Tuesday, May 11, 2010


"Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy. For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome, a great king over all the earth."--Psalm 47.1-2
When I was a teenager, the great R&B band, "Kool and the Gang," had a hit record entitled "Celebrate." The chorus went something like, "Celebrate good times, come on!"
Sometimes, I imagine Jesus saying the same thing to us! Too much of the time, I am weighed down by the anxieties and fears of life. Too much of the time, I focus on bad news. I have to remind myself to celebrate the blessings of God and the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Jesus had to remind people of this in his time. Once someone came to him and asked why his disciples didn't fast. He responded that the wedding party doesn't fast when the bridegroom is with them. He meant that when He is present, there is cause for celebration not mortification.
That's what the psalmist is reminding the people today. "Clap your hands . . . shout to God with LOUD songs of joy!" When is the last time you clapped your hands to the praise songs and hymns of God? When is the last time you sang them at the top of your lungs?
Why not try it today? Find something to celebrate this day, even if it is "just" the gift of another day in God's Creation. And "clap your hands and shout to God with a loud song of joy!"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Blessed to BE a blessing

"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations."--Psalm 67.1-2
"You are blessed to BE a blessing." I'm not sure the first time that I heard that phrase but the principle is found throughout the Bible. No individual or group of people is ever blessed just for their own comfort and pleasure. We see this in the very forming of God's chosen people, the Jews. When God blesses Abraham and explains to him that he will be the father of God's chosen people, he clearly tells him that this is all for the blessing of the whole world. In God's calling of Abraham, he said, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12.1-3)
We are mistaken when we think the purpose of our lives is to experience personal pleasure. Sure, God gives us some great joy and wonderful experiences in life. But our purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Part of glorifying God is to reach out to those around us and make a difference. We are called to share Christ's love and grace in many and varied ways. You don't have to be a person of great worldly power to make an impact on others. You have the one tool you need to be a blessing to others, the love of God poured out for us in Christ Jesus. Use it to bless others today!