedication to follow Jesus Christ – the way, the truth, the life.

Praise.

It is a life lived choosing God, honoring God – moment to moment, choice by choice.

It is living for His glory and honor, not for our own personal gain – but a surrendered life grateful for what He has done for us, letting His light, His Love, shine through our lives onto others.

Help us praise God today with everything – body, mind, and spirit.

Have a blessed day, friend of Christ.

“Let everything that have breath praise the Lord.”

“Let everything that have breath praise the Lord.”

One preacher said this; one morning I was awakened by the sound of birds singing. And as I begin to listen to their songs in the spirit of my mind, it sounded as if the birds were singing praises unto the Lord. And in my spiritual mind and imagination I heard the birds giving God praises.

As I listen to the birds sing, it sounded as if the Mockingbird was singing “Thank You Jesus, Thank You Jesus.”

Then the Crow join in the songs of praise and it sounded like it said, “Give Him Praise, And Give Him Praise.”

Then the Woodpecker followed suit and said, “Lord, Lord, Lord, He’s so good.”

Then a Jaybird got happy and started to shout, “Yes He Is, Yes He is.”

The Robin stuck out its red breast and began to flap its wings and shouted “Jesus is All Right with Me.”

As the Cardinal looked on it began to sing, “He Sweet I know.”

The Hawk was moved by such wonderful singing that it got excited and began to sing, “What a Fellowship, Why Don’t You Try Him.”

And a Buzzard that was flying over looked down and began to sing, “He Can Raise the Dead.”

Then the Nightingale said, “Wait One Minute, He Can Give Sight to the Blind.”

And the wise Owl said, “Who, Who, Who.”
Anybody here, “Know who?”

And then the Road Runner jump up and began to shout “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

The Sparrow began to shout “If You Fall He Will Pick you up.”

The Peacock began to flutter its wings and dance and began to shout, “I Feel a Fire Shut Up In My Bones.

Then the Dove began to sing “God Is Love, He So Loved the World That He Gave His Only Begotten Son.”

And the Parrot shouted out “Jesus Saves.”
And the Raven shouted “To the Upmost.”

Then the Bluebird began to sang, “I know that’s Right, because He’s so good.”

The Eagle flew over with it wings widely spread as if to be directing all of the songs of praise and said, “Lord Use Me.”

Oh yeah in my spiritual mind and imagination I heard the birds singing songs of praises like an angelic choir, giving God the praise.

I don’t want the birds to out praise me. I don’t want the ants to out work me.

“Let everything that have breath praise the Lord.”

Author Unknown

I came across this in my reading (I try to read everyday).

Turn my mourning into dancing

Ecclesiastes 3:4 ESV
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance

Psalm 103:1-4 ESV
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy

Psalm 30:11 ESV
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

Psalm 146:1-2 ESV
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

John 4:23 ESV
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

Hebrews 13:15 ESV
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

Psalm 96:1-9 ESV
Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.