Saturday, December 17, 2016

Worship in Silence

Image result for Silent before GodMain Scripture Focus:
Zechariah 2:9-13 GW
(9)  I'm going to shake my fist at the nations, and their own slaves will loot them. Then you will know that the LORD of Armies has sent me.
(10)  Sing for joy and rejoice, people of Zion. I'm going to come and live among you, declares the LORD.
(11)  On that day many nations will join the LORD and become my people. I will live among you. Then you will know that the LORD of Armies has sent me to you.
(12)  The LORD will claim Judah as his own in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.
(13)  "Everyone be silent in the presence of the LORD. He is waking up and setting out from his holy dwelling place."

One day the Lord will fully restore Israel. It will be the center of all of His glory reaching out to the whole earth. He will avenge all who have hurt his children and will bring all his people together in one place. The Lord has claimed Judah as his own and will choose Jerusalem as it's capital. In this passage of scripture, it talks about when the Lord will stand in the midst of his people. Then a great silence comes on all of His people as his presence is made known. 

Silence is a type of worship to the living God. Sometimes we forget this truth. We sing songs continuously in order to make our flesh feel better but forget to listen to Holy Spirit. Sometimes Holy Spirit is telling us to be quiet and absorb the essence of our God. Sometimes God is not found in the Noise but in the Silence.

Several years ago, I was in a church service in another nation. The worship team was very gifted and were doing a great job in leading the congregation. We worshiped about 30 to 40 minutes. In my spirit, I felt the worship service going down the same normal path. ( We sing a few praise songs then finish with a few slow worship songs.) Holy Spirit challenged me to get the microphone from the worship leader and tell everyone to be quiet. I obeyed and grabbed the micro- phone. I shared my thoughts and the church got quiet. We stood in silence for about 20 to 30 minutes then the unimaginable happened. All 150 plus congregational members fell to their knees.I remember opening my eyes to see everyone one their knees and crying out to the living God. It was the most amazing thing I ever saw. I feel to my knees right after and was made humbled. We had been strongly visited by God's presence and in our obedient silence; he made his presence known. Many testimonies appeared right after the service that night. God healed some, spoke to some about their future, and strongly encouraged others. The number one consistent testimony was that they all experience God in a new way. Up to that point, including me, no one had ever experienced God in the silence. It was truly amazing.

What if we just stood silent in our gatherings with God? Could we be patient enough to wait for 30 minutes or more? What if our whole worship service was in total silence and God showed up mightily? Can we shut up long enough? Can we be quiet long enough? Can we back away long enough and let God take center stage for once in our gatherings?

This was the problem in the church service I was at. Everyone was familiar with throwing praise and worship songs at God. No one had fully experienced the simple worshiping of God with Him and within Him. You read right. Worshiping God within His presence. It is an amazing accomplishment!!! God desires to visit his people in a fresh and renewed way. That is why our Savior left Holy Spirit for us. Holy Spirit is our connector to the daily worship in Heaven. There is silence, at times, around the throne room of God. There should be silence in our gatherings too. We only need to obey and be more sensitive to Holy Spirit. 

The Challenge is set! Learn to be Silent!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Why do some people have it made?


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Psalms 73:1-10 GW
(1)  A psalm by Asaph. God is truly good to Israel, to those whose lives are pure.
(2)  But my feet had almost stumbled. They had almost slipped
(3)  because I was envious of arrogant people when I saw the prosperity that wicked people enjoy.
(4)  They suffer no pain. Their bodies are healthy.
(5)  They have no drudgery in their lives like ordinary people. They are not plagued with problems like others.
(6)  That is why they wear arrogance like a necklace and acts of violence like clothing.
(7)  Their eyes peer out from their fat faces, and their imaginations run wild.
(8)  They ridicule. They speak maliciously. They speak arrogantly about oppression.
(9)  They verbally attack heaven, and they order people around on earth.
(10)  That is why God's people turn to wickedness and swallow their words.

Growing up, I remember knowing several people who seem to have the minus touch. They could cut up in the classroom, never study, and still make straight A's. It appeared that they never had to work hard at anything. For me, I had to study hard. I had to fight to get A's and B's in the classroom and I was never the class clown because I wanted to learn. When it came to the minus touch; I never had it. When I started our first church, there were no hand outs and I had to struggle to make things happen. When I started traveling the world, I had to trust the Lord and simply go. When I moved my family out to Kansas City, MO to plant another church. I had to trust the Lord again. No hand outs, no ministry support ( other than from my in-laws.) and we knew nobody. Today, I don't have a huge ministry and maybe I am not supposed to. Today, things are not booming for me and it appears it is for others. So what. It makes me no less. 

Asaph felt the same way. He looked around and saw that arrogant people seemed to be blessed. He saw that wicked people were rich beyond measure. It was hard to swallow. Asaph was serving the Lord but his life seemed like a consistent struggle. It did not seem fair!!!! Asaph had a revelation though towards the end of the passage of scripture. 

Psalms 73:13-17 GW
(13)  I've received no reward for keeping my life pure and washing my hands of any blame.
(14)  I'm plagued with problems all day long, and every morning my punishment begins again.
(15)  If I had said, "I will continue to talk like that," I would have betrayed God's people.
(16)  But when I tried to understand this, it was too difficult for me.
(17)  Only when I came into God's holy place did I finally understand what would happen to them.

He came to realize that trying to figure out life was not easy. What was simple was serving the Lord and following after him? We cannot explain life but we can explain afterlife. Asaph realized that his eternity was more important than his finite living. Simply put life is not fair and never will be. Some people will always have it made. Some will seem to have their ministry handed to them on a silver platter. Some will seem to sleep on mattresses filled with money. Unfortunately, some of us will have to work hard to accomplish even a fraction of things that others already have. Regardless, one thing that matters most of all is our relationship with the Living God. Knowing Him and beeing known by Him is the greatest accomplishment one could ever have. 

There are a few things to consider when thinking about why some people have it made. 

1. They are not better than you nor are you a loser.
2. You are not forgotten by God. Read the stories about Leah&Rachel, Joseph, and King David. All of them had to fight and go through extreme circumstances to get to a better life.
3. Society gravitates to the bubbly and outgoing. Just a fact. There is nothing you can do about that.
4. Everyone has different talents and gifts. Be happy with what you have.
5. Never compare yourself to someone else. You can't compare two things that are consistently opposite from each other. Square pegs can't fit into round holes.
6. Keep yourself grounded by surrounding yourself with the right people. Get a mentor.
7. Never become a critic. Sometimes when others appear to be successful; it is easy to become a critic instead of crusader for righteousness.
8. Everyone reaps what they have sown. Good or bad. 
9. Nothing is what it appears to be. Those who appear to have it all typically have closet demons they are fighting each and every day. 
10. Work hard and never stop doing what God has called you to do. Never worry about the size of the ministry or how many people you are ministering too. Get off your butt and go and get it!
11. Be faithful in what God has given you.
12. Be humble 

Nothing is for free and what you desire will never fall from the sky. You have to work for it and you have to keep moving for the Lord. 


Sunday, October 16, 2016

My First Year away from Church


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It has been over a year since I have been in church on a consistent basis. Am I going to hell? Am I a sinner? Has my relationship with God become non-existent? Does God hear my prayers? Have I forsaken the gathering together of the saints? Will God punish me for not going to church?

We can answer some of these questions within this blog. First, why has it been a year since I have consistently gone to church? Well, I work for a living and don't obtain monthly support from hardworking believers. My current job does not allow me to be off on Sundays and even Wednesdays. Therefore, my chances of going to church are limited in today's western Christianity.

To be honest, I have not missed the Western church processes one bit! I have not missed the ritualistic worship and praise time which always proceeds the 30 to 45-minute lecture or " Message". I have not missed church goers who fail to remember who you are and that you have been going to their church for a long time. I have not missed the bulletins and the 15 minutes talks which beg for money.  I don't miss going to a multi-million dollar building and seeing funds for the needy being less. Don't get me wrong. I love the body of Christ, but I don't love man's way of serving God. Man-kind is helplessly fickle and ritualistic.

Jesus warned us about having a Pharisaical spirit.

Mat 23:2-5 GW
(2)  "The scribes and the Pharisees teach with Moses' authority.
(3)  So be careful to do everything they tell you. But don't follow their example, because they don't practice what they preach.
(4)  They make loads that are hard to carry and lay them on the shoulders of the people. However, they are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
(5)  "They do everything to attract people's attention. They make their headbands large and the tassels on their shawls long.

Western Christianity is strongly legalistic. Many churches have fallen to the Pharisee spirit. On Sundays across America, sermons are preached and altar calls are given. Sadly the messages being preached and listened to are not followed. Many legalistic practices are performed which in turn put a heavy load on believers and non-believers alike.
 Image result for free pictures of churches

I am not angry at the church or God. I am upset on what we have become. God has called us to a deeper place. My year away from church has taught me a lot. 

1. I have learned that I need the Lord more than ever.
2. I have learned that church rituals are the same everywhere in the Western culture.
3. I have learned that the enemy has fooled many believers into falling into the Pharisee trap.
4. I have learned that believers need each other but at a deeper level. Something you can't get at a Sunday Service.
5. I have learned that God is calling all believers to return to a deep expression of church life. 
6. I have learned that God is not mad at me nor is He upset at my lack of going to " Church."

The First Christians did not meet in buildings. Church buildings did not come until a couple hundred years after the Apostles died. When a "church" wasn't a building 
These early believers did not have church buildings to meet in. They met mostly in homes. The first church buildings did not start to appear until the early 200s. ( Taken from http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1-300/a-look-at-the-early-church-11629559.html) 

There is nowhere in scripture where God says it is wrong to meet in or building or that it is wrong to meet in a home. However, the first Christians wanted to distance themselves from the pharisaical spirit. Sundays were their day of fellowship and the rest of the week was their days of relationship building. Believers are meant to live life together. They were meant to fellowship and reach the world for Jesus together. Church life should be organic and shared with those who need Christ. 

My first year away from " Church" has been interesting. It has really increased my passion more as to why Organic church life must come to pass. Those in traditional church settings are not evil or ungodly, but their form of worship is not God's desired way. I will still fellowship with the traditionals but will seek the Lord on how to move more towards the Organic church life. 


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Returning to holiness


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Isa 6:1-7 GW
(1)  In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a high and lofty throne. The bottom of his robe filled the temple.
(2)  Angels were standing above him. Each had six wings: With two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.
(3)  They called to each other and said, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory."
(4)  Their voices shook the foundations of the doorposts, and the temple filled with smoke.
(5)  So I said, "Oh, no! I'm doomed. Every word that passes through my lips is sinful. I live among people with sinful lips. I have seen the king, the LORD of Armies!"
(6)  Then one of the angels flew to me. In his hand was a burning coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs.
(7)  He touched my mouth with it and said, "This has touched your lips. Your guilt has been taken away, and your sin has been forgiven."

Charles Harrison Mason is one of my heroes in the faith  who lived during the 20th Century. He is the founding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ denomination which  contributed to being the first denomination to accept the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Today it is the largest Pentecostal denomination within the US. Before CH Mason's evolution into the Holy Spirit baptism, he preached a holiness message. Holiness message is a belief in the " Second Work of Grace." through Jesus. It was a movement that believed that each believer can be totally cleansed from all sin and be sanctified from sin and future sin. The teaching all together is not fully wrong. We are sanctified through the blood of Christ so we can walk in holiness with Him. The Living God is consumed with Holiness. Holiness is what radiants from Him not on Him. It is created as a by-product from his godly purity. 

Isaiah, the Prophet, experienced the holiness of God. He was ushered to heaven and soon discovered the workings of this beautiful place. He saw angelic beings declaring the holiness of God. When they spoke the word " Holy"  it shook the door posts of the heavenly temple. Truly God's holiness is something to see and something to reverence. Isaiah was taken back by the holiness of God and thought he would surely die. The holiness of God is greater than the purest of Gold and mandates adoration. As Isaiah stood in the purest form of God's holiness; he began to feel the conviction from Holy Spirit. He needed to be cleansed like the priest at the holy temple. Isaiah probably understood the risk of  standing within God's holy presence and the consequence for being unholy was typically death. 

Isaiah did not die and was able to stand before the living God. There were three things that happened to Isaiah that you can use when discussing being holy before God.

1.  Be touched by the burning Coal.  The angel that brought Isaiah the coal was a flamed being. In other words, the angel was engulfed with fire but never consumed. In scripture, fire is used often in terms of cleansing and renewal. In order to return to holiness, you and I have to be engulfed by the fire of God. In other words, we have to allow his grace and mercy to cover us. We have to recognize, like Isaiah, that we are unholy.
2.  Let the guilt go away. I believe it is interesting to note that the Angel declared that the guilt should go away before the sins were forgiven. Walking and returning in holiness means that you have been completely sanctified from all unrighteousness. The living God see you pure. He sees you as forgiven. Many times our guilt stops the full covering of God's holiness from coming over us. 
3. Know that your sins are forgiven. There is only one God who can forgive sins. It is the living God we serve. In order to walk in holiness, we must understand that our sins, though many, are completely forgiven. 

The enemy is trying to trick the body of Christ that holy living is impossible to obtain. He is trying to pull us further and further away from the living God. He does not what the holiness of God to engulf his people. Holy God creates holy people. It is our calling to walk with the Lord in his Holiness.  God is not mock. We must be holy as he is holy. 



Friday, July 1, 2016

Confession

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Nehemiah 9:1-3
(1)  When the Israelites assembled on the twenty-fourth day of this month, they fasted, wore sackcloth, and threw dirt on their heads.
(2)  Those who were descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood and confessed their sins as well as the wicked things their ancestors had done.
(3)  They stood in their places, and for one-fourth of the day, they listened as the Book of the Teachings of the LORD their God was read, and for another fourth of the day, they confessed their sins and worshiped the LORD their God.


It was October 31st and the Israelites were assembling together to simply listen to the reading of the word of God. They prepared themselves for the reading from the word of Life by fasting and humbling themselves to truly listen to God's truth. The scripture says for 1/4  of the day the Israelites listened to the word of God. Over 6 hours worth of listening to the reading of God's teachings. In today's church, we get up set if the preacher goes past 30 minutes.  For another 6 hours or more, the people of Israel took the time to confess their sins and worship the living God. The church of today does not spend much time worshipping their God nor confessing their sins. This is why sin is rapid within the Body of Christ.

Nehemiah and the Israelites during this time were a captive people. Their place of worship was in shambles and the walls of the city were mostly torn down or scattered across the land. Jerusalem was barely recognizable. They all knew that their beloved city and temple was destroyed due to the sins of their forefathers and their present sins. They were a people who had turned their back on their God. They were a people who had chosen to ignore his word of Truth.

Nehemiah and the Israelites decided that their present condition was unacceptable. They decided to make a change and to run to their God with an open heart and desperation. Can you image thousands of people yelling and screaming at the top of their lungs and confessing their sins? Then through the confession, the passion and free will of worship started to flow.

We can not fully enter the throne room of God without the confession of our sins. It is important that we ask the Savior of our lives forgiveness. It is important that we are remorseful of our trespasses against Him and we approach his throne of grace with humbleness.

Confession means that one admits to a crime he or she committed. Scripture says we have all come short of the glory of God. Confession recognizes our weaknesses and that we need the living God in our lives. It reveals the evilness within our hearts and opens up the doorway for God's grace and mercy to flow in our lives. Confession is the fire starter to a life of repentance before the Living God. It opens the door for greater experiences in Him. Think about your life right now. Is there any unconfessed sin that is holding back? Do you find yourself trying to reach the throne room of God but never seem to make it? Is Holy Spirit tugging on your heart about some sinful act? The process is easy. Simply confession with an open heart. Let confession turn into repentance and then begin to experience the blessed presence of the Living God.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Fighting against Distractions


Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

There are many distractions in life. The enemy will try to use these distractions to keep us from having fellowship with the Lord and from hearing His direction for our lives.  What are some of the distractions you face? Below is a list of some we might face.

Distractions:
1. Overwhelming Bills
2. Relationships with others
3. Favorite Television shows
4. Working all day
5. Worrying about life issues
6. Recreational activities
7. Family issues

Life is filled with decisions and we are commissioned to hear from the Father and know what Perfect will is for each day. The enemy knows time is limited for the human race. Distractions are his tool for hindering the work of the Lord. You and I have to fight the enemy and his tactics in order to follow God's perfect will for our lives. Below is how we can fight against distractions.

Fighting against Distractions:

1. Don't get caught up in the worldly workings of life.
2. Keep a renewed mind in Christ.
3.  Discern each moment and stay open to the Holy Spirit's direction.
4. Have daily time set aside for the Lord.
5. Keep reading His word and memorizing his word.
6. Do away with habits which control most of your time.
7. Walk in God's peace when following his will and plan for your life.

Distractions don't have to be something that wins in your life every day. You can overcome each distraction through the power of Christ. Don't forget to simply spend time with Him each and every day.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Life full of Regrets




As we get older in life, we begin to look back on all of the events which have taken place. We begin to ask internal questions. Why did I do it this way? Why did I make mistakes in my marriage? Did I fail in the raising of my children? Did I pick the right career? Did I make the right choices overall?

Life can be filled with regrets and filled with many mistakes. I know I have made my fair share. There are things I would change in my life up till this point. I would change my physical condition. I have allowed my body to get out of shape by eating incorrectly and not exercising. By doing this, I have taken years off of my life in the future. If I could go back in time, I would parent my children a little differently. During their teenage years, I believe I allowed too much freedom which in turn probably help lead two of my children down the wrong path. Another thing I would change is higher education and a different career. If I knew that I would never be in full-time ministry, I would have gone to law school and become a lawyer.

 I wish I had wise mentors back in the day who would have taken the time to steer me in the right direction. Unfortunately, I did not have the mentors until years later. Most of the leaders I did have were very self-centered and motivated by personal agendas. A lot of these men were supposedly men of God but demonstrated the opposite of Christ. I use to wonder why I deserved such treatment from the hands of selfish men. I never found the answer other than God had a plan.  Here I am at age 44 and I still have allowed my past circumstances to effect me. Why are regrets so hard to get over? Are we suppose to get over regrets or not have them?

I believe regrets are a part of life. Even God had regrets. Genesis 6: 6 " So the Lord was sorry that he had every made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart." ( NLT) God had seen how evil the world had become in the days of Noah; he regretted creating humankind again to only see them fall into corruption. However, God's regret moved Him to provide a way out for all. His way out from sin would come through his son Jesus. God did not stay in His regrets but moved beyond them.

Regrets are a part of life. The key is to not allow our regrets from moving us forward. Apostle Paul said it best. Philippians 3:13  “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Apostle Paul experienced regrets and set backs but he chose to leave it all behind. He knew that he could never go back so it was important to simply move forward.

Regrets are typically stuck in a time bubble and placed on a finite bookshelf. As believers, we should strive to hear the voice of God and follow after Him. There are times when we will incorrectly interpret his voice. There are times when we will miss the mark and regrets will take place. However,we can learn from our regrets and make our future endeavors successful. Apostle Paul desired to press forward with Christ. He chose to keep heading for that glorious prize. Regrets, setbacks, trials, failures, mistakes, or any other issues would not stop the bulldozer of faith from pushing up ground towards God's glory. We should follow the example and do the same. Being in Christ means never being condemned for past mistakes. Being in Christ means we don't have to live life full of Regrets. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hope

Hope?

The word, HOPE, is a simple four-letter word in the English language. This word stirs something deep inside the listener. It appears to bring anticipation along with it. What is its meaning? What is its existence? Funny I ask about its existence. As if HOPE is alive somehow or has a tangible form. But wait.... Doesn't it?

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith, we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
Hebrews 11:1-3 KJVA
http://bible.com/546/heb.11.1-3.kjva

HOPE does exist. It is the assurance that someone greater than mankind is in control. It is the basis of our faith in God.

We face so many things in today's world. Cancer, wars, famines, life-threatening diseases,terrorism,hate, and so much more. HOPE is needed at an exponential rate. Believers are the carriers of this living organism called HOPE. We stand as a beacon for the world to see. Is HOPE living in you? Is it the fuel of your faith? Be the reflection of HOPE for the world today!