Sunday, February 26, 2012

Challenge Accepted

King David singing the PsalmsImage via Wikipedia

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! 
   How vast is the sum of them! 
 Were I to count them, 
   they would outnumber the grains of sand— 
   when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139:17-18

New International Version (NIV)

       My mind never stops working, but I am like a tiny cell in the vastness of God's thoughts.  God is thinking about you and me and everyone of us on this Earth.  And His thoughts extend infinitely beyond even that.   I can't even begin to fathom the extent of God and His awesomeness. 

       Just the other day I was thinking about the ideas that enter my mind throughout the day.  As one who writes, I continually look for inspiration to draw upon to transfer to the pages of the blogs that I maintain.   I puzzled over the suggestion that I've heard made by some that they have a difficult time thinking of things to write about.  Are they not tapping into the wellspring of the infinite inspiration that God can provide?

      I feel that God has given me the blessing of bringing the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge to my readers and those in the periphery of my readership.   I don't feel like this statement is a trivialization of God in any way because I truly believe that this Challenge has opened up doors of inspiration, fellowship, and opportunity to bloggers across the world.  It is a time when we can get our messages out to those who may be reading them.

      This blog--A Few Words--has been entered onto the sign-up list for the A to Z Challenge in April.  On Sundays (except for the April 1st Challenge start date) I will continue to present my comments about verses from Psalms.  During the rest of the month I will be reviewing Christian music artists or music and presenting video clips as examples.   

       There are so many ideas I could have used, but since Psalms is so closely tied with the topic of music I thought this would be an appropriate approach to take.  I hope you will be with me during April and enjoy what I have to offer you.

Sing to the LORD, all the earth;
   proclaim his salvation day after day.

1 Chronicles 16:23

New International Version (NIV)

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Onward Christian Soldiers

Onward Christian SoldiersOnward Christian Soldiers (Photo credit: Spatial Mongrel)

 Praise be to the LORD my Rock, 
   who trains my hands for war, 
   my fingers for battle.

Psalm 144:1

New International Version (NIV)

       Recently I saw an amazing thing.  I had accompanied some visitors to Los Angeles to Hollywood so they could experience Hollywood Boulevard.  As we were exploring those sidewalk stars that memorialize celebrities of the entertainment industry, I heard an approaching clamor of voices.  Looking up I saw a procession of perhaps fifty or more Koreans advancing towards us.  They carried crosses and signs and in loud chants they proclaimed the salvation of Jesus Christ and the victory of almighty God.  Some among them boldly handed religious tracts to whomever would accept them.

       I was simultaneously thrilled and a bit shamed at the audacity of these Christians to invade the sin-ridden streets of Hollywood and thrust Jesus in the faces of all of us--thrilled that they were doing it and shamed that I was not.  They had a fervency and joy in their faces.  They would parade up one side of the busiest part of the boulevard then cross the street to parade back on the other side.  They continued this parade route for as long as we were there and probably continued after we left.  They were like soldiers marching to wage a war to save all sinners from the enemy Satan.  They were Christian soldiers.

       When I was a child we used to sing the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers" in church.  This rousing song was always one of my favorites.  Then in the late 60s the song seemed to fall out of favor with the advent of the peace movement.  Christians began to accept the mantra of love, peace, and tolerance.  Now, these are beautiful ideals, but the fact remains that we are at war with sin and evil.  Rather than conforming to the inclinations of sinners and accepting all into the fold, we should be standing adamantly against sin.

        For those unfamiliar with the traditional hymn, I'm providing you with the song lyrics so you can decide if the message is acceptable for today's Christians.

Onward, Christian soldiers,
Marching as to war.
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before!
Christ, the royal Master,
Leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
See His banner go!

At the sign of triumph
Satan's host dost flee;
On, then, Christian soldiers,
On to victory!
Hell's foundations quiver
At the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices,
Loud your anthems raise!

Like a mighty army
Moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading
Where the saints have trod;
We are not divided;
All one body we,
One in hope and doctrine,
One in charity.

Onward, then ye people,
Join our happyy throng,
Blend with ours your voices
In the triumph song;
Glory, laud, and honor,
Unto Christ the King:
This thro' countless ages
Men and angels sing.

Onward, Christian soldiers,
Marching as to war.
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before!

Let me also leave you with a couple of related passages from the Bible.

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:3

New International Version (NIV)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:10-17

New International Version (NIV)

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Ultimate Valentine

The Lord is my Good ShepherdImage via Wikipedia

For You, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, 
rich in faithful love to all who call on You.

Psalm 86:5

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

       This is the time of year when thoughts of love are in the air.  Gifts of candy, flowers, and other tokens of remembrance will pass between friends, lovers, and spouses as the deepest of human feelings are expressed.  But human love is fragile. 

        Misunderstandings may sever relationships.  Love is not always forever for we humans who sometimes have a difficult time with forgiveness.  Our memories are often short as today's love can smolder into tomorrow's distrust and disgust.

        Then there is the One whose love is unfailing and eternal.  He is patient with us and sets the example for the way we should be.  God's love for us never dies.  Tell Him that you love Him.  Let Him know that you want Him in your life.  He is there for you in your times of greatest need.

  Though the mountains be shaken 
   and the hills be removed, 
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken 
   nor my covenant of peace be removed,” 
   says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 54:10

New International Version (NIV)

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Look to Him for Help

Worry or PrayerWorry or Prayer (Photo credit: Leonard John Matthews)

Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; 
      no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

Psalm 34:5

New Living Translation (NLT)

        Many of us have reason to feel sad, afraid, or disappointed about the state of our lives--or at least we think we do.   There is no reason to feel ashamed of struggling through difficult times.  Perhaps the way things are for us now is the consequence of bad decision making in our past or just plain bad breaks that came our way.  It's all a dark shadowy presence that is behind us.  Now is the time to let what has happened yesterday fall behind us.

         When we are moving ahead we are in the natural order of things.  For us time is a linear progression.  Time does not stand still and what has happened in the past is finished and can't be changed.  We can shape a positive future if we stay focused on the right things.   

So do not fear, for I am with you;
   do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

New International Version (NIV)

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