“I was standing today in the dark toolshed. The sun was shining outside and through the crack at the top of the door there came a sunbeam. From where I stood that beam of light, with the specks of dust floating in it, was the most striking thing in the place. Everything else was almost pitch-black. I was seeing the beam, not seeing things by it. Then I moved so that the beam fell on my eyes. Instantly the whole previous picture vanished. I saw no toolshed, and (above all) no beam. Instead I saw, framed in the irregular cranny at the top of the door, green leaves moving on the branches of a tree outside and beyond that, 90 odd million miles away, the sun. Looking along the beam, and looking at the beam are very different experiences.” —C.S. Lewis
“So we can say that when we ‘look along’ the heavens and not just ‘at’ the heavens, they succeed in their aim of ‘declaring the glory of God.’ That is, we see the glory of God, not just the glory of the heavens. We don’t just stand outside and analyze the natural world as a beam, but we let the beam fall on the eyes of our heart, so that we see the source of the beauty—the original Beauty, God Himself. This is the essential key to unlocking the proper use of the physical world of sensation for spiritual purposes. All of God’s creation becomes a beam to be ‘looked along’ or a sound to be ‘heard along’ or a fragrance to be ‘smelled along’ or a flavor to be ‘tasted along’ or a touch to be ‘felt along.” —John Piper
There is something special about turning God’s Word into a prayer to our Heavenly Father, and Max Lucado shows us how in his book Praying The Promises. You can check out my full book review by clicking here.
“We do not need more opinions or hunches; we need the definitive declarations of our mighty and loving God. He governs the world according to these great and precious promises. Let’s be who we were made to be: People of the Promise. Let’s keep these promises handy. Praise Him out loud. Fill our lungs with air and hearts with hope and declare our belief in God’s goodness.”
“Everything in creation gives evidence of God’s existence. The intricacy of snowflakes, the roar of a thunderstorm, the precision of a honeybee, the bubbling of a cool mountain stream. These miracles and a million more give testimony to the existence of a brilliant, wise, and tireless God (Psalm 19:1-4). Everything shows evidence of a purposeful design. The facts lead to a wonderful conclusion. God is…and God is knowable. … We can know more than simple facts about our Creator; we can know His heart, His joy, His passion, His plan, and His sorrows. … The mark of a saint is that he or she is growing in the knowledge of God.”
“As we fellowship with God, read His Word, obey His commands, and seek to understand and reflect His character, something wonderful emerges. Or, better stated, Someone wonderful emerges. God comes out of us. We say things God would say. We do things God would do.”
“When we pray, we engage the power of God against the devil. When we worship, we do what satan himself did not do: we place God on the throne. When we pick up the sword of Scripture, we do what Jesus did in the wilderness. He responded to satan by proclaiming truth (Matthew 4:1-11).… satan will not linger long where God is praised and prayers are offered.”
“We don’t need a large army. We don’t need abundant resources. God’s presence tilts the scales in our favor.”
“If you have taken on the name of Christ, you have clout with the most powerful Being in the universe. When you speak, God listens. … Your prayers matter to God because you matter to God.”
“When nothing quenches your deepest thirsts, when droughts turn your fields into deserts and retirements into pocket change, what can you do? Evaluate your priorities: Is God’s big thing my big thing?”
“Guilt simmers like a toxin in far too many souls, but you don’t need to let it have a place in yours. Internalize this promise: ‘There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1). Not ‘limited condemnation,’ ‘appropriate condemnation,’ or ‘calculated condemnation.’ That is what people give people. God gives His children no condemnation.”
“The greatest news in the world is not that God made the world but that God loves the world. He loves you. You did not earn this love. And His love for you will not fade if you lose your way. His love for you will not diminish if your discipline does. You have never lived one unloved day. God loves you, and because He does, you can be assured joy will come.”
“I will fix my eyes on things above. Because I know that this world is not my home, I will keep eternity in sight.”
These are quotes from the section of Praying The Promises called “unshakable hope.” Stay tuned because I will be sharing soon some of the model prayers Max gave us in this helpful book.
“I’m not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.” —Albert Einstein
The sea saw it and fled; Jordan turned back, the mountains skipped like rams … rocks turned into a pool of water… (Psalm 114:3, 4, 8).
Or a river to stop flowing? Or mountains and hills to quake in fear?
What could turn flint rocks into puddles?
Waters and mountains and rocks cannot think or feel or appreciate majesty and beauty—but they can and do recognize their majestic Creator and bow in His presence.
How much more so we who can think and feel and appreciate—how much more so should we bow before our Majesty, the Creator of all!
Jesus may have had this Psalm 114 in mind when He said that rocks would cry out in praise if we humans did not [Luke 19:37-40]. I, for one, am not going to let rocks or waters praise on my behalf!
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! (Psalm 96:1).
God is so great—His worth is infinite—that He deserves a new song every time we sing to Him. There is no need to copy or duplicate something done before, but we should continually find new ways to praise Him.
Look at the angels encircling God’s throne. They continually sing out, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” as they perceive new dimensions of God’s grace, love, faithfulness, beauty, and majesty.
“Oh! Did you see that? Holy!”
“Look at that! Amazing!”
“Wow, I just saw something else breathtaking” Worthy!”
Our praise of God should follow that example: “Holy! Holy! Holy!” This is what Psalm 96 tells us…
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers… (Psalm 8:3).
David starts and ends this psalm with the same phrase: O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! In the middle, David marvels at the diversity and beauty of God’s creation. David observes…
David takes nothing for granted. He observes, he sees God, and then he worships God as Creator. David’s constant cycle is—observation and contemplation which leads to adoration.
Don’t ever stop observing; don’t ever stop learning. Become a lifelong learner, and let your contemplation lead you to adoration of our excellent Lord and Creator!
This is Part 18 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts on this topic by clicking here.