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Be Exalted, O God, Above the Heavens!

Psalm 57

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!
I look to you for protection.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings
until the danger passes by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.
He will send help from heaven to rescue me,
disgracing those who hound me.  Selah/Interlude
My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness.

I am surrounded by fierce lions
who greedily devour human prey—
whose teeth pierce like spears and arrows,
and whose tongues cut like swords.

Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens!
May your glory shine over all the earth.

My enemies have set a trap for me.
I am weary from distress.
They have dug a deep pit in my path,
but they themselves have fallen into it. Selah/Interlude

My heart is confident in you, O God;
my heart is confident.
No wonder I can sing your praises!
Wake up, my heart!
Wake up, O lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn with my song.
I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.
I will sing your praises among the nations.
10 For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.
May your glory shine over all the earth.

Funny – I read this first in the NIV version and it has the familiar word Selah in it twice, I didn’t realize it until I reread it in the NLT version where they had the word Interlude that it was there.  But I don’t like Interlude.  I like Selah. From research, it’s unclear what the Hebrew word really means, but from sermons and Christian education classes, I remember hearing Peace, Rest, Pause, or Reflect. It’s a break in a song – such as Interlude, so the NLT has the right meaning, but S-e-l-a-h just sounds like p-e-a-c-e stretched out forever; a long breath. I find these days that I have to really work to take Selah in my life.

Be exalted - webAs I was reading this Psalm I was thinking of the times I stand enthralled at the eagles. The eagles return November through March by the river about 1/2 a mile from my home. They soar majestically, often without effort high in the heavens.  Verse 1 says, “I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.”

Eagle in tree - webRecently, I was blessed to see an eagle high in a Cottonwood Tree and get quite close to it.  As I slowly walked closer, I enjoyed its ever watchful gaze. I took 10-15 minutes to gradually approach the eagle. I felt like I was enjoying Selah with God and His creation. I was grateful to have my camera and was able to capture several great shots, including the eagle taking off from the tree and soaring away. As he took off, the shadow cast by his wings was huge.  To be able to hide in the shadow of God’s wings is beyond comprehension.

To hear the Psalmist say, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth,” fills my heart with similar feelings that I get when I watch the eagles.  The magnificence of the incredible eagle is inspiring. How much more should my God be to me?  Like the Psalmist continues, “I will praise You, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of You among the peoples. For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”, so too, my heart soars with quiet praise to my God and Creator.

I think the next time I enjoy an eagle soaring, I hope I will remember to take time and exalt God’s holy name above all things.

eagle in flight - webMay you find time to exalt Your God and praise Him above the heavens for all He has done for you ~ Faye

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What Happened to Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving Day in America is filled with holiday traditions – time with family and friends, an abundance of good food, football, games, walks. It is often time together with loved ones. For some the day begins by going to church to thank God for all He has blessed us with. It was established by our founding fathers as a day that was set aside for us to give thanks to our Creator and God for the abundant blessings He has lavished on us from the material things to His providential care.

Dr. Charles Stanley was talking about our needs recently and said,

“Don’t be mistaken: there’s nothing wrong with having an awareness of our present needs. But too often we allow them to become the focus of our lives. The result is that our hearts become blind to the bounty all around us – a blessing far greater than blue skies, the beauty of creation, or the food it provides; something more essential than clothing, income, or a roof over our heads. It’s the provision of God Himself, and His constant presence among us.”

After reading these words I saw some of the news stories about Black Friday now becoming Black Thursday. I understand that some people really enjoy getting together with family and friends and hitting the early morning shopping sales experience after Thanksgiving. But it seems to me that we are focusing more and more on the THINGS of Thanksgiving and Christmas instead of the WHO and WHY of these two holidays.  Thanksgiving is becoming more about time to spend money shopping for the perfect gifts and Christmas has become more about giving the right gift and making people happy.  Those things in and of themselves aren’t wrong, but somehow we’ve lost the WONDER AND AWE of Christmas. We are focused too much on THINGS and not enough of God’s precious gift to us of His Son to save us from our sins and give us eternal life. Thanksgiving becomes more about strategies for what stores to hit and when in order to get the most bang for our buck instead of taking time to Thank God for all He has done for us.

Whether it is God’s providential hand keeping a truck from rolling completely over and drastically injuring the driver, or having a surgical procedure available to help an irregular heart become regular. Whether it is groceries dropped at the door of someone in need, or taking someone to a doctor’s appointment who feels like a burden only to tell them you’ve been in their shoes. You understand how they feel and are so grateful to be able to pay it forward. Maybe it is just the eagles soaring above you as you go for a walk under beautifully blue skies. Or it may be the hug you receive from your 9 year old grandson whom you never thought would make it when he was born at 2 1/2 pounds. It may be the peace of God in your heart as you meet with someone you’ve had conflicts with in the past and realize God’s grace has provided incredible healing.

A while back I wrote how worshiping God changes us to being more like Him. With the renewed advertising campaigns to buy and spend more and more this holiday season,  it seems to me that Pastor Jack Hayford’s statement – “Worship changes the worshiper into the image of the one being worshiped,” is very true.  Instead of worshiping God and being changed into His image. Too often we are worshiping the almighty dollar and the

happiness it might bring.  If that is the case and we are worshiping material things, does Hayford’s quote mean – When we worship material things we are changed into the image of those things we are worshiping?  Given the amount of advertising and news coverage over changing the shopping day and getting prepared for the holiday sales, it really makes me wonder. I heard of people who will have been camped out in line in front of a store in Wisconsin for a week by the time the store opens for the sale. Do we, do I, come close to having that type of anticipation and time for God?
I have been challenged to intentionally give God some serious time to thank Him for ALL HE has done for me. He has blessed me, my family and my friends abundantly more than we could ask or imagine. So much more than money can buy. I pray you are able to take time to reflect on and thank God for His love and grace He lavishes on us during this Holy Season.

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