Jul 14, 2011
ALL credit of both music and lyrics goes to Elevation Church, and Elevation Worship
Jul 14, 2011
ALL credit of both music and lyrics goes to Elevation Church, and Elevation Worship
Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8
Overwhelming feelings rise up within us when we face difficult experiences: relational conflict, chronic illness, failure, job loss, and rejection to name a few. When a big problem presents itself, it is tempting to curl into a ball and allow worry to consume us mentally and physically. What will I do?
The verse above reminds us that we can bring our raging emotions and hearts to God and pour them out like water before Him. Just as Mary poured her tears and expensive perfume over Jesus’ feet, we can bring our tender, innermost thoughts and vulnerable selves to Him. An action plan or cleaned up act are not required before coming to God.
He is our safe place. He invites us to barge in and interrupt Him at any time. As you read the Gospels, pay attention to how often Jesus looked up to heaven and spent time in prayer. He intentionally focused His attention on the God of peace and life, and gently invited each of us to confidently do the same.
He [Jesus] looks up to heaven to fix his attention on his Father’s loving face. He is orienting himself to what is most true in the world—not the impossibly inadequate resources. John Eldredge
If you made a list of the things you want most in life, would a discerning spirit be one of them? The Lord places a high value on this attribute and wants all of us to have it. If we don’t, we will make wrong choices because we won’t understand situations clearly.
Discernment is the ability to make sound judgments by perceiving what is not readily obvious. For example, can you tell the difference between legalism and liberty? God calls each of us to live according to our personal convictions, but not all of them are moral mandates for every believer. We should be able to determine the difference between the two.
Another area that requires discernment is distinguishing good from best. God has the perfect plan for each of us; however, there are a multitude of good options before us. For instance, suppose you’re offered two different jobs. They both look promising, but only one of them is God’s best for you. Do you know how to determine His will?
It’s obvious from these two examples that our most basic need for discernment involves being able to understand what God is saying to us. When you’re faced with a decision, how do you know if you’re hearing from the Lord or simply listening to your own desires or reasoning?
The time to develop discernment is now. Don’t wait until a critical decision faces you. Begin today to fill your mind with God’s Word so you can think His thoughts and understand His ways. Spend time with Him in intimate fellowship. The more you know Him, the better you can discern His voice.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11)
What are these “works of darkness” which we must avoid? Some of these works are enumerated in Romans 13:12-13: “Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, . . . not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” A Christian is thus to “cast off” all such works of darkness from his or her own life, to “have no fellowship” with those who practice them, and even to openly “reprove them.”
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19). Such works of darkness stem directly from a denial of God as sovereign: “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, . . . and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21). This darkening of the heart is soon followed by a darkening of the life: “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness. . . . Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:24, 28).
In these days of moral confusion, with attitudes and actions once outlawed by society now being defended and favored (e.g., sexual promiscuity and perversion), and with once-honored attributes now ridiculed (e.g., chastity, spirituality), there are great pressures on Christians to compromise with these works of darkness. God and His standards do not change, however, and He still expects us to shun and reprove them. HMM
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. —Hebrews 13:15
One of the greatest tragedies that we find, even in this most enlightened of all ages, is the utter failure of millions of men and women ever to discover why there were born….
Those who have followed the revelation provided by the Creator God have accepted that God never does anything without a purpose. We do believe, therefore, that God had a noble purpose in mind when He created us. We believe that it was distinctly the will of God that men and women created in His image would desire fellowship with Him above all else.
In His plan, it was to be a perfect fellowship based on adoring worship of the Creator and Sustainer of all things.
If you are acquainted with the Shorter Catechism, you know that it asks an age-old, searching question: “What is the chief end of man?”
The simple yet profound answer provided by the Catechism is based upon the revelation and wisdom of the Word of God: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”
May You be pleased, Father, as I seek to fulfill my chief aim today—to glorify You and enjoy You forever, Amen.
It was in my mouth as sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. (Revelation 10:10)
Let me caution you about the attitudes of some of the bubbly “happy! happy!” people in our congregations who will insist that the Word of God can never be anything but honey sweet!
Fellow believers, when we digest, absorb and soak up the Word of the Lord, it becomes part and parcel of our daily lives. It is our delight. It is indeed honey and sweetness. But as we share that same Word in our witness to lost men and women, we will know something of bitterness and hostility, even enmity.
It will follow then in experience, that Christian believers who are intent upon being faithful witnesses for Jesus Christ may not always find sweetness and light in their contacts with evil, rebellious people.
We need to pray for men and women in our churches who have determined to set their own agendas—to live their lives as they please! They have determined to manage the influences of the Word of God in their lives.
In the evening of the day opportunities are plentiful: men return from their labor, and the zealous soul-winner finds time to tell abroad the love of Jesus. Have I no evening work for Jesus? If I have not, let me no longer withhold my hand from a service which requires abundant labor. Jesus gave both his hands to the nails; how can I keep back one of mine from his blessed work? Night and day he toiled and prayed for me; how can I give a single hour to selfish indulgence? Up, idle heart; stretch out thy hand to work, or uplift it to pray: heaven and hell are in earnest; let me be so, and this evening sow good seed for the Lord my God.
Nov 21, 2012
A Song about THE POWER OF GRATITUDE from a Judeo-Christian Perspective which appears on the “Words of Life” Album.
VERSE: Lord, I am thankful; thankful for the Name of Jesus; thankful for the Blood that cleans us. Lord, I’m thankful for You each day. Each day I am thankful; thankful for the Spirit’s leading; thankful that in You there’s healing. Lord, I’m thankful for You.
CHORUS: Oh let my spirit soar in worship to Your Name. My life is not the same by the power of Your Blood. And every moment that I breathe, Your Spirit leads and meets my every need of walking in the Light of You.
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Matthew 5:44
It starts early. “But Mom, he started it!” It comes naturally to us from a young age: We give what we’ve been given. Kindness begets kindness and anger begets anger. We even unconsciously mimic the energy level and body language of those around us in an effort to connect.
When we feel threatened, we become defensive and stand alert, like soldiers, ready to defend ourselves or perhaps even execute a surprise attack before our adversary can. Having a perpetually defensive spirit damages the key component of our close relationships: trust.
Satan excels at fueling blame and hate. He cheers when we harbor deep resentments that slowly close us off from those around us. While there are harmful and unsafe people, we do not need to become a part of the hate cycle. The antidote to a defensive spirit are compassion, humility, and forgiveness. Jesus reveals in word and action that although it is excruciating and sacrificial to bless and love our enemies, it is the only way to live.
All change comes from deepening your understanding of the salvation of Christ and living out the changes that understanding creates in your heart. Timothy Keller
In a world filled with endless sources of information and opinions, believers need to develop a discerning spirit. Otherwise, how will we know what is true? Much of what we see and hear is based on a worldly perspective that’s influenced by Satan, the father of lies. Deception is found even in the religious realm: Some churches mix lies with enough truth to make some people consider them legitimate Christian institutions.
The only way believers can guard against deception is to ground themselves in God’s Word. The more time you spend filling your mind with the Lord’s thoughts, the more discerning you will be. However, just knowing biblical truth isn’t enough. You must put what you learn into practice so that it becomes more than head knowledge.
The goal is to let God’s Word become such an integral part of your thinking that it guides your decisions. Even if the situation you’re facing isn’t specifically addressed in the Bible, scriptural principles provide the needed wisdom for every choice. In addition, the Holy Spirit is given to each believer; He is a Helper, whose job is to guide you into truth (John 14:26; John 16:13). However, your responsibility is to put Scripture into your mind so God’s Spirit can bring it to your remembrance. If you neglect the Word, you’ll lack discernment.
What are you allowing into your mind? Is the Word high in your priorities? Unless you’re careful, worldly thinking will overpower spiritual discernment. It’s difficult to keep God’s perspective in the forefront if you spend two or three hours in front of the television and only 10 minutes in the Bible.