Sunday 30 November, 2014

Psalm 105

1 Give thanks to the Lord. Worship him. Tell the nations what he has done. 2 Sing to him. Sing praise to him. Tell about all of the wonderful things he has done. 3 Praise him, because his name is holy. Let the hearts of those who trust in the Lord be glad. 4 Look to the Lord and to his strength. Always look to him. 5 Remember the wonderful things he has done. Remember his miracles and how he judged our enemies. 6 Remember what he has done, you children of his servant Abraham. Remember it, you people of Jacob, God’s chosen ones. 7 He is the Lord our God. He judges the whole earth. 8 He will keep his covenant forever. He will keep his promise for all time to come. 9 He will keep the covenant he made with Abraham. He will keep the oath he took when he made his promise to Isaac. 10 He made it stand as a law for Jacob. He made it stand as a covenant for Israel. It will last forever. 11 He said, “I will give you the land of Canaan. It will belong to you.” 12 At first there weren’t very many of God’s people. There were only a few. And they were strangers in the land. 13 They wandered from nation to nation. They wandered from one kingdom to another. 14 But God didn’t allow anyone to beat them down. To keep them safe, he gave a command to kings. 15 He said to them, “Do not touch my anointed ones. Do not harm my prophets.” 16 He made the people in the land go hungry. He destroyed all their food supplies. 17 He sent a man ahead of them into Egypt. That man was Joseph. He had been sold as a slave. 18 The Egyptians put his feet in chains. They put an iron collar around his neck. 19 He was in prison until what he said would happen came true. The word of the Lord proved that he was right. 20 The king of Egypt sent for Joseph and let him out of prison. The ruler of many nations set him free. 21 He put Joseph in charge of his palace. He made him ruler over everything he owned. 22 Joseph was in charge of teaching the princes. He taught the elders how to think and live wisely. 23 Then the rest of Jacob’s family went to Egypt. The people of Israel lived as outsiders in the land of Ham. 24 The Lord gave his people so many children that there were too many of them for their enemies. 25 He made the Egyptians hate his people. The Egyptians made evil plans against them. 26 The Lord sent his servant Moses to the king of Egypt. He sent Aaron, his chosen one, along with him. 27 The Lord gave them the power to do miraculous signs among the Egyptians. They did his wonders in the land of Ham. 28 He sent darkness over the land. He did it because the Egyptians had refused to obey his words. 29 He turned their rivers and streams into blood. He caused the fish in them to die. 30 Their land was covered with frogs. Frogs even went into the bedrooms of the rulers. 31 The Lord spoke, and large numbers of flies came. Gnats filled the whole country. 32 He turned their rain into hail. Lightning flashed all through their land. 33 He destroyed their vines and fig trees. He broke down the trees in Egypt. 34 He spoke, and the locusts came. There were so many of them they couldn’t be counted. 35 They ate up every green thing in the land. They ate up what the land produced. 36 Then he killed the oldest son of every family in Egypt. He struck down the oldest of all of their sons. 37 He brought the people of Israel out of Egypt. The Egyptians loaded them down with silver and gold. From among the tribes of Israel no one got tired or fell down. 38 The Egyptians were glad when the people of Israel left. They were terrified because of Israel. 39 The Lord spread out a cloud to cover his people. He gave them a fire to light up the night. 40 They asked for meat, and he brought them quail. He satisfied them with manna, the bread of heaven. 41 He broke open a rock, and streams of water poured out. They flowed like a river in the desert. 42 He remembered the holy promise he had made to his servant Abraham. 43 His chosen people shouted for joy as he brought them out of Egypt. 44 He gave them the lands of other nations. He let them take over what others had worked for. 45 He did it so they might obey his rules and follow his laws. Praise the Lord.

The Lord, God Almighty, leads His people and works in the midst of this world that his people would learn to trust Him and praise His Name.
This is a Psalm of Praise, written by King David as he recounted the journey of His people, Israel. However, the focus is not so much Israel’s journey, as it is The Lord, the faithful God ever with and for His people.

“Lord God, as I look back over my life, I can chart out the moments of trouble and trial. I also see the moments of great joy. These marks on the journey, both highs and lows, seem to have the same purpose – to direct me closer to you. My life is a journey of knowing you and knowing your love for me. May it also be a story of my returning that deep affection and love. Amen”

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Saturday 29 November, 2014

Psalm 104

1 I will praise the Lord. Lord my God, you are very great. You are dressed in glory and majesty. 2 You wrap yourself in light as if it were a robe. You spread the heavens out like a tent. 3 You build your palace high in the heavens. You make the clouds serve as your chariot. You ride on the wings of the wind. 4 You make the winds serve as your messengers. You make flashes of lightning serve you. 5 You placed the earth on its foundations. It can never be moved. 6 You covered it with the oceans like a blanket. The waters covered the mountains. 7 But you commanded the waters, and they ran away. At the sound of your thunder they rushed off. 8 They flowed down the mountains. They went into the valleys. They went to the place you appointed for them. 9 You drew a line they can’t cross. They will never cover the earth again. 10 You make springs pour water into the valleys. It flows between the mountains. 11 The springs give water to all of the wild animals. The wild donkeys satisfy their thirst. 12 The birds of the air build nests by the waters. They sing among the branches. 13 You water the mountains from your palace high in the clouds. The earth is filled with the things you have made. 14 You make grass grow for the cattle and plants for people to take care of. That’s how they get food from the earth. 15 There is wine to make people glad. There is olive oil to make them healthy. And there is bread to make them strong. 16 The cedar trees of Lebanon belong to the Lord. You planted them and gave them plenty of water. 17 There the birds make their nests. The stork has its home in the pine trees. 18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats. The cliffs are a safe place for the rock badgers. 19 The moon serves to mark off the seasons. The sun knows when to go down. 20 You bring darkness, and it becomes night. Then all the animals of the forest prowl around. 21 The lions roar while they hunt. All of their food comes from God. 22 The sun rises, and they slip away. They return to their dens and lie down. 23 Then a man gets up and goes to work. He keeps working until evening. 24 Lord, you have made so many things! How wise you were when you made all of them! The earth is full of your creatures. 25 Look at the ocean, so big and wide! It is filled with more creatures than people can count. It is filled with living things, from the largest to the smallest. 26 Ships sail back and forth on it. The leviathan, the sea monster you made, plays in it. 27 All of those creatures depend on you to give them their food when they need it. 28 When you give it to them, they eat it. When you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. 29 When you turn your face away from them, they are terrified. When you take away their breath, they die and turn back into dust. 30 When you send your Spirit, you create them. You give new life to the earth. 31 May the glory of the Lord continue forever. May the Lord be happy with what he has made. 32 When he looks at the earth, it trembles. When he touches the mountains, they pour out smoke. 33 I will sing to the Lord all my life. I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. 34 May these thoughts of mine please him. I find my joy in the Lord. 35 But may those who sin be gone from the earth. May evil people disappear. I will praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

Have you ever wondered where the Psalmists are when they write their Psalms?   I picture this psalmist sitting upon his roof top in the cool evening twilight just as the sun has set and the stars begin to come out .. he begins to write this praise psalm to God, he takes in all he sees & hears; clouds, sun, stars, mountains, valleys, fields, animals, labourers going home .. the sea in the distance. A beautiful praise psalm to God for his amazing creativity, how it all works together, not random stand alone creatures but all created and intertwined for purpose & place.   As he meditates and thinks on what he sees, he is overwhelmed with the glory and majesty of God.

The challenge I’ve taken from this psalm is how often do I take time out to just sit, look, listen to God’s creation around me and praise him for it? I live in a different time and place, my scenery is different but God’s creation is still there to be enjoyed, marveled at and seen for the wonder it is.

Thank you Lord that you have given us psalmists that have taken the time to so very beautifully describe your creation, that we can echo their words .. “you are so very great” … and for convicting me to take more time out to do the same as it does bless and restore my soul.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Friday 28 November, 2014

Psalm 103

1 I will praise the Lord. Deep down inside me, I will praise him. I will praise him, because his name is holy. 2 I will praise the Lord. I won’t forget anything he does for me. 3 He forgives all my sins. He heals all my sicknesses. 4 He saves my life from going down into the grave. His faithful and tender love makes me feel like a king. 5 He satisfies me with the good things I long for. Then I feel young and strong again, just like an eagle. 6 The Lord does what is right and fair for all who are beaten down. 7 He told Moses all about his plans. He let the people of Israel see his mighty acts. 8 The Lord is tender and kind. He is gracious. He is slow to get angry. He is full of love. 9 He won’t keep bringing charges against us. He won’t stay angry with us forever. 10 He doesn’t punish us for our sins as much as we should be punished. He doesn’t pay us back in keeping with the evil things we’ve done. 11 His love for those who have respect for him is as high as the heavens are above the earth. 12 He has removed our lawless acts from us as far as the east is from the west. 13 A father is tender and kind to his children. In the same way, the Lord is tender and kind to those who have respect for him. 14 He knows what we are made of. He remembers that we are dust. 15 People’s lives are like grass. People grow like the flowers in the field. 16 When the wind blows on them, they are gone. No one can tell that they had ever been there. 17 But the Lord’s love for those who have respect for him lasts for ever and ever. Their children’s children will know that he always does what is right. 18 He always loves those who keep his covenant. He always does what is right for those who remember to obey his commands. 19 The Lord has set up his throne in heaven. His kingdom rules over all. 20 Praise the Lord, you angels of his. Praise him, you mighty ones who carry out his orders and obey his word. 21 Praise the Lord, all you angels in heaven. Praise him, all you who serve him and do what he wants. 22 Let everything the Lord has made praise him everywhere in his kingdom. I will praise the Lord.

It is all there! Everything about God and about himself is expressed from the depth of David’s heart; he leaves nothing to our imagination. If we fail to recognise the incredible nature of our God expressed in this Psalm, then we miss the essence of David’s relationship with the LORD –

Let’s allow the Psalm to speak for itself! – In this Psalm, David reaches a high level of adoration for God. In his praise he encourages us to remember all of God’s benefits: –

  • He forgives all our sins
  • He heals all our diseases
  • He redeems us from hell itself
  • He crowns us with love and mercy
  • He satisfies our desires with good things
  • He renews [“supercharges’ from the Passion Translation TPT] our youth so that we can soar like eagles.

What a magnificent God! These benefits express what He does, and then David writes of who He is

  1. God is compassionate
  2. God is gracious
  3. God is slow to anger
  4. God is rich in love [the Message] TPT translates, His love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness
  5. God is our Father full of compassion, the kind of fatherly compassion which is a mere sample of His tender feelings towards those who love Him.
  6. God is the King of a supreme everlasting Kingdom
  7. God’s love is so incredible, so compassionate. He knows all about us, yet His love is absolutely unconditional.

Our Prayer: From the depth of our hearts we praise You for all the benefits You so generously apply in our lives. Our hearts fill with worship as we experience the wonder of who You are for us.

Written by Keith Bennett

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Thursday 27 November, 2014

Psalm 102

1 Lord, hear my prayer. Listen to my cry for help. 2 Don’t turn your face away from me when I’m in trouble. Pay attention to me. When I call out for help, answer me quickly. 3 My days are disappearing like smoke. My body burns like glowing coals. 4 My strength has dried up like grass. I even forget to eat my food. 5 I groan out loud because of my suffering. I’m nothing but skin and bones. 6 I’m like a desert owl. I’m like an owl among destroyed buildings. 7 I can’t sleep. I’ve become like a bird alone on a roof. 8 All day long my enemies laugh at me. Those who make fun of me use my name as a curse. 9 I eat ashes as my food. My tears fall into what I’m drinking. 10 You were very angry with me. So you picked me up and threw me away. 11 The days of my life are like an evening shadow. I dry up like grass. 12 But Lord, you are seated on your throne forever. Your fame will continue for all time to come. 13 You will rise up and show deep concern for Zion. The time has come for you to show favor to it. 14 The stones of your destroyed city are priceless to us. Even its dust brings deep concern to us. 15 The nations will worship the Lord. All of the kings on earth will respect his glorious power. 16 The Lord will build Zion again. He will appear in his glory. 17 He will answer the prayer of those who don’t have anything. He won’t say no to their cry for help. 18 Let this be written down for those born after us. Then people who are not yet born can praise the Lord. 19 Here is what should be written. “The Lord looked down from his temple in heaven. From heaven he viewed the earth. 20 He heard the groans of the prisoners. He set free those who were sentenced to death.” 21 So people will talk about him in Zion. They will praise him in Jerusalem. 22 Nations and kingdoms will gather there to worship the Lord. 23 When I was still young, he took away my strength. He wasn’t going to let me live much longer. 24 So I said, “My God, don’t let me die in the middle of my life. You will live for all time to come. 25 In the beginning you made the earth secure. You placed it on its foundations. Your hands created the heavens. 26 They will pass away. But you will remain. They will all wear out like a piece of clothing. You will make them like clothes that are taken off and thrown away. 27 But you remain the same. Your years will never end. 28 Our children will live with you. Their sons and daughters will be safe in your care.”

This Psalm is a cry from a broken person.  Starting with the desperate plea that God would hear they’re cry they describe how much they are suffering.  They describe a sickness of some description and also a mental condition that is greatly distressed. Yet even in this despair there is a great confidence, a great affirmation of God!  Even to the extent that this should be written for future generations, as a testimony of the Lord.

The direct challenge for me from this Psalm is what happens when I get upset, despairing, sick and infirm.  Does my proclamation of the Lord change based on my mood?  God has not changed, I have, and I need to align my heart and head to the Lord not allowing myself to be caught up in my mood as if somehow I am the centre of the universe of existence itself.  Focusing on God reminds me that He is Lord and my mood is passing.

Father give me strength in every situation to focus on You, even when despairing!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Wednesday 26 November, 2014

Psalm 101

1 I will sing about your love and fairness. Lord, I will sing praise to you. 2 I will be careful to lead a life that is without blame. When will you come and help me? I will lead a life that is without blame in my house. 3 I won’t look at anything that is evil. I hate the acts of people who aren’t faithful to you. I don’t even want people like that around me. 4 I will stay away from those whose hearts are twisted. I don’t want to have anything to do with evil. 5 I will get rid of anyone who tells lies about his neighbor in secret. I won’t put up with anyone whose eyes and heart are proud. 6 I will look with favor on the faithful people in the land. They will live with me. Those whose lives are without blame will serve me. 7 No one who lies and cheats will live in my house. No one who tells lies will serve me. 8 Every morning I will get rid of all the sinful people in the land. I will remove from the city of the Lord everyone who does what is evil.

I can understand why God has called David a man after His own heart. I see a man here in this Psalm longing to walk in integrity, purity, honesty, truthfulness, entertaining nothing in his heart or house that is evil.

I have no idea at what stage in David’s life he penned this but it is an honest cry of his heart as it has been mine over the years too, though sadly there have been times when my actions, like David’s, have not always been an echo of these words.

Lord, there seems to be so much now that bombards and seeks to gain our approval or participation in actions or things that are clearly evil. Lord, I am thankful for your Holy Spirit so that I don’t have to live this by myself and to remind me that when I fall, I can come to you in a moment, through Jesus, and seek forgiveness & the opportunity to once again “walk with integrity of heart” after You.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Tuesday 25 November, 2014

Psalm 100

1 Shout to the Lord with joy, everyone on earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness. Come to him with songs of joy. 3 I want you to realize that the Lord is God. He made us, and we belong to him. We are his people. We are the sheep belonging to his flock. 4 Give thanks as you enter the gates of his temple. Give praise as you enter its courtyards. Give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 The Lord is good. His faithful love continues forever. It will last for all time to come.

The psalmist encourages us to worship God with great enthusiasm and energy. We are reminded that the Lord is God. We belong to God and he cares for us. It also gives some tips on how to approach God ie. thanksgiving and praise. The psalm finishes with three amazing truths: God is good, his love never fails and his faithfulness continues to all generations.

If ever you are facing challenges or feeling down or out of sorts this is the Psalm to read! It’s short but packed with truths that help change your perspective and therefore your life. There is nothing half hearted about this psalm and it’s instructions are really clear. We are encouraged to come before God, to shout, sing, praise and thank the Lord. We are also to acknowledge that the Lord is God. There are no exemptions! No matter what life throws at you this psalm reminds us how we are to approach God.

What I also like about this psalm is that if you can’t think of anything to be thankful or grateful about vs 5 gives you something to start off with: God is good, his love endures forever and he is faithful to each generation. This psalm helps us refocus by magnifying God, not the difficulties life throws at us.
Dear Lord, thank you for your word. Help us to always be grateful and praise you when we come before you in prayer. Amen

Written by Ainslie Woods

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  1. David Newton says:

    After thinking about v5 I have realized what we ‘do’ is temporal but what we are is ‘eternal’. That is why the the psalmist can say with confidence that “His love endures forever ” because His nature is love and faithfulness. (1 John 4:8)

    Thanks for that Ainslie

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Monday 24 November, 2014

Psalm 99

1 The Lord rules. Let the nations tremble. He sits on his throne between the cherubim. Let the earth shake. 2 Great is the Lord in Zion. He is honored over all of the nations. 3 Let them praise his great and wonderful name. He is holy. 4 The King is mighty. He loves what is fair. He has set up the rules for fairness. He has done what is right and fair for the people of Jacob. 5 Honor the Lord our God. Worship at his feet. He is holy. 6 Moses and Aaron were two of his priests. Samuel was one of those who worshiped him. They called out to the Lord. And he answered them. 7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud. They obeyed his laws and the orders he gave them. 8 Lord our God, you answered them. You showed Israel that you are a God who forgives. But when they did wrong, you punished them. 9 Honor the Lord our God. Worship at his holy mountain. The Lord our God is holy.

This beautiful Psalm reminds us of a few things – that God is the ruler over many nations, that He is full of power, that He acts with justice and fairness, that He spoke to His people and that He organized a way for His people to be in touch with Him (through the priests). Our God is worthy of praise!! Isn’t it wonderful that He speaks to us to guide us how to live life well. That He helps those who cry out for help.

Lord thanks that You are who You say You are. Thanks that You have acted in line with that character in all Your interactions with us – now and through history. Please Lord help us to learn more about Your character and to remember and trust that picture.

Written by Therese Manning

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Sunday 23 November, 2014

Psalm 98

1 Sing a new song to the Lord. He has done wonderful things. By the power of his right hand and his holy arm he has saved his people. 2 The Lord has made known his power to save. He has shown the nations that he does what is right. 3 He has shown his faithful love to the people of Israel. People from one end of the earth to the other have seen that our God has saved us. 4 Shout to the Lord with joy, everyone on earth. Burst into joyful songs and make music. 5 Make music to the Lord with the harp. Sing and make music with the harp. 6 Blow the trumpets. Give a blast on the ram’s horn. Shout to the Lord with joy. He is the King. 7 Let the ocean and everything in it roar. Let the world and all who live in it shout. 8 Let the rivers clap their hands. Let the mountains sing together with joy. 9 Let them sing to the Lord, because he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the nations of the world in keeping with what is right and fair.

I love the way that this psalm engages all the senses! Our imaginations can be triggered in so many ways and it is such a joy for me when I am able to worship freely and mediate on God, not by emptying my mind or by finding silence amidst all the noise, but because all of the senses were made by Him and my ability to be able to imagine and be stimulated through all my senses was His design.

Lord, Thank you that you know me intimately because you made me, thankyou that you know what is best for me because you know everything, thankyou that you are so creative because you are the original creator. May I always continue to be able to noisily meditate on you!

Written by Ps. Justin Ware

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Saturday 22 November, 2014

Psalm 97

1 The Lord rules. Let the earth be glad. Let countries that are far away be full of joy. 2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him. His rule is built on what is right and fair. 3 The Lord sends fire ahead of him. It burns up his enemies all around him. 4 His lightning lights up the world. The earth sees it and trembles. 5 The mountains melt like wax when the Lord is near. He is the Lord of the whole earth. 6 The heavens announce that what he does is right. All people everywhere see his glory. 7 All who worship statues of gods or brag about them are put to shame. All you gods, worship the Lord! 8 Zion hears about it and is filled with joy. Lord, the villages of Judah are glad because of how you judge. 9 Lord, you are the Most High God. You rule over the whole earth. You are honored much more than all gods. 10 Let those who love the Lord hate evil. He guards the lives of those who are faithful to him. He saves them from the power of sinful people. 11 The light of his favor shines on those who do what is right. Joy comes to those whose hearts are honest. 12 You who are godly, be glad because of what the Lord has done. Praise him, because his name is holy.

Fires burning up all God’s foes (v3) is not a popular idea these days. But simply tolerating evil is incompatible with the righteousness and justice that are the foundation of his throne (v2). If God does not destroy evil and sin and rebellion we would all spend eternity amongst unrighteousness and injustice.

I suspect that today we are more comfortable with forgiveness than righteousness and justice. But it’s not one or the other for God: Jesus had to die so that justice could be satisfied, and righteousness could be exchanged for sinfulness and God could forgive us.

I need to rejoice in God’s justice (v8) and hate evil (v10). Justice and righteousness need to be as important to me as they are to God. And they are wonderful, and sorely in need of people who will fight for them.

And my heart needs to be like God’s towards those who still hang onto sin and evil: to love them more than life itself.

I need to recognise too that people who continue to refuse what Jesus did, who hold onto their evil and rebellion, are in a terribly dangerous place. If they don’t take hold of Jesus in place of their opposition to God, they will be destroyed – completely and unstoppably (v4-5).

Father, I do praise you because your name is holy. And I do rejoice in your justice and the blessing it is to me. And adore you for your love for me that you sacrificed your Son to save me from the destruction I deserve. Give me the courage and wisdom to fight for justice, and the compassion to warn those who are in danger because they oppose you.

Written by David Cornell

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Friday 21 November, 2014

Psalm 96

1 Sing a new song to the Lord. All you people of the earth, sing to the Lord. 2 Sing to the Lord. Praise him. Day after day tell about how he saves us. 3 Tell the nations about his glory. Tell all people about the wonderful things he has done. 4 The Lord is great. He is really worthy of praise. People should have respect for him as the greatest God of all. 5 All of the gods of the nations are like their statues. They can’t do anything. But the Lord made the heavens. 6 Glory and majesty are all around him. Strength and glory can be seen in his temple. 7 Praise the Lord, all you nations. Praise the Lord for his glory and strength. 8 Praise the Lord for the glory that belongs to him. Bring an offering and come into the courtyards of his temple. 9 Worship the Lord because of his beauty and holiness. All you people of the earth, tremble when you are with him. 10 Say to the nations, “The Lord rules.” The world is firmly set in place. It can’t be moved. The Lord will judge the people of the world fairly. 11 Let the heavens be full of joy. Let the earth be glad. Let the ocean and everything in it roar. 12 Let the fields and everything in them be glad. Then all of the trees in the forest will sing with joy. 13 They will sing to the Lord, because he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the people of the world in keeping with what is right and true.

With the season changing to spring there are an unimaginable number of noisy birds that love to sing their heads off outside my bedroom window as the sun comes up. It’s as if they feel it is their job to tell the world that the night is over and the day is here. They rob me of sleep as it is impossible to drown out their singing with my pillow or my quilt! They demand my attention. That’s the picture I have when I read the beginning of this Psalm. The psalmist exhorts us to sing, sing, sing, sing – to tell, to declare, to call out, to praise our great God. Imagine if the people of God (that includes me too!) couldn’t stop singing, telling, calling out, praising and declaring who God is and what He has done? Would we wake anybody up – would they realise that something good has happened – better than just the sun rising another day – the King of Glory is alive and well and at work in the world – bring hope and restoring joy, setting the captives free and putting a new song in our hearts. That would be amazing.

Lord I want to sing out your goodness – I want to announce daily who you are and what you have done and what you are doing? May it be music to your ears and a wake up call to those who do not know you yet!

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

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