Monday, December 8, 2008

My First Source... Advent of Joy #8

“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture."
Psalm 100:1-3

Last night was a tough one. I was tired (way over tired) and low and just not doing the greatest. I was unable to gather my thoughts. This morning, after getting some decent sleep, though not nearly long enough, I am feeling better today.

As I was resting yesterday afternoon, I came across Psalm 100. It just spoke to me. It reminded me to worship God. When we worship God, when we focus on Him, not our problems, and give Him the praise, honor, and glory due to Him it is a powerful thing.

Again, looking back at this last year, I can see the good things that God has done. He has sifted out the chaff, purified my faith. He has gotten rid of some of the parts of me that I haven’t liked. He has shown me other areas I need to keep a close eye on.

I am even dealing with some now. One of them being, taking good care of myself. Making sure I get enough sleep, eat well, and get exercise and accomplish at least one thing around the house a day. All of those things will help me feel better, and as Tricia would say, good tools to help me deal with daily stress. Good coping mechanisms.

It has been a challenge to sleep as I have been tossing and turning most nights. Last night at least I got 6 1/2 hours of solid sleep, with no waking in between. That was a start. Right now I have a load of dishes in the washer, and I have a few things cleaned up around here. I was also able to start the day with God. Those are really good things.

This year has had one really good benefit, besides showing me areas of weakness that I need to keep an eye on. This year has drawn me ever closer to Jesus. I have realized that God has to be my first source to go to when I am in trouble, when I am down, when I need help or insight or focus. One of my tendencies is to lean on other people around me. But God has been giving me a deeper love for Him and His word, and a greater desire to spend time with Him.

That is more than enough reasons to come before Him with joyful songs and shout with joy to Him! In this advent, awaiting the celebration of His birth, there is nothing more important than to wait with joyful anticipation.

I know in my head that the Lord is God, and I believe it in my heart. I want to cling to that truth ever more closely. He made me.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Psalm 139:13-14

That is another reason to praise Him. I am not a mistake. He created me, and I am his. He said so. (Isaiah 43:1) We all are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

He is our shepherd. He leads us and cares for us and guides us to restful places when we need it and leads us through the darkness when we are afraid. He is the light for our path. His word is our guide. His word in our lives builds a foundation, that when everything else starts to fall apart, we will always have. We won’t be shaken off of it, if we continue to cling to Him and His word. We need to be able to cling to His promises for us. Know and really believe that He will accomplish great things in our lives, and it will give us strength to continue on and persevere.

Nothing is better for my soul than remembering that He made me, that I am His. For that I worship Him with joy and gladness in my heart. That worship is good for my soul as well!

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