Friday, July 14, 2017

Have You Ever Seen God?

Seeing God in Nature. Quiet Spirit

            After we reach a certain age, we remember events and stories from our pasts. One that came back to me recently was from something that happened when I was in grade school. I choose to share this with you, at this time.

            A couple of times each school year, we had a skating party. I believe I was in the sixth grade when this particular event happened.

            It was the afternoon of a skating party. I came home from school and started looking for my ticket. The principal’s office at school sold them and we couldn’t get in if we didn’t have one. When I couldn’t find it, I realized I had left it in my desk at school, I panicked. My dad worked nights and already was at work. My mother wouldn’t get home from her job for another hour or so. I took it upon myself to call the principal at his home and tell him what had happened. He told me to go ahead and attend the skating party.

            When my mother dropped me off at the skating rink, I entered the building and saw the principal waiting for me as he stood in a sea of elementary school children. He put his hand on my shoulder and told the person taking tickets to let me in. He then told me to bring my ticket to his office the next morning, which I did.

            He believed me. He chose to not say anything to me about my being careless.  He responded in kindness. I found out later that he was a Christian. 

            After I graduated from the sixth grade, I did not see him until I was in high school and became more regular in church attendance. He and his wife were members of that church. 
            When our son was in high school some twenty years later, the church we attended planned to see a showing of a Billy Graham movie at a local theater. Also, at that particular event was a group from the church of my youth and in attendance that night was that school principal who showed me God.

            My only regret is that I didn’t tell this gentleman how much I appreciated his kindness toward me, one of numerous children under his care and guidance over the years of his career.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Our Words of Worship, Part Two

Image result for Our Father

            What are we saying when we pray the Lord’s Prayer? Are we actually praying those words? Do they sink into our hearts? Let’s take a look at the words and see what they mean.

            “Our Father who art in heaven”
                        It is God’s desire that all the children he created become as close to Him as a father and a child. This is His wish for all His children.
            “hallowed be thy name,”
                        God’s name is to be lifted up, and set apart from any other name on earth. It is to be HOLY. Any mention of His name away from prayer, calling out to Him, or teaching is considered cursing.

            “Your kingdom come,”
                        We ask God to establish His kingdom here, on this earth where we live.

              “your will be done on earth as in heaven.”
                        We allow God to have carte blanche—full discretionary power (1) over the events of our lives and our world. God has the power to do anything He wants.
              “Give us this day our daily bread,”
                        We ask God to provide for us what we need for that day.   
            “and forgive us our trespasses”
                        Jesus asks God to forgive us of our sins, the ones we have committed against Him.
            “As we forgive those who trespass against us.”
                        We are to forgive those who sin against us. Yes, we can forgive those who cause us to be hurt by their words, deeds, or actions. After Jesus taught this prayer, he magnified the importance of forgiveness by saying if we didn’t forgive, God wouldn’t forgive us. We may have times when we have to forgive someone through Jesus Christ.
            “And lead us not into temptation,”
                        We ask God to keep us safe from being lured into sin I have read where it is not a sin to be tempted but when the temptation is acted on, it becomes sin.

            “but deliver us from evil.”
                        We ask God to deliver us from those snares that can entangle us in sin if we allow them to get to our hearts.

            We have a lot to consider when we pray this prayer. Certain parts of it have come to be very dear to a couple of my friends and to me.

1.         Merriam-Webster online accessed 7/07/2017


Monday, July 10, 2017

Our Words of Worship, Part One

Image result for doxology

            In Sunday school class, we recently had a discussion that led into talk about the rote, ritualistic prayers or songs we repeat as a part of worshiping God.

            Do we realize what we are saying when we sing the Doxology?
            Let’s take a look at the words we sing:

            In the Doxology we sing: “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures below; praise him above, ye heavenly hosts; praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. (1)

            “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;”
We are to give God thanks and commend Him. Several years ago I heard a child of evangelists’ defined praise as “giving God a compliment.” He wants us to remember that ALL blessings come from Him. The physical, spiritual, the relational ones, as well as the financial, come from God.

            “Praise Him all creatures below;”
The writer tells us that each of God’s creatures are to praise Him for making us. Psalm 139 tells us that God knew us before we were formed. The birds sing beautiful songs to God almost every morning. Jesus tells us that if we don’t sing out the rocks will. (Luke 19 :37-40, NIV)

            “praise him above, ye heavenly hosts;”
These words tell us that even the angels are to revere and worship God.  I am always reminded of the seraphs that Isaiah saw in the temple. They were worshiping God.

            “praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”
The one who penned these words reminds us to praise God, who created us, Jesus, who sanctified us from sin, and the Holy Spirit, who sustains us.

      As we sang this yesterday morning, I found myself thinking about the words we were singing. It was no longer a chant I sang from memory. I found myself actually giving praise to God.

1.     1.  United Methodist hymnal 1969, United Methodist Publishing House, Nashville, Tennessee Number 95.

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