Pure Worship

During worship, one can often feel pressure to raise their hands in praise.

The problem with doing this is when we adopt the posture of worship without actually fully giving ourselves over to the spirit of worship.

‘Pretending to do and feel something you’re not.’…. where I’m from that’s called lying – which is a sin if I’m not mistaken.

We are out right lying in the presence of God – what about that sounds right?

Absolutely nothing.

Now don’t get me wrong, one can adopt a posture of worship in the spirit of hope and expectation and truly be able to enter into a real communion with the Lord and be able to break through into true worship.

It is in that pure expectation and hope that real worship happens.

When you come before the Lord and it’s Sunday morning and you are not really fired up to be honest and it’s like:  “OK.  It’s worship.  What are you gonna do?  You gonna do like everybody else?”

What is the spirit that you are coming before the Lord and offering your praise to him?

That really is the root of the problem; is that you really need to step back and think:  “OK am I’m just doing this because I truly want to give an offering to the Lord God on High?  Or is it just because well, everybody else is doing it, so I suppose I should too.”

If you are doing it for the latter rather than the former then you really need to stop what you’re doing and take a look and see what you can do.  To re-evaluate.  To actually be able to enter into that place to enter in to that high communion with the Lord so that you can actually break through.

Here’s this though: just because you aren’t feeling it does not mean that you should feel ashamed in front of your peers.  (Because let’s face it, you don’t feel bad for not worshipping God in front of God, it’s not really possible.)

Some people though, they have to work against forces of evil and of darkness; and not feeling the presence of God is because there’s really something blocking them.  It’s in that case that you really, really, really, have to just keep pressing close and just find that breakthrough.

However sometimes just like with speaking in tongues,  you just have to work for it you know it’s sometimes with worship it’s a little like a muscle.   Part of that is because it’s a physical act showing your love for God and part of it is just the more you do it and you’re not to that place the easier it will be.

Many people say that speaking in tongues is like using a muscle, worship is totally the same; the more you worship the Lord, the easier it gets to really press into the Spirit. It sounds completely ridiculous, but believe me it’s true.  All you have to do sometimes is just work at it; but you’re not going to be able to work at it and you’re not going to actually be able to press in close, if you are not coming forward with a pure heart and good intentions.

The more you get into worship, the less you care about whoever or whatever could be watching.  The less you care about anything except for just worshipping God; which is just a beautiful place to be.

To Jesus, if you are coming before him with good intentions, with pure intentions, with a pure heart; it’s just open it and say I am here for you.  Not:  “I’m holding up my hands because everybody else is doing it and I’m gonna feel stupid if I don’t.”

It’s really got to be in the spirit of, ‘I really am putting the focus on you right now God.  I am, really well and truly.  Because it’s all about you.’ 

When that happens, you will forget about your friends, forget about everything on this planet, and just focus on the Lord and that I believe is just true worship.

For you to just focus on the Lord and give Him your all.  You can wave your hands, you can dance about until your feet are bloody, you can shout, you can sing, whatever you do.  When you come  before God to worship, make sure that you do it with a pure heart and with good intentions

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Blame Game

People always want someone to blame, (or something), always.  You gotta blame something: hurt?  You gotta blame something.  Failure?  More blame.

The problem here is that it has become a gut reaction as Christians; we blame Sin.  Sin and Satan, not bad but often inaccurate.

Newsflash sometimes you only have yourself to blame sometimes people will blame even God. Wow what a shock –  not really.

In divorced families blame continually runs rampant.  It is like a cancer and is also what destroys families.  Children especially, are vulnerable to blame due to a lack of communication or lack of knowledge.  Because of blame, lies fester.

No wonder kids blame themselves.

The problem that I have with blame, aside from the obvious, is that it fixes nothing.  Nothing is accomplished when you blame other people and nothing is accomplished when you blame God.  All that it does is just make everybody feel bad and make everybody sad.  So why bother?  Why is it that we do this?

No-one wants to feel stupid, and above all – no-one wants to admit when they do wrong, This is something that goes back to the original sin, in Genesis.

Nobody wants to look bad – and mistakes tend to make you look bad.  The thing is, as Christians, we shouldn’t be worrying about looking stupid.

God is bigger than the bogey man, if looking stupid is the bogey man.

The Bible tells us not to worry about what man thinks, and to not perform for man alone, but for God who sees all and into the hearts of man.  The problem, in my opinion, comes with a lack of faith; and a lack of trust.

How can you trust that God will fix everything if you have no faith?

God hasn’t invited us to a party, but on a wild ride – if we crack under the slightest pressure and begin to blame everything on and off of planet earth, how are we supposed to be able to part the Red Sea?

On Trust

When we wonder why we no longer see ‘Red Sea’ scale miracles, we should take a step back and take a look at ourselves.

In today’s society, very few are adept at trusting God, the problem being that trust is a process; but almost no one wants to devote the time.

Without long practice and determination our trust in the Lord won’t grow.

Practice makes perfect, this is true for more than just daily tasks.  If I can’t learn to trust in the Lord for the little miracles, how am I going to be able to trust Him when it comes to the big stuff?

Being capable of trusting the Lord for the big things and to not fear the little things means that you can become unstoppable.  optimism is a given when you don’t worry about anything, because your trust is in the Lord and you know that your faith is not misplaced.

My Cup Runneth Over…

In Palms 23 verse 5 it says ‘my cup runneth over’

Conversely: My family was just blessed with an overabundance of frozen vegetables.  We now have so many that we intend to bless other families with these veggies.

And really,isn’t that what that verse is all about?  God blessing us so much that our only reasonable option is to turn around and bless others when we are blessed?

It’s like those stories you read online of the chains of people just carrying over the blessing of paying for someone else’s coffee in a long line.

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The thing that so many people forget about is that fact that God wants to bless us.  God wants to bless everyone to the point where the whole earth ‘runneth over’ with blessings.

Rather, people remember that He wants to bless them, grouse when they don’t see immediate pay-off and, get this, they don’t even ask to begin with.

Now some might object to asking God for blessings, ‘You don’t ask for Christmas Gifts!’, but God has already given us so much already, (Salvation, everlasting life, or forgiveness ring any bells?).

Mathew 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given to you…For everyone who asks, receives..

Even if the only time you ever talk to Him is when you ask for something, He is still happy to hear from you.  Sure, He’d be thrilled to hear from you other times as well, but God is always down to hears from His sons and daughters.

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My Cup truly overflows, it may not be with money or other such things, but its does where it counts and I can only hope that as I learn and grow in Christ, my cup will overflow and that I will be able to pass that overflow into other’s lives as well.  Because nothing tastes as sweet as the bread and the water that He gave us. And that gift is nothing if not worth sharing.

The Ultimate Power Pose

It has been ‘scientifically proven’ that power poses.

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(Basically taking up as much space as possible without being rude),  boost confidence.

When we worship, we tend to adopt these poses almost universally.

Coincidence?

I think not.

God loves us and when we worship Him who gives us strength we are also filled with His power and grace.

Because this is more than a ‘power pose’ this is a symbol of total surrender to the God most High.

Conversely, I suppose that from the outside we do need a fair amount of confidence to do the things we do in worship. (see here for more on this topic)

The fact remains, however, that it is only when we completely submit ourselves to God that He gives us all that we need to be the best versions of ourselves because he knows the best versions of ourselves and all that we could be and do as such.

God knows us and loves us so fully we can hardly imagine the depth of the love and caring that He has for us.

We are designed to worship, and I believe that this just proves it.

Faith Like Man’s Best Friend…

The Presence of faith in someone’s life is a beautiful thing.

God has intervened on my behalf frequently, in both the obvious spiritual sense and in the physical.

As I get older – and move into places and times where I am more alone – I am turning into an island of me, where I am in need of intervention as an individual.

My teen years have been, quite frankly, fraught with adventures.  These adventures often require by my heavenly Father.   The frequency of these interventions have done a wonderful thing for my personal faith.

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Because God is continuously rescuing me from all things mundane and otherwise, I have been blessed not only with a fruitful life, but also an unshakable life.

Oh, I still worry – but it’s mostly about the journey, rather than the end product.

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Why worry about the promise, cause it’ll totally happen, God is just that good.

Your Faith Can move mountains and your doubt can create them.

When Jesus rebukes Timothy, He tells him that later there will be people with greater faith despite few signs to inspire it.

I personally have not seen the deaf hear or the Dead Sea split but because God in His infinite mercy and grace has interfered directly in my life on my behalf for His glory and I know it.

Beyond that, my character and my faith have both grown.

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It May not always be readily apparent, but because I am so sure of God’s protection regardless of what happens.  I have a long-term view on life, whatever may happen long-term, He has my whole world in His hands.

Short term there may be tears, but long terms I am safe and I have been saved.

 

Leadership, Change, Fear, and Faith.

As a leader, a good motto or rule of thumb is ‘Be the Change’.

Being the change is all well and good, but what if your change collapses after a while, or ends up not ‘profiting’ and succeeding in the area it was supposed to. What then?

So do you try to go ahead and lead, be the change? Or do you just not risk failure and the opportunity for change and continue to maintain the status quo?

If you are afraid of change – you have no faith.  With God All things are possible, and if you think that you are going to fail, you are doubting the sovereignty of God. If you say, “I’ve failed before with God’s help.” you need to re-think your definition of that word.

If you are afraid of change.  You are afraid of growth.  You are afraid of success.  You are afraid.

Similar to the parable of the talents, we are all given talent by the Lord, and if you are afraid of change, you are afraid of failure at utilizing your talent.

The absence of change is deadly – not just for individuals, but also for countries. Both societies and characters stagnate in the absence of change.

Without change – nothing will ever happen.  If God hadn’t changed the very fabric of the universe we would very simply not be here.  Without changing somethings, God could not have created the Heavens or the Earth.

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I have some friends who have not led lives fraught with excitement/change, (and by excitement I mean weird and sometimes scary events as a result of living in a sin-cursed world).  While not bad people, because they have not been ‘tested’ as it were, by life.  They have not ‘suffered’ the same character development.  One case being so forward as to presume to be more pious than I; because for all of the things to have happened to me I must have done something to deserve them as opposed to themselves, who have lived their lives, ‘right’.

Essentially, I have led such a singularly crazy life because I am a sinner/bad person.

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Two things to remember here:

  1.  We are all sinners – just because we have been forgiven by the grace of God, does not mean that there aren’t still consequences for those sins.
  2. God loves us, and because He loves us, He does not cause bad things to happen to us. He may allow bad things to happen – but He does not punish us.

Aside from all of this is the fact that hardship forces you to grow, and beyond all of the bad I can see the silver lining.

God may not cause these bad things – but He will use them to glorify Himself.

Change is a part of life, we required change in order to grow; if we fail trying to bring change, we will grow from it and we should not fear that, but be prepared to accept it and move on with grace.

Defeatisim and Faith

Voicing your ‘defeat’ is the same as saying that God Lies – that His all-encompassing power and His all-knowing love and mercy does not exist.  That He doesn’t have the absolute authority to speak what is and what isn’t.

Little old you does not have the authority to say what God can and can not do.

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When you start doubting yourself, you are giving into the devil – you are doubting God’s power.  God never gives us more than we can handle together.

That’s not to say that God is not all-powerful – there is nothing He can’t do.  But God loves us, fragile little squishables that we are.

And because we are fragile little squishables – we are also weak in the flesh.

Because sin entered the world – the struggle is real, the bible tells us that we need to live in the world but not be of it.

Once again, I reiterate, we are fragile little squishables and as such can be easy prey for the devil.  In order to combat the devil, we need God; for we have no where near the strength to do so on our own. 

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Therefore, when we doubt God and more commonly, ourselves we are allowing the devil to take ground without any type of fight on the most important battlefield out there – our hearts and minds; to speak doubt and condemnation and to accuse you of lies with impunity.

In order to combat a feeling of defeat, your bible is a powerful weapon, it’s not called the sword of truth for nothing. Remember to feed your soul not just your stomach, if you are still breathing – you are not done.

Just Faith

Habakkuk 2:4b               But the Just shall live by faith.

I was in Philosophy class one day and we discussed the meanings of justice and mercy.  It took us a while, but we eventually came to the conclusion that they were sort of the same thing.

Stay with me here.

Justice is insuring that there are consequences for a crime.                                                   Mercy, is making sure that the punishment fits the crime.

Justice is also making sure that the punishment fits the crime – Justice for the criminal.          Mercy is also making sure that there are consequences for the crime – Mercy for the victim, victim’s family, and society.

When the just ‘live by faith’, it means that they live by a code, (similar to the knights of olde).  Although, unlike the knights of olde, our code is the Word of God, The Bible.

Because we have the Bible as our code it means we live in the truth and by the truth.

Because, even as much as we are just – we must also be merciful, as God is merciful.