A Sacrifice of Praise

2981762849_f270541979_oOur God is ever worthy of our praise. Won’t you join me in a sacrifice of praise to him today?

Pour out your love to him, pause in speechless wonder, ponder his greatness, and point others to him with your words.

Raise your hands before him, remember all that he’s done, realize the magnificence of our God, and rejoice forevermore.

Approach him with gladness and joy, abide in his presence daily, adore him for who he is, and announce to the world his goodness.

Illumine your darkness with songs of faith, immerse yourself in his love, invite others to join in thanksgiving, and invigorate your prayer life with praise.

Stand before him in awe, savor the wonders of his character, sing from a full heart, and share with everyone your love for him.

Enter his presence with thanks and praise, exalt and lift high his name, entwine your heart with his, and enjoy magnifying so great a Savior!

“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Psalm 103:1-2

*What or whom are you praising God for today?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out next week. All subscribers are automatically entered for a giveaway in each of the quarterly issues. A $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble will be the prize in this issue. Sign-up for Life Notes is free and to the right!

Guest Jeneal Rogers: From My Front Porch

jeneals-dawn-2

Today I’m happy to share a beautiful piece written by my dear friend Jeneal Rogers. Sit back, relax with Jeneal on her front porch, and let her words usher in peace and beauty. Let them transport you to the thin edge of dawn.

From My Front Porch

It’s the thin edge of dawn. I sit in the rocking chair, on my front porch. Crickets and tree frogs still harmonize. A squirrel scolds emphatically. I wonder. Is it her children she so passionately lectures? Or has her mate somehow unwittingly incurred her wrath?

I watch a spider scurry up the post in front of me. Hurried. Intent. Eager, perhaps, to begin her morning weaving.

Birds start to tune up for today’s concert.
Coos, chirps, and twitters.
Tweets, whistles, and caws.
The rapid percussion of a woodpecker, searching for his breakfast.
An arrogant cardinal warms his voice, “pretty, pretty, pretty bird.”
I listen for the satiny call of the owl, asking his perpetual question. “Who? Who? Who cooks for you?”

Leaves, twigs, and acorns fall from the huge oak.
Plunk
Pop
Tap
Announcing Autumn’s arrival as surely as the air of chilled fog.

How blessed I am. My weekend filled with warm love and laughter.
Friends sharing
Meals
Stories
Hopes
Dreams
Pieces of their lives, graciously offered
Gratefully received.

A beautiful gift, wrapped up and adorned with this sweet symphony of nature, received on my front porch, this early morning, at the thin edge of dawn.

Writer and visual artist Jeneal Rogers of southeast Missouri enjoys writing essays, short stories, and poetry along with creating visual arts of all kinds. An illustrator for Armonia Publishing, Jeneal is currently working on creating an illustrated book, New Wings For An Old Bird, which will combine her love of written and visual media. Jeneal invites you to keep your eye out for the book.

*Photo above by Jeneal Rogers

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One current or new subscriber will win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble so don’t miss out. Sign-up is free and to the right!

Quiet Time Thoughts

1571073360_67394f6c3c_zSome people call it quiet time. Others call it devotions. Whatever you call it, I hope you’re spending time with God each day, reading His Word and drawing near to Him through prayer. I pray the following acrostic piece will encourage you to commune with the Father daily through personal quiet time with him. It will change your life. He will change your life!

Quench your thirst for God—spend some time in his Word.

Unleash the power of the Holy Spirit and welcome his work in your life.

Invite the Lord to come and fellowship with you each day.

Enter into worship as you come into his presence.

Treasure your moments with the Savior, guarding them diligently.

 

Taste the goodness, the mercy, the unfailing love of our God.

Imitate all that you learn at his feet.

Meditate on the riches overflowing from his perfect, holy Word.

Enjoy a love relationship with Jesus, our living Savior.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8

*What devotional helps do you use? Where are you reading in the Word right now?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early May. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by .:[ Melissa ]:. , Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Spiritual Moments in Everyday Life

IMG_4716Does everyday life ever surprise you with unexpected spiritual moments? Sweet connections with our Lord or hearts filled with gratitude, praise, or fresh insights don’t happen only when we are involved in prayer and worship and reading God’s Word. Sometimes God blesses us with such moments in the ordinary business of daily living.

Here’s what Shauna Niequist has to say in her book Bittersweet – Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way about some of her most deeply spiritual moments:

“Many of the most deeply spiritual moments of my life haven’t happened just in my mind or in my soul. They happened while holding my son in the middle of the night, or watching the water break along the shore, or around my table, watching the people I love feel nourished in all sorts of ways.”

Let’s not miss the spiritual feast that can be experienced in the everyday moments of life. Let’s be ready to look at the common with fresh eyes. Let’s be alert to all that God has for us in the everyday.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

*How has God blessed you with spiritual moments in your normal course of life?

*My photo of our grandson Isaiah

9 Connections to Improve Your Life

53371612_bd8183988e_bWho isn’t eager to improve her life, even in a small way, when she has the opportunity? Most of us love to find simple ways to make our lives richer, ways that are within the reach of all. After all, we want to enjoy our time here on earth to the fullest, don’t we?

One simple way to improve our lives is through connecting—both with people and with things. Every time we connect we’re taking a step outside of ourselves, and that’s a great step to take. Too much self-focus and/or living in a too-small world we’ve built for ourselves will drain us of joy and zap our energy levels.

So who or what can we connect with that will bring positive changes or vibes to our lives? Here are nine connections that can make a difference. Why not try them all?

1. Connect with God. No better connection in the world, right? When we connect with God through worship, prayer, or reading his Word, he infuses our lives with what we need on any given day—peace, joy, comfort, inspiration, perseverance. The list goes on.

2. Connect with loved ones and friends. Whether it’s a family member, a dearly loved friend, or a more casual friend, we receive an immediate boost from a conversation, a look, a smile, a hug, a note of encouragement, an interaction through social media, or another gesture from a fellow sojourner in life. It’s a good reminder to keep our interactions positive so we can provide that same loving boost to those we care about.

3. Connect with nature. Stepping out into the great outdoors and connecting with the creative wonders of our mighty God can soothe our spirits and energize us at the same time. After all, when we connect with nature, it’s just another way to connect with God, right?

4. Connect with strangers. Yes, we can even improve our lives when we connect with strangers. As we extend a smile and kind word to those we come in contact with, we’ll feel positive energy and be a blessing to them as well. We might even open the door to a new friendship!

5. Connect with the written word. As we read (or write!) books, articles, poetry, and other material, we enlarge our worlds and/or make it possible to see things in new and different ways. We gain information, inspiration, comfort, and encouragement. And of course, the most important written word—God’s Word—will make all the difference in our lives.

6. Connect with music. Whether listening, singing, playing, or composing, interacting with music moves us. Like nature, it can soothe or energize. Like the written word, it can inspire, comfort, and encourage. Our lives are simply better with music. Music gives joy.

7. Connect with art. Enjoying the beauty of stories told through drawings, paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other creative endeavors adds yet another layer of wonder and inspiration to our lives. Both observing and participating enrich us.

8. Connect with good food. Oh yes, good food—whether good-for-us food, new-to-us food, comfort food, or special-treat foods, food improves our lives. Of course, we need food to live, but it also adds joy, refreshment, and adventure to our days.

9. Connect with knowledge. I touched on this when mentioning the written word, but we can connect with knowledge in a variety of ways. Just think of all the ways we learn and gather information. Hopefully, when we connect with knowledge, we grow. And along the way, a special bonus comes when wisdom is acquired.

So friends, let’s take time to connect—today and every day!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

*Which of these connections do you enjoy the most? What else can you add to the list?

*The latest issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by elaine faith, Creative Commons License