Worship on Wednesday: No Longer Slaves

Worship on Wednesday. A time mid-week to enter in to His presence and be encouraged in your spirit.

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Live free in the Lord dear sister and brother-in-Christ. Stand firm knowing you have been set free from bondage. You are His child and His spirit is in you. If we are going to be slaves, let us be willing slaves to Christ and His righteousness.

Father, thank you that you loved us first. We are your children, made new by the blood of Jesus and your Spirit lives in us. Now we call you Abba. Thank you that we can now say, I am a child of God! Amen.

May the words of the song, No Longer Slaves by Bethel Worship minister to you today.

Helena

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When We Hurry Our Quiet Time

When We Hurry Our Quiet Time

Photo: Mitchell Orr, Unsplash

It was a quiet I had not experienced in all my years in church. It was different from the kind of quiet where you write the shopping list in your head or hope someone would say something; anything. Just break the awkwardness please kind of quiet.

When they said, “Let’s go to the house of God,” my heart leaped for joy. Psalm 122:1

The small Welsh chapel stood at the bottom end of town, it wasn’t fancy but it was a well known landmark. When asked where one went to church, it was suffice to say, “Jerusalem.” They knew you didn’t mean the city in Israel.

Singing in tune is not a requirement to worship

It was common practice during prayer meetings for whoever felt led to start up a worship song; singing in tune or music was not a requirement, yet somehow it was usually a beautiful sound that lifted from the people up past the rafters on its way to heaven.

Different members would stand unprompted one after another bringing their requests before the Lord, while those around voiced their Amen and Yes Lord. A moment of silence between prayers and singing was an opportunity for the next person to stand and join their voice with those who had prayed before them.

This particular prayer meeting the silence was different. It had a sweet rest about it, I could feel myself relax as if bathed in peace. No one uttered a sound, no-one dared break the silence. It was beautiful. Without anyone explaining I knew I was in the presence of the Lord. I for one was not in a hurry to leave and it seemed neither was anyone else.

I don’t know how long we sat in the sweetness of His presence, in the quietness of His spirit, maybe it was only a few minutes. Time had lost its importance, all that mattered was being with Him.

One Thing Remains

Many years have passed since that prayer meeting, a lot of life has happened bringing with it changes. Yet, one thing remains the same and that is the sweet presence of the Lord.

So often we come before Him in prayer, a quick thank you to show our gratitude for who He is and what He has done before we unload our next list of needs ending with a quick ” In Jesus name” and an even quicker “Amen.” Then we run off to our next task having checked off our Quiet Time.

Worship requires us to be fully present in His presence

We enter the courts of the throne room with praise, not lip service, not even our favorite song if it is not offered from the heart. Once in that’s where worship takes over, that is when we are lost in adoration for the One who sits at the right hand of the Father; Jesus.

Worship Requires Us to Be Fully Present

Photo: Word Swag

We cannot know the sweet rest of His presence, if we are not fully present in His presence. And we will never be fully present if we are in a hurry.

Slow down. Enter. Stay awhile.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

If this post has blessed and encouraged you feel free to share it with a friend.

 

 

 

This Christmas; Party from the Inside Out

Photo Credit Saz-b Unsplash

Everyday my 5yr old grandson informs me how many days it is to Christmas, he is definitely excited this year. His kindergarten class had a Christmas pajama party to end the semester; even the teacher was in pj’s. Problem was, when it was time to leave school, and tables were being clean off, my grandson wasn’t ready to leave the party. The only way to get him out of there was to make a up a treat bag and take the party with us.

Another Kind of Party

Elizabeth (mother of John), had her own little party when Mary (mother of Jesus) came to visit her in the hill country of Judah. Mary was barely pregnant and probably not showing a visible bump, while Elizabeth was already at six months. Kind of hard to hide a six month pregnant bump, but Mary wasn’t surprised in the least as Gabriel, the angel had already informed her.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice greeting her, the baby she was carrying leaped in her womb. “She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly.” You can read the words of her song in Luke chapter one. Here is a portion of the song as recorded in the Message Bible.

” The moment the sound of your greeting entered my ears, The babe in my womb skipped like a lamb for sheer joy. Blessed woman, who believed what God said, believed every word would come true!”

Oh and Mary’s response was, “I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.” Again you can read the rest of the response in Luke 1.

The Party Continues

Mary, Elizabeth and the yet to be born John were not the only ones filled with joy. Luke 2 tells us about a group of shepherds who were watching over their sheep at night when an angel appeared to them and told them about the birth of Jesus. No sooner had the angel told them when he (the angel), was accompanied by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises.

Immediately after the angels went back to heaven the shepherds went to Bethlehem and found Jesus exactly where the angel had said.

When the shepherds returned to the sheep pasture, they were changed men. Seeing one angel is impressive, but a huge angelic host singing praises to God is another level of awesome…

…and the best was yet to come.

It was seeing Jesus, their Messiah that changed them. “The shepherds returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!”

Party From the Inside Out

I am so thankful for the Son of God leaving the glory of heaven, willingly taking on human form to live among His creation. A life that would lead Him to His physical death on a cross. His death bought spiritual life for all who would accept His sacrifice.

Now, that is cause to celebrate this Christmas season. May we Let Loose, glorifying and praising God. Singing His song and may we sing it exuberantly.

Taking the party with us wherever we go.

Merry Christmas to you and your family from me and mine.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

Pausing for a few weeks, see you all back at Grace Lace and Polkadots in the new year.

 

When Worry Comes Knocking the Door

The calm pond water lapped against the curve of the grassy bank, an inviting place for fowl to meet and prune together. Oblivious to those walking nearby they pecked and pruned as if getting ready for an important event. They were focused. Not even the dogs passing by concerned them.

An idyllic scene for sure. Ooh wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have a care in the world like the waterfowl, unperturbed by menaces that pass close by?

God! Look! Enemies past counting! Enemies sprouting like mushrooms. Mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery: “Hah! No help for him from God!”

Alas, as we know all too well rough seasons come, and when they come it can feel as if all of hell is against us. Worry and anxiety knock on the door of our heart and bids entrance…

…we open just a tad and they come in along with their relatives fear and doubt.

We worry we will never get out of the mess we are in. We pray but we fear He no longer listens, though we know in our hearts He does. Yet, we doubt He is listening today. Anxious thoughts spin and turn like a never ending revolving wheel.

We feel forgotten and abandoned by God. No longer do we share sweet moments of fellowship with Him. Instead we set about fixing our problems by ourselves….

….and He waits for our return.

But you, God, shield me on all sides; You ground my feet, you lift my head high; With all my might I shout up to God, His answers thunder from the holy mountain.

Patiently, like a loving Father waits for his child who insists on learning the hard way. He waits for us. He doesn’t stop caring, He doesn’t stop looking, He doesn’t stop listening. He waits for us to look to Him as our Helper and Deliver and when we do; He lifts up our head and grounds our feet in Him.

Real help comes from God. Your blessing clothes your people

Sweet fellowship returns when we look to Jesus. Fear, anxiety, worry and doubt has to leave in His presence. His peace fills us calming our troubled emotions, bringing clarity to our thinking and enabling us to live in His love once again.

Sweet fellowship awaits you dear friend.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Scripture used in this article was taken from Psalm 3 Message Bible. Photo my own.

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Has Your Halo Ever Slipped? Mine Did.

I did not flick him off!

I like to think for the most part I’m a nice person. I guess only those on the receiving end can testify whether I am or not. Please don’t think I’m fishing for compliments, I’m not.

I’m washed in the blood of Jesus, forgiven and growing in God’s grace. But alas my behavior does not always reflect the redemption bought for me by my savior. I wish it did.

It’s not like I get up in the morning and think to myself, “Today I’m going to be mean.” Yet, mean erupts from time to time. Sometimes it seems to come from out of nowhere but other times it can be pinpointed to an underlying concern.

Enter Miss Mean

I turned into Miss Mean a few weeks back. It was ugly! Yes I should have taken control of my feelings after all they should be subject to me and not I to them. That day I lost the battle, more of a skirmish; but not the war.

Oh yes, I had talked to the Lord about my concern telling Him all about it as if He didn’t already know. He listen. He let me ramble on while I reasoned it out in my own mind. Eventually I put it in the His hands though I still felt the sting.

My unresolved, underlying concern that had simmered beneath the surface, was fast coming to boiling point on the day I drove into the parking lot. I had been looking forward to a particular event, but now the day was overshadowed with insecurity.

Not Guilty Your Honor

If my mouth is moving my hands are also moving, and the faster my mouth goes so goes the hands. The parking guys pointed in the direction they wanted me to go. Bummer! I wanted to park where I normally park. I threw my hands up in the air in frustration as I informed the Lord how unfair it was. I know. I was acting like a spoilt child. Sad to say it got worse as my emotions accompanied by mouth and hands spilled out over innocent people. I was shocked when I was accused of giving one of them the finger. To me that was like being accused of a federal crime; one I did not commit.

I felt ashamed of my behavior.

I texted an apology to the parking supervisor, though texting is not the best form of communication it was all I had on hand. I confessed to the Lord and received forgiveness. I forgive myself and hoped the parking guys would forgive me for my attitude.

Hurting people hurt. That day my hurt, hurt others.

Refocus on Jesus

For several weeks I have not been able to write a fresh blog post. It was as if I no longer felt worthy to give encouragement to others regarding their walk with the Lord. My halo had slipped. I had fallen. I was forgiven but still my head hung low.

Have you been thinking you cannot be used by the Lord because your halo slipped? The good news is there is forgiveness in Jesus. It’s not in our own righteousness that we walk but in His. It’s not in our own worthiness that we minister to others, but rather in His.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

Join me in turning our eyes away from our own failings and instead turn them to look at Jesus. We are more than conquerors in Christ because He has won the battle for us. Read Romans 8:31-39 to get a fuller picture.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

 

 

 

Discovering the Riches of God

As a child I would sometimes accompany my coal miner father to the colliery a.k.a. the pit, to collect his pay from the  wages office. A cut out in the glass window allowed the wages clerk to pass the small brown envelope containing my dad’s wages to him. No direct deposits in those days. Real money in your hand.

I felt like a big girl, walking through the busy work areas on the surface of the mine. I saw the big wheel that worked the shaft elevator (also known as the cage), saw the coalminers entering and leaving the cage as they started or finished their shift. I always loved seeing the pit pony, as the appointed coalminer walked it safely through the busy work area. On the surface was the offices, the engine room and the building that housed the showers. Believe me ladies, if your man was a coalminer there was NO WAY he was coming into the house covered in coal dust. Even after their hurried shower they still came home looking as if they were wearing black eyeliner.

But for all I saw, it was still only the surface of the coal mine that I experienced. The surface was an interesting place. But the coal, the treasure, lay deep below my feet.

I wonder how many of us have settled for a surface experience in our walk with the Lord? We settle for what we can see. We get involved in the busyness of church life, we give the right churchy responses while all along we have not dug deep into getting to know Jesus and the riches of His love.

And I ask him with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Ephesians 3 msg

To get to the riches of God, we have to leave the surface and choose to go deeper. Lord, take us deeper, show us more of your character. Show us who you are. Your love, your compassion and your grace.

As we allow His very character to saturate us on the inside. It is then, that those very same characteristics will flow out from us to others.

Time to Go

Go Down; down on our knees, to give thanks and praise for God’s provision.

Go Up; keeping our eyes looking up to our heavenly Father for His direction.

Go Out; move out of our comfort zones.

Go Beyond; beyond our self imposed boundaries.

Go forward; moving forward in our personal walk with God, into the future He has for us.

Go Deeper; deeper in the Lord than we have ever gone before.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

 

 

 

 

Rejoice: Delighting in the Lord/Plus a Book Giveaway

I asked my new to kindergarten grandson: “Why were you dancing in line?” (He had received a warning from his teacher).

His eyes grew big as he excitedly informed me: “Because I’m a happy kid!”

Google Dictionary definition of Re-joice: Feel or show great delight. Well, he was certainly expressing outwardly the inner delight he was feeling.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 NIV

Honestly, we don’t always feel like rejoicing; not even before the Lord. Some days (or weeks/months) we find ourselves trudging through life with just about enough energy to put one foot in front of the other. We don’t feel delighted, so we don’t show delight.

My old trusty Collins Concise Dictionary and Thesaurus describes delight as; take great pleasure and enjoy, feast on, glory in, indulge in, revel in and savor.

Isn’t that what Philippians 4:4 encourages us to do? Take great pleasure, enjoy, feast on, glory in, indulge in, revel in and savor the Lord? Rejoice/Delight…in Him.

Let me put it this way; we are not going to dance in line unless we are a happy kid on the inside. How do we expect to feel and show delight when we are disconnected from the source of our delight?

Tap Dancing on the Inside

King David’s life was not all sunshine and ice cream parties and neither is ours. Turmoil surrounded him even in his family. When he was fleeing from his son Absalom, David declared to the Lord in Psalm 3:3 “But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.”

We may come before the Lord with our heads hanging low, but as we spend time in His presence, feasting on His goodness our heads will be lifted. We will dance again because He is our delight. Okay, all the non dancers don’t freak out, you can do a little tap dance on the inside…no one will know your secret except you, the Lord and….. thousand upon thousands of angels.

 You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about you. God, my God, I can’t thank you enough.     Psalm 30:11 Message

Whether we dance outwardly or inwardly is not the point. My point is; Jesus is our delight, not our circumstances.

“Jesus is our delight, not our circumstances.”

One way to express the delight we have in Him, is to write it down in a journal. One sentence or a full page, there are no rules, it is entirely up to you how much or little you write, or indeed how often you write. Whether you have a thousand journals…you know you need one more, or you are new to journaling I have just what you want.

I am giving away a beautiful journal with the words Rejoice in the Lord on the front cover and scripture on every other page. See photos.

When I saw the little bird on the front cover I wondered if I should signup for Twitter, so I can tweet about God’s love and grace. Do you use social media to brag on God?

How to enter: Simply leave a comment telling me what type of social media you use (please no links) to brag on God, OR a comment regarding journaling or about the Lord. Choose between the comment box on this site or gracelaceandpolkadots Facebook page. You can comment as much as you want, but only One comment per person will be entered into the drawing. Closes on Saturday August 19th at 10pm central time and winner will be announced Monday 21st in Grace Lace and Polkadots blog post.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance