This is a dust-off of a very old write, a presentation for a weekly devotional I gave while working for Jitney Jungle over twenty years ago.  I begin this with a brief  description of my life-long respect for communication clarity.

One of my earliest remembrances was spawned at Halloween during the late 1940s.  Battlefield Park in south Jackson, Mississippi held an annual Halloween fest for children, which included an overabundance of candy, bobbing for apples, and a rather tame spook-house.  They also had a ‘fortune teller.’  My older cousins had to explain to me what that was.  I still remember that the little slip of paper I was given by the spooky looking lady sitting behind the crystal ball said… that I would one day be a LAWYER.  I had to be told what that meant also!

   No, I never became a lawyer.  But I suppose that I have had lawyer-like tendencies most all of my life.  My high school yearbook stated something about my propensity to ‘argue.’

   That said, civil law is a stickler for truth!  And truth means saying what you mean and not simply what you say.  In other words… correct word usage is of paramount importance to me.  Say what you mean, and mean what you say.  

   This brings us to the subject of my old devotional.

   The first chapter of the book of John tells of the meeting of Mary (the mother of Jesus) and Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptist) when both were still pregnant.  In their conversation, Mary is quoted as saying, 

“My soul doth magnify the Lord.”

                                                       Luke 1:46

   Interesting!  But doesn’t MAGNIFY mean to make something larger?  So how is it possible to make the Lord larger?  Was Mary speaking about the baby Jesus growing in her womb?

   Definitely not!

   It’s generally assumed that magnify here means praise.  But could it mean much more?

   Here is where the difference between what Mary actually said, and what it appears that she said, is most important.  What did Mary actually say… what did she say spiritually, correctly, even ‘court-house’ legally?

    Notice that Mary didn’t say, “I magnify the Lord.”  She spoke of her soul, her spirit, her inner and eternal self. 

   Scripture talks about images.  It tells us that…

So God created man in his own image, 

in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 1:27

   Now, let’s define what an image is.  An image is not the real, actual item, nor even a physical duplicate of that thing.  It is only a likeness, a representation, similar to a photo.

   Mary spoke of ‘magnifying’ the Lord, and magnifying means to increase or make larger.  But this is not a boast of making God larger… but of making His image (the ‘reflection’ of God that the world sees in us) appear to be larger that the images of Him they have previously seen in others!  Think of it this way… when we look at an ant under a magnifying glass, the ant appears much larger.  The aunt in not larger, but the image of the ant is!

   Our world today is beset with Godliness on every side.  God has chosen us to be the visible image of Himself, the invisible God, in the world.  We do this by allowing our lives to be a reflection of His love and mercy.  The less of our nature that shows… and the more of God’s nature that shines within us… the more of God the world will see, and will learn of Him, and will be drawn unto Him.  

All of us, like Mary, should always strive to magnify the Lord… now more than ever!  As it says in Colossians 1:27, Christ in you, the hope of glory!



A Simple Matter of Perspective

Every so often we encounter someone who’s attitude and outlook is, let’s say,‘out of sorts.’  They’re everything but cheerful, friendly, and hospitable.  OK… they’re cranky, cross, and crabby… even grouchy, irritable, testy, and surly.  Obviously they have a burr under their saddle. 

It’s so easy to pont fingers, to shout ‘button up buttercup,’ and to challenge them for acting out and acting up like they are.  In times like that, we’re glad that we’re not like them!

But we are.

As children of God, most of the time we’re hard-headed children.  And as children of God, we try to think of ourselves as bright, beautiful, and as perfect as is our Heavenly Father.  But we’re not.

Sometimes, God allows some sweet soul to hear the trigger click, and they ‘go off’ with a crabby ‘bang’ that wounds us.  But… in God’s big picture (in which He knows all and everything) He’s simply using ‘crabby’ as a temporary mirror, held up before us, so that we can see a clear reflection of ourselves!

In John 8:7 Jesus said…

‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone’

Oops!  Do I see myself in the mirror?  Yes, I believe I do.  Sorry Lord. 



Bill Murphy ©2021

After Mommy and Daddy, one of the first words a child learns to say is WHY?  It’s a word that parents will hear countless times!  Even our Heavenly Father is asked this question!  We’ve made WHY a very important part of our vocabulary.  Don’t get me wrong: It’s most often a good thing to ask why!  We learn things when we ask why… things we might have missed had we not asked.

My father illustrated this principle with one of the most powerful lessons he ever taught me.  He did this in a story he told during the late 1940s.  I was perhaps only in 1st or 2nd grade. 

Our family was traveling from our home in Jackson, MS to Delhi, LA to visit his sister and family.  This was in pre-interstate days, and much of our route was along two-lane US Highway 80.  

Before reaching Vicksburg, where we’d cross the mighty Mississippi River, we crossed numerous smaller bridges spanning other rivers and creeks.  As we approached one particular bridge (one that Dad referred to as the ‘new’ bridge) he told me the following story.

Years before, he said, there’d been a terrible storm with extremely heavy rains.  The rain came down in torrents, making it difficult to see ahead.  Rivers and creeks suddenly flooded and overflowed.  And the bridge ahead (of us) suddenly washed away!  One by one, because they could not see ahead clearly, drivers failed to stop in time and drove off and into the raging water below, to be swept away.

But one old black man, was driving slowly, and cautiously.  He saw the danger ahead… and stopped!  Then, he ran back down the highway, and frantically tried to warn approaching vehicles of the danger ahead.

But this was 1940s Mississippi.  Ours was a land peopled by two separate and separated races… races divided by more than simply skin color.  Sadly, then we were separated by trust, or rather, a lack of trust.  Needlessly, irrational false-fear kept others from seeing the warning… and from failing to ask ‘why?’  They swerved around their potential savior and proceed on, into their watery deaths.  

Thankfully, someone using their brain (and heart) stopped… and then another.  Finally the ‘lemming-march’ was halted.

Although It was a quick lesson, told while driving across a simple bridge along an old asphalt highway, that story had a tremendous impact on me.  The amazing thing is, it taught me a multitude of life-lessons, lessons which have stood with me for a life-time!  It taught me far more than that it’s ok to ask why?

As he told it, Dad probably had no idea of the lasting impact it would have upon my life.  He told it as if it were 100% true, and I’m certain that it is!  My Dad was not one to make up stories… unless he admitted to the fiction.  But try as I might, I’ve never been able to verify this event… as sad as it was.  That old fellow who risked life and limb to save others, should be honored, should be remembered!  

I hope that somehow, somewhere, that old fellow knows that the story of what he did meant a lot to me when I heard about it… and that it still does today! 



© 2021 Bill Murphy

This is not ‘preaching to the choir.’  If anything, it’s preaching to the preacher.  Yours truly being the preacher in this case.  I need this message more than most!  This study has been real eye opener, and a heart convicter.  The subject is an ageless dilemma, as old as time itself.  If we’re honest, it’s an issue which lies at the very heart of our greatest victories and accomplishments.  It’s also at the root of our greatest mistakes and failures. 

Perhaps it would be wise to take a closer look at these all-important but small five-letter words, WANTS and NEEDS, and how they relate to our walk with God.

We all need God.  That’s a no-brainer!  The issue is – simple wants and needs are never a simple issue for us to grasp – to neither understand or to accept.

First, we should return to the basics, in an attempt to understand the meanings of the terms need and want

NEEDS:  The following is a short list of things we need.

  1. Water.  We must have water to survive!  A high percentage of our bodies are made up of water itself.  Without water, we become a dead, dry, shriveled corpse… like a mummy!
  2. Oxygen.  We must have oxygen to breath.  Otherwise we suffocate.
  3. Warmth.  We don’t have thick and furry flesh.  Our bodies (without clothing) are incapable of sustaining us in low temperatures. 
  4. Food.  We need nourishing food to sustain our bodies, to give it energy, to help it to grow and remain healthy.  Otherwise, we grow sick, weak, and die.  The key word here is ‘nourishing.’

These are of course the very basics.  Take any one of them away, and you’ll not have a long lifetime.  Now let’s look at this same list as viewed as wants.


  1. Water.  Although most any water will do, we want Perrier, Evian, Glacéau, you know, the good stuff, pure and unfiltered, from some ancient un-polluted source, cold and delightful.  Ahhhh.  That’s GOOD! 
  2. Oxygen.  We buy air purifiers for our home and our offices.  They spew out purified air, washed free of impurities, and laced with the fresh scent of jungle flowers.  Wow!  We complain about, hey… what’s that stink?
  3. Warmth.  A coat?  No, not just any coat will do.  What’s popular this year?  What are our favorite movie and sports star wearing this year?  What’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’?  Do I look good in beige?   Let’s look on-line!
  4. Food.  Yes, I’m here to eat.  But that’s only a portion of the equation.  I want to be entertained, to be served, to be pampered with food-stuffs that delight and brings joy to my pallet.  Pigs eat.  I prefer to dine!  Dinner should satisfy more than simply my requirement for food.   

There’s most often a vast gap between needs and wants.  Needs usually determine what we are.  Wants often determine what we’ve become or are becoming.

We often compare our physical wants and needs when we’re faced with decisions in life and daily living.  That’s good!  That’s the way it should be.  But do we ever compare our spiritual wants to our spiritual needs?

When we realize there actually is such a thing as spiritual wants and spiritual needs, do we understand that the difference between the two has a tremendous impact upon our relationship to God? 

There’s an old hymn that’s seldom sung today that speaks of our need of God.

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;

Every hour I need Thee;

Oh, bless me now, my Savior,

I come to Thee.

It was written in 1872 by Annie S. Hawks, and the words are as true today as they were then.  As Christians, we all agree that we need God! But what does ‘needing’ Him actually mean?  Don’t we believe that it means all of Him?  And by ‘all’ don’t we understand that to mean every bit of Him that we are capable of having?

God has a will.  And God also has a plan.  And His will and His plan reach down to us on a personal, one-on-one level!  Alone, we’re both hopeless and helpless.  And our hopelessness and helplessness means that we need Him, and we need to know His plan and His will for our lives.

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.   Jeremiah 29:11

God put a tremendous amount of trust in us!  Among the many wondrous things He’s given to us, He also gave us (allowed us) to have a will of our own.  Our will is a blessing, but we can turn it into a curse.  God elected to allow us to choose Him!  And although it’s obvious that we need Him… we fall victim to the power of the enemy and allow this miraculous gift of will to freely operate in the realm of wants.  God has wants also, and He wants us to join Him someday in Heaven.  But He’s allowed us to have a will like as unto His, and this will allows us to have wants, many which are dangerous, and even physically and spiritually fatal!

Jeremiah quoted God saying…  

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.

We need to allow God to have full reign in out lives.  He knows what’s best for us, and His best are far better than anything we could ever imagine!  And yet, he speaks and tells us that He has plans to give us hope and a future… and we stand and reply to Him that we’re using our ‘trump-card’ of will… and that we’d decided to do things our way… the way we want to!  WOW!  Been there.  Done that.  Lived to regret it!

I think we all understand that needs are important.  But do we also realize that wants are equally as important… because wants can be dangerous, damaging, and fatal!  This is true in the social, physical realm and especially true spiritually!


Lord, I don’t know the answers.  But you do.  I don’t understand half of the what’s and few of the why’s. But you do. I can’t see what’s ahead, but you can.  I don’t know the way, but you do.  Lord, I can’t. But you can. I need Thee, oh, I need Thee; Every hour I need Thee. Oh bless me now my savior.  I come to Thee.  Amen


Bill Murphy  October, 2020

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord. Luke 1:46 (KJV)

For as long as I can remember, that small verse has intrigued me.  And like Mary said in Luke 2:19 about something that affected her, I kept this word ‘magnify’ close to me and pondered it in my heart.  Deep down I felt that there surely could be a deeper meaning here than at first we might suppose.

Words themselves are tools, tools which depict or portray meaning and understanding.  The incorrect ‘tool’ can portray incorrect understanding.

Love is affection, correct?  When our mate says, “I love you,” what if we respond with “I have affection for you too.” Chances are that would go over like a lead balloon!  

So, what does ‘magnify’ really mean?  

The New Living Translation says, my soul praises the Lord.  Magnify = Praise.  Praise = Magnify.  But, can it possibly be that magnify means something even more meaningful and deeper?  Perhaps it does.

The word magnify means to intensify, boost, amplify, enlarge, increase, enhance, expand, or to   augment something.  Onstage musicians use ‘amps’ to amplify the sound so that it will carry farther.  Amplifiers intensify the sound that the individual instruments and singers are capable of making on their own.

But wait!  We’re talking about our souls (and Mary’s) magnifying the Lord!  It’s utterly impossible for us to ‘increase’ our Lord God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth!  

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap;  which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?  And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?  If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Luke 12:24-26  (KJV)

Consider that big black box on stage, the Amp.  The amp doesn’t increase the original sound.  It doesn’t make the guitar itself louder… it takes the sound which originated with the guitar, and augments the sound, making this ‘second generation’ of sound louder than the original.

Now consider the magnifying glass.  It can never make the actual object larger.  It only makes the image of the object larger.  The original object is left unchanged… and now we see an enhanced and enlarged image of that object!

What does the Bible tell us about God and that word image?

So God created man in his own image,  in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:27. (KJV)

Wow!  I could stop right here.  That one verse explains it all!  

We can never ‘increase’ God!  We can’t add anything to Him.  But, because we are made ‘in His image,’ we are very capable of magnifying the image of Him that others see in us every day.  

Yes, this is most likely a different way of looking at the scriptural word magnify and what it can be interrupted to mean.  But truthfully, when we love Him more and more, and when we worship and praise Him more and more, and when we devote ourself to Him more and more… are not we striving to draw closer and closer to Him, and striving to become more and more like Him?

But how far can we go along this path toward being Holy like God is Holy?  The Apostle Peter gives us a clue in the fourteenth chapter of the the first book of Peter:

As obedient children do not conduct yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance.  But as He who has called you is holy, so be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

David tells us in Psalms how to both praise and magnify the Lord…

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30 (KJV)



By Bill Murphy,  June 2020

Uncle Jordan’s breathing grew more labored.  His hospital room was filled with family and friends, all calling out to God on his behalf.  The man himself felt that his end was near, although he assuredely was not ready to go, not now anyway.  What I’ve fool I’ve been, he thought.  I’ve wasted my life.   His heart had failed him, just as he’d failed God.

There was not a dry eye in the room, as everyone cried out to God.  “Lord forgive me… please,” they heard him say in a weak and trembling voice.  “I don’t want want to died, not without you!”  Then he closed is eyes in resignation.

The family’s anguished cries could be heard halfway down the hallways.  

Two nurses rushed into the room.  The old man lay still, as if in death.  They checked the monitors and gasp.  “This can’t be possible,” one of them said to the other.  “Look, all of his readings are now normal… his blood pressure, heart rythm, temp, everything!  This can’t be possible!  It’s like he’d never been sick a day in his life!”

Uncle Jordan stirred.  He opened his eyes.  “I must have dozed off,” he said.  “I feel so much better now!”

The hospital room erupted in shouts of joy!  Uncle Jordan was back!  He was alive!  And his revival was nothing short of miraculous!  The family was so filled with thankfulness and gratitude that their joy could not be contained.


The above story illustrates two points: the spiritually sick and dead have no desire or reason to praise – Therefore, praise has no place for the unrevived.  However, worship brings the spiritually sick and dead to a place of recognition of their need of God.  Worship brings us into a relationship with Him where He has been given the approval and welcome to revive us!

Revival, like nothing else, best illustrates the spiritual differences between the concepts of worship and praise.  Each has a place of uniqueness, where one does not and cannot fulfill the role of the other.  

Worship comes before revival.  Worship is admitting to and expressing our surrender to God.  Praise come after revival.  We don’t express humility and surrender thru praise.  We express thankfulness through praise, thankfulness for being revived by Him! 

We cannot praise our way into revival.  Think about it.  The spiritually dead cannot praise, they don’t know how to praise, and they feel neither the need nor the longing to praise.

God has a reason for everything He’s ever done or will do, just as He has a reason for every word He’s spoken or will speak.  Our place is to align ourselves with His Holy Will.  When we seek to follow His leading, and when we strive to see things His way (which we cannot always do!) we stand a far better chance of understanding where the direction of His instructions are leading us. 

Revival surely highlights the differences between worship and praise, clearly illustrating their unique purposes.  Worship leads us into a recognization of our need for revival – and praise is the glorious fulfillment and aftermath of revival!




The small community church was anything but a large church.  Yet it was a blessed church.  Never had a church been pastored by anyone who loved God and His flock more than this pastor.  He thought of himself as only the ‘assistant pastor’ saying that God Himself was the pastor.  He was there only to follow God’s leading.

The previous Sunday his message contained several references to the Hebrew Temple.  He mentioned numerous points of temple practices and customs, focusing on the altar.  

That night, the pastor dreamed of the temple.  And in his dream, God instructed him to select two individuals from his flock who were of strong spiritual character.

He was told that each was bring to church the next Sunday, a symbolic offering which they considered to be a gift fitting to be laid at the altar.  He was to give each of these individuals a box measuring around twelve inches by nine by six.  These boxes they were to be the focus of next week’s service and message, as those chosen ones described what their boxes contained, and why.

The following day, the pastor’s first order of business was to secure two suitable boxes.  He found them at a local craft store.  Then, for effect, he spray painted both boxes gold… to represent a treasure box of gifts fit for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Selecting the two who would be given these boxes was a no-brainer.  One went to Abe, and the other to Zed.  The pastor could trust both of them with his life… and with his pulpit.

On Tuesday, he delivered the boxes to Abe and Zed.  Both were rather shaken by the pastor’s proposal.  Neither felt comfortable taking on such a serious spiritual mission.  “Pray about it,” the pastor told them, “I already have.  God will reveal to you what should go into your box.”  And they did.

We’ve all know people in our lives who, as they say, march to the beat of a different drummer, and who watches are set to another time zone.  It’s as if God is that way too.  But honestly… He’s the One who owns the drum and the One who designed the watch… He does what He does when, why, and where He elects!  Behind the scenes, God constructed the following week’s service and message, in the tender hearts of Abe and Zed.

The Service

Abe’s Golden Box

The first part of the service was much as any other service, although rather abbreviated.  The pastor felt deep within his heart that this service would need more time than most of his flock were accustomed to.  He kept the ‘preliminaries’ to a minimum.  He knew in his heart that the boxes would preach the real sermon, the sermon that should be heard and experienced. 

He stood behind the pulpit and gave a brief story about God’s instructions to have two individuals receive boxes, what those boxes were to represent, what they where to contain, and why.  He then motioned for Abe to bring his box forward.

The pastor took a seat on the front row as Abe walked to the altar and laid his box down.  Abe then stepped up to the pulpit.  Abe looked across the congregation nervously.  It was as if he were once again in third grade, standing on stage in the school’s auditorium, awaiting to recite the Pledge Alliance to the Flag.  

Abe began.  “Ours is a small church in a small town, and I am just one of this congregation, one with you.  But I’ve never felt like a ‘just’ anything or anyone.  I know that I am blessed… blessed beyond measure… far above what I may believe that I need… or want.  I have a loving wife, healthy children, a good job, and a happy home.  Yes, I’m a blessed man.  I’m not ‘just’ blessed, I’m blessed with the best… and I say that humbly and gratefully.” 

His knees shook, and yet he was not afraid.  Abe lifted his head and eyes upward, as if to behold the face of God, and he stammered,  “I’m not a wealthy man, Lord.  I don’t possess much of this world’s goods.  But what I have are blessings far too numerous to count, and all of them from you.  I have so much to be thankful for.  Lord, I praise you for all these rich and wonderful blessing.  And so Lord, I thought, what gift is worthy of you… and Lord, only You are worthy of all my praise!”  

The pastor shouted, “Amen!”

“Lord, Abe continued, “I praise you for the million upon million of rich and wonderful blessing you’ve allowed me to enjoy.  I praise you for a billions things, countless people, places, events, and special moments you’ve allowed me to know and experience.  I praise you for my health, my happiness, for a good job, a wonderful church, a great neighborhood in which to live.  I praise you for happy, healthy, well-adjusted children too. I thank you and praise you for giving me wonderful parents… who reared me in such a blessed and happy home.  I have so many things and friends and family members that I can praise you for and be thankful for!  So Lord… I’ve taken all that praise, praises for a million and one things, for thousands and thousands of cherished experiences, and for hundreds of family members and friends… and I’ve placed all of my praise into this box before you!  They are Yours Lord… all of my praise belongs to You!”

God was pleased.  He was very pleased!  God Loves our praise.

Never had the pastor seen the congregation totally immersed in a message.  Everyone was on their feet, their hands in the air, lifting their praises toward heaven.  The organist took note and quickly began a lively bring-the-glory-down hymn of praise… as if it was needed!  Abe had now long since walked away from the pulpit, but the pastor remained, now on his feet, still on the front row.  He too was lost in praise and thanksgiving.  God Himself was in control of the service.

How long did this last?  Who knows.  No one was keeping track of time. Finally, the electric atmosphere of the place slowly settled, and the pastor walked back to the pulpit.  “Today would have been a grand day to have had this place filled with visitors!” he said.  “This is church the way church ought to be!  Now, everyone kindly take a seat, if you can.  We want to hear from Zeke.” 

Zeke’s Golden Box

Zeke reached beneath the pew and pick up his golden box, then slowly walked to the front.  He placed his box on the altar, next to Abe’s.  Then slowly, he walked to the pulpit, and began. “These boxes are, of course, symbolic,” Zeke pointed out.  And mine, like Abe’s, also appears to be empty.  And yet, in a very real sense, it is or rather was, quite empty.  You see, once I was nothing, and now… I’m a child of the King.  Let me explain.”

Zeke took a deep breath.  Both hands grasp the podium.  His face took on the look of deep sorrow and despair.  Then he began.  “My life was once a useless pile of trash, a heap of worthless rubble.  My life was a mess.  I was lost.  I was as lost as if I’d be dropped into the frozen arctic or deep into a sweltering jungle.  I had no hope, no plan, no dream, no life.  I once saw death itself as a welcomed relief and a blessing.  I was a worthless crumbled heap of trash at the bottom of a pit of my own digging.”

The congregation sat in stunned silence.  This didn’t sound like the Zeke they all knew and loved.  They hung onto his every word.  “And then, miracle of miracles… a light shined down into that dark, dank pit.  It was the radiant smile of the Jesus.  He extended His welcoming hand to me, beckoning me to come out of that pit.”

Abe paused and looked toward heaven.  Tears flowed down his cheeks.

Once again I crumbled.  But this time it was not collapsing into myself in regret and despair.  This time I crumpled in His presence in total surrender.  How could One so Holy stoop so low to find one so undeserving as me?  How?

Yet He had!  He’d looked into my heart and seen that I had given up.  He saw that I now recognized my sorry wretchedness and shame, and He reached down and He gave me what I knew not what to ask for… His forgiveness.  As we sing in my favorite hymn, ‘I once was lost, but now I’m found.  Was blind, but now I see.’  He did that for me!

My Savior washed away those grimy stains of filth, rot, and sin, and make me whole.  Yes, He washed me, heart, mind, hands, and soul…and made me clean again, as fresh and clean as a newborn!  I was reborn afresh in Him!

He took me in His arms and into His heart, and He called me ‘His son.’  How could this be?  What had I done to deserve such favor?  Why me?My heart was filled to overflowing, and yet, at the same time, I felt so empty, so undeserving.  What did I have to give Him in return?  He must h  ave read my thoughts, for He placed both arms around me, and in the sweetest, kindest voice I’d ever hoped to hear, He softly whispered… All I want is you!

The congregation was silent.

“None of us are worthy of His love, no, not one.” He paused for a long moment.  “I was the most unworthy of the unworthy, and yet, He stooped to save me.  He accepted me as I was, and forgave me, and loved me, and began making me what I should be and could be!  And I praise Him for that.  You see, praise is something we give.  And by definition, we must have something in order to give something.  When He found me, I was nothing, and I had nothing.  I had no praise to give.  I had only dirt, and filth, and sin.  And He took that away!  

Today, I have His forgiveness, and I have His love.  Today, I have something to give.  I can give Him my praise.  But I will never, not to my dying day, forget the agony of that heavy burden of sin and shame which once weighed me down.  And I’ll never forget the unbelievable joy of having those heavy sin-stained chains lifted off my soul.  It was not praise that lifted those heavy chains, but my surrender, and my worship unto Him!  When I had no praise, I gave Him my total worship.  And now, I make it my goal to surrender, in bowed worship before Him daily.  I know from where I came.  And I know who brought me out.  And I know what lifted me out… it was surrendering myself to Him.  You see, I could not praise Him until I worshipped Him.  

The sad thing is, I think we sometimes think that praise alone is enough.  Do we even confuse worship and praise?  They’re not the same.  Yes, I have everlasting praise for what He’s done and for who He is!  But let’s face it, praise is cheap.  Praise is something we’re encouraged to spread around!  We praise our choir’s singing, our pastor’s preaching, and when I get home for dinner I’ll praise my wife’s home-made biscuits!  But I won’t be worshipping any of those people or those things.  Worship is reserved for the The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  If we worship anything or anyone else, that’s the vilest of sins!

Praise is a celebration.  Worship is surrender.  God delights in our praise.  He demands our worship.  Praise is a celebration of victory.  Praise is fun!  Praise is most often a group activity.

But worship costs us.  Worship comes with a price to be paid.  Worship is surrender. Worship is deeply personal, between you and God alone, heart to heart.  The price we pay to worship Him is… self!  

My box represents my worship.  My box is empty, because it represents the emptiness that I am without Him.  It represents that I once was in the box, but I’ve given my life, heart, mind, body and soul to Him!  What was once in my box is now in Him!  That’s why my box is empty.  Think about it.  Abe’s box is full… of something fantastically wonderful…  his praise.  God loves that.  But my box is empty, because I’ve emptied it through my worship unto God.  The truth is, we all need to bring two boxes to God’s altar.





Bill Murphy 2020

The ascent to a mountain top is by progression, a step at a time.

Yesterday, a line from an old hymn we sang in my Methodist Church came to mind so vividly.  “God is so good… He’s so good to me.”  This life experience in my life brought these words to mind.  They also brought to mind that they too can be a step in progression.

The word ‘good’ is an adjective, describing somethings of meaning or value to us.  The opposite is, of course. ‘bad.’

Yesterday, yet another ‘issue’ had confronted our family.  This was an automotive issue, which spilled over to involve more than just a car.  Our daughter’s vehicle is old, and well used.  But she and our granddaughter were not a quarter mile from home when the issue occurred.  They were over six hours away… hundreds of miles from home.  And the car suddenly ran hot!

She’d just gotten the car out of the shop the week before.  What needed repairs, was repaired.  It was deemed ‘good to go’ by professions.  Obviously not.  Now came the dilemma, ‘What to do?’

Two law enforcement officers stopped to give assistance.  They added water, got the vehicle running properly, and escorted them to an auto/repair/parts company located right across the street from a motel.  The auto shop told her they’d be closing for the day within 5 minutes.  They’d look at it tomorrow.  Our daughter called us.

Yes, Carol and I were distraught, worried and concerned.  Yes, they very near automotive help.  But we were not near them!  We were also not helpless.  We prayed.  God can help.

Our daughter also called the mechanic who’d given her car a clean bill of health.  He offered suggestions on how to get home safely driving the vehicle.  She called us, and we suggested that the information sounded plausible, but not to be foolish.  Be wise.  Try this in daylight hours, beginning the next morning.  So they did.

Their six hour drive home took almost nine.  And God rode with them, and in front of them, preparing the way.  They got home, with the vehicle, safe and sound.  God is good.

Many years ago, I began my climb to the mountain top.  I’ve gotten off the path before, and tumbled painfully back into the valley of darkness.  But with God’s help, I’ve gotten up, brushed myself off, and began the ascent once again.  No, I’m not at the tippy-top yet, I’m still ascending, one step at a time.  I’m more careful of where I step today than I was at twenty.  The view is far more beautiful the closer to the top that one ascends.  And part of my ascension is learning that God is not just good… He’s the BEST!

Once again Dear Lord, Thank You, for being so good… so good to me!



Passing Judgement of God

© 2020. Bill Murphy   

Floyd was an unarmed soldier in wartime.  He was a medic.  Floyd did not believe in killing, yet he served his country by helping to save the lives of others.

     Floyd’s unit was pinned down by enemy fire, and several of his buddies lay wounded just ahead.  Although without means of defending himself, he charged forward, to administer aid to this wounded buddies, and to help them back to safety.

     Then Floyd too was hit, but he ignored his own wound.  Reached his bleeding buddy, he dragged the man to safety.  Then Floyd charged forward again, and again he was it by enemy fire.  Yet he continued to limp forward, to his fallen comrade, and dragged him also back to safety.

      Floyd repeated this feat the third time, before the battle was over.  He’d rescued three of his friends, while being wounded himself in his arm, shoulder, and leg. 

      The simple truth is that Floyd RECEIVED three wounds, wounds which would has stopped many a man.  But Floyd didn’t ACCEPT these wounds, instead he ignored them, and charged back into the fray over and over again.  And here lies the huge difference between the two commonly used words ‘accept’ and ‘recieve.’ 

ACCEPT: To receive, but with a consent, with favor, or with approval.

RECIEVE: To take, as something that is offered, given, committed, sent, paid, etc.; to be given something.  To take possession of.

     True, ‘accept’ and ‘recieve’ mean almost the same thing, but the big difference between the two is that to ‘accept’ requires a VALUE JUDGEMENT.  Floyd recieved the enemy bullets into his flesh.  He didn’t want them, they were inflicted upon him by the enemy.  But after these wounds had been received, Floyd made a value judgement: to be counted among the fallen wounded and fall down himself… or to ignore the painful fact that he too was wounded, and continue on in his original mission of rescue.  He chose not to accept the wounds which he had recieved, and he pressed on. 

     Leaving the horrors of war and the pain of the battlefield, lets go to a far more peaceful place, perhaps one of the most peaceful places on earth, the house of God, the church.

     The service is ending, and there is a call for all who will, to come forward and surrender their hearts to The Lord.

      Can we save ourselves?  No, of course not!  Do we know what our future holds?  Hardly!  But God does.  Who hold the power to heal?  It is not within our hands, but in Gods.  Who is the Alpha, the Omega, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of Lords?  He is, of course!

      That said, how then can I, as weak and helpless and hopless as I am, be in any position to pass judgement upon God?  What gives me the ability and right to place God in the scales of judgement, and weigh Him as to His ability to save my soul?  I have neither right nor power to weigh Him as being ACCEPTABLE or not.

     Remember: acceptance is the same thing as recieving but with a major codicile: to ‘accept’ requires a value judgement! 

     ACCEPT/RECIEVE.  What’s the big deal?  The same pastors who asks us to ‘accept’ the Lord have no problem understanding the difference between tithing and giving.  

     My point in this is to simply say that perhaps it’s best to use the correct words, to better express what we truly mean.  How would you feel, after telling someone, “I love you,” to have them tell you in return, “I like you too.”?

Perhaps God’s not too happy about being judged if He’s ‘acceptable’ or not.



© 2020 Bill Murphy

     God has never spoken to me in an audible voice.  He’s never spoken to my heart in words  saying, “Bill I need to tell you something.”  But He does speak to me.  He speaks through other people and through events… ways that I’d be an idiot not to understand.

     I began to question my quest to tell anyone who’ll listen of my sincere belief that there’s a fundamental, scriptural difference between the terms WORSHIP and PRAISE.  People said that I should basically ‘give it up,’ that my quest was a ‘hopeless cause.’  It was disheartening.  Was I wrong?  Was I wrong to believe as I do?  Was I stupid for trying to explain?

     And then, five times with ten days, God spoke, through others.

     The first three occasions came during a single church service. The preacher said, “WE NEED TO ADJUST WHAT WE BELIEVE.”  Hey, that’s what I’ve been trying to say!  Then he made two other statements:  “SHARE THE TRUTH IN LOVE.”  And… JESUS DID NOT BACK DOWN FROM THE TRUTH.”  Wow.  I heard that, God.  Thank you!  I’m on it!

     That week I began my study once again.  In my original search of scripture, I came across an Old Testament reference to Worship found in the account of the giving of the Ten Commandments.  I re-read this, taking note that in the story, the ‘worship event’ of the golden calf was referred to as a feast.  Intrigued, I did a study on Hebrew feasts.  The very next week, the minister’s subject topic was, you guessed it, FEAST.  God, does this Old Testament event really hold a clue to what you showing me?  It sure looks like it. (That sermon message also tied in ‘having fun’ with feasts.)

     The following Tuesday night I attended my bi-monthly writer’s club meeting.  I really tried to find an excuse not to attend.  But I went.  I’m thankful I did, otherwise I’d have missed message five.  

     One of our members usually writes prose, but dabbles a bit in poetry.  That night she brought three short poems to share.  The third poem was titled HOLY MOSES.  It was a whimsical ditty about the disgruntled Hebrew Children in the wilderness.  Wow!  

     Yes Lord, I heard You.