Header 2 Col 972 x 157 w-Birds Personal

"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to him with psalms." Psalm 95:1-2 How many believers actually sing to the Lord and bring to him thanksgiving? We're too busy. Our attention is on the cares in our world. We know God is there, we know all comes from him, but we can't seem to make time for him, nor do we have time to speak to him other than when we need him. We're glad we can go to church on Sunday because there we will worship him and fulfill that "obligation," but do we relegate worship to our God just one day a week? Brothers and sisters, we have to make time. There is nothing in our lives more important than praise and thanksgiving to the One who provides for us every minute of every day and sustains us. When you're driving in your car, you can be singing. When you're upon you bed, you can be singing. Praise and thanksgiving are two of the most powerful tools we have in our walk with the Lord. The great apostle Paul was never too busy to bring his love and worship to the Lord. Let's look at an incident in his life in which he gave a response that almost no human being would even think to give. He and Silas lay bloodied and bound in a dungeon. What could be worse than that? They'd been whipped and thrown into the dungeon, blood flowing down their backs. "And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks." Acts 16:23-24 It's almost beyond belief what their response to these terrible straights was: vs 25: "But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." You scratch your head and wonder "How on earth...???" Singing hymns to God??? While laying black and blue, bloodied and bound in a dungeon? What did they know that we don't know? What kind of depth did they hold in their relationship to God? What could possibly motivate them to be singing while in pain, while in the worst possible circumstances? A surrendered heart singing praise to God in terrible circumstances evokes a response from heaven: vs 26: "Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed." WOW! ...Oh WOW! Put yourself there. Can you imagine seeing that?! They must have been stunned! If you're in a terrible situation, refuse the demands of your human nature and turn your heart instead to praising God for all that he is, and for all that he does. Bring to him thanksgiving for all you can think of. Sing hymns to him. And then watch for the response from heaven.

"Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 'See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.'" Exodus 31:1-5 The setting: The Lord is revealing to Moses all the detailed instructions involved in setting up the tabernacle. When he gets to the specifications concerning the implements to be used, the details he gives are very complex, very intricate. He singles out Bezalel, saying that he has filled him with the Holy Spirit, and has endowed him with wisdom, understanding and knowledge in all manner of workmanship. In calling Bezalel by name, God makes it clear that not just anyone would be able to do this work, but only the one he specifies and in whom he has placed the skill to handle its complexity. This is a picture of the Body of Christ. Every member of the Body of Christ is gifted. But it is important to remember that gifting is specific, so that only the one gifted with a certain gift can operate in that particular function. Expectations... This is where trouble brews. A believer looks at another who is operating well in his own gift, but he thinks that he/she "should" be doing something else too. But how can he, if he is not equipped to? No, a believer is not to be judged by what he cannot do, and that should put an end to all criticism in this area. "And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; ...God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, THAT THERE SHOULD BE NO SCHISM IN THE BODY..." 1 Corinthians 12:21-25 If you're a foot, you cannot be an ear. If you're an eye, you cannot be a hand. Let no one judge you for not meeting their unreasonable expectations of you, as long as you ARE operating in the gifts you do have. The Scriptures admonish us to love one another, and that means to love the ones who are not meeting YOUR expectations. No one can walk your walk, they're not equipped to. Nor can you walk theirs. Therefore, we are called to have respect to each one's calling regardless what it is, even if we consider another's calling "less honorable." We are working together for a common goal, and each one has a part to play. This is how the Body of Christ works, each one playing his particular part. Just as important as it is to honor each one's calling, it is equally important that you play your part. If not, you are robbing the Body of Christ of the critical role you play. Never think your gifts are inferior, there is no "inferior" gifting from God. Seek the Lord for direction so that you may operate effectively in the role you ARE CALLED to play. And then play it!

"That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all your wondrous works." Psalm 26:7 Francis Shaeffer, a writer, teacher, and a great man of God, wrote the book, "He Is There And He Is Not Silent." Truly, every believer has experienced many times the fact that God is not silent but that he speaks to his believers and is ever present in their lives. "My sheep hear my VOICE, and I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27 They hear his voice... Some people are scoffing and sarcastic towards a believer who speaks of what God has said to him/her. They think it outrageous that God would speak to an ordinary man or woman. On the contrary, what would be outrageous would be should God NOT speak to his people. The entire Bible is composed of the stories of God speaking to man. vs 4: "And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his VOICE." Every believer has experienced the direct touch of God upon their lives. Some have experienced healing, others have been aware of his presence, his unexpected provision, his obvious guidance, his intervening in times of danger or great need. God is not distant. He did not put us here and then leave us saying, "Good luck, I hope you make it." The very thought of that is ludicrous. If he is so close that my next breath depends on him, how then could I think that he would not be present in all that concerns me? How does God speak to a believer? There are many ways. The most common would be through his Word. One might come to the Lord in the morning with prayer, thanksgiving, intercession for others, and later when reading in his Word sometimes he might come across a passage that speaks to exactly what he prayed earlier. Many times as I write my daily devotional, I will hear the exact same message later from some other source, using the very Scriptures I used. The odds of that happening are phenomenal. How many chapters are there in the Bible? And how many verses in all those chapters? The odds of hearing again the very one I read in the morning - well it sure goes beyond the possibility of coincidence, especially when it happens often. And it does. There are times when one hears the voice of the Lord directly inside, in words. On a few occasions my experience has been that I've gone to the Lord about an issue, and he will interrupt me with his answer before I even have a chance to finish the question. The point is that God is very involved in our lives. He leads, he guides, he provides resources and helps. And on occasion, he will grant a supernatural experience that no one could question, such as a healing or deliverance, a surprising provision, an intervention preventing an accident, oh there are numerous ways that he interacts with his believers. Think back over your walk with the Lord and bring to mind the times he has directly intervened in an obvious way. When God makes himself evident to us in some concrete way, we are not to forget those incidents, they are gifts from Almighty God and are to be treasured. Let your stories comfort and encourage those who need it. "Proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and TELL all his wondrous works." He does not just speak, he waits to hear from you. Do not be silent.