Archive for Magnificent God

Rest

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

Father, I’ve turned everywhere else.
I’ve sought relaxation instead of rest.
I’ve substituted comfort for peace.
The shell of security I’ve tried to build
only weighs me down with anxiety.

I hear Your words of love:

In quietness and trust is your strength. (Isaiah 30:15, NIV)

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29, NIV)

O God of fervent love,
passionately jealous for my best good,
I turn to You now.

What if I could truly know You—
not just know about You,
but know You?

What if by simple trust I could realize
Your personal presence with me,
moment by moment?

If in that presence I could know
Your gentleness,
Your power,
Your faithfulness,
Your love?

If trust could become
a personal relationship between us,
not an abstract concept?

What if I could simply know You,
and know You always with me?

Would Your rest then reign in me?
Would it fill my mind, my emotions,
and the desires of my heart?

Would it put me at peace with the past,
at peace with the present,
and eagerly anticipating a glorious future in You?

Would it reconcile me to myself,
to each person in my life, and
to You?

Could I go to bed in it,
get up in it,
work, have fun, and face adversity in it
without getting it wrinkled?

Would I then share Your deep peace—
that wholeness and harmony
You enjoy within Yourself,
that is found in You alone?

Come to me…and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

Father, I want to know You.
I want to rest in Your presence.
I come to You now.

Hymn: Lord, How Good to Rest in You

God Is Always Working

How many are your works, O Lord!
In wisdom you made them all.
(Psalm 104:24, NIV)

I sail through so many daily activities with
boredom or
indifference.
When tough experiences come, I greet them with
fear or
resentment.

Lord, I assume the meaninglessness of life as
You have allowed it to come to me.
I believe I’ll recognize the significant when I see it,
but much of the time, life seems either
mundane or
unkind.

But then, Lord,
I catch a glimpse of beauty, or
I see deep meaning in some common event
I’ve witnessed a thousand times.
I look back and realize
tremendous value in some trial about which
I complained so bitterly.

Lord, You are always working!
I will keep my faith awake and
my eyes fixed on You.

Despair of yourself as much as you want,
but do not despair of God.
He is always loving,
always powerful,
always wise, and
He will reward you according to your faith in Him.
(paraphrased from Francois Fenelon)

Hymn: God Is Working All Around You

No Fear

When nagged by uncertainties big and small –
no fear.
In the grip of illness –
no fear.
In need –
no fear.
In loss –
no fear.
In change –
no fear.
In all my weakness and boundless ignorance –
no fear.
In the darkness –
no fear.

When opposed by forces far stronger than myself –
no fear.
When assaulted by temptation –
no fear.
When threatened by suffering –
no fear.
In the valley of the shadow of death –
no fear.

For my life is hidden with Christ
in You,
my Father,
my loving Savior,
my mighty Rock,
my sovereign Lord and
my everlasting God.

Nothing in this world,
seen or unseen,
can make us afraid
as we simply trust our Father.

Hymn: Mighty God, I Will Trust in You
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

Fear God Alone

The Lord spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said…“Do not fear what they fear…The Lord Almighty is the one You are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear.”(Isaiah 8:11-13, NIV)

Father, You are Almighty God,
the sovereign Lord over all reality.
Fearing You,
I need fear nothing else.

You are wisdom and love,
so I want only Your will.
You are truth.
Everything else is false and fading,
unworthy of my desire and trust
You are all-in-all.
Outside You is only emptiness and nothingness.
Outside You all will change and die.
You are forever.
You are unchanging.
You are complete, and
I am complete only in You.

Father, often I come to You so anxious that
I ignore the comforting truth I crave,
even as You sing and dance and paint it all around me.
It is the unchanging truth that
You are all power and beauty, wisdom and love, and
that I have absolutely nothing to fear.

Hymn: The Fear of God
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

Worry

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” (Luke 12:22-26, 31, NIV)

Our Creator offers us freedom from worry. He invites us to come to Him and trust Him with all our needs.

Yet we defend our right to worry. After all, isn’t it acceptable, even wise, to be “concerned” about some things?

But worry is no privilege. I think about what happens to me when I begin to worry. Peace of mind goes immediately. I get frightened about the future, and as I do, I focus on my own needs. Generosity, joy, and perspective are squeezed out. Selfishness, fear, and shortsightedness take over.

I have to be honest here: anxiety is not entirely a defeated foe for me. Work and family situations still gnaw at me occasionally. But the Creator has been patient and faithful in teaching me important lessons.

First, I’ve realized that anxiety is fear, pure and simple. Fear assumes a false reality. Fear assumes that God doesn’t exist, or that He has lost control of the situation. Fear forgets His power. It forgets His kindness and unchanging love.

Fear focuses on self, ignoring God. When I am anxious, my thoughts are on my own needs and my ability to meet them, not on God and His willingness to help me.

Second, I’ve learned through difficult experiences that I cannot make worry go away. I cannot will it away or reason it away (the Lord knows I’ve tried!). Even when I sincerely commit a problem to Him, it sometimes keeps coming back to mind.

But I’ve found that I can keep bringing the concern to Him, simply and honestly, each time it arises.

Further, I’ve found that when words and pretty promises don’t help, He himself is the greatest comfort. He is always with me, even when I forget Him. My Creator still holds my entire life in His hand. The One who made me is still working toward my good, even during the dark times.

When finances are tight, He reminds me, “I am your security, not money.”

When a long car trip is necessary in winter and I’m concerned about slick roads, He whispers, “I am your protection, not the weather.”

And when troubles sweep happiness out of my reach, He is still with me. He draws me to look into His face and say, “Jesus, You are my joy, now and forever.”

In the end, it is not some technique or memorized words that free me from anxiety. It is He himself, my Creator, my God. When He is with me, how can I help but rejoice? How can I help but thank Him, love Him, and trust Him with my life?

Creator, I know You love me. I come to You now with my needs and concerns.

Anxiety is self-centered.
Faith is God-centered.

Hymn: Lord, Why Am I Anxious?
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

The Faces of Fear

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.
(1 John 4:18, NIV)

Worry,
anger,
selfishness,
jealousy,
greed—
these, and many more, are
the faces of fear.

Fear and all its fruit grow from our doubt
that God is God,
that He is always able,
always wise,
always good…
always!

Father, You are love.
I will trust You.
You are power.
I will rely on You.
You are wisdom.
I will follow You
gladly and
with confidence.

Fear of anything but God will
always lead you in the wrong direction.

Hymn: Blind Faith
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

Trust Your Father

Have you ever listened to children when they’re on an outing? It doesn’t matter what magnificent sights they could be seeing. Their requests are, “I’m thirsty…,” “Do we have to…?” “I’m tired…,” “I wish we could…” They react out of temporary desires. They speak out of pain, fatigue, or false expectations. They don’t know what’s best for them. They can’t see the whole picture.

I think about our Heavenly Father listening to our desires and requests. He’s listened for thousands of years. He knows that what we want often has nothing to do with our happiness. We react out of pain or fatigue or false expectations. We don’t know what’s best. We can’t see the whole picture.

No wonder God sometimes seems to ignore our fervent requests and desires.

Think of it this way:

If you’re married, you know what it takes for two very-different people to live happily together.

So imagine what is necessary for beings like us – who are focused on the moment and on our own comfort – to have a long-term relationship with a Being like God, who sees all of time at once and is all-wise and all-loving.

For such a relationship to endure the hard times, we must keep trusting Him. We must keep our hands in His and stay committed to Him, no matter what. For it’s inevitable that much of the time, we won’t understand where He is leading or how He is working.

We are His children. We can’t see the whole picture. We don’t know what’s best. We must keep trusting our Father’s love.

Sometimes faith leads us to
patiently stand back and let
God do what
only He can do.

Hymn: When I Am Afraid
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

Hope That Does Not Disappoint

We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God…And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts. (Romans 5:2, 5, NIV)

I have tasted it – that pain, that sense of loss when hopes fail. I have known disappointment.

But as false foundations give way, we are forced to dig deeper, to reassess, to refocus and refine our hope by remembering what is Rock and what is not, what will hold firm and what time will wash away.

God’s people in Old Testament times learned about such disappointment. They trusted many things: their promised homeland; their financial and military resources; the Temple, their symbol of status in God’s sight. They hoped in His blessings rather than in Him. But as all these were burned away in the fires of judgment, the hopes of the faithful were purified and refocused. Their eyes were lifted higher and higher until finally fixed on One Man–the Chosen One, the Servant of God, the Messiah–who would fulfill all God’s plans for His people and the hopes of all the ages.

I have shared their disappointment, and their sin. In times of prosperity I have gradually grown to look in other directions for security, meaning, and hope. Resting in success, a comfortable lifestyle, and familiar relationships, I have clung to God’s blessings rather than to Him. Taking gifts He intended as means to glorify Him, I have made them ends, glorifying myself. They have become convenient substitutes for depending on Him day by day.

But when one such substitute crumbles, or even wavers, I sense my vulnerability. I feel my foolishness and turn again to my Father–He who so patiently and fervently pursues my deepest affections and my trust.

Father, forgive me. Purify and refocus my hopes–not just the big ones, but the small ones that drive my daily energies. Remove the distractions and substitutes from my eyes, from my heart, until my hopes are fixed on You–You, my Everlasting God, my Patient Forgiver, my Creator, my Companion, my Sovereign Lord.

Those who hope in me will not be disappointed. (Isaiah 49:23, NIV)

Father, my Father,
save me from lukewarm self-satisfaction.
All we desire –
true riches,
true glory,
true health –
comes from You alone.
Keep me constantly coming to You.

Hymn: Only You
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

Secure

The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27, NIV)

We go our own way.
We make our own plans
for our own reasons,
pursuing our own goals.
Then we build walls,
protecting ourselves from every interference.
We are secure.
We are self-sufficient.
We can handle whatever comes.

But the unforeseen happens — it always does — and
we discover that no walls can keep out
the evil that floods this world.
No matter how strong we are,
we are vulnerable.
No matter how watchful we are,
we are insecure.
We cannot control the reality that engulfs us.

But when our false security is stripped away,
we can rediscover the security on which creation itself rests—
the security that keeps the days and seasons revolving,
untouched and unthreatened by human hatred or pride.
We can rediscover that no matter what knowledge we accumulate,
God is our only wisdom.
No matter much power we try to harness,
God is sovereign.

He is love, and we are His children.
That is the only security we will ever have and
the only security we will ever need.

Father,
salvation is always something
You do.
All I do is bow and allow
God to be God in me.

Hymn: In Your Presence, God Almighty
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

Father, as I Look Back

What is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:4, NIV)

Father, as I look back,
I realize that as I simply trust You,
You bring a consistency to my life that is
totally beyond me.

I stumble through life.
My response to You is on and off,
lukewarm,
self-centered,
easily distracted.
It is so far less than the truth demands.

But You are always with me,
always guiding,
always enabling,
always blessing.
Thank You,
merciful and patient Father!

Hymn: My Loving Father
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics