Posts Tagged ‘Praise’

Higher Flight © Image created by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 9:1-2 – HIGHER FLIGHT – Part 3

In Psalm 9:1-2, King David says “I will” four times in relation to praising God, “I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of You. I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.” Notice, David ends verse 2 with one of the names of God. ELYON – MOST HIGH. 

I praise Him, not because He needs my praise, but because I recognise that He is Most High (Elyon). Supreme. Over all. David emphasises that God is Most High. Not just high, but Most High. Higher than anything earthly.

I love the poem by the pilot John Gillespie Magee Jr called High Flight. It is almost a poem of worship.

High Flight

“Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air….

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue

I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.

Where never lark, or even eagle flew —

And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”

This poem for me encapsulates something of that sense of exhilaration and extreme height of flying and sensing the presence of God. God most High is so much higher still.

In considering this Name of God Most High, The POSB commentary prompted me to pray this prayer.

Prayer: You are higher than my unsolvable problems and my anxious thoughts. You are higher than the financial struggles I may face. You are higher than my times of depression or the lies I may have about myself. You are higher than any temptation I may face and any spiritual enemy. You are higher than my doubts, because I know instinctively that I can trust You completely and utterly. I trust You today. 

Nothing can come against You or Your purposes, Lord. What about all those aspirations of influential people who continue to wreak havoc against Your kingdom principles? I can trust that You are higher than even the many culturally accepted but spiritually corrupt principles that infiltrate and pollute our world. Even those that are beautifully socially engineered, yet still in opposition to Your Word. 

I can trust that You are higher than cancer and strokes and heart disease and diabetes and every sickness that we may face on this earth. You are higher, Lord Jesus, than death itself. 

Knowing You, Father, gives me a deep-seated joy. Today, I pray that You would help me as I willingly take the opportunity to praise Your Name and honour the Lord Jesus Christ, who is King of kings and Lord of lords, Most High God. 

Pastor Ross

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Psalms 9 – THE POETIC WARP AND WEFT OF WORSHIP – Parts 1 and 2

PSALM 9:1 – WOVEN WORSHIP – Part 1

Woven in Worship © Image created by Ross Cochrane

Today (Sunday 4-8-2019) I finished a poem on worship. I don’t often write poetry, but Psalm 9 inspired me (see below) with a picture of worship I had not considered. 

Psalm 9 reminds me of a woven cloak made on a loom – two distinct sets of threads, praise and prayer, unique strands, with an array of colours forming a garment of worship intricately woven with subtlety, warp and weft, interlaced into a strong and beautiful design. 

In Psalm 9:1, King David says, “I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart; …” 

It seems it is a function of the heart of a believer to weave praise in and out of their lives, to create a beautiful pattern interwoven with prayer, a harmony of colours. 

David’s heart takes the thread of praise and skillfully propels it across the loom weaving it through the warp threads of prayer. 

It is because of a heart relationship with God, not because of a list of possible benefits that David praises the Lord. It is not based on what God has done, although what God has done is amazing, but in knowing who God is. He does not ask, “what’s in it for me?” but instead, “Whatever happens, Lord, I will praise You with all my heart.” Gradually the garment is created.

I have long loved the sonnets of Gerard Manley Hopkins so I have written this poem in a similar style to express what worship is like for me. I have related it the thoughts above, the warp and weft of prayer and praise …

PSALM 9:1-2 – WOVEN WORSHIP

© Ross Cochrane

Worthy are You, Lord, for woven things –

For warp of worship weaving colours into time;

For weft threads singing subtle, tonal groans of praise;

Soft braided, subdued songs, wordless strings;

Soul-scape, plaited with prayer-laced, twisted strands that climb

With purpose, hues clear, untangled, ablaze.

All loves fibres meandering, rare, whole,  

Beautiful in favour, honour, rhythm, rhyme,

Plaided patterns that proclaim Your ways;

Eternity’s robe: full hearts extol

Your Praise.

Pastor Ross

WOVEN WORSHIP – Part 2

Lord, I choose to praise You, with all my heart because of who You are AND because I am amazed at what You have done in my life and in the lives of others. 

Praise that is only woven with words and not with ALL my heart, slips from the warp and weft and creates holes and imperfections. All I am left with is lip-service. You then help me correct the design. 

In Matthew 15:8 (NLT2) God speaks of religious people who ‘… honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.” I may miss a thread in my praise at times, Lord. Help me worship You with all my heart, to be fully engaged in worship. Lord, help me not be simply religious in my praise, but wholehearted. 

John 4:24 (NLT2) says, “For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” It seems wholehearted worship involves worshiping God in spirit and in truth, not “faking it until you make it”. Truth is being honest with God and allowing Him to be honest with us. Spirit to spirit. 

The design that is produced in me is not based on how I feel at the time, not on what I am going through in my life, but upon my relationship with Him. It is not based upon emotions or reason, but an inbuilt, unseen, honest to God, heart to heart, spirit to spirit love for God and His love for me.  

Psalm 9:1,2  “… I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of You. I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.”   

FOR MARVELLOUS THINGS

For all You do that I see

Lord, help me be aware of Your interventions into people’s lives, to see the marvellous things You have done. When I look back I see the design you intended, crafted into the garment, it’s often difficult to visualise just what you have in mind, but the finished result is always so amazing. I can see how You have woven your intentions and purposes through my life. 

Sometimes, I find it difficult to do things Your way, but it is only when I acknowledge that You are the Master Craftsman and press on in praise and prayer, that miracles occur and something altogether magnificent is created. 

Lord, lead me to those with whom I can share these truths. Is that what praise is? Acknowledging what I see You crafting? Is it both public and private? I guess praise reminds me of what You have done in my life, but telling others of what You have done is like putting Your works on display for others to appreciate.

Even in difficult times

Even when I am going through a difficult time, help me praise You with all my heart and be a witness to others of the saving power of Your grace.

David was going through difficult times. He had individual enemies determined to dethrone him. Then, like today, nations were rising up, determined to annihilate Israel. Then there were the enemies of God Himself and His purposes on the earth, enemies who to this day seem to want to wage war on God and upon those who believe in His Word.

For all You do that I don’t see

I don’t always see Your hand upon mine. At times it gets dark and I just sort of get into a rhythm and do what seems right, feeling the way without seeing what I am doing. When morning comes I am often surprised that Your hand was upon mine all the time and the light of day reveals the wonder of how You led me through the dark of night. 

At other times, I give the garment away or I teach others how to weave and they take their new found skills away, and I do not see the results. I want to praise You for ALL those things that You do in me and in others, even those I don’t see. I want to acknowledge all that You have done whether I see it or not.

Worth sharing

Lord, there appears to be a public aspect of Praise and prayer. A time to put what You have created in us on display, to tell others about who You are and what You do. 1 Peter 2:9 (NLT2) describes who we are as followers of Christ. “… for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can SHOW OTHERS THE GOODNESS OF GOD, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.”    

Let my heartfelt thanks to You always give occasion for sharing with others. When I receive too much praise I become arrogant, but when I praise You I find humility as I recognise who You are, the only One truly deserving of praise.

Thanks for giving me glimpses at what You are weaving into the fabric of my life. No threads are wasted. You use both dark and colourful. You know what you are doing.

Pastor Ross

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Photo by Anabel Litchfield (see http://anabel.com.au/about)

Psalm 5:8-11 – WHAT I LEARNED FROM A RECENT FAMILY CRISIS  

I’ve been reading Psalm 5 and have been trying to understand something of King David’s prayer, not expecting to see an example of it in my family.  

It takes faith to believe that God will grant us victory over everyday difficulties, but it takes greater faith to trust God when we go through suffering and loss. Victory comes, but often in ways we don’t expect. Our family recently reminded me that…. 

  1. WITH GREAT FAITH COMES GREAT SACRIFICE 

I know that God often answers our prayers in the ways we desire, but I know also that He allows that some of His people will suffer.  

David can’t put words to the crisis he faces when he says in Psalm 5:1 (NLT), “O Lord, … pay attention to my groaning…”  

Our daughter, Rachel (River) and Son-in-law, Joel, travelled home from Africa after preaching the gospel to countless crowds, only to discover that Joel’s Mum, Elaine, had collapsed and was now on life support. As they rushed to the hospital, their prayer was that she be restored to full health. I walked and talked with Joel at the hospital and he knew that it would take even greater faith to refine that prayer and make a decision to take her off life support.  

God invites us to have that kind of faith, to trust Him, even when we go through various trials. At first, not everything we might desire is in His purposes for us, but as we align our desires with His purposes, there is victory. 

  1. KEEP MOVING AND TRUSTING

As we spoke to Joel, he said he didn’t want to face his Mum’s funeral. It was all too big. But at the funeral, he spoke about how the Bennett family doesn’t back away from difficult situations.  

He has a path for us to take. We don’t stand still. Psalm 5:8,12 (NLT) invites God’s direction and protection in a crisis.  He finds a way where there is no way. It says “Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Make Your way plain for me to follow …. For You bless the godly, O Lord; You surround them with Your shield of love.”  

King David, but also the Bennett family reminds me that in a crisis, it is not always easy to see the way ahead. Jesus directs us when all around is perilous. He’s there, ahead of us, encouraging us to keep moving and trusting.   

When my heart is following God then it may be difficult, and there are circumstances that may cause me pain, but He gives perspective and it will be plain, simple, straightforward for me to follow the right path. There is heartache but at least there is no confusion when God is leading.  

When I pull away from Him it can become very confusing and difficult and I am defeated. Life gets complicated when I am not in that place of relationship with God, dependent upon His guidance. My only responsibility is to move forward in dependence on His grace, not back away. 

  1. GRIEF IS THE PRICE OF LOVE. 

As members of the family and many of the Church family gathered around Elaine’s bed at the hospital, communion was shared. My Son-in-law and other family members spoke. Joel’s Dad said Elaine breathed her last breath just as the service concluded. The Pastor at the funeral service said that grief is the sacrifice we make when we love someone.  

The well-worn words of Romans 8:28 (NLT) come to mind, “… we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”   

Later, at the funeral, Joel was the last member of the family to speak and he wrapped up all that needed to be said, simply and beautifully. Among other things, he said,  

  1. PRAISE GIVES YOU HOPE IN THE MIDST OF DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES

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Photo by Anabel Litchfield

In the midst of a crisis, David was able to pray, “Because of Your unfailing love, I can enter Your house; I will worship at Your Temple with deepest awe” (Psalm 5:7 NLT).  

The funeral service was amazing. A celebration of life with beautiful praise music and worship. We were proud of Joel, of our daughter Rachel who stood beside him, and of our grandchildren who took part in the service.  

At the end of his tribute, Joel expressed how his Mum would have wanted, above all else, that people come to know Jesus.   

In the light of sadness and loss, I see such strength of character developing. Even in the midst of pain, there is a maturity that emerges.  

  1. THERE ARE STILL OPPORTUNITIES FOR JOY

I am reminded that for the Bennetts, and particularly my grandchildren, as they learn to navigate the paths of victory in the midst of pain, that the words of Romans 5:3-4 (NLT) will accompany them through life… “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”  

Psalm 5:11 (NLT) says “But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread Your protection over them, that all who love Your Name may be filled with joy.”  

I look back at the photos from the funeral, beautiful photos taken by a sensitive friend, Bel Litchfield, and I see Joel and his family singing and praising together.   

Julie and I have always encouraged Joel and our grandchildren to take refuge in God. In doing so, even in the midst of pain, the paradox is that they will find joy and natural praise will overflow.  

  1. LET GOD TAKE THE FORCE OF THE BLOW

 

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Photo by Anabel Litchfield

In some photos I see Joel and Rachel with their arms protectively around their family, shielding them but also helping them to face the challenges of grief.  

Psalm 5:12 (NLT) says “For You bless the godly, O Lord; You surround them with Your shield of love.” 

Once more I am reminded that Christ protects me and there is security and joy in Him. Challenges still come but I am in His hands. When I am dislocated from a relationship with God I am exposed to attack from the circumstances of life.   

When I face the battles of life, I am protected as I take refuge in God. He is my refuge, my shield, and He takes the force of the blows.

Bennetts, Julie and I are so proud of you. We love you. 

Pastor Ross