Bless the Lord Oh my soul!

by Betsy Roy

What an amazing privilege to bless the Lord! How does the creation bless the Creator? We are inferior. He is superior. One of the answers lies in the meaning of the word. In Hebrew,Bless the Lordthe word for bless is “berakh”, which also means to kneel. I had an “ah hah” moment when I learned that! It means to kneel before Him, acknowledging who He is – His nature and character – and to give Him praise and thanks in all things. See 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thanking, praising, and blessing God is NOT dependent on circumstances, which can be pleasant or not so pleasant. It is dependent on knowing God. St. Paul praised God even in the middle of a Roman prison after having been severely beaten (see Acts 16: 22-25). Paul’s focus was not on the circumstance, but rather on God. The praise that came from him was a result of the One who was in him and Paul’s faith and trust in this God – El Elyon – the Most High God!

Paul was well versed in the scriptures and so he knew of Moses’ experiences. He could recall to his mind when Moses asked God His name and God responded “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3: 13 -14). This is God’s eternal name to be remembered for all generations!  Paul was familiar with the time that Moses asked to see God’s glory and God responded by passing all His goodness before Moses and proclaiming His Name, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin….(Exodus 34: 6-7).

Paul also had a personal revelation of Jesus on the road to Damascus when the Lord said to him, “I am Jesus….” (Acts 9:5).  Paul came to know Jesus as the “I AM” – the Bread of life (John 6:35), the Light of the World (John 8:12), the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), the Resurrection (John11:25), the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). HE is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 1:8). HE is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). HE is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9: 6-7). Do we know Him like this? Once we come to know Jesus in this way we too can have an attitude of gratitude at all times! We can bless the Lord and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all our iniquity, who heals all our diseases, who redeems our life from the pit and crowns us with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies our soul with good so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s, and who works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed (Psalm 103: 1-6).

There is another benefit to blessing, praising and thanking God in everything! This is the benefit of enjoying the peace of God. In Hebrew the word for peace is shalom and it has a much broader meaning than our word “peace”.  Our Western minds think of “peace” as meaning the absence of war or a sense of calmness and quiet. The Hebrew meaning of “peace” encompasses our entire well-being. It refers to our health, safety, prosperity (spirit, soul and body), our wholeness and completeness. This is why the Bible teaches us not to be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4: 6-7). Now that’s something to REJOICE about!! Hallelujah!

So, even if you don’t feel like it right now, even if your circumstances are very difficult, even if you are deeply discouraged or depressed, obey God and believe His Word. Let’s bless the Lord together right now. Remember all His benefits and give Him thanks. The peace of God will be yours! That peace is priceless!

My Knight in Shining Armor

by Lisa Gould

Many little girls pretend to be a princess and I was one of them. But the reality for me was far from the life of a princess. My father was an alcoholic, abusive emotionally, neglectful and had a violent temper. My childhood was very chaotic and unstable. His acceptance of me was based on how well I performed in all things. My father’s method of motivating me to perfection was to shame and humiliate me. In his brokenness my father did not know how to give me the love and acceptance I needed. I have compassion towards him and have forgiven him.

All I wanted was a knight in shining armor to rescue me and so I looked to young men to fill that void. At the age of seventeen I became pregnant. My Screen shot 2015-11-02 at 6.36.31 PMparents told me that if I ever came home pregnant they would disown me. My boyfriend told me that he did not want this child and if I had it, he would leave me. My role in life had always been to keep everyone else happy so they would love me. I felt I had no other choice but to have an abortion.   During the procedure I panicked and changed my mind. I sat straight up on the table and screamed for the doctor to stop.Two nurses came in and held me down and covered my mouth so he could finish the procedure. Once it was completed I lay on the table and sobbed uncontrollably. I cried out to God and told him I was so sorry for what I had just done. The nurse said “it’s okay dear, now you can go on with your life”. I thought; “I can never go on with my life! I don’t deserve any good thing”. From the day it happened I never told a soul and my boyfriend and I never spoke of it again.

A number of years later a Christian woman befriended me and I eventually attended church with her. I had a revelation that I needed a savior during the service and that Jesus was the “Knight in Shining Armor” that I had been seeking all this time! I left church that day overwhelmed by the forgiveness I had experienced as I repented and asked Jesus in my heart.

A few weeks later I was sitting in a special worship service. For the very first time in seven years I whispered ever so quietly through hot tears streaming down my face; “I know you have forgiven me for all my sins but I don’t know how you can forgive me for killing my baby”.   The worship leader stopped playing in the middle of the song and said; “There is a woman here who is longing for a child and the Lord wants you to know that you are forgiven and will go on to have many more children!” It was in that moment that I knew just how much Jesus loves, accepts, and forgives me and that HE truly is my Knight in Shining Armor.

The price he paid on the cross he offers to every woman who has had an abortion; forgiveness, redemption, restoration and acceptance. Let him be your Knight in Shining Armor! Receive his forgiveness!

Lisa Gould is Community Life Ministry Director at New Life Church in Biddeford, Maine.  She served on the Conference Steering Committee for the Women of the Word Fall 2015 Conference. Her testimony of that event follows:

What an amazing time in the Lord we had at our Women of the Word conference. The conference was an intentional, appointed time of God’s daughters coming together to see His hand move in their lives. As God’s vessels, each of the speakers brought a word in due season for women collectively and individually. This was not just another status quo event to attend and then go back to living life as usual. This conference has already and will continue to have a ripple effect on women as they received salvation, healing, strength, courage and have become equipped (meaning to mend the broken places) to carry out their destinies. The women who attended will be an example to others of God’s power to suddenly transform them. Those who attended will be contagious for the Kingdom as they encounter their families, friends, work colleagues and home churches. Revival is coming and we must be equipped as his daughters for such a time as this! Women of the Word is a tool God is using to accomplish this in the earth.