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VIDEO You Lift Me Up!

Posted on  by Joe Rodriguez

Do you have a bucket list? I do. Of course, it includes visiting what I consider to be some of the most awe-inspiring lighthouses in the world, but it also includes riding on a hot air balloon! Hot air ballooning is a worldwide fun and memorable activity for the entire family. There are over 20 locations in my home state of New Jersey alone. Now, if I could only get to ride a balloon like the one pictured above, that would just be SUPER cool and a dream come true!

Would you believe it if I told you that this lighthouse balloon actually flew in 2019 from none other than Readington, New Jersey? And, would you believe, I missed it?! The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank flew this 115 feet tall (11 stories high) hot air balloon during that year’s festival. I am hoping that they bring it back again sometime in the near future. If they do, you know I will be riding it for sure and scratching it off my bucket list!

This majestic lighter-than-air aircraft rising high above the ground reminds me of that famous inspirational song titled, You Raise Me Up.

Although there is no verifiable information that proves that this song was intended to be a hymn or that it was inspired by the Christian faith (lyrics by Brendan Graham), it’s truly amazing how most of its lyrics are reminiscent of some Bible verses. Coincidence? Maybe, and perhaps that is why it still resonates with those who consider the Almighty as the source of their strength, the lifter of their soul.

“But thou, O Lord art my protector, my glory, and the lifter up of my head.”

Psalm 3:3

Consider the parallels I found between the song and portions of Scripture.

When I am down, and oh my soul is weary
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” – Psalm 119:28

When troubles come and my heart burdened be
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” -Psalms 73:26

Then I am still and wait here in the silence
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” -Psalm 62:5

Until you come, and sit awhile with me
“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.” -Psalm 145:18

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” -Psalm 40:2
“So that He sets on high those who are lowly, And those who are saddned are lifted to safety.” -Job 5:11

You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
“When you pass through the waters, I [The LORD] will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…” –Isaiah 43:2

I am strong when I am on your shoulders
“… I [The LORD] have made you, and I will carry you; I will sustain you and deliver you.” -Isaiah 46:4b

There is no life, no life without its hunger
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” -Matthew 5:6 

Each restless heart beats so imperfectly
“Why are you in despair, my soul? And why are you restless within me?” -Psalm 42:11a

But when you come and I am filled with wonder – Sometimes I think I glimpse eternity
“The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ” -Psalm 65:8

In a sin-stricken world where godlessness and evil are ever-increasing, songs like this one testify to the hope that can still be found among its inhabitants. Family members, friends, and even people we have never met have and perhaps continue to play a significant part in encouraging, guiding, and helping us rise above our challenges. However, there is only One who gave His life so that all who accept Him as Lord and Savior could rise up to become all that He made them to be. And not only to rise up in this world but also unto the world to come; The eternal hope of glory!

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall be forever with the Lord.”

1 Thessalonians 4;16-17

And as we rise above our fears and doubts in this life, let us not forget that as lighthouses for God we also need to rise up and shine the glorious light of His salvation; wherever this earthly pilgrimage takes us. Remember it’s not just about us being lifted up, but also about us lifting others up with love, kindness, respect, and above all, the words that grant eternal life and healing for the soul.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!

Isaiah 52:7

If we put God first and seek His kingdom and righteousness, we can fulfill our purpose in life and experience both earthly and spiritual success, joy, hope, and peace in the midst of all the chaos around us. That’s because only in Christ there is fullness of life. So, whether you are in the lowest of valleys or on the highest of mountaintops, look up and cry out to God. Seek more of Him and get ready to be lifted up higher than you have ever been!

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Matthew 6:33 NLT

“… I [Jesus] came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”


John 10:10

Prayer: Heavenly Father,
Thank you for all the people you have placed in my life to lift me up when I am down. But you, O, Lord, are the true lifter of my soul. When I need a shoulder and no one is readily available, you are always there. When I face challenges, you help me overcome. When I face obstacles, you help me climb. When I face 
discouragement, you give me hope. When I am weak, you give me strength. When I am heartbroken, you heal me and fill me with joy. When I am anxious, you grant me true peace. Lord, you are the only One who can raise me up from the lowest place.  And because You are the Sovereign and Almighty God who is above all creation, I will lift up my head and trust in you no matter what I face in life. Raise me up so that I can also be a lifter to others and guide them to your throne of unconditional love, mercy and grace. Amen!

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You Lift Me Up!

He Gives Power to the Weak

 by ZAMA-ZOE GRACE

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:28-30

Mounting up with wings as eagles

Greetings! Friends, How are you this day? Are you feeling tired and weary? I know the answer for many is a “No” because they have just witnessed God breaking through for them as they were passing through the storms of life. However, some feel tired and weary because the journey has been challenging for them. They don’t think they have any power in them to continue to fight and push through till the end. 

Well, I am here this day to encourage you and tell you once again that you are not alone in this battle; God is with you and for you. As I was meditating last night, I felt weary and exhausted, and I kept asking God the same question, when will the end of these trials comes to an end. For a moment, I felt that I don’t have the power to go on and finish this race. As I was entertaining this thought, the Holy Spirit started ministering back to me and reminded me of Isaiah, chapter 40, from verses 28 to 31. 

This chapter begins with proclaiming comfort for the people as quoted in the scripture below: 

Our God says to you:

    “Comfort, comfort my people with gentle, compassionate words.

 Speak tenderly from the heart to revive those in Jerusalem, and proclaim that their warfare is over.

Yes, the warfare has ended, even though it seems hard, but God is proclaiming this day that the fight has ended. In this chapter, God reveals Himself as our Shephard, who has gone ahead of us and has made every crooked path straight, every mountain and hill low, and every valley leveled. He has cleared the way ahead of us, and not only that, He has promised to give power to the weak and increase strength to the weary. 

However, there is a part we need to play for us to continue to finish this race. We have to wait patiently in the Lord, in His presence through prayer, praise and worship, tithing and giving offerings, serving in the house of God, and so on. There is a promise that God gives to those who are weary and, tired yet, continue to wait silently and patiently in His presence.

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired. Isaiah 40: 31 AMP

According to the above mentioned scripture, God will renew our strength and power as long as we continue to wait in His presence. We will receive new strength like never before, and we will mount up with wing as eagles and soar very high, we will run and not become weary, we will walk and not be faint. 

I got very excited and felt energized after meditating on this verse, I felt revival entering my soul, and I was overflowing with joy to continue and finish this race. May I encourage you this day to meditate on this chapter and allow God to fill you up afresh with His strength and power so you can mount up with wings like an eagle and start soaring high once again and run your race like never Before!

There is the power that comes with meditating on the word of God as we learn in Hebrews chapter 4, verse 12

For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. AMP

May I also end this post with this quote from Nehemiah Chapter 8 verse 10.

Then Ezra said to them, “Go [your way], eat the rich festival food, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be worried, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and your stronghold.

NEHEMIAH 8:10 AMP

I hope you found encouragement and inspiration to continue to wait in the presence of God. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read—many blessings to you. God loves you, and He is with you and for you.

The Church I Get to Enjoy

By Darryl Dash -November 13, 2020

enjoy

The Church I Get to Enjoy

One of my pastoral heroes taught me this: celebrate the church you’re privileged to pastor. Stand up on Sunday and communicate, genuinely, that it is the privilege of your life to be their pastor. Tell them that you’ve been waiting all week, and you can’t believe that you get to be with them.

A pastor who believes this can’t help but love that congregation. That love will probably be enough to transform that church, at least a little.

It’s true, too: every pastor is privileged to be entrusted with that charge. Paul’s words are true for all of us: “ I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service” (1 Timothy 1:12), even though he had every reason to pass us over. Pastoring is a privilege we don’t deserve.

Enjoy Your Imperfect Church Now

We miss out on enjoying the church we get to enjoy because we long for more. As Ecclesiastes reminds us, we spend a lot of energy striving for more. Sometimes we even get it, only to discover that what we’ve grasped is like a vapor.

The alternative:

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart. (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20)

The Preacher reminds us: enjoy God’s gifts now. Don’t wait until you get a better church. Find enjoyment in your work as a pastor right now, in your present circumstances. Accept your lot, and rejoice in the work he’s given you. Don’t wait until COVID is gone or your church improves. Enjoy your church now.

Life is hard and short, the Preacher says, but God can still keep you occupied with joy. Don’t let the imperfections of your church, or the hard things you experience, rob you of the privilege of enjoying the people God has given you to love. Look for the good and celebrate it. Don’t forget to enjoy what God has given you.

Let Them Know It

Paul sets a high bar of gratitude. He keeps telling churches how thankful he is for them. “I give thanks to my God always for you” (1 Corinthians 1:4). “I do not cease to give thanks for you” (Ephesians 1:16). “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” (Philippians 1:3). “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you” (Colossians 1:3). “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right” (2 Thessalonians 1:3).

Something happens when a church knows that its pastor loves them and is thankful for them. You can’t fake it. But when it’s real and communicated, the culture of the church starts to change.

I used to think that critiquing would help my church. Find what’s wrong, and let them know about it. I’ve learned that the best thing a pastor can do is to realistically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the church, and then major in loving that church and letting them know what a privilege it is to pastor them. Work on the weaknesses when appropriate, but always in the context of love.

We’re in a tough season. Many of us are weary. Some of us want to give up. Don’t miss out on the blessings that God is giving us even in this tough season. Gratitude in the middle of hardship, even for imperfect churches, may be exactly what we need. What a privilege we have to love and shepherd people who matter so much to our Lord.

This article originally appeared here.

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