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This morning Lord I seek purpose. My heart is heavy. This world continues to frustrate me. Help me Lord to seek you, to sing you praises in the midst of my sorrow and hurt. Help me to remember Jesus knows our pain, felt our pain when he walked the earth. Help us to remember we are your creation. Praise God that you consider us family, your child given an eternal inheritance.

“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, NIV).”

© 2019 CGThelen

We are your fine artwork dear God. You shaped us with your very hands. We close our eyes and feel your touch upon our face, shaping the lines of our face; our cheekbones, eyes, ears and mouth; our entire body is your handiwork. Like a weaver, you carefully craft a fine tapestry of hair on our head. You have carefully crafted us with intent and purpose. We praise you God that we are your workmanship, your handiwork, your valuable piece of art. Praise God that you have carefully placed us here at this moment in time. May the voice you gave us sing your praises.

“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” – Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

As the sun rises this morning I think of how you dear Lord have ordered everything on this earth. From the atom to the universe there is order in your creation. I praise you for the beauty of your creation; the vibrant colors, the smells and the feeling of sand between our toes. All the earth sings of your praises.

I think of the day when sun and moon will be no more and your glory will fill the day. Darkness will no longer be present. Your very presence will envelope us. We will see what we know by faith. May your Spirit dear God fill us this day. We praise you Lord for your creation, for creating us, for giving us the path to eternal life through your son Jesus. All praise to you our living and gracious God.

The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. – Isaiah 60:19-20 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

The world is full of knowledge. Megabytes, gigabytes and terabytes of information fill thousands of computer servers across the globe. In the midst of this overwhelming knowledge, I praise you God that you have given us knowledge of yourself. You dear Lord have given us a mind so we can know you and to speak praises to you — the ability to sing a joyful song to you. Praise God that you have given us the capability to learn more about you, to hear you, to know you. Awaken our souls and fill us with the knowledge of you dear God. All praise to to you. You are deserving of all praise.

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. – Isaiah 50:4 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

This morning dear Lord we need new words to replace the tired old refrains that voice our worries. Let us meditate on your truths and fill our souls with your joy. Help us to step out this day in confidence that you are with us every step of the way. Protect us from distractions that seek to detour us from your path. May we sing your praises:

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”

– Psalm 96:1-3, NIV

© 2019 CGThelen

The world rages on. Disputes arise, kindling flames. Yet in this moment, in your sanctuary I hear only silence. “Peace be with you,” Jesus tells me.

I am unsettled, anxious about this day. I thirst for calm waters. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you,” Jesus reminds me.

I feel surrounded by those hostile to you God. They clasp their ears so they cannot hear your truth. I am discouraged, tired; my efforts seem futile. “Peace be with you,” Jesus repeats.

Praise God for his calming voice. Praise God for his peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding. Praise God for his reassurance, that we can call him Father. Praise God for his grace, his loving touch that calms and soothes. Praise God that we can approach him with our fears and worries, that he listens. Praise God that he patiently guides us on his path and purpose. All praise to God who is our rock, our fortress, our constant in a world of shifting sand.

Peace scripture: Luke 24:36, John 14:27 & John 20:26 (NIV).

© 2019 CGThelen

You can’t change the past, but you can influence the future. Be in this moment, don’t linger in what is gone, but learn from it. Don’t miss what is in front of you this minute worrying about a future yet to come. This moment, this very minute close your eyes and rest in the presence of God. As you breath in, feel the Spirit of God giving you breath, giving you life. Rest in Him. Give him praise this morning. Enter his presence with gratitude for his son Jesus. Praise Him that we are forgiven. We are free from sin and death. Eternal life is ours in Christ Jesus. All praise to God who created us, who shaped us for a purpose. This moment we praise you dear God. You are worthy of our praise.

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:7, NIV).”

© 2019 CGThelen

I remember as a kid I used to genuflect in the aisle before sitting in a pew after I first entered the church. It was something my parents instructed me to do so I didn’t question it. Only when I was older did I ask my parents why we genuflected before we sat down. Their response was that we did it out of respect for the altar. At the time their answer satisfied my young mind.

It wasn’t until many years later, as an adult, that I learned the symbolism of genuflecting as you enter church to worship God. The downward movement to one knee and bowing your head while genuflecting represents dying to self, while the returning upward movement to your feet represents rising in Christ. Learning the purpose of genuflecting changed the whole meaning of the tradition for me. It became a beautiful reminder to prepare for worship by dying to self and focusing on new life in Christ; an act of praise to God for what Jesus did for us.

My experience genuflecting as a kid made me wonder how many other church traditions we practice without really understanding their purpose. Do we just go through the motions because that’s what we do every Sunday or are there things we do just to appease human preferences? In Isaiah 29:13 the prophet Isaiah warns Israel, “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.’”

This verse convicted me to be more intentional in understanding the reason for church traditions and how they bring glory to God. Equally important is that we take time to explain the purpose behind our traditions to those who are new to the church. Just as we grow in our faith in Christ Jesus, may we also grow in how we worship our Lord and Savior. May our time of worship continue to point us toward new life in Jesus Christ, giving honor, praise and thanksgiving to God.

Darkness covers the land, but in the east light emerges. Soon brilliant hues of orange and red light up the sky. The darkness gives way to the light. Soon all that was hidden by the night is illuminated by the morning sun.

Praise God that he has given his son Jesus to us to dispel the darkness. Thank you God that your light reveals what was once hidden, that you reveal our sin and provide a way to redemption. Praise God that you gave us your Spirit to help us discern good from evil, to help us see the path you have given us to follow.

Thank you God that you have provided a community who follow Christ Jesus, a community to help one another grow in our faith in you. Praise God for your grace and love, that we can be called children of God.

“Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” – 2 Samuel 7:18

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” – Romans 8:14

© 2019 CGThelen

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” – Jeremiah 29:11-12

Lord Jesus at times I feel like I am in exile in a foreign land. Yet you oh Lord know the plans for my life. You know me intimately. Help me, dear Lord, to listen to you, to call out to you for direction. May I rely on your wisdom and the wisdom of the faithful you place in my life, not the counsel of worldly wisdom. Lord fill me with your strength. May your Spirit fill me to overflowing; fill me with a desire to serve you where you send me. May your desires be my desires. May my hope be in your future. All praise to you Lord Jesus for your obedience, for what you did for us. All praise to God who we humbly serve.

© 2019 CGThelen

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