Bread – Awake

May 22, 2017


Psalm 66

Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His name; give to Him glorious praise!  Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your deeds!’”  Ps. 66:1-3

This morning, when I got out of bed, I made coffee, got the newspaper, showered, shaved, and prepared for the day.  Very routine, almost tiring.  And probably something very similar to what you did this morning.

And then I sat down to write Bread and read Psalm 66, the first three verses of which are quoted above.

And the first thought I had after reading “Shout for joy to God…” was, “How would my day be different if I woke up shouting for joy to God?  Instead of the mundane and the routine, what if I woke up every day with praise on my lips for the new day ahead of me, reveling in the majesty of God’s creation?

I think that if I awoke with a “shout for joy” on my lips, I would have started the day truly awake.  I would have been awake to the possibilities.  I would have been awake to the miracles.  I would have been awake to the overflowing blessings of God in my life and through my family and friends.  I would be awake to the mighty roar of welcome which the Lord presents us every day in His sunrise.

What does it take to be truly awake in this life our ours?  I think it is all contained in our quote for the day.  If we shout for joy at the awesomeness of God’s deeds, we will be very, very awake.  The other people around us are likely to be awakened as well.

Satan would have us fall into the trap of daily grind, making the rounds of the daily newspaper, the daily coffee, the daily teeth brushing, and the daily dressing for work.  Satan would have us focus on our “to do list” and all the labors before us, grinding us into submission and joylessness.

God on the other hand would have us wake up to Him and His – His creation, His majesty, His glory, His hope, His blessings, and His creatures – me and you.

“Rise up like a lion in the service of the Lord!”  This should be our war cry every morning.  But to even make this, we need to be awake to the glory of God around us, in us, and through us.  If we wake up with a shout for joy, we can then follow with a shout for service.  If we wake up with a shout of truth, we can then follow with a shout of love.

“Wake up and hear the birds sing?”

No.  Wake up and know God.

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© 2017 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

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Bread – Loud

August 29, 2016


Psalm 33

Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!  Praise befits the upright…Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.”  Ps. 33:1,3

I was at a non-profit banquet the other day when the speaker said to us, “stand up and shout!”  I thought she was crazy and, looking around, I think that most of the people around me had a similar opinion.  But, obediently, we stood up and, after some further prompting, we sort let out a loud-ish kind of sound, which was pretty pathetic given the number of people in the room.  She then called for more enthusiasm, which was not forthcoming.  She then said to all the men in the room, “imagine yourself in a battle line and you want to scare the people you are against…Yell as loud as you can!”  At that point there was a great shout from the room which might have well been heard throughout the venue.

And what was amazing about that was that I no longer felt foolish or stupid, but I felt powerful.  I no longer had a downcast countenance, but I was looking up at the speaker.  I was no longer embarrassed, but strong.  And, again, looking around the room, I think most people joined me in those feelings.

But what was even more amazing was that people were smiling.  What was a tone of seriousness and contemplation turned into a ruckus and a tone of joy, excitement, and, actually, even happiness among everyone.  And when we sat down we were more attentive to what the speaker had to say.  We were more open to each other and to her.

We have a lot of names for this.  “Get out of your comfort zone.”  “Step out in faith.”  “Get out of your shell.”  “Turn outward, not inward.”  And probably 10,000 more ways of saying the same thing.

The Psalmist even says it – Shout to the Lord, Sing a new song – Do it all with loud shouts.

Now I was in a crowded room where I was surrounded by a lot of people yelling at the top of their lungs, so it was easy for me to do the same thing.  In a church where I am surrounded by joy, it is easy to sing a new song (one from the heart, even if the words are already printed).

But think about this…Isn’t a word spoken about Christ and love to an unknown person in an elevator a shout of joy into the silence?  Isn’t the stopping and taking time to listen to someone who needs an ear a shout of love into that person’s life?

Why don’t we do it?  Are we afraid of looking out of place, of appearing to be crazy, of not being serious or restrained enough?

Or are we afraid of the explosion of happiness and wonder which might happen when we shout out our joy into the people and circumstances of our lives?

Are we afraid of failure or, really, are we afraid of success?

“Praise befits the upright.”  Stuffed in the middle of our verse today is a profound statement.  Normally, we think of the upright as reserved, formal, or “proper.”  If we are upright, we are well-behaved which means, in company, that we follow the etiquette of the situation.  But upright here means, in its simplest sense, saved for eternity.  We are upright not because of us but because of Jesus Christ.

And what the Psalmist tells us is that, if we are upright before God, in Christ, then “praise” befits us, it fits us…it is part of us…it follows from our position in Christ.

So, this week, I think we need to ask ourselves a question in every circumstance we find ourselves … are we being loud enough as befits our position as saved?  And this doesn’t necessarily mean yelling out “Christ is King” in a crowded theater – what it may mean is speaking about the gospel in a way which will be heard to someone who needs to hear it.

Sometimes just speaking is shouting.  Sometimes just touching is shouting.  Sometimes just loving is shouting.  And sometimes shouting is shouting.

Lord, help us to discern the amount of shout of praise we need to speak into every circumstances, and Lord help us to actually do it.  Amen.

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© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

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