Monday, April 29, 2019

Does God Answer Prayer?



It is sad that many people feel the Lord is not answering their prayers. I totally understand their position - suffering is not fair - but we need to know that suffering is definitely not a reflection of God's grace. Every human suffers - but why? This is a difficult issue theologically...consider these things:


1. God didn't initiate suffering in the world - Mankind chose to go this way and walk through the ages without God. Every degree of suffering is the consequence of humanity's choice to turn away from God. The only other choice from the Garden of Eden was to allow satan's laws to be perpetrated upon the earth. 
2. Because of satan's plan, everyone is subject to sickness, death, tragedy etc. Being a Believer doesn't change the fact the world is under satan's curse.
3. No suffering in life is fair - God didn't promise to be fair - He promised to be JUST. Justice may not look like what we want - it may look like He is doing nothing, but we need to trust His ultimate plan and infinite wisdom.
4. When we pray for God to lift the sufferings we face, we are asking Him to intervene with His wisdom and power into our circumstances. We are not asking to have our way - we are asking for His will to be done.
Sometimes it is His will to heal and change our problem immediately, but many times He sees a greater plan. It seems inconceivable to us that a kind and gracious Father would allow His children to suffer - even as we cry out for His help,  but He sees beyond the suffering and has plans that we don't understand. It is not a copout to say this. It is truth. God has not ordered our suffering - He uses the pains and horrors of our lives to shape our souls - but He didn't plan the suffering to hurt us - satan did that, and mankind chose satan over God. God simply uses our pain to change, direct and draw us to Himself. He has many ways and uses for  pain...it is ALWAYS about Him longing for relationship with us and He has our very best at heart even when the utter waste of suffering stares us in the face day after day.
5. Do you remember the story in the Bible about Jesus and the disciples in the boat? There was a big storm and Jesus spoke to the storm and the waves. He told the wind and waves to be still. In another story when they were also in a boat during a storm, He didn't calm the storm...He told Peter to walk on the waves. In one instance Jesus took the storm away...in another instance He wanted His disciples to be increased in faith by walking in the storm. In one instance he calms our storm...in other instances He keeps us in the storm and helps us to walk through it - He has deeper things to teach us. He has a higher perspective that often make no sense to us. It feels as though He has not heard our prayers - that is not the case, He is the Shepherd who walks with us through every valley and shadow of death.
6.  Answered prayer doesn't mean that we get everything we pray for. Think about all the suffering in the world...if all it took to stop every suffering was to ask God to stop it, then all suffering would be over just because WE prayed. That is not how God conquers satan's kingdom. Adam started this...the last Adam (JESUS) is the only one who can, and has, conquered satan's kingdom. It has taken all these thousands of years to bring an end to what Adam and satan started because God is not a magic wand who simply does our bidding. He is working on the hearts of men - He wants His kingdom and the laws of heaven to flow through people who make a free choice to follow Him no matter what happens. He doesn't want spoiled children to follow Him just because they get their way...He wants soft and tender-hearted children who have chosen to follow Him despite the sorrows and battles they face. 
The way God overcomes suffering is two-fold:
a) the power of the resurrected Christ can stop every sickness and suffering in an instant. It was conquered on Calvary - completely - totally - instantly.
b) He can strengthen His Bride in the midst of suffering - purifying their hearts and softening their souls to such a degree that the power of suffering is no longer the issue...His power working through His people is the greater thing. His grace flows through them to a suffering world - even as their own pain rages on. His joy illuminates every darkness - even when they feel as though they sit in deep darkness themselves. His wisdom and grace flows from their lips - even when they cannot find wisdom and grace for themselves. His strength lifts their heads as they stare down the devils plots - even when they feel weak and powerless. 

Paul, the Apostle suffered greatly - He asked God to take away his suffering - but this was Paul's conclusion:

2Corinthians 12:9-10
But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me. 10 So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ—I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power.

Even death itself cannot turn my heart away from my choice to follow Him. Even death itself cannot rob me of the knowledge that I am completely in His hand.
7. So...we are all in God's hands - He hears our prayers and answers them. But...He may not answer them in the way that we want and in the time frame we desire. For some reason that baffles us when God chooses to answer in a different way than what we have asked for. God is interested and involved in the magnificent process of our lives. He is more interested in who we are at the core than giving us everything we want. What He is doing is so much greater than we can see as we stand in the midst of our trouble. He must see that there is a jewel inside our hearts that can be mined through the process of suffering. I know that may seem like a bummer. Unfortunately it is not our choice any more.
8. Suffering of every sort is a bitch...but we must hold on - the reward is ten trillion times greater than anything that satan can throw at us. Read this slowly and meditate on every verse. I am giving it to you in a modern translation and then an older translation that you might recognize. This was written to Christians who were being persecuted and put to death because of their commitment to Jesus - they suffered greatly, and this is paul's answer to their suffering - it is my answer to suffering - it doesn't take the pain away...but it shows where we are seated today and always:
Romans 8:35-39
35 Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish his love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations, dangers, and death threats? No, for they are all impotent to hinder omnipotent love, 36 even though it is written:
All day long we face death threats for your sake, God.
We are considered to be nothing more than sheep to be slaughtered!
37 Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything!
38 So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. 39 There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!

Romans 8:35-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Little Chapel

Clinton Memorial Chapel in Kill Devils Hill, NC 
Very peaceful






















Wednesday, March 13, 2019

New Zealand Prophetic Foundations - Nathan Shaw

I wanted to share an article by New Zealand Pastor, Nathan Shaw. Nathan is highlighting five prophetic foundations and voices concerning New Zealand and her destiny. This article has changed the way I pray for my home country. Shared with permission from Nathan Shaw - thank you:






New Zealand Prophetic Foundations:
Five Important Voices – Nathan Shaw


God’s heart is for people and nations. In the same way that He has prophetic destinies for individuals, He also has prophetic destinies for nations. God is always working to shape and mould nations according to their prophetic destinies. In discerning the destiny and direction of a nation it is important to understand the things that God has spoken to previous generations. New Zealand has a powerful prophetic destiny as a spiritual barometer and prophetic model for other nations. It’s time for New Zealand to reconnect with her prophetic foundations and step into her ultimate destiny. Over the last year my heart has been stirred to seek God about these foundations. During this time He highlighted five important voices.
1. Toiroa: A Māori Prophet
Māori have always had prophets and seers. Prophets and seers help to prepare people for things that are yet to come. The Māori prophet, Toiroa, foresaw the arrival of Europeans. In fact he saw many detailed things about these unknown people, including the way they dressed and the way they travelled. In 1776 He prophesied about them, “Ti ingoa o to ratou Atua, ko Tama-i-rorokutia, he Atua pai, otira, ka ngaro ano te tangata,” which translated into English means, “The name of their God will be Tama-i-rorokutia (Son-who-was-killed), a good God, however the people will still be oppressed.”
Three years after this prophecy the English explorer, Captain James Cook, arrived in New Zealand on his ship HMS Endeavour. I believe Toiroa’s prophecy anticipated two important moves of the Spirit. The first was a profound move of the Spirit in which the vast majority of Māori embraced Tama-i-rorokutia—the Son who was killed. The second move of the Spirit is still to happen. It will lift the oppression that Toiroa mentioned.
2. The Māori Conversion: An Act of Intercession
History reveals the hand of God preparing Māori for a great destiny. In 1814 Samuel Marsden, a missionary with the Church Mission Society (CMS), preached the gospel in New Zealand for the first time. Three significant things stand out about this event:
  1. Marsden’s invitation to preach came from the respected Māori chief, Ruatara. Ruatara had prepared the ground for Marsden’s arrival. 400 Maori were present. Ruatara became known as Te Ara mo te Rongopai which means the gateway of the good news!
  2. It happened on December 25th, the day we celebrate the birth of Tama-i-rorokutia.
  3. Marsden’s message was, “Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy!” The connection with Toiroa’s prophecy, which mentioned “a good God,” is hard to ignore.
As significant as this event was, Christianity was not immediately taken up by Māori. The first baptisms were recorded over ten years later, but there were only a few. Things didn’t really change until the baptism of Ngapuhi chief, Rawiri Taiwhanga in 1830. From our vantage point this marked the turning point of something huge. In 1830 this wasn’t obvious. Although the initial uptake of Christianity was slow, it quickly gained momentum.
By 1834 there was a noticeable increase in the number of baptisms. CMS missionaries recognized that something significant was beginning to happen.
By 1839 there was a huge increase of baptisms in the Bay of Islands. For CMS missionaries it was undeniable that God was doing something hugely significant.
By 1842 God’s work among Māori was undeniable. The work was so phenomenal that even the government noticed and commissioned a survey to know its extent. Through extensive research of CMS records and early census data, mission historian, Malcolm Falloon, has estimated that by 1852, ninety to ninety five percent of Māori professed Christianity! Wow!
Three further things should be noted about this extraordinary move of the Spirit.
Firstly, the focus of CMS missionaries was discipleship rather than conversion. It was normal for Māori to go through a year of instruction before being baptized.
Secondly, the phenomenal conversion of Māori happened predominantly in Māori villages through the outreach of Māori teachers. European mission stations played a significant part in the revival but it was the Māori they instructed who took the message into the villages.
Thirdly, conversion led to radical changes in lifestyle.
Māori not only welcomed Samuel Marsden to preach in 1814, they also welcomed Tama-i-rorokutia into their lives in record numbers. This released a profound voice of intercession before God’s throne. The Biblical record shows that intercession is frequently an act. Abraham offering Isaac to God was an act on intercession that opened the door for God to offer His own Son on the cross 2000 years later. Jesus death and resurrection was an act of intercession that opened the door for men and women of every tribe, tongue, people and nation to come before the throne of God. Māori embracing Tama-i-rorokutia in record numbers from 1830-1850 was an act of intercession that rose from New Zealand and ascended before God’s throne where it was received, recorded and awaits fulfilment (see Revelation 8:3-5).
3. Te Tiriti—The Treaty of Waitangi
In the middle of the Māori Conversion a significant document was written and signed. The Treaty of Waitangi “was drafted with the intention of establishing a British Governor of New Zealand, recognising Māori ownership of their lands, forests and other possessions, and giving Māori the rights of British subjects. It was intended to ensure that when the declaration of British sovereignty over New Zealand was made…the Māori people would not feel that their rights had been ignored” (Wikepedia). The spirit of the Treaty was to unite and protect.
The Treaty was signed for the first time at Waitangi, February 6th, 1840. From there eight additional copies of the Treaty travelled around New Zealand to receive signatures from Māori chiefs and leaders. In 1840 Māori were by far the majority—90,000 would be a good estimate. In contrast there were only about 2000 Europeans. Subsequent to the Treaty being signed there was a large increase in European immigration. This increase was anticipated and the Treaty was initiated to protect Māori.
Conflicts concerning the meaning and interpretation of the Treaty, particularly to do with land ownership, led to the New Zealand Wars between 1845-1872. During and after the New Zealand Wars the Treaty was often disregarded. The Treaty of Waitangi laid the basis for a partnership between Māori and European. History shows that it became the basis for much division and conflict. Differences between Māori and European culture led to misunderstandings rather than richer understandings. Often Māori and European saw each other as obstacles to their destinies, rather than a key to a much higher destiny. In terms of British colonies the Treaty was unique. God’s heart was for a partnership: two different cultures—each with strengths and weaknesses—combining their strengths, overcoming their weaknesses, and learning from each other.
Secular history doesn’t acknowledge the spiritual battle that was being fought over this partnership. Satan feared the authority and glory that would come forth from the partnership—an authority and glory destined to impact many nations. As Paul says in Ephesians 6:12, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Demonic forces worked to deliberately wound the relationship between Māori and European while it was still in its infancy. One of the main strategies was to blind both races to God’s plan.
The Treaty of Waitangi was signed during a phenomenal move of the Spirit among Māori. From the perspective of missionaries working with Māori the Treaty was important to prevent settlers from hindering this phenomenal move. The Treaty of Waitangi had a voice. It spoke of God’s purpose at the foundation of a new nation. Although the voice of the Treaty was muted by subsequent generations, the true spirit of the Treaty will resound once again. It will speak with a greater authority than ever before.
4. Māori As A Prophetic Message
Every person is wonderfully and fearfully made and is a message that reveals unique aspects of their Creator. The same is also true of people groups. Māori as a people are a unique message. They are pioneers, warriors, seers, team players, community minded, creative and deeply spiritual. They reveal something of God that is important for an end-time generation. It is not by accident that the Māori war dance known as the haka has become known internationally through performances by New Zealand’s world renown rugby team, The All Blacks. The Māori people are, and will be, a prophecy to an end time generation. The impact will go around the world. One of the reasons for conflict after the Treaty of Waitangi is because Europeans didn’t fully appreciate Māori as a prophetic message—a gift that was intended to enrich the lives of a new group of pioneers called to New Zealand by God.
5. The Land
The land has a voice. I don’t mean to sound mysterious. I’m simply referring to a very Biblical concept. Many times in the Bible God’s creation is personified and has its own voice. God and creation are distinct, but God’s Spirit moves through His creation. Speaking of Israel, Isaiah says: For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12). When Jesus was challenged by the Pharisees because people were praising Him, He responded: “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40). The Apostle Paul, understanding this ancient world view, declares without question that creation groans because it yearns to be delivered from bondage (Romans 8:19-22).
Not only does the land have a voice, but God also sets apart specific territories for specific people groups. Paul makes it clear in Acts 17:25-26: God gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. Just like we are set apart for God ordained purposes, lands are set apart for their purposes. It’s not something that I can explain, but in some way the land knows this. The land has a voice because it knows its destiny. The main contention between Māori and European has been the land. The land has a voice. Although this sounds mysterious and mystical to Western mindset, it is something with which Māori are familiar.
Māori and European are privileged to be on the land known as New Zealand or Aotearoa. The land has been destined by God to host them. When there is wounding between the occupants of the land, the land hurts. The voice of the Spirit also speaks through the land. It speaks of healing, forgiveness, restoration, unity and destiny. The enemy greatly fears God’s purpose for Māori, European, and the land of Aotearoa.
The Māori Conversion from 1830-1850 was an act of intercession that released profound blessing over the land. In contrast, whenever the Treaty of Waitangi was dishonoured it released a curse over the land. The blessing that came through the Maori Conversion is much greater than the curse that came when the Treaty was dishonoured. Light is greater than darkness. The story is still unfolding. The light will overcome the darkness.
A Destiny Like No Other
New Zealand is unique in so many ways. So is her destiny. The profound authority that will come from New Zealand will be far greater than her size. New Zealand will have a voice that will reverberate all the way back to Jerusalem. Consider these five voices: The voice of the Māori prophet, Toiroa; the Māori Conversion of 1830-1850, which was a voice of intercession before God’s throne; the voice of Te Tiriti, a treaty between two peoples; the voice of Māori as a people uniquely fashioned by God; the voice of the land. There are so many voices, but it’s important that we hear the right voices. These five voices speak of a destiny like no other. God’s Spirit speaks through all five.
New Zealand stands at a pivotal point in her history. Destiny awaits. Those who listen will hear what the Spirit says (Revelation 2:7). Those who know their God will arise and do great exploits (Daniel 11:32).
© 2019 Nathan Shaw


Painting of Samuel Marsden preaching in New Zealand on Christmas Day 1814



Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Victory Over Temptation

For years I have been fascinated with Bible verses that have one word repeated three times. It usually turns out that this particular verse is a key verse when it comes to understanding that word or concept.

1 Corinthians 10:13 is one such verse:

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man;
but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will also make a way of escape,
that you may be able to bear it.

The word "temptation" or "tempted" is mentioned 3 times in this verse. There are seven monumental statements concerning temptation found right here - keys of wisdom that will help you to understand and overcome any and all temptation:

1. Overtaken - Temptation so often feels as though it overwhelms and overtakes us. We feel as though we have no control over it - or over ourselves. This is not true - Jesus was tempted but He never sinned (Heb. 4:15). Temptation may lead to sin, but it doesn't have to. Temptation is not the same as sin. Temptation asks us a question - sin says, "Yes" to the question.

2. Common to man - Every one of us get tempted. It may seem like we are in some special place where the temptations and trials of our lives are extraordinary...that is not the case. As it turns out...our temptations are very common. All people of all ages, all types, and all cultures are tempted just like we are. Maybe that is why Jesus teaches us to pray: "Lead us not into temptation" (Matt. 6:13).

3. God is faithful - GOD IS FAITHFUL! This statement standouts out as a banner in the midst of the verse. 
• He is faithful to be with us. The Lord is not ashamed of us - no matter what the temptation is, He is there in the midst of it - He stands with us. Temptation might make you feel isolated and alone, but His presence is assured. He never abandons us - especially in the midst of trials and temptations (Heb. 13:5).
• He is faithful to understand our trials...The Lord knows us completely and understands the unique makeup of our lives and what we can bear. He knows us and he knows the trials.
• He is faithful to not allow temptation to come upon us if we cannot bear it - He is our Guard who stands watch over every detail of our lives. He will thwart every temptation and attack that is too much for us to bear. He is our Priest and intercessor who cheers us on in the midst of temptation.
• He is faithful to make a way of escape...He is faithful to carry the burden with us. If we keep our eyes on Him, we will find a way through the darkness, a door to freedom when temptation threatens to overwhelm.

4. God...will not allow - The Lord will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able. He is not the author of the temptation in our lives (James 1:13)...We have an enemy who seeks to destroy us (1Pet. 5:8) but God is the One who watches over us and blocks the attacks of the devil. It is He who says, "Enough!"

5. With the temptation - God never says He will take away the temptation - only that He will make a way for our escape with the temptation. So...even as the battle rages on inside our hearts, God is working on our behalf. Turn your eyes and heart to the Lord during times of struggle. Even while the temptation tugs on our hearts, there is the Lord with His way of escape right through the heat of the battle. The Greek word for the preposition "with" is syn, meaning union, companionship, completeness, possession. I believe that the Lord weaves our way of escape into our union and relationship with Him. The temptation doesn't stand alone to isolate us from God. With the temptation we uncover sonship - with  sonship we find companionship - with companionship is our escape route. When we are with the Lord and possessed by Him, we will find our way to victory.

6. A way of escape - Our escape route may not look the same each time. Sometimes we might escape through prayer (Matt. 26:41). At other times we will need to run from it like Joseph did in Potiphar's house (Gen. 39:12). Jesus used the Word of God to overcome temptation (Matt. 4:5-7); and Paul gave no harbor in his mind for temptation to latch onto - he filled his thoughts with things that are true, noble, pure, excellent, etc. (Phil. 4:8). James instructs us to resist the devil and he will flee (James 4:7), so actively standing up to the enemy can be a powerful tactic. We might also have a friend who will faithfully carry our burdens and hold us accountable (Gal. 6:2). Jesus gave us His body and blood so that we might abide in Him and be safe (John 6:56-57). The pathway out of temptation might be unfamiliar at times, but our escape is assured and total victory is always within our grasp.

7. You are able to bear it - The way of escape is given to us so that we can bear the temptation...it does not say that we have a way of escape so that the temptation no longer presents itself. This is a super important distinction. The temptation may continue for a time, but the escape robs it of its power and it's incessant voice dims in the light of God's presence. When we accept His ways and bring Him into the battle we will find the source and birthplace of complete victory. The Greek word for "bear" is hypophérō  which means to undergo hardship and bear it patiently, also - to bear from underneath. it is as if God's strength and power over the temptation rises from deep within us - out of relationship and abiding in Him. It is a patient assurance of our ultimate triumph.

Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. 
Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life
that the Lord has promised to those who love Him
James 1:12







Friday, November 23, 2018

The Cycle of Christian Maturity

Colossians 2:6-13

There are seven things that are WITH HIM and IN HIM from Colossians 2. These seven things are centered around the fact that the fullness of God dwells in Christ. Because of this we are affected deeply. Through these steps, we come to maturity:



The fullness of  God dwells in Christ (Col. 2:9)
i
We walk in Him (Col. 2:6)
i
We get built up and enriched in Him (Col. 2:7)
i
We become complete in Him – Filled with God (Col. 2:10)
i
We are circumcised in our hearts as we remain in Him (Col. 2:11)
i
We are buried with Him into His death (Col. 2:12)
i
We are raised with Him into resurrection power (Col. 2:12)
i
We are forever alive in Him (Col. 2:13)


Because the fullness of God dwells in Christ:
When we walk in Him we are built up and enriched in Him. This makes us complete in Him and filled with God because we are circumcised in Him and buried with Him into His death until we are raised with Him. The result is that we become completely alive forever with Him.

It is the fullness of God in Christ and in us that makes this happen.

Then the cycle begins again - because we are alive in Him...we continue to walk in Him and get built up in Him so that we can be complete in Him...and so on. This is the cycle of our continual maturing in Christ.

Another way to look at it:










Friday, March 23, 2018

Character

Good character is:

- the abode for all virtue
- the foundation for true success
- the strength to overcome every adversity
- the fuel that propels us towards our destiny
- the credentials for building nobility into others
- the light that guides our way through darkness


- the true beauty of our soul
Vivien Hibbert


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Worship Wars - The Style of Music



It is hard to find the perfect balance between old and new songs without getting into "wars." That is why our focus HAS to be on the Lord and not on the STYLE of the song. If a song leads us to the King, then it doesn't matter what song it is - the destination is more important. The songs and music are the vehicles that carry our hearts into the presence of the Lord. Church culture, national culture, different generations, etc. all influence what style of vehicle we like...but if we reach the destination of God's presence then we have achieved the primary goal of worship. 

It is possible to have authentic worship with contemporary styles of music, ancient hymns...or no music at all. Whatever songs are able to take your congregation on a journey into God's presence are the "right songs" for your congregation. Worship is not about the music - it is about pouring our hearts before the Lord and communing with Him. We should "fight" to have the presence of God - not to have our particular style of music.

Our problem comes when we fall in love with the Lord as we sing various songs. Those songs become our "friends." they take us on the journey into His presence again and again. Subsequent generations come along and their "friends" are different - they discard our old songs and strike up with new songs that are foreign to our ears. That is why younger people need to have RESPECT for older saints and older folks need to be CHAMPIONS for the music and sounds of subsequent generations. Bottom line: focus on the King - the destination of worship...not on the music which is simply a tool to take us to His presence.




Wednesday, January 10, 2018

You Worship When...

Some people have a hard time understanding that they are worshipers. They don't express worship outwardly like many others...and they may not have intense feelings of passion like some of us. 

If this describes you - don't focus on your feelings or expressions of worship - just focus on being in His presence - through the Word and in prayer.  Practice BEING with Him in a very simple yet deliberate way.

Apart from all the obvious times when we worship - let me say this...because you have given Him your life:

You worship when you smile at Him
You worship when you smile at strangers
You worship when you serve the unlovely and unholy
You worship when you enjoy what He has made
You worship when you are thankful for all He does
You worship when you obey Him
You worship when you take time to love a child
You worship when you love the old and infirm
You worship when you give Him your time
You worship when you wash the feet of the broken
You worship when you are faithful even when it is difficult
You worship when you seek to understand others
You worship when you wait, and linger in His presence
You worship when you do as Jesus did
You worship when you whisper His name

You worship when you make those thousands of small and large decisions each day that show He is the center of your life and worldview. He is the reason you do what you do. He is the Lord and Champion of your life - this is your reasonable worship (Romans 12:1)


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

God is the Consummate Artist

Look at all the arts that God engages in - surely these are just a few of His many talents:

He is a sculptor and potter who made his own clay (Genesis 1-2; Jeremiah 18:1-6).




He is a painter who made all the colors (Genesis 1-2).







He is a musician who formed every sound and gave ears to hear with, and a singer (Zephaniah 3:17; Revelation 1:10). Everything He created sings back to Him.



He is a dancer (Ps. 68:24). The procession of God in the sanctuary with the singers and dancers; (Zeph. 3:17) means: He rejoices over you with songs and dances.



He is a poet – look at the beautiful poetry that He recites to Job (Job 38-41)...and even His creation is an expression worthy of a poem.





He is a writer who has written the greatest best seller of all time—the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16).



He is a story-teller and an actor: Jesus used parables in the Gospels to convey mysteries, and His prophets used dramatic arts to convey God’s words (Matthew 13:34; Hosea 12:10).



He is an architect of mountains and sky (Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 44:24).




He is a Tailor - a worker of needle and thread. He has woven a garment of light for himself (Psalm 104:2) and has provided a golden wedding garment for his bride (Psalm 45:9, 13-14). He has clothed the lilies with beauty (Matt. 6:25-34).



He is a creator of culinary delights - the earth overflows with His bountiful provisions (Exodus 16:31; Numbers 11:7-8; Psalm 34:8; 119:103; Song of Solomon 2:3).  




He is a perfumer, and even His name is a healing ointment that smells Divine (Psalm 45:8; Song of Solomon 1:3; 3:6; 5:1; 5:13).



He is a Carpenter - Matt. 13:55; Mk. 6:3 (Heb. Teckton).



He is a jeweler – Mal. 3:16-17.



He is an engraver – on His hand – Is. 49:16.



He is a flower arranger/landscaper – Lu. 12:27  Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 





In all of these, he is without equal. There is none who can match his artistry, excellence, and genius.