Nature Sings of God’s Handiwork

by: Billie Jo Youman’s

Do you see God’s handiwork as you look around our world? It is there! His attributes, like a fingerprint, appear throughout the universe. Learning to see God in the world around us brings amazing possibilities because the natural reveals the spiritual.

How about this for a worship reminder: the universe actually sings all the time! We notice the birds and sometimes the wind, but there is continual praise. Enjoy this video that allows us to sing alongside creation …

Read the rest of this lovely post on The Bottom Line. 

LASTing Peace, Fearful?


 

The Hebrew word yare’ is used both when God tells us “do not fear” and when we are told to fear the Lord. So what does it mean if we offer that fear to someone other than God?

Words of Wash and Water

In a garden,

The bucket laden and light,

I knelt at Jesus’ feet.

Mindful of the matriarchs of my faith,

Who knelt as this so long before

To anoint these same dusty, earth-caked feet.

 

One spilled incense, her destiny over them,

And rinsed with her tears and dried with her mane.

Another caressed these feet in a garden, as me.

Her tears seeped through closing wounds.

Salt stung healing flesh.

 

My bucket is brimming but perfectly leveraged.

Only I can carry it so.

Filled with my destiny, my praise, my tears,

My words.

 

Oh Jesus, let me spill them,

Cascading over your toes.

Words of adoration.

Poems of praise,

Heralding hope.

 

These words will wash you with my wonder,

But your earth-dust will not fade.

For the feet were glad to walk upon

The soil the hands had made.

 

My words of praise flow over

Soaking ground and seeds of faith.

The words of life and lives of hope,

Drink deeply of their praise.

Let them blossom, grow and drop their seed.

For what are words, their droplet,

But to bring fruit to bear?

Enrich the soil and beautify

The garden,

I find you there.

The Morning After

Thankfulness:

For noticing in the oddest of places.

Finding a measure of wonder, transfixed by unseemly, simply because it is you.

I watch and remark at the sway of trees, but if I peer closely,
Hundred of thousands of chlorophyl tissues greet the sunrise.

Welcome in the morning sun.
Even as heat bears down, sinks into asphalt,
As puppy paws seek grass and shade.
Thanks even there for grand design.
My skin deepens, bronzes, adopts a lustrous hue.

Even as humidity climbs and the air thickens,
As sticky syrup, yet sweet as too.
The faintest breeze bearing honeysuckle, fresh mowed lawn and tiny clover.
I’m glad even for these “weeds”.

After a move,
I am swollen with thanks for quick work and few things.
For empty boxes and mounds of paper and unbroken treasures.

Thank you for pillows and sheets aplenty.
For dog bowls, spoons and laundry soap.
Thank you for the waiting,
And my soldier’s patience,
Who coaxed me this far,
To wait past reason, hush and wait some more.

Thank you for the soft body curled peaceful on my lap.
For perky, black-brown ears and bright eyes.
And thank you for just enough space for the two of us
On this chair, in this ray of sunlight.

I wrote this the day after we unpacked all our “stuff” after we moved from Columbus, GA to Clarksville, TN. I’m finding attentiveness to the Holy Spirit in intentional thanks.

Embrace the Silence

“A time to keep silent, and a time to speak.” Ecc. 3:7b
Silence makes most of us uncomfortable.
The silence of a vacant page is enough to rip the words right from a writer’s finger tips. So, as I frantically searched the hall of my mind and the pages of my commentaries for a way to explain to you the profundity of this word, silence, I panicked when God said, “Be still.”
“As soon as I figure this out God,” I whispered back, “As soon as you tell me what to say!”
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Ps. 46:10
The Hebrew word translated, “Be still,” is, raphah, which means: to sink down or drop into, to let it drop, let alone or to be quiet.
Has someone ever told you to, “Just drop it.”? They mean to abandon an argument or discussion, to withdraw from your frantic pursuits.
That’s what God is calling us to here. He desires to spend time with us, not only to hear our petitions or worries, but so that we can know Him and love Him more because of who He is. And that happens in silence. It happens when like a little child we come into His presence and sink down deep into His loving arms. It happens when we drop our fears, frustrations and pleas (and our discomfort in quiet).
If you’re struggling in your walk with God and feel as if you do not know Him like you want to, or don’t have a strong relationship with Him, be still. Sink into His arms and get to know Him in the silence.
This post was written for Swagga4Christ and also featured on FaithWriters daily devotional. I hope you’ll visit their incredible website and read the other inspiring and aspiring Christian authors.

Glorified in Consumption

On Monday, I referenced  John Piper in his article, “To Drink Orange Juice to the Glory of God.” 

As a follow up, I decided it would be valuable to provide you with the whole article, for a fuller perspective on the topic.

Coming out of an eating disorder, my ability to eat, not to mention my motives for eating were completely topsy-turvy. Anxiety welled in my throat at the mere idea of certain foods. How could I ever take those thoughts and fears captive so that I could do everything, yes, even eating, for God’s glory?

Here’s John:

Some of you then asked the practical question: Well, how do you “eat and drink” to the glory of God? Say, orange juice for breakfast?

Worship

Like a rush of butterfly wings, or maybe an angel

My heart wakes and rustles.

Worship runs between the membranes of my heart,

Lifts from kneeling, worship

Rises heavenward, ecstatic flurry.

Then rests. Settles. Calm washes over.

Repose, stillness.

Like the mysterious, hidden beating heart.

Pulse continues, power resting

In the requisite moments of peaceful worship.

Returns, unrestrained, loud

Worship of tongue and whole being!

Then rests. Settles. Calm washes over.

Prelude of Worship and a Prayer in Conflict

I’ve been trying to get around praying through Psalm 133. This will sound silly, but it seems to short too be deep. But then, Jesus never once talks positively about lengthy prayers. The only reference is made by Paul when he says to “pray continually.” (1 Thess. 5:17)

I have been reading through the Bible in a year and usually each day requires 3-7 chapters of Scripture. When I opened the Bible on Sunday, the only chapter was Ps. 133. That’s not only just one chapter, but it’s only three verses! So, I asked God. Below, I will share with you our conversation. I have learned that I must come to God with praise and in worship before I begin imploring Him for things, asking for help or presenting my problems. Please, take the time to read the Scriptures I’ve listed, especially if you are in a season of prayer-less-ness. Scripture is the cure, I promise!

“There must be some reason Abba, that you have brought me to Ps. 133 without so much as an explanation or longer passages to ‘bookend it’. Jesus, this very morning will you reveal your glory to me -the manifestation of the Father, the only glimpse that I may take and live?”

“Abby, worship is where I am found. Adoration.”

Oh Lord. Teach me a deeper way to worship you. Your word says that you live within the praises of your people. [Ps. 22:3] So if I want to find you, I must come into your gates with thanksgiving and your courts with praise. [Ps. 100] You promised that if I seek you, I will find you. [Jer. 29:13] So I am coming to hold you to your word. I come bringing a full tithe, a full sacrifice of praise. Your word says to test you in this, and you will pour out more blessing than I can handle. You are all my good, I want the blessing of your presence.                [Malachi 3:10, Ps. 16:2, Hebrews 13:15]

[Prayer in the middle of conflict]

Father, Christians are so often accused of being intolerant and the exclusivity of the Gospel of bringing disunity. But your word leaves no doubt that you are a God of Peace. Your word calls Jesus the Prince of Peace. [Isaiah 9:6] Teach me Lord to be humble toward others. Teach me to think of others more importantly than myself. [1 Peter 5:5, Phil. 2:3] Father, I need your strength to hold my tongue [Job 6:24] in my marriage, toward my friends and family, in the presence of my enemies and in the middle of arguments. In discussions with non-Christians help me to find the balance between boldly defending the Gospel and being gentle. [1 Peter 3:15] In Psalm 133, you promise blessing when we dwell with others in unity. Teach me to seek your favor above that of any other, including my own self.

What’s it take to build an idol?

I never melted down my gold,

Or fashioned wood to sacred behold.

I never bowed the knee to anyone,

I know and love Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

So why this prick inside my heart,

A self-made, love-demanding part

Of my worship, time and money.

My sweet, unassuming little dog.

My desire for enviable beauty.

Respect, admiration – to be someone else’s idol.

Oh Jesus, I am sick.

Send the gospel deep into my soul.

Cut, excise, remove unfaithful parts of me.

And Jesus, Father, Holy Spirit, cleanse and make me whole.