Pause In His Presence Part 14

Forget Not His Benefits

“Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” —Psalm 103:2, NKJV

“Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things that He does for me.” — Psalm 103:2 NLT

I was reading Psalm 103 this week – one of my favorite Psalms of all time – and I found myself pausing to reflect more on verse 2.  At other times, I would have found myself camping at some of the juicy verses that come later, but verse 2 really caught my attention this week.  I feel like at times, the rest of the passage is indeed so rich that people tend to unknowingly skip right over this little verse when it is so packed with goodness on its own.

I love the New Living Translation. “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things that He does for me.” Let “all that I am” praise the Lord.  That phrase literally means our whole self; our appetites, minds, desires, emotions, passions, and inner beings.

Everything that seems to make up ME, that’s what’s to praise Him!  I would assume that would also include the negative emotions, the negative feelings and thoughts – it’s ALL to bow to Jesus and bring Him praise.

“May I never forget the good things that He does for me.”  Gosh, what a ploy of the enemy to make us FORGET.  Other translations say “forget not all his benefits…” and that word “benefit” means all of His deeds, all of His rewards and all of His recompense towards us.  Let us not forget his recompense!  Let us not forget His deeds!  Let us not forget how He sent His very own Son as a sacrifice for what WE did wrong, and how that He took upon Himself our own sin, sickness, mistakes, failures, pains, traumas, anxiety, etc.  

Let us not forget that Jesus actually transformed us on the inside, making us new creations and changed our nature to be like His (2 Peter 1:4).  Let us not forget.

In my personal life, I sometimes begin to forget.  I get focused on the things that have nothing to do with God’s kingdom, and I can sometimes forget to look at my true reality, which is Him.  I believe that remembering all the good things that He has done for us actually helps to refocus our eyes upon our true reality, which is His kingdom.  If everything within me can not forget what He has done, then the rest of the worldly troubles stay in my peripheral vision, and my heart stays fixed upon truth.

Perhaps that’s why the rest of Psalm 103 is so incredibly rich; because the writer knows that God has done good deeds, and he is calling them to his remembrance!  When we remember, then our whole selves can praise Him.  And when we praise Him, we enter into new levels in the Spirit where nothing else will do.  THIS is the true Kingdom.

May I encourage you today to REMEMBER.  If you must, grab a journal or a piece of paper and pause in His presence.  Quiet yourself before Him, and then jot down all the deeds, all the good things the Lord has done, all that was done for you at calvary.  Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you where necessary.  Make a list, and then REJOICE!  Celebrate with everything that you are, and watch not only your perspective change but also the atmosphere around you.  He is so worthy of ALL of our praise.  THIS is our true reality.

— Mandy Woodhouse

Pause In His Presence Part 6

Psalm 34:1-3

Do You Hear the Continual Praise?

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!

A friend of mine mentioned a scripture to me this week that I have not ever paid much attention to. Mark 4:24 says that what a person listens to will be multiplied back to them.  My interpretation is that whatever I am hearing on a regular basis will manifest in my own life.  In other words, if I’m listening to things that cause fear, and if I don’t take those thoughts captive immediately and put truth and lovely things into my hearing, fear will show itself in my own world.  

That was a sobering thought for me.

It made me also think of Romans 10:17, that faith comes by hearing. It’s actually a regular practice in my life to listen to only things that will edify my soul and Spirit, and will draw me closer to God’s Presence.

Whether it be music, or the kinds of news articles I read, or even the kinds of conversation that I have, I am always trying to keep my “hearing” something that reproduces faith in my life, so that I am not multiplying back to myself things that aren’t in line with God’s truth.

Enter Psalm 34:1: “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” In light of Mark 4:24 and Romans 10:17, what would life look like if I was continually praising the Lord?

If faith comes by hearing, and what I hear is magnified in my own life, what kind of power would “blessing the Lord at all times” actually hold? How much more awesome would my life look?  How would I see God, and myself, differently if all that was being multiplied in my life was His Praises?

The next verse says to let my soul boast in the Lord.  The Hebrew meaning of that word soul is the mind, will, passions, desires, emotions.  When all of these things boast in the Lord alone, those who are in a poor and needy position will also “hear” and will have the faithfulness of God magnified in their own lives.  

What a beautiful thought that what we hear and declare affects how someone else may hear and see God!

I feel a challenge from the Holy Spirit for us to Pause in His Presence this week, and really be aware of what is coming out of our mouths. How can we change the atmosphere around us if we were continually praising the Lord? How would faith be multiplied to others in our world if we were at all times boasting on the goodness of God?

Pausing in the Presence of God to love on Him and allow Him to pour out His love upon us is the only way to remember who He is, and therefore be able to boast upon Him from the depths of our souls. Let’s do it together, and as verse 3 says, “let us exalt His name together!”

— Mandy Woodhouse

Pause in His Presence, Part 3

“Take Him All In”

I have been meditating on Psalm 4:6-8 the past few days.  Here’s what it says in the ESV:

There are many who say, ‘Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!’ You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

The number of times that I have read through the Psalms and skipped over this verse is innumerable. Last week, however, something really caught my eye when I was reading it. In other translations, verse six asks the question, “Who will show us better times…” If I’m honest, I think that’s the part that caught my attention because of the day that I was having. Being in quarantine, my job is shifting, my internet wasn’t working, I was having issues with a friend – and the list goes on. I’m sure you know those days! Of course my thought process was similar to David’s in Psalm 4:6 here: “When will things get better? Come on God, and shine Your face upon me so that I can have joy and peace again!”

Being the teacher that I am, I looked up the Hebrew meaning of the words “light” and “face.”  You can check out the details in the Strong’s concordance for yourself, but the meanings of these two words really touched me.  “Light” in this context actually means an illumination, much like at daybreak.  The word “face” is my favorite.  It has a variety of applications, but ultimately it refers to a countenance or a presence that is before, behind, beside, and all around.  WOW.

There’s so much to chew on there!

The Lord showed me two things that I wanted to share. First of all, He reminded me that His presence truly does illuminate our lives and surround us, but we have to take it in. I was sitting in the sunshine while reading this passage, and the Holy Spirit told me to stop, look up at the sun, and just soak it all in.

There are so many times that we know that the sun is shining on us, but we stay focused on our work, our thoughts, or questions (ie. “Who will show us better times?”) and we forget to just Pause in His Presence and allow the sunshine to really reach us and affect us. I had to choose to take it all in for a moment, and allow the sunshine to penetrate my skin and make me feel a sense of normalcy again.

The second thing that He showed me is that as verses seven and eight suggest, when we do take Him in, acknowledging that His glorious presence is before, behind, beside and all around us, His promise is that we will remember our joy. We will have peace and rest again, and feel a sense of safety in His presence.

I suppose the moral of the story for me was this: Even when asking the hard questions – the why’s and when’s and how’s – I have to stop and choose to look at His face. I have to accept that His presence is all around me, just waiting for me to soak Him all in. I have to Pause in His Presence, where I will find my joy, peace, rest and safety.

Lord, prove them wrong when they say, ‘God can’t help you!’ Let the light of your radiant face break through and shine upon us! The intense pleasure you give me surpasses the gladness of harvest time, even more than when the harvesters gaze upon their ripened grain and when their new wine overflows. Now, because of you, Lord, I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once, for no matter what happens, I will live unafraid!” – The Passion Translation

—Mandy Woodhouse

Pause In His Presence

Taking Time to Pause in His Presence – Part 1: Psalm 1:2-3

“…but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:2-3, ESV)

His pleasure and passion is remaining true to the Word of “I Am,” meditating day and night in the true revelation of light. He will be standing firm like a flourishing tree planted by God’s design, deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss, bearing fruit in every season of his life. He is never dry, never fainting, ever blessed, ever prosperous.” (Psalm 1:2-3, TPT)

While reading through the Psalms today, I felt a challenge in my Spirit regarding verse 2 of chapter 1. The thought of spending day and night meditating on the Word of God is a provoking thought. It’s one thing to read a devotional or start my day with a bit of a memory verse, but to literally marinate constantly on passages of scripture can be a little more confronting. It actually made me stop and ponder: What thoughts am I actually dwelling on during the day? What am I putting into my mind? Especially in this crazy, chaotic time in history – why wouldn’t I want to marinate day and night in TRUTH and HOPE and PROMISE?

The Lord then began to flood my mind with truth about the Word.

The Word of God is living and active, able to divide between soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12).

The Word of God cleanses and washes (Ephesians 5:6). The Word of God heals (Psalm 107:20). The Word is a sword that is used for tearing down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). The Word is a shield (Proverbs 30:5; Psalm 18:30). The Word of God is like a fire, and a hammer that shatters a rock (Jeremiah 23:29).

The Word of God is beautiful, pure, holy, lovely, admirable, excellent, praise-worthy (Philippians 4:8).  

It is everything we need.  

We can pause in His Presence and marinate on His truths found in the Word. No wonder the enemy hates us spending time in our Bibles.

The Lord then encouraged me with verse 3.  He gently reminded me that when I do marinate on scripture, I am deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss, bearing fruit in every season of life! When the Word of God begins to take root in our lives, the roots go deep.  We begin to bear fruit, even in what appears to be the dry seasons.

When I am marinating on the Word above anything else, my fruit is healthy and prosperous. I have unending supply of living water, and I can stand firm even in the storms.

This is an amazing privilege of a child of God.

If you haven’t taken time to Pause in His Presence today, why don’t you let your roots sink deep and marinate in the Word of God for awhile.  You can drink from the brooks of bliss while bearing fruit and growing greener and healthier.

May your delight be in His Word today and find your soul and mind prosperous and full of peace!

~ Mandy Woodhouse

Deep Calls To Deep 

Deep calls to deep 

at the roar of your waterfalls; 

all your breakers 

and your waves 

have gone over me.

By day the Lord commands 

his steadfast love, 

and at night 

his song is with me, 

a prayer to the God of my life.

Psalms 42:7-8 ESV

If you are anything like me, every once in a while, it is comforting to know there is a safe place that I can sit and be still (in the Lord). 

It’s where I find respite from my daily routine, my wandering thoughts, and the future that is unknown…..I can find solace here, even if I fall away just for a moment. I can soak in the presence of God and connect to peace that he provides to me within. May the Highest Above call us to a deeper place with him. Today, may we rest in his steadfast love.

~ Baring His Beauty,

   Tiffany Thomas 

A Psalm 

  
Who can I turn to when it seems that I am surrounded by my failures? 

Who will hold me up when every corner of my life is closing in, weighing me down? 

Who can soothe a heart that aches with worry and self loathing? 

Lord, my only hope is found in You. 

My mind is troubled, burdened with stress and fatigue. 

I need you to calm the storm of my thoughts and give me peace. 

I am hurting, yearning, longing Lord. 

Fill me with the satisfaction only you can give. 

I feel lost, alone, purposeless and unwanted. 

Hold me close to you and show me the way you want me to go. 

Make me into who you want me to be. 

Birth boldness in me. 

I’ve lost my identity. 

I don’t feel like I have any meaning or value. 

I feel sub-par, judged as unsatisfactory and disregarded. 

Help me to find my identity in you. 

Give me direction and a life of contentment. 

Remember me. 

Don’t leave me. 

Be reminded of my love and need for you. 

Make your presence in my life known to me. 

Be tangible. 

I am thankful for your faithfulness. 

I am grateful for your goodness. 

I need your shelter. 

I need to hide away in you and become whole again. 

Mend the broken parts of me. 

I want to be better, more than what I am.

I want to be who YOU say I am.

        
             ~ Dana Smith 
  

Mad Libs Perfected

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I tried something new this week when I was came to the end of my rope. I was frustrated and complaining nonstop to God about my bothersome situation. I was finished and told God I was ready for my starting point. At what place are we going to start to see where we are going to finish?
I asked Him to give me a Bible verse! That would be my “starting place”.
Immediately I thought of Psalm 87. I had no idea what Psalm 87 would say. I do this often. Ask and ye shall receive, seek and he shall find deal. I just believe that He will give me a verse when I ask. I looked it up. My eyes wondered above to chapter 86. God knows your thoughts before you even think them. So He knew I would start reading their first. (I read magazines from the back forward… So He knows what He is working with in me.)
That became my starting point.
Psalm 86:11-13
I took those that I had concerns with and inserted their names in place of the personal pronouns.
Wha la!!!! Mad Libs all over!!!

“Now do it again and put your name in the blanks.” My second direction.
I did this several times with different versions.
I had formulated a new way of looking at my obstacle and put a finish to my worries and frustration.
I chose to take God’s Word and allow that to be my next move.
I felt better and now had a game plan for the next time that worrisome thought came knocking on my door.
Be ready, because it will come a knocking again.
Take your Mad Libs and turn them into Glad Libs!!
Punch!!!
You are learning to change the dialogue of your finish.

Glad Libs
Fill in the blanks with the proper nouns of concern.

Psalm 86:11-17Living Bible (TLB)

11 Tell _______where you want _____to go and ____will go there. May every fiber of ____being unite in reverence to your name. 12 With all ______heart ____will praise you. _____will give glory to your name forever, 13 for you love ______so much! You are constantly so kind! You have rescued ______from deepest hell.

Psalm 86:11-17Living Bible (TLB)

11 Tell me where you want me to go and I will go there. May every fiber of my being unite in reverence to your name. 12 With all my heart I will praise you. I will give glory to your name forever, 13 for you love me so much! You are constantly so kind! You have rescued me from deepest hell.

Light On,
Kelley Allison
John1:4-5