MAYBE A CHANGE OF FOCUS IS IN ORDER… (Continued)

Spiritual Blog - Focus

Ps 150:1-6 – “Praise the LORD! 

Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament!

2 Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp!

4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!

5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

 Praise the LORD!”  NKJV

             As Jesus was instructing those who believed He told them that if they would abide in His word they would be His disciples and then in John 8:32 He declared, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  When God’s Truth is heard, heeded and applied there is freedom!  I am convinced that when a believer understands what Praise is all about they will become participants in that activity in and out of church gatherings.

The Psalmist said in 34:1-3, “I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.  My soul shall boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.  Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name forever.”  In 147:1 we read, “Praise the Lord.  How good it is to sing praises to our God.  How pleasant and fitting to praise Him.”

If we understand praise to be adoration of God then we can conceive how it can be vocal, audible and or visible or a combination of all three.   Consider scripture concerning it being vocal:  Psalm 63:3 – Lips, Psalm 145:21 – Mouth, Psalm 98:1 – Singing, Psalm 66:1 – Shouting, Revelation 19:1 – Loud Voices, and Ephesians 5:19 – Singing and Speaking.  We note it can be audible but not vocal in Psalm 47:1 – Clapping, Psalm 147:1 & 150:1-6 – Musical Instruments.  Then we find praise that is neither audible or vocal in Psalm 63:4 – Lifting the Hands, 1 Chronicles 15:28-29 – Dancing and 60 times we see it as Kneeling, in Acts 3:8, 2 Samuel 6:16 -Walking & Leaping and Psalm 134:1 135:2 – Standing before the Lord.

Psalm 22:22 declares, “I will declare Thy Name unto my brethren:  in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee.”

I am 100% convinced that Praise is the Setting for Revelation.  As I examine the Revelation of John I see a man exiled, afflicted, seemingly defeated, embattled and in great need of comfort and consolation.  It is here that he not only received Revelation but Revival.  He is resuscitated by a heavenly experience in which God gives him the key to refreshing, refueling and rescue.

Notice several things that result:

  • An Open Door In Heaven – Revelation 4:1
  • A Heavenly Voice is Heard – Revelation 4:1b
  • He Sees an Occupied Throne – Revelation 4:2
  • He Hears a Divine Command – Revelation 4:8-11

The thing that you and I need to fully understand is that John is in the Throne Room in the presence of the ALMIGHTY GOD, the God of all creation!  God’s presence not only excites praise but is the source of praise.  Praise is where God resides!  Praise is His permanent residence!

Psalm 22:3 – “You are enthroned as the Holy One, You are the Praise of Israel.”  This is rendered in the KJV as, “But Thou art holy, O Thou that Inhabitest the Praises of Israel

             PRAISE is where God lives and when we enter into genuine praise and worship, we invite Him to come in and be at home. We invite Him to be the Master of the House, control the situation and set us free!  Praise is a link between finite man and the infinite God!  Praise affects heaven, earth, and hell all at the same time.  No wonder we are commanded in Psalm 100:4 – “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.”

Time and space have once again run short so we must hit the pause button and wait until next time to continue.  Until then may God so permeate your person that His presence is known powerfully and in a liberatingly.  God bless!

 

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MAYBE A CHANGE OF FOCUS IS IN ORDER…

Spiritual Blog - Focus

Ps 150:1-6 – “Praise the LORD! 

Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! 

2 Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp!

4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!

5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

 Praise the LORD!”  NKJV

 

I know the beauty of praise and worship and the power it affords in defeating the enemy, opening our spiritual eyes and enabling us to find LIBERTY like we have not known.  Paul tells us that where the Spirit of the Lord there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)  I believe that praise and worship are tools, weapons, and activities that liberate.  I have often told people that if they need a quick ‘pick me up’ refer to the Book of Psalms for it is a book of praise, adoration, and worship.

As I read this injunction in Psalm 150 I am overwhelmed with its simplicity and power.  The more I examine the Holy Writ the more I discover that Praise is a key component in both Testaments and has been a substantial factor in every revival of Church history and is among the first practices to stagnate in time of decline.

When Praise and Worship are prevalent in the church there is a renewed awakening where believers are reminded and have reaffirmed in their hearts that:

  • God is Alive and Active.
  • We are Indwelt by Deity.
  • Through Him, we can Pull Down Strongholds.
  • Through Him, we are More Than Conquerors.

When there are genuine praise and worship present in congregational gatherings and individual hearts excitement rises and there is far more realized victory in the lives of believers.  Churches become places of victory and people experience refreshing, refueling and are rescued.  I fully understand there is much difference of opinion on many matters of doctrine and while we do not agree on everything we should agree on one thing – HE IS WORTHY TO BE PRAISED!

I am convinced that PRAISE & WORSHIP are chief activities of heaven.  It would be difficult to conclude that praise is not a chief component of the activities of heaven to even the most casual reader of scripture.  Just a cursory reading and quick glance at numerous passages confirm that.  Examine (Psalm 63:3; 145:21; 98:1; 66:1; Revelation 19:1; Ephesians 5:19, Psalm 47:1; 147:7 63:4; 1 Chronicles 15:28-29; Acts 3:8 and scores more)

When I examine the record in Revelation I find that in Revelation 4 there is an outbreak of Praise & Worship.  In Revelation 5 there is a sequel to that outburst and yet another in Revelation 11.  Then in Revelation 19, we find the great multitude erupting in praise & worship.  It would be impossible to conclude that heaven is not a glorious place and filled with praise unto our God!  I am convinced through study and experience that Praise enhances everything we do.  In fact, there is nothing we can do more therapeutic than Praise.  There is nothing man can do that results in more healing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  It is a liberating activity designed by God not because He is self-absorbed and narcissistic but because He knows the value to us as His children.  It is impossible to force people to Praise and when one experiences God and the power of this activity it is virtually impossible to prevent them from Praise.

Time will not permit me digging deeper but I want to press on next time so until then may God fill your day as He guards and guides your steps.  Blessings!

 

THE PARTS NOBODY WANTS TO BE…

Spiritual Bog - Body of Christ

1 Corinthians 12:20-31 – “But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.”  NKJV

 

Before I received Jesus as my savior the girl I was dating and I were in riding with my parents and I told her, “I don’t know why but I have a feeling I’m supposed to be a preacher.”  She said, “Well do it.”  My response was simple, “You have to be kidding who would listen?”  I and she knew how I was living and no one would have ever thought of Roy and preacher unless it was Roy needs a preacher.  I grew up in a rural church but did not know the LORD.  After I accepted the LORD as my Savior and begin to feel the tug to ministry I resisted and gave every argument I could think of as to why that was a bad idea and sought to dismiss it.  I even told my pastor that I was going to pursue teaching and Christian counseling for that was a need that with the proper training I could see myself addressing.  He just smiled and said nothing.  It was as if he knew inside that I was simply kicking against the pricks and in time would come around to what God truly wanted.

I did not want to be out front for I considered that too weighty a responsibility and while I have always been pressed into a leadership role I considered the call to preach incredibly frightening.  I resisted speaking publicly and even when my English teacher in high school continually pleaded with me to join in drama and speaking I resisted.  Most don’t believe it but I was shy and standing in front of people was so uncomfortable I wanted no part of it.  In my early Christian experience, I sought to be in the shadows doing tasks that no one wanted to do and assuming roles that others considered beneath them.  God would have none of that and through a series of events that were undeniable to me, He impressed upon me that my call was to preach and when I opened my heart to that He opened the doors of opportunity.

Too many want to be the Body Part in Christ that is visible and praised as important.  Many want to be the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher.  They want to be seen.  We want to be the comely parts but nobody wants to be the little toe or some part even more unimpressive or uncomely.  The human body needs all its members to function in harmony and each part is important to the overall function of that body and the same is true in the Body of Christ.  Every human body has a head and every human body has arm pits and while I am not calling any role in the Body of Christ “Arm Pit Ministry” consider the truth of that image.  I have observed people self-label themselves as apostles, prophets, etc.  If you are something you will function in that gift and calling and you will have to tell no one that you have a particular ministry gift, they will know it for God will make it known through your function.

Therefore, rather than striving to be the part that is recognized and praised desire to be what God wants you to do and you may function in a little known, observed or appreciated role, for a time and in your faithfulness God may promote you to a larger role.  Not necessarily more important but more visible and with more responsibility.  If God does not open the door or has not ordained you function in that role you will fail and likely do more harm than good so BE WHO HE HAS CALLED YOU TO BE and REJOICE in that call.  Everybody cannot ride the horse some have to shovel the manure.

            God bless you richly as you go through this day!

PROOF OF GOD’S EXISTENCE???

Spiritual Blog - God

Psalm 19:1-6 – “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.  2 Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge.  3 There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.  4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.  In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, 5 which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race. 6 Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.”  NKJV

 

I have been asked more than once to give someone proof of God’s existence and although I have always been tempted to say, “Give me proof that He does not” but I resist and refer to both scripture and creation to demonstrate His existence.  Here in this Psalm David uses creation as a beautiful picture of the existence of God.  As I read his words I sense something of the awe that he held toward our Creator and His creation.

When I watch a sunset or sunrise I am always awed by what God has done and wonder how anyone could truly believe this just happened.  I could no more view God’s canvas of creation and think it was random chance than I could go to an art gallery and think those masterpieces just happened without the labors of the painter.  I could no more view creation than I could go into an automobile museum and view the classics of the automobile word and believe that a bunch of metal and parts somehow just randomly assembled themselves without the designer and technicians labors.  When I view a newborn baby in the arms of its mother I see the work of creation.  When I look at a slug crawling on the wall I do not picture in my mind that in eons to come that slug will evolve into a human being.  When I observe the perfection of God’s creation giving us night and day, sunrise and sunset I am awed by the majesty of what God has done.

Consider the absolute perfection of our earth’s distance from the sun, the orbit, and axis of the earth and tell me that was random chance.  When I study the intricacies of the human body with its network of nerves, veins, arteries, organs and how it operates to believe that evolved from a single cell in the eons past is more than I can fathom.  I know it is a cliché that some reject but “Design does imply a designer” and there is design in God’s creation.

Can I explain God?  No, but I can believe in Him, experience Him, be led by Him and fellowship with Him.  I know what my life was like before that eventful night that I truly believed, repented and accepted His offer of salvation.  I know what my life was like after that night and it is not my testimony alone that verifies that but that of those who knew me before and knew me afterward.  I became a new creation and without God how do I explain that?  I have experienced divine healing in my body including being healed of Parathyroid cancer, broken bones and experienced incredible miracles in my life and without God, I cannot explain those.  My proof of God’s existence is not only in His word, in His creation but in my heart and life.  I have experienced Him so trying to persuade me from believing in Him is futile.  For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day!

God is alive and loves you dearly.  May God be with you as you go through your day!

IT IS NOT JUST ANOTHER BOOK…

Spiritual Blog - Bible

Hebrews 4:12-13 – “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”  NKJV

 

I had a pastor from a mainline denomination tell me that he considered the Bible just another good book of history, poetry, metaphors, and fables.  He did not consider it particularly inspired and most assuredly did not embrace the inerrancy of Scripture.  He had no interest in studying the Greek or Hebrew and had no interest in the customs of the day in which the Bible was penned.  He felt that he could quote any of the classics pieces of literature and have as much effect on people as the Bible.  That is a view held by more ministers that I have met through the years than I’d like to acknowledge.  If that is being projected from the pulpit is it any wonder why the moral fiber of our nation and world is in the state it is in?

The Bible is not just another book or even another good book it is the Voice of God to man!  The writer of Hebrews under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit declares that it is ALIVE.  Why could he say that?  He could say that because you cannot dissect the written word of God from God and God is very much alive.  In fact, the Bible identifies Jesus as THE WORD that became flesh.  We know that the prophet Jeremiah declared a message from God that He was watching over His word to perform it.  Isaiah declared that the word that proceeds from God will not return to Him without fulfilling and accomplishing that for which it was sent.

Here the writer of Hebrews declares that it is not only ALIVE but it is POWERFUL and describes it as sharper than any sword created by man with the ability to divide soul (mind, will and emotions) for the spirit (the very life of man, that connects him to God).  It can divide the joints and marrow of the bones and an even more arresting declaration it can DISCERN the thoughts and intents of the heart.  David expounded that truth in Psalm 139 declaring that God knows everything and nothing can be hidden.  He acknowledged that God knows and understands his thoughts even before they are recognized in the mind.  He declares that there is nowhere to hide from God and in that vein from God’s word.

The writer of Hebrews affirms that truth declaring that no creature is hidden from the sight of God and EVERYTHING is exposed before Him and ALL MANKIND will give account to the LIVING GOD and be judged by His LIVING WORD.  Therefore, this is not just another book it is THE LIVING WORD OF GOD.  I must advance a warning that if all you have is the letter you will come up short of the prize of God.  If you will recall in John 5 when Jesus had healed the man at the Pool of Bethesda the Pharisees and Sanhedrin were up in arms.  Jesus in His discourse told them that because they did not have the LIVING WORD abiding in them because they failed to recognize, acknowledge and believe in the Christ.  He told them that although they were diligent in their searching the Scriptures and study of God’s word they were coming up short. They searched to find life but missed the Gateway to God, Jesus.

The LIVING WORD testifies of the CHRIST and it is by having the WORD OF GOD (Christ) in our hearts that we have access to life.  It is through the Grace of God that we are saved.  The LIVING WORD testifies of Him and points the way to Him.  I value studying the Bible but encourage you to never allow it to be just another book and never rely on the letter but seek the LIVING LORD of the LIVING WORD to LIVE in our hearts.

            God bless you as you walk before Him in this present world!

GOD APPROVED WORKMEN…

Spiritual Blog - Approved

2 Timothy 2:14-19 – “Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  NKJV

 

Some see no value in the study of the Word or any seeking to understand the original language and I understand that not everyone has the opportunity, diligence or tools to do so but it is important that we heed the warning of verse 14 in our pursuit of verse 15.  If we engage in profane and idle babblings as described in verse 16 arguing over things not of redeeming value we diminish the power of the Gospel which is the power of God to salvation.  If we are so superficial in our discussion of God’s word that we are unable to give an answer for the reason of the hope that is in our hearts we give the devil place to discredit the Gospel message.

I am not suggesting that every become a Greek and Hebrew scholar or even go out and purchase the expensive tools to examine the original language in your studies but be diligent in applying line up line and precept upon precept in our studies.   I am suggesting that we allow the Holy Spirit whom Jesus said would guide us into all truth to take the word and help us connect the dots in such a manner as to cut straight through the false arguments with the Word of God.

In verse 23 Paul warns to avoid foolish and ignorant disputes over Scripture.  Too frequently I have encountered those who profess Christ who wants to major on their pet doctrines and split hairs on things that do not determine salvation and redemption.  While those are important for walking out and working out their salvation and may be genuine objects of observation for them they will only confuse and dissuade non-believers.  Early in my Christian experience, I was given the following advice that I have used as a guide, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”  That was spoken to me as I was attempting to debate minor points to persuade people to adopt my views at the time, and I was quite the Pharisee.

When we are presenting the Gospel it is wise to remember we are handling the Living Word of God which leads to Eternal Salvation.  It is more precious than fine gold and to handle it carelessly can do more harm than good.  Quoting isolated passages without being able to connect the dots may cause great confusion in a novice’s or non-believer’s heart.  If we take the counsel of Peter and understand that prophecies and the Word of God should not be isolated and attempts to interpret isolated passages is not only dangerous it leads to error.  It will be a lifetime study that carries us through the interpretation of Scripture for every passage must be considered in light of every other passage in the Word of God.  In that, we find that what we now understand may be modified as we gain additional light through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and diligent study.  Never become closed minded but keep yourself pliable so the potter can mold us into that vessel He desires.

            God bless you as you go through this day!

CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A PATCHWORK LIFE…

Spiritual Blog - Patchwork

Luke 5:36-39 – “Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old.  37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.  38 But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.  39 And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.'”  NKJV

 

Most of us have dealt with people and may have ourselves sought to ‘turn over a new leaf’, ‘get our acts together’ or our ‘ducks in a row’ thinking that when we do we will be acceptable to God.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told by someone they will turn to God when they can ‘do a little better’ or ‘be a little better.” 

This is largely what the Scripture is addressing here in this text.  The Christian life is not adding a patch of new to the old.  It is not trying to take the new wine of God’s grace and put it in the unregenerate nature.  The newness of God’s Grace would completely destroy the old carnal nature and are totally incompatible.  We cannot add church to our daily schedule and somehow make everything okay.  This not patching up our life but receiving a ‘total transformation’ of our lives.  It is becoming a new creation in Christ.

If we receive the LIFE that Jesus is offering in the new wineskin of regeneration both the wine and wineskin are preserved and benefit derived from that experience and relationship.  If we try to just add God to all the other in our lives we will find that we end up with emptiness and chaos.  If we taste of the new life in the Spirit of God we will not long for the old life that we were living before we encountered Christ in the new birth.

Christianity is not a patchwork it is a transformation.  Unfortunately, many continue to try to add something of God to the old man and become frustrated and disheartened.  That is one reason that some are discouraged spiritually and some have thrown in the towel declaring “this doesn’t work.”  They have not been taught and have not realized that Christianity is not a patchwork.  It is not mending the old garment.  It is not trying to keep the old wineskin and somehow contain the new wine of the Spirit of God.  IT IS TOTAL TRANSFORMATION.  It is being translated from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light.  It is being BORN AGAIN and then walking in the newness of that life.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  When I hear people talk about New Year’s Resolutions or turning over a new leaf I often cringe.  I can understand the objective and desire to do better and be better but you will never accomplish that will willpower alone you can only do it by the Transformation through the Grace of God by faith.  Stop trying to make your Christian Walk a patchwork quilt and allow the Holy Spirit to give you a brand new garment or wineskin so He can pour into you the New Wine of God’s Grace!

God bless as you go through this day!