Animals Join in Praise

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I love photographing animals.  On many occasions, it seemed for all of the world as if an animal I was watching stopped to lift its head and Praise the Lord.  They never know I’m there, as with this wild horse, and they are not performing for an audience.  I can surmise no other answer than that animals do what comes natural to them, raise their heads and praise the Lord!

Psalm 150:6 – “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord!”

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The Abbeys of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales – Queen of Ordinary – November 17, 2014

DSCN5209DSCN5214 DSCN5215  The abbeys of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are amazing.

Even though most of them are now in ruins, the beauty of design, the layout of the structures and the locations compared to the lay of the land are stunning.  Some are more memories than reality, and some are still in tact, but most are somewhere in between.

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I could only imagine what these places were like in their full glory days.  I was fascinated with the stone work, the precision, the beauty, and the endurance of these structures that are hundreds of years old.  The fact that this incredibly beautiful places were built and consecrated to those in ministry who had given their lives to serve God says something about the value set on relationship with God in that time frame.

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Most of these ancient abbeys are currently under historic protection and the grounds are maintained through government programs.  In these photos were The Abbey at Cong, Creevelea, Kylemore, Dryburgh, Jedburgh, and Melrose.  The buildings may be crumbling, but the sense of being in a holy place is still very strong.  But then maybe the buildings put is in such a reverent frame of mind that we were more acutely aware of the Spirit of God within us.

Praising God Makes a Difference – Queen of Ordinary – November 9, 2014

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Pictured above is Coty Sloan, travel guide, Christian recording artist, violinist.  Spending nearly a month with this young man was a joy.  His passion for the Celtic lands we visited (Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales) coupled with his enthusiasm for sharing these lovely places with us made our journey delightful.

Part of our planned activities included visiting old abbeys, castles, and churches.  Sometimes the medieval structures still had a chapel in tact.  Of all the things I loved about our journey, finding those holy places still standing and safe to enter was right at the top of that list.  The acoustics in such places are phenomenal.

We were blessed to have Coty with us, a young man with a heart for God, and an anointed voice to sing God’s praises.  There were times when he sang that it literally sounded as if the angels of heaven joined in the songs.

I have had this impression before in other places, other churches, where the worship was so sincere, whatever person or little hand full of praise team that was singing would suddenly sound like they were joined by a heavenly choir.

It made me wonder about the designs of the ceilings and walls in these holy places that were formed to bounce the faintest sounds off of the walls.  Did they know the effect the stones and shape of the room would have on the human voice?  Did they realize that one person’s voice echoing from stone to stone would be so glorious?

Even so, in those moments when we align our worship and sing our songs in true adoration of God, I believe the angels may truly join in with us.

What if the angels are praising and worshipping God all around us?  Perhaps their voices are just out of the range of human hearing.  Maybe there are those among us who can sometimes hear those voices, capture those praises, and then translate them into melodies and phrases of worship which the rest of us can join.

We are as children of God called to worship Him.  Worship is one of the mightiest weapons of our warfare in this life.  Fear cannot stand in the presence of worship.  Anger and doubt melt away when we enter into worship.  Unsettled hearts are soothed by worship.  The enemy of our souls will flee from the presence of true worship.  What is glorious in Our Father’s ears becomes torment in his.

There is power in praise.  Remember the story of Paul and Silas who had been taken captive and thrown into a Roman jail, shackled, beaten, and assumed to be broken?  They responded to their circumstances by singing and offering praises unto God with miraculous results.

Their story is found in the Book of Acts, Chapter 16 (KJV).

And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,

21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:

24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.”

Paul and Silas had a choice to make.  They could have sat down, felt sorry for themselves, railed against God, and let bitterness set in.  Instead, they chose to sing praises unto God, which set off this miraculous chain of events.

The next time you are faced with difficulty, you have a choice about the way you respond to it.  Praising God in the midst of our challenges is always a good choice.  Not matter what else is going on in our lives, God is ALWAYS worthy of our praise.

** Anyone interested in contacting Coty Sloan regarding upcoming tours may do so at: http://sloantravel.co/

Anyone interesting in joining Coty on his musical journey of praise can listen to his music or order CDs through a Google search for Coty Sloan MusicIMG_5848 (2)  IMG_1389