Monthly Archives: February 2017

Looking for God in All the Right Places

In my quest to worship and praise God, I came across some scriptures that revealed another way we can praise Him. This involves remembering and proclaiming the deeds of God.The scriptures below reveal the connection between praising God and remembering and proclaiming His great deeds:

  • Ps. 145:10-12 – “All of your works will thank you, Lord,and your faithful followers will praise you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom; they will give examples of your power. They will tell about your mighty deeds and about the majesty and glory of your reign.” (NLT)
  • Ps. 9:11 – “Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion; declare among the peoples His deeds.”
  • Ps. 105:1 – “Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.”

As a result of these and other passages, I began looking for God’s deeds in the Bible and in my life so that I could praise Him.

Recall God’s Deeds of Old
Many of the mighty deeds of God have been recorded and preserved in the word of God, the Bible. When we take time to recall the many great acts of God, we begin to know Him more and to trust Him more deeply. When I meditate on God’s great deeds, I cannot help but marvel and praise Him.

Some of my favorite deeds of God to recall are how:
– God created all things with his powerful word – Genesis 1
– God opened a path in the Red Sea for Israel to walk through on dry ground – Exodus 14:22
– God shut the mouths of lions and delivering Daniel – Dan. 6:22
– Jesus walked on water – Mt. 14:22-33
– Jesus fed 5,000 from 5 loaves and 2 fishes – Mt.14:13-21
– Jesus healed a servant from a distance – Mt. 8:5-13
– Jesus resurrected from the dead seated at the right hand of God – Phil 2:5-11.

As I meditate on these mighty deeds of God, I try to picture them in my mind. I see God is magnified before me. I am immediately struck with awe for God, for His power and His love to work on behalf of man. Reflecting on these acts causes me to praise God, and encourages me to trust in Him because the God who has done these mighty deeds is the same God with whom I have a relationship.

Recalling God’s Deeds in My Life
As a result of this, I became vigilant, looking for God’s working in my life, both past and present. As I reviewed my life I saw God’s mighty deeds in my life. Some of these deeds were obvious displays of God’s working, while others involved an unfolding of His working in my life and character over time. Some of the mighty deeds of God in my life have to do with God restoring my husband, Dan, to health.

A little after our first year of marriage, my husband, Dan, age 28, was having a hard time breathing. Dan went to a doctor, had the usual examination, x-rays and so on and was diagnosed with asthma. Despite treatments, the condition persisted and worsened. We prayed for God to help us and lead us to a doctor who could help.

We looked up asthma specialists in the phone book! We selected one, went to him and received the diagnosis of a malignant tumor inside the trachea. The cancer was a lymphoma which had also affected other areas of Dan’s body.

 Use God’s Mighty Deeds to Build Faith
God was there to help immediately.  As we received the dark news, my mind almost instantly was lead to the story of King Hezekiah. In 2 Kings 20, Hezekiah was given a terminal diagnosis from the prophet Isaiah. Hezekiah cried out to God for a longer life. God had compassion and added 15 years to his life. That flash of remembering of this compassionate and powerful deed of God towards Hezekiah became the fuel for the faith we would need on this journey.

At the time of the diagnosis the tumor was growing at such a rapid rate that in two weeks it would have closed off his ability to breathe altogether. Here we see the hand of God in His timing.

The tumor was inside the trachea which at that time was a very difficult procedure and required significant expertise. We were told there were 5 doctors in the nation who could perform that specific procedure. The doctor, who diagnosed Dan, knew one of those skilled surgeons who happened to be located 50 miles away from where we lived.

The surgery happened within two days of the diagnosis. The doctors warned of a 50-50 chance of surviving the surgery, and a 50% chance of surviving a year afterwards. Tumors were found in three other places along the spine. During recovery from surgery many new dilemmas presented such as the lung collapsing three times, and an emergency tracheotomy, but God brought appropriate personnel and procedures in place at the right time to help with these difficulties.

After seven months of intense chemotherapy, my husband was declared to be in remission. Dan had to re-learn how to swallow and was fed through a tube in his stomach for a year and a half. Immediately after surgery, he was unable to speak and swallow, but over the years his ability to speak was restored, even though his voice remains somewhat quiet and raspy.

God worked mighty things behind the scenes using doctors, treatments and time to give Dan life and to restore him to full function.

“Remember” onto Faith and Praise
When I am feeling forgotten by God, or frustrated about waiting on Him to work in my life, when my faith is hitting on empty, I recall not only the mighty deeds God has done of old, but also the great deeds God has done in my life, from restoring life and health to my husband to helping me change things I thought would never change in my character.

This “remembrance of God’s mighty deeds” grows my faith and my awe for God. When I share the ways God is working in my life, or when I remind others of God’s mighty deeds, I am praising God.

I never read the Bible as a child but I do remember paging through a big family Bible that sat on a coffee table. Perhaps it was the pictures of God’s mighty deeds that I saw in that Bible that captured my heart for God.

I encourage you to page through a Bible and find more mighty deeds of God. Let these truths lead you to faith and to praise God.

Thanksgiving as Worship

I have been seeking to learn to worship God in a manner that truly honors God as God.

I have not always felt this strong drive to worship God even though I have been a disciple for over 40 years. I have experienced the goodness of God in my life.  I have said some deeply emotional prayers, as well as my share of rote or canned prayers. At times I have viewed prayer as a way to get what I want. I have prayed prayers from true faith, and at times I have merely mouthed words.  In my quest for true deeper worship I am not talking about prayers like that. I am talking about learning to talk to God in a way that honors Him as God.

As I study the Word of God and see who He is through the character, life and sacrifice of Jesus, I am moved to worship Him. Another factor that moves me to worship God is seeing my sins, especially those things that are deep in my heart. Examples of deeper heart issues include doing the right things for the wrong reasons; doing good things because they are expected; resenting using my time and resources for others but doing it anyway; not being totally honest about my feelings; judging others, and the like.

The more that these things are revealed to me, the greater my appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus becomes, and the more intense my desire to worship Him. The deeper I see inside my soul the more drawn I am to honor Him.

The Heart’s Stance in Worship
In my quest to worship God I found that giving thanks to God is a major facet of worshiping Him, but to truly thank God requires a heart stance and understanding about our “selves” and God.

Romans 1: 20-21 reveals a truth about man’s relationship to God: “ For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Romans 1:20-21 reveals the heart stance and understanding that we must have before God in order to worship Him.  Simply stated, we have to acknowledge God as the Creator and our “selves” as His creation under Him. It is from this stance that we can honor God and give Him thanks. When we refuse to glorify God as God and do not give Him thanks we become more and more darkened in our thinking and unable to understand spiritual truths.

Honoring Self Hinders Honoring God
In the gospels we see religious leaders who surely should know and worship God. Although these men practice religion, they do not really honor God. In John 5:43-44, Jesus infers it is because they seek their own glory: “For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.”

They do not honor God because they are honoring themselves among men. Seeking our own honor hinders our ability to honor God, and it hinders our ability to believe. Therefore, as a “worshiper” of God, I need to ask myself some hard questions: Who do I really seek to honor, God or myself? What are the subtle ways that I honor myself over God?

Thanksgiving and Worship
In Psalm 50:23, the psalmist reveals that thanking God is like offering a sacrifice that honors God, “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.”

Ps. 69:30-31 states that to praise God with thanksgiving is more pleasing to Him than offering a sacrifice, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.”

Hebrews 13:15 states that in Jesus we can continually worship God in a way that gives thanks to His name, “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

So in this quest I am learning to put God in His place over me by acknowledging in my daily life that He is God, my Creator, and I am His creation under His rule and authority.

Honoring God involves giving Him thanks in praise. I thank Him for who He is and what He does. I thank Him for: His steadfast love and faithfulness, His mercy, His grace to me, His power and help, His wisdom and truth, and so much more. The more I know Him, the more I praise Him with thanksgiving.

“Therefore, since we are receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us be filled with gratitude, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” Heb.12:28

God Understands Us

There have been times in my life when I have felt totally incapable of doing something that I needed to do. I remember one such time very clearly.

I worked as an Evaluation Team Leader for a mid- sized school system in a city outside of Boston. One time I was called upon to hold a controversial meeting that involved the usual multi-discipline team, but also included the Director of the Special Education, the school district’s attorney, the parents’ attorney, the principal of our school, and DCF officials. Needless to say, it was an intimidating situation. I even asked the director to chair the meeting in my place, but she declined. I was anxious and overwhelmed. I felt that I was not up to the task.

Did you ever feel that way, like you couldn’t do a something you were expected to do or needed to do, or that you didn’t want to do because it was going to require too much of you? I believe God understands my thinking and feeling in times like this and is ready to help, whether it be presiding over a meeting with intimidating or difficult people, or overcoming a seemingly impossible situation in your life.

God Understands Our Insecurities and Fears
Sometimes I think the God who creates and sustains all life would not care about my fears and insecurities. I believe the Word of God reveals to us truths about God’s nature and heart for us that tells us He does care. In Exodus 3 and 4, we read of an encounter between God and Moses that exhibits God’s understanding of our insecurities and fears. In times of fear and anxiety I need to recall and trust these truths.

God calls Moses to go speak to the pharaoh and tell him to let all the Israelites go out from Egypt. This is a monumental request, since the Israelites were Egypt’s major work force. Forty years previous Moses was a prince in the court of pharaoh, but for the last forty years he had been tending sheep in the wilderness. So, it is not too hard to understand when Moses tries to refuse the assignment.

In the interchange between Moses and God we see Moses’ fear, Moses’ focus on his own ability, and in contrast we see God’s continuous understanding and building into Moses.

God Patiently Works to Establish Trust
In Exodus 3:11 Moses responds to God’s assignment with: “Who am I, that I should go to the pharaoh?”

God does not belittle Moses for his lack of faith. He does not give up on Moses. Rather, God works tenderly and logically with Moses throughout the whole encounter.  God understands his feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. God builds faith in Moses and reassures Moses that He will go with him and support him (v.12).

In Ex. 3:13-15, Moses counters with another obstacle to the assignment. He states that the people of Israel won’t accept him or believe him. They will demand his credentials by saying “What is God’s name?” In other words if “our” God sent you then you should know His name.

So God tells Moses His name which defines God and His authority. God said, “I AM who I AM  . . . tell them I AM has sent you.” Gently, God instructs Moses to remind the Israelites that the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” sent him. He buoys up Moses’ credentials with a connection to the patriarchs of Israel.

Moses continues to express imaginations of purported resistance from the Israelites towards him. Again, with great patience God persuades Moses by giving him powerful signs to perform that prove he was sent by God, (the staff turning to a snake, his hand turning leprous and then being cured, and the water turning into blood – Ex.4:4-9).

One would think Moses would be all set now, but even after all this, Moses voices yet another fear. He states that he is not an eloquent speaker, and he will be unable to speak to the pharaoh effectively. Patiently, God reminds Moses that He, God that had made his mouth and He can give Moses the words to say (Ex. 4:12).

However, Moses continues pleads to be relieved of this commission. While verse 14 states that God was angry, He continued to provide Moses with the support he needed. God gives Moses a partner, his brother Aaron, to help him speak to the pharaoh.

God is the Same Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
The God who interacted with Moses is the same God we relate to today. We need to understand that God “gets it,” He understands our fears and insecurities, and He is not repulsed. He responds with a long-suffering and steadfast love towards us. “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious; slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Ps. 86:15

As God worked with Moses, He will work with me and you to bring me to where I need to be, and support me along the way. When I am challenged in life, overwhelmed, fearful, and maybe even despaired, I will remember this interaction between God and Moses, take heart, and trust a loving compassionate God.


“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8

“Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin!  So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.” Hebrews 4:15-16 (CEV)