Beyond the stars, yet in me

Beyond the stars, yet in me

So great He is beyond the stars and space
yet He dwells in me in this place
He is about His business sees all that is to see
yet watches a small one such as me
He’s planned the History of every nation
But still finds time to determine my station
Abraham, Moses and Elijah knew Him well
No doubt with Him they now dwell
And yet he speaks to me, no prophet am I
He hears my call, my plea, and my cry
Why love me?  Why send your son?
No great deed have I done?
Yet you hold me through the night
Keep me always in your sight
My talents are but a few
Worship you is what I can do
Tell them He is great, Write of your fame
Stories of your great name
For all to know you love them so
The small, the great, the mighty and the low
What else can I do?
Remember forever You are true!
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No other God

They ran down the court the five from St Vincent Prep Academy. They were called the mighty lions. Down by 26 points no one gave them a chance with 5 minutes left. But their biggest fan little Johnny Wilkins knew in his heart that his Lions would not let him down. He had all the faith in the world that they would pull out a victory. He especially knew that the greatest guard in school history Jackie O’Neal would fight to the end.

In the huddle Jackie bravely told his classmates “every time we get down court just get the ball to me.” Sure enough they followed their fearless leader, “Pass to Jackie, he shoots from the three and it’s good, wait and there is a foul. Oh my, he truly is a legend. Jackie shoots and scores. Coming down the court the Red Robbins set up, Jackie steals! He rushes down and pulls up for a three. It’s good! Jackie is pulling off a comeback miracle.”

Johnny Wilkins could barely contain his excitement. He turns to his buddy Sal and exclaims “He’s a god I tell you, a god!” Jackie kept pounding the basket and before you knew it the Lions had come within 2 with 20 seconds left on the clock. The crowd was so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think. Jackie had turned everyone into a believer. Johnny knew who to keep his eyes on, they were fixated on Jackie.

Time stood still and with the clock running out Herb made the pass, Jackie shot and it was all net. Never had the arena been this loud. Never in the school’s history had the crowd been this crazy. They flooded the court. It was pure madness. Johnny hoped he could get close enough to his idol. He fought his way through, dreaming of at least a high five. It would be the greatest moment in his life.

He got to Jackie and standing before him he froze. He was in awe and could not think of a word to say. Jackie looked at him and turned to some of the cheerleaders “What a looser. Come on girls.” Jackie was gone.

Later that evening Mr. Wilkins found Johnny crying in his room. “Johnny what is the matter?” Johnny told his dad the entire story. “Johnny, I am sure Jackie is a great ball player and fun to watch, but we have to be careful who our heroes are and who our god’s are. There is only one God worth worshiping, one God who will never betray you, and one God who will always have time for you. He died on the cross to give us the greatest victory of all, victory over sin, eternal damnation and the Devil himself. With Christ we are more than conquerors indeed!” “I guess we can make a god out of anything right dad, even a high school ball player.” Dad nodded his head, he had made a god out of lot different things in his life.

Luke 4:8

8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”

Matthew 6:24

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Acts 19:26

26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods.

Isaiah 43:10

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.

Revelation 22:8-9

8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

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Grateful for everything I have and everything I am

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

I was still a child when my father asked me, “Why did God make our young so much more helpless in comparison to the young of other animals?” He later explained that being helpless required us to receive much attention and love. What wonderful gifts from God! It takes much more nurturing to raise a human than any other species on the planet. Without proper care what would any of us become? At birth we are incapable of walking, standing or swimming. We come into this world incapable of cleaning, protecting, and feeding ourselves. We would literally die within days if left unattended. Many years after our birth we still need a great deal of attention just to make it through one day without harming ourselves. There are many important principles that my father taught me from this one important fact.

Without the love and nurture of others we are nothing. Without teaching and guidance we would know nothing. Everything we have, everything we can do and everything we know we owe. It should make us the most grateful and loving creatures in the world, no doubt it was God’s plan all along. Yet we often lack this grateful attitude.

Many have noticed an attitude of entitlement, the feeling that something is owed to us, or that everything we’ve gotten was supposed to have been given to us. Therefore, we don’t have to be grateful. But with this attitude we only cheat ourselves of the opportunity of recognizing what others have done for us.

We should be grateful for those loved ones that cared for us and provided throughout the years as well as those significant others who made a difference in our lives.

The biggest difference maker being God, He created us and has made a way for us to succeed. He blessed us with intelligence, talent and countless opportunities to develop them. However an even greater reason to be grateful is God’s love and mercy. While we deserved condemnation for our sins he sent his only begotten son, Jesus, to die on the cross so that we might have eternal life.

He is more than worthy of our gratitude. When we are grateful to God we are able to worship him in spirit and in truth and we are able to see what he has done for us, therefore our faith is strengthened.

An ungrateful life is a sad life where we would be unable to realize the love and care that has so carefully been spent on us. All that we have are gifts and the greatest of these come from God, our lives and our eternal souls.

Let us be grateful this holiday to all who have made a difference and let us lift a mighty praise to our lord and God.

A few more verses to consider

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

1 Corinthians 15:10

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

 Go to Verses on Gratitude 

Acting inappropriately

Then David danced before the Lord with all his might…2Samuel 6:14

Making a good impression is really important, we all have been told. We try our best to act and dress appropriately given the circumstances. Whether it’s wearing a nice suit for a wedding or wearing that power tie for the interview. The hair, the accessories and for the ladies the makeup, has to be just right. We do this even if it makes some of us t-shirt and jean guys, uncomfortable. We do all this to be appropriate. However, King David taught us something different, when to be inappropriate.

David had become King in Israel and had made Jerusalem his strong hold and capital. It was there that the temple of God would be built. David desired to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem and knew it would be a great blessing. The ark had been kept in obscurity in the house of a Levite, named Abinadab. The ark was not brought in a simple way, for the ark represented the presence of God, the provision of God and the liberation of God. Its importance was indescribable. It was brought to Jerusalem with music, dancing and singing. The bible says it was brought up with “all the house of Israel” (2Samuel 6:15). It’s as if the entire nation had come out to party.

David as king should have been leading the way. You could almost imagine the leaders of today dressed up in the finest clothes. They would have been placed in the finest cars and they would in a very dignified way, simply wave and smile. Perhaps the women in power would throw a kiss or two, but that would be all. The whole thing would have been proper and dignified. But David loved God. He really loved God! It’s the kind of Love that makes you run into the arms of someone, twirl around and kiss. You get the idea. David could not contain himself. When we worship God it can be exactly like that. When you truly love God it can be difficult to contain yourself. There can be crying and shouting and even dancing. David experienced this, thousands of years ago and nothing has changed. When you love the Lord you just have to let it show.

The bible relates that David was somewhat underdressed and began to dance. Perhaps he took off some of his kingly garments that inhibited him and then he got started. When his wife complained, David explained “It was before the LORD, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the LORD. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight….” (2Samuel 6:21-22).

David was not concerned if some thought him “undignified.” He was not concerned with making an impression as a king. He wanted to worship his God with all his might. He did all he could to express the gratitude and love he felt so strongly for his God. May we all remember to worship our God with the same sincerity and might. Even if others think it is a bit too much and inappropriate.

Try these Verses on worship

To go to church or not?

Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Psalm 84:4

It was Wednesday evening, and after a long day of work I was tired. However, it was time to head over to rehearsal. Why was I going? Was it to please the chorus director, my sister? Was it so that I could be heard? Did the chorus need me? The answer to the last three questions were no, no, and no. Why was I going?

I was going to worship God! I fought with myself. “Sammy you can worship God at home. You don’t have to go to church.” There was just one problem with that argument. If I stood home I wasn’t going to worship God.

The distractions that we are bombarded with when we are home are tremendous. We have all sorts of entertainment, chores and of course the demands of other people. Perhaps our favorite distraction is the bed or sofa. Some place to just lay back and rest, a power nap that last 2 hours. But didn’t we say we would worship God.

In Hebrews 10:25, we are encouraged to go to church where the brethren can motivate each other. Psalm 84:4 mentions that those who dwell in God’s house are blessed because they are forever praising God. David counted it a blessing to be in God’s house forever (Psalm 23:6). It is in church where we can most freely worship God and put aside everything else this world has.

The next time we find ourselves in a battle with ourselves, as to whether we should go to church or not, we’ll just grab our car keys and head straight out the door. We won’t look back and we won’t stop until we have safely arrived at the temple, where we will praise our God and thank Him for the refuge that is our church.

When it hurts, what do we do?

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25

When in my darkest moments, feeling lost and unable to fight, I opened my mouth and out came praises to my God. Tears rolled down my eyes. But I felt at peace. It’s not because the problem had been solved. It’s not because I had forgotten. The problem was still very real. It’s not because I sing so well. Trust me I’m not the singer in the family. It’s because He was there.

I knew I was not alone and somehow He would see me through. The bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3) It is no exaggeration to say that the moment I started worshipping God He was there to comfort me. I have had many moments in my life when I needed God’s comfort. He has yet to fail me. It certainly cannot be my own strength.

God is our strength in troubled times. We have a great defense when we are going through trials. Paul and Silas sure found out. (Acts 16:16-31)They had been arrested unjustly, beaten, chained and locked in the deepest portion of the prison. It was dark, dreadful and hopeless. What did they do? They opened their mouths and with what little strength they had left, they worshiped God. God was there in a big way. The earth shook and the very foundations of the prison were broken. The chains came undone and the doors came down. They were free men. Because God made them free!

Fortunately for the jailer, Paul and Silas with obvious compassion for the man did not run away. This act of love saved the jailer’s life and then saved his soul, as he would give his life to Christ.

Our trials and difficulties in this world are not about to end. We still have some tears to shed. But in those moments when you are too weak to fight any more and a solution does not seem handy, open your mouth and let your God hear your mighty praise! His answer will surely be even mightier and you will feel His presence deep in your heart.

What shall we do with Jesus?

And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.  And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. Matthew 27:28-31

Roman soldiers took the creator of the universe and stripped Him of all his clothes. Then they put a red robe on him. They put a crown of thorns on his head and mocked him. They called him the king of the Jews. Then they took a reed and beat him over the head. They spat upon him and then took Him to be crucified. These soldiers of Rome had no idea who was in their presence, the almighty and holy God, the eternal creator of the universe. At any moment he could have brought their lives to an end or even worst reversed roles with them. But he chose to show mercy and endure.

Makes me wonder how our treatment of Jesus has changed. Surely many treat Him as he rightfully deserves. They worship and adore Him. They faithfully serve Him and sacrifice to please Him. Yet many others do not. Some are still mocking. They find joy in making fun of their creator. They make fun of Him who was sinless but carried all our sins, He who quietly gave his life so that all might live.

Some deny He ever existed, even in the face of massive historical evidence. They would rather pretend that the man who started a massive revolution that would overturn Roman society completely, never walked in Galilee.

Others belittle who he was. To them he was a fine teacher, with brilliant ideas about how we should treat each other, but in doing so they indirectly call him a liar or a lunatic, since He claimed to be the messiah and the son of God. They also belittle his death, turning his sacrifice into nothing more than a sad case of Roman injustice.

For some of us Jesus is just an afterthought. After the work day is done, the chores are complete, errands are run, and facebook time is over, then we remember to pray a few words in hopes of getting something from our Lord.

Perhaps it is time to reconsider how we are treating our Lord. We can only hope he is still saying Father forgive them for they know not what they do. But here’s a scary thought, perhaps our generation doesn’t get a free pass, because we do know, don’t we?

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