Prayer

I love the dictionary.com definition which defines prayer as a spiritual communion (intimacy) with God as in supplication (request), thanksgiving (thanks), adoration (worship), or confession (admission).

Prayer is our way of communicating with our creator. It is an intimate communication. It allows us to request from God those things which we feel as if we are in need of. It permits us to thank God for the things that He has already provided for us. It provides an avenue for us to privately worship God because of who He is. And finally, it allows us to admit to God that we are imperfect creatures who are ever so grateful to have the love, grace, and mercy of a perfectly, marvelous God.

Prayer, however, is not a one-way communication. Prayer is a device, just like a telephone or computer, that allows us to connect to God’s phone line.  Because God operates on a heavenly frequency, its a wireless connection; meaning that there are no wires to contend with. There are no answering machines or voice mail so you never have to punch a bunch of numbers to get a connection.  There are no busy signals because God’s broadband is beyond anything we can think or imagine. Prayer is a direct line, like the Bat-phone of old, always open for direct communication with an omnipresent God. When we call, God listens; but the key to prayer is that when we listen, God answers.

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Be Revived and Raise UP!

“Revival” is a modern church word that signifies a spiritual awakening and rejuvenation that can only come from God. Although the word “revival” cannot be found in the King James Version (KJV) nor the New International Version (NIV) of the Holy Bible, its root word, “revive”, can be found seven times in the KJV, but only four times in the NIV. Ultimately, there are three verses using the word “revive” that are common to both the KJV and the NIV: Psalm 85:6, Isaiah 57:15, and Hosea 6:2.

In the Psalms, the Sons of Korah expressed their need for revival by stating their petition unto God: “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (85:6). This statement makes a sincere proclamation for the need for us to be linked to God and revived by Him in order for us to celebrate who He is. It’s hard to celebrate God when all hell is breaking loose around us. It’s hard to rejoice in God when fear and depression have found a permanent resting place in our minds. Therefore, every now and then we need to be revived that we may rejoice, finding joy in the Lord.

Next, the Prophet Isaiah provides a word from God that reveals who should expect a revival. God says, “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (57:15). In other words, you cannot expect God to live with you and to revive you upon your beckon call if you are not humble in your spirit. Haughtiness will not get you anywhere with God. Likewise, you must be contrite in heart—ashamed and remorseful for all of the dirty deeds you’ve done. You must be penitent with your heart and actions aligning to reflect such.

Further, the prophet Hosea gives us an understanding that revival is just the beginning: “After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.” We should not stop with just being revived; we need to be “raised up” in order to enter the presence of the Lord. We need to be raised up from the weight of the worldly and elevated to the joy of the heavenly. We need to be raise up from the dungeon of darkness and exalted in the light of the Lord. We need to be raised up with Jesus that we may abide in Him as He abides in us (John 15:4).

I must say: I have been revived this week during our Youth and Young Adult Revival 2014, but more importantly, I’ve been raised up to a new level in Christ Jesus! To all of you reading this, “I’ve Got the Hookup, Holla If You Hear Me.” You must “Get Your Mind Right” if you want the hookup.   And when you’ve got the hookup, you realize that despite all you’ve been through, “Something Good Will Come Out of This!”  R A I S E  U P!

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Worship

Praise and worship is one of the most beautiful occurrences that Christians experience during weekly Sabbath Day gathering with one another. It’s an occasion where participants can feel the presence and move of God. But it is more than a mere feeling. Deliverance occurs during praise and worship. The power of God is manifested during praise and worship. The presence of God becomes imminent during praise and worship. Yet, most people do not realize that there is a distinct line that should be drawn between praise and worship.

Praise is the outward expression and pouring out of the believer that acknowledges the great things that God has done. Praise is an exuberant showing of grateful thanks to a God who has come through time and time again. Worship, on the other hand, is more of an internal occurrence. Although worship is shown outwardly by bowing down before God, it is the inward submission and obeisance to God that makes worship acceptable unto God. Worship is a sincere, spiritual event. Therefore, every Christian should make an effort to transform from being merely praisers to being true worshippers.   True worshippers must worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). So bow down and worship Him!

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Praise

In 2001, Shekinah Glory Ministries crooned these lyrics that virtually established their place in Gospel music: “Praise is what I do, when I want to be close to you, I lift my hands in praise. Praise is who I am, I will praise Him while I can. I’ll bless him at all times.” These lyrics embody the essence of praise and worship.

We are to praise God because that is what we are supposed to do; that is what we were created to do. Praise allows us to get closer to God. It allows us to be in His presence and experience the divine nature of His being.

Praise should not be an afterthought. But it should be a significant part of who we are. We should be praisers, not just some of the time, but ALL of the time. We should praise him with everything we have: our instruments, our voices, our hands, our money…..EVERYTHING! Let everything that has breath, PRAISE THE LORD!

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Shepherd

One of the first Bible verses that I learned as a child was Psalm 23:1—the LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. This passage of scripture is probably one of the most familiar scriptures to people from all walks of life, Christians as well as non-Christians.

This verse, the beginning of a Psalm written by David, is one that is often used to comfort those who are mourning the loss of a loved one. It is a personal psalm that begins on a personal note: The LORD is MY shepherd. In other words, the Psalmist takes personal possession of the LORD, claiming Him to be his very own Shepherd. A shepherd is a leader, a protector, and a provider. These are all attributes that David was very familiar with, having served as a shepherd for his father’s sheep. David provided for, protected, and led his father’s sheep, and displayed these characteristics leading the united Kingdom of Israel.

David was aware that GOD provides the same service to us—God’s sheep. God protects us time and time again from dangers seen and unseen. He not only leads us beside the still waters, but he also leads us in our daily lives through the presence and direction of the Holy Spirit. Finally, GOD is Jehovah-Jireh—our provider. I realize often that I’m nothing but a helpless sheep. But I’m so glad that GOD is my Shepherd.

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Humility

On Easter Sunday, we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus—the Christ and Messiah of the world. Jesus, the Son of God, shed His divinity and came to earth from His royal residence in the Kingdom of Heaven. There, angels bowed before Him. He was King of kings and Lord of lords. He was a part of the Trinity—a supreme Ruler. He had all power, and all riches belonged to Him. He was adored, revered, and worshipped.

And yet the earthly story of Jesus is filled with unparalleled humility. He was born outdoors and laid in a manger; not the made-for-TV version, but the one that looks like and was used for feeding animals. He lived modestly, working as a carpenter before His earthly ministry began (Mark 6:3). He traveled the region teaching and preaching without a place to lay His head (Luke 9:58). He humbly laid down His life for us, dying an agonizing death by crucifixion (1 John 3:16).

There was no mansion. There was no luxury chariot. There was no large bank account or gaudy bling around His neck or on His fingers. Yet through humility and selflessness, Jesus made an eternal impact on the world. He provided our model for humble service.  Humility plus service will yield substantial honor. You don’t have to boast about what you do, just do it! If you want to boast, boast in the Lord! (2 Corinthians 10:17).

 

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Joy

When I was just a young lad, I can remember the church congregation singing words that would forever penetrate my heart and my mind: “This joy that I have, the world didn’t give it to me…the world can’t give it and the world can take it away.” Yet over the years, I’ve watched so many Christians relinquish their joy to the things of this world, forgetting to be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:2). They forget to think outside of what they see; to believe outside of their circumstances; to both think and believe with their faith in Christ Jesus.

When a Christian thinks with faith, he/she realizes that those things which seemed impossible are still possible with God (Matthew 19:26). That’s why even on dark days—on days filled with difficulty and anguish—a child of the King should still be able to muster up some good, old-fashioned, Christian joy, believing that joy is coming in the morning (Psalm 30:5). “For in due season, we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9)!

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