Worthy of Praise

 New Hampshire Mountain and River Square New Hampshire Mountain Panorama New Hampshire Rock and Train Tracks

It’s just breathtaking.

Currently, I’m wearing away the keys of my laptop from a cute little motel in the middle of the gorgeous mountains of New Hampshire.

(Maybe I should be saying ‘last night’ not ‘right now,’ for I’m not writing at 6am. Anyway, just think of this in terms of Monday.)

I’m sitting on my bed with my computer, filtering through all the lovely memories of the day.

Here I am, driving in and out of the mountains. To every side, I see the splendor of cloud-covered mountains. The wind blows through my hair, and I simply breathe in the mountain air. The mountains are solid rock combined with greenery; too high and deep and wide for me to fathom. The breathtaking view is just too much. Peace mixed with awe; serenity mixed with wonder.

And that’s not all.

To all sides of the roads, rushing waters flow for miles. Over rocks and sand, under bridges and through streams, rushing rivers run. The water is clear and crisp. The most beautiful flowing water I’ve seen in such a long time. It winds through the mountains and steals the air from my lungs.

It’s stunning. Lovely. Gorgeous. Dazzling. Brilliant. Resplendent. Awe-striking. I have no words.

Besides this amazingness I witnessed today, there was more.

Because all of this pulchritudinous (yes, that’s a word!) craftsmanship cries out one thing: “I have a Creator, and I glorify Him!”

Psalm 19:1 says,

 

The heavens declare the glory of God,

    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

 

I love this, because today I saw this firsthand. It was so amazing and inspiring! God’s creation is real. It’s not copied-and-pasted all around the world. It’s not a black-and-white world (like it was in the olden days, of course), for we live in vivid color. We live in the majesty and the uniqueness of God’s amazing handiwork!

Psalm 95:3-7 says,

“For the Lord is a great God,

In his hand are the depths of the earth;

    the heights of the mountains are his also.

The sea is his, for he made it,

    and his hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;

    let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

For he is our God,

    and we are the people of his pasture,

    and the sheep of his hand.”

 

Let us worship God for who He is! Let us bow before our Maker – not because we “have” to! No! Look at everything He has done! He’s created this entire world with such craftsmanship and beauty. He cares for us. He doesn’t have to. He created us and loves us, and has a purpose for all of us. And I’m overwhelmed by it all! Isn’t it INCREDIBLE?

Because all this creation, well, it’s breathtaking.

And all I can say is WOW. The pictures, well, they do NOT do it justice. Not in the least.

The majesty of God is displayed, reminding me of the Hope that I have. Reminding me to fall to my knees in worship, of my God, who cares so much about me. Reminding me how much I love Him. Reminding me how thankful I am to Him who has rescued my soul. I love my Lord, and these mountains and rivers are just a glimpse of His glory.

And a glimpse for now is all I need to blow me away.

I am blown away, and oh, how I want to worship Him in everything I do. Every breath I breathe, every song I sing, every word I pen, every word I speak, everything I do, I want to bring glory to Him in. In all things, He is worthy of my praise.

*aj

Majesty Meets Mercy (Part 2)

Misty Mountain and Ocean

On Saturday, I shared part 1 of Majesty Meets Mercy. I focused more on the majesty and splendor and marvelousity of God. (Yes, I just invented a new word. I like the word marvelousity.)

Here’s the last thing I shared, and I want to dig even deeper into this today.

 

God. Designed. It. All. He designed it all, and has an eternal plan.

 

And yet, He cares. He’s not the giant mural artist who ignores the little specks of paint. No. No splotch of color is too small for Him to see. We are the specks, and He cares for all of us. ALL OF US!

 

This God – El Shaddai, Elohim, Yahweh, Adonai – in all of His majesty – is Abba. Father. He cares about us, because He is our Designer, Creator, Sustainer, and Provider. He is our Father, and loves us more than we will ever comprehend! He has mercy on us – His children – though His majesty is overwhelming. He is a BIG God, and yet he is a loving Father.

 

Mercy.

(Hillsong UNITED wrote a song called Mercy Mercy. I love it. It embodies this message, so I highly recommend that you listen to it.)

So what exactly is mercy? Mercy – mercy is when we are not given what we deserve. When we are guilty, but no charges are pressed.

When you think about that, that’s pretty amazing.

You don’t need mercy, you say? Well…hmm. I know we all need mercy. Here’s why.

God gave us free will – to obey Him, or to disobey. What did we choose? Disobedience, and utter abuse of freedom. What was meant to be a wonderful thing – freedom – became an ugly thing; Dr. Jekyll became Mr. Hyde; paradise became pain; love became hate.

We’ve all sentenced ourselves to death.

There’s no room for pleading here. We all deserve our fate. We all deserve an eternity in Hell, separated from God. We deserve to be cut off from holiness.

But wait. This is where mercy comes in.

Mercy says that God, in all His splendor and glory and marvelousity and infinity, became nothing, to extend His grace to us. Mercy says that when we deserved death, He gave us life. Not a life of slavery. Not a life imprisoned. Not a life of duty and obligation. No, mercy says that God freed us from sin and the curse that it brings. We were given freedom when we deserved death.

Philippians 2:5-11 explains this better than I can:

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

 

Mercy says that God became man – a servant, even – to extend His mercy and grace to His beloved children.

Yes, we are His beloved. We are His estranged children, the ones that He is calling to Himself.

We are loved and we are found. Because of His Amazing Grace, we are given mercy. The majesty of God has met mercy. We are loved and forgiven, sin washed away and we are free. And all we have to do is accept it.

Romans 10:9 says,

 

“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

 

That’s it.

Mercy has brought me to my knees.

I have seen what I deserve, and I don’t want to go there. I deserve to be a slave, and in exchange, I have been freed. What is this love that is so marvelously lavish?! I do not deserve it! I fall to my knees in awestruck wonder, because majesty has met mercy. God has met me where I am. This, my friend, is the mercy and grace of God.

I don’t know if I will ever understand it.

But oh, am I overwhelmed. I am so thankful. And now, why would I ever want to go back to my old life? Why would I want to crawl back into my old, cold prison cell? Why would I ever want to live as a slave to sin?

Truthfully, I do not want to. Mercy has rescued me. I am a new creation because I am in Christ, and I am not ever going back.

*aj

Majesty Meets Mercy (Part 1)

Snowy Mountain Landscape

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

Think about the word “majesty.” And “splendor.” I love these words. Do you want to know what I think of when I think of these? Well, let’s take a trip inside my mind.

I take a deep breath.

Majesty. Splendor. Vastness and greatness, beauty and extravagance. Nature in full glory. The snow-capped purple mountains in their hugeness. I spin around to take in the breathtaking scenery around me.

Beside this image, I see the ocean. The cool and crisp water rolls in, and teases my toes at the shore. The expansion of the sea reminds me of my finite mind and invites me to awaken my thoughts to the tossing and turning of the waves, miles and miles offshore.

Let’s come out of Amanda’s mind now and dig into the Bible. The Book of Psalms, chapter 104. PLEASE read it! You can read it here. (Or, open your Bible to Psalm 104.)

Did you read it yet?

Okay.

(I didn’t want to put it directly in this post, because it would take up half of the post, and that’s kinda long.)

Although I would really love to elaborate on every verse, well, that could easily be five posts. (Two and a half weeks!) So I’ve picked out a few of my favorite verses.

Verses 1-4:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul!

    O Lord my God, you are very great!

You are clothed with splendor and majesty,

    covering yourself with light as with a garment,

    stretching out the heavens like a tent.

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;

he makes the clouds his chariot;

    he rides on the wings of the wind;

he makes his messengers winds,

    his ministers a flaming fire.”

GOD IS VERY GREAT! Clothed with splendor and majesty, and covered with light. (Isn’t that mental image awesome? Stretching out the heavens – makes the clouds His chariot – rides on the wings of the wind – oh goodness. The best part about this is that it’s not just great writing. It’s great explaining of infinite concepts, and inspired by God Himself.)

Verses 5-9 (my favorites!):

“He set the earth on its foundations,

    so that it should never be moved.

You covered it with the deep as with a garment;

    the waters stood above the mountains.

At your rebuke they fled;

    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.

The mountains rose, the valleys sank down

    to the place that you appointed for them.

You set a boundary that they may not pass,

    so that they might not again cover the earth.”

 

Let me just say that that imagery is amazing. And absolutely 100% TRUE. God is in control of everything, ever. He spoke the universe into being. He created everything so beautifully and everything WORKS! He created perfection itself!

The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that God (in all of His wisdom) appointed for them. No rolling hill is an accident, no fingerprint is a mess-up, no piece of the ocean is in the wrong place, no island is a mile too close or too far away from where God wanted it to be, no face is formed wrong.

God. Designed. It. All. He designed it all, and has an eternal plan.

And yet, He cares. He’s not the giant mural artist who ignores the little specks of paint. No. No splotch of color is too small for Him to see. We are the specks, and He cares for all of us. ALL OF US!

This God – El Shaddai, Elohim, Yahweh, Adonai – in all of His majesty – is Abba. Father. He cares about us, because He is our Designer, Creator, Sustainer, and Provider. He is our Father, and loves us more than we will ever comprehend! He has mercy on us – His children – though His majesty is overwhelming. He is a BIG God, and yet he is a loving Father.

On Tuesday, I’ll get more into this, so stay tuned for Majesty Meets Mercy (Part 2)!

*aj