Showing posts with label Worship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Worship. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Finding Peace – God’s Power in us - Purity 487

Finding Peace – God’s Power in us            

Purity 487 08/03/2021   Purity 487 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo comes to us from a friend’s morning glide across Prospect Lake where they spent a few days camping at Prospect Lake Park in North Egremont, Massachusetts last week.   Today’s photo isn’t very flashy, but I love the reflected stillness of the waters and the sense of symmetry that comes as the early morning light shows us a mirror image of our world upside down.  

It's summer and many of my friends regularly take to the nature areas of our world to get away from it all when they want to decompress from the stress of their normal routines or want to seek a few moments of refuge as unexpected changes or losses have made them feel like their worlds have been turned upside down.   

If we are observant the one thing we can never honestly say is that “nothing ever changes”. While some patterns seem to be a constant part of our lives, every day is new and each one brings us closer to the ultimate reality where we will know the truth about God when we see Him face to face. 

But in the meantime we have to make it through today while trying to prepare for a future that we can never be certain of.  

Now that I no longer garage at home, every discordant sound from my Honda CRV has me concerned as it is my sole means of transportation, and I don’t want to suffer any breakdowns that will derail my travels or disrupt the flow of my otherwise peaceful days.  So I made an appointment to have my brakes and exhaust checked suspecting that one if not both of those systems are in need of some regular maintenance.  

My concern over my car is indicative of the fact that we must be self-aware and attempt to establish and maintain good health or balance in all the aspects of our lives if we want to maintain peace.  

Life will change on its own, sometimes with little warning, so I try and encourage my children to try to avoid problems by being diligent to perform regular maintenance with the things in their lives and to fix problems as soon as they come up because the impermanent nature of our world almost guarantees that another problem is just around the bend.  

In the transition of having to commute again, I have less time in the morning at home, so I was a little anxiety ridden over getting to work on time and maintaining my morning practices of prayer, Bible study, and journaling/blogging.  

I was happy to see that, as long as I maintained a degree of focus, I could indeed do it all in a timely manner.  

I was also thrilled to rediscover my practice of worshipping the Lord in song on my morning commute.  When I garaged at home, it was all business from the moment I left my driveway as I would immediately dispatch on my first job. 

While I would have worship music playing on route to my first job, my preoccupation with work and the fact that I was in a company vehicle inhibited my joyful expression of praise significantly.  

Yesterday, in my own vehicle, I was free again to enjoy a half hour of praising the Lord in song without reservations as I raced my way to the garage.   

So what could have been a continuation of my anxiety of getting to work on time was magically transformed to a rich part of my daily spiritual practice as my mind, will, and emotions were directed toward God and all who He is and all He has done in my life.  

So, when I got out of my car and walked onto the grounds at work, I was positively beaming with joy and took delight in greeting some of my fellow workers that I hadn’t seen in quite some time. 

Again, this is how we walk in the Spirit, while I could have been angry or annoyed at this unwanted change, because I focused on the Lord and my relationship with Him my morning and day was defined by peace and joy.   

God has given us the power to find peace regardless of our circumstances.  He gives us the ability to adapt to all the situations that life brings to our doorstep. So much so that some of us enjoy “roughing it” by retreating from our homes with all their modern conveniences and going to His creation to find peace and tranquility in a place where the world system is diminished, and His presence is more apparent.  

But please realize that we don’t have to pack up our tents and sleeping bags to find that peace.  God is omnipresent so if we simply turn our attention to Him, He will be there to give us strength, wisdom, joy, peace, and love.  So keep walking and talking with God, for me it’s the only way to go.  


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This morning’s meditation verse is:

Luke 9:26 (NKJV)
26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels.


Today’s verse directs us to be open and to identify ourselves as Christians for all the world to see.   

Being a Christian in this world isn’t easy.  In our modern society, Christians are viewed with skepticism and contempt which is reflected by the fact that tolerance for other religious systems of belief is preached but the attitude toward evangelical Christianity seems to not be so tolerant as accommodations are being made for other systems of faith but the ability to openly practice evangelical Christianity is being increasingly regulated and legislated against.  

This hostile environment that would call Christianity hateful and the religion of bigots may cause those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ to not be so vocal about the exclusivity of Jesus Christ to save or about their identity in Christ.  These loud voices from an immoral world may cause some Christians to be silent about their faith as they don’t wish to judge their fellow man or be perceived to be unloving.   

But today’s verse tells us that we are not to be ashamed our Savior, Jesus Christ, or the Word of God, the Holy Bible.  Some Christians fearing the opinions of man try to put an emphasis on Jesus but choose to distance themselves from the Bible which reveals their ignorance and immaturity because it is from the Bible that we learn everything we know about Jesus.

So inseparable is Jesus from the Word of God that the Apostle John referred to Jesus as the “Word became flesh” (John 1:14), “the Word was God” (John 1:1), and “his name is the Word of God” (Rev 19:13). These verses indicate that Jesus is the personification of the written and spoken word of God.   You don’t get one without the other.  

So we are to not be ashamed of our faith in Christ, for on the contrary, Christ commanded his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations”, teaching them to “obey all the commands” that Christ has given us (Matt 28:18-20).   

Today’s verse is pointing to an authentic Christian faith that involves living our lives as disciples. But it also warns of the consequences of the possibility that one could deceive themselves by having a “form of godliness but denying its power”, meaning that some will believe they are Christians but will not truly put their faith in Christ with their lives and will be horribly surprised when at the hour of their death they are told “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23).     

So seek out your salvation with fear and trembling, God calls you to repentance and a new abundant life. So don’t be ashamed of the One who gives you all things. Speak the truth in love and give yourself as a living sacrifice to His kingdom.

The fruit of the Spirit grows when we practice our faith. Its not about perfection but it is about continually following the ways of the Lord and identifying ourselves publicly as His children.    




As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 


Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, beginning Chapter 10.


As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Chapter 10

You Must Be Real to Be Right

I met Judy when I was fresh out of seminary and ministering in the college department of a very large church. She was a 26-year-old university graduate who had a teaching credential, but she looked like a flower child from the '60s. She wore tattered jeans and no shoes, and she carried a well-used Bible.

Judy was a church hopper and attended a women's Bible study class that met in our church. She had sought counseling from the leader of the class several times about her many problems. When the leader learned that Judy had been institutionalized three times in the previous five years as a paranoid schizophrenic, she felt totally inadequate to counsel her. So she asked if I would see Judy. Although I had no formal training in this area of counseling, I agreed to talk to her.

When Judy told me her story, she had difficulty remembering the details of the last several years. I tried to give her a few simple psychological tests, but she couldn't handle them. As we neared the end of our appointment, I felt frustrated because I was clueless about how to help her.

I said, "I want to meet with you again, but in the meantime I would like you to submit to the authority of this church."

As soon as I said that, Judy jumped up and headed for the door. "I've got to get out of here," she said.

I believe the Lord prompted me to ask, "Judy, is Jesus your Lord?"

She wheeled around abruptly at the door and snarled through clenched teeth, "You ask Jesus who my lord is." Then she stormed out.

I followed her down the hall and continued to ask her if Jesus was her Lord. Each time she responded by telling me to ask Jesus who her lord was. Finally I caught up with her and asked her again, "Judy, is Jesus your Lord?"

This time when she faced me her countenance had completely changed. "Yes," she said.

"Can we go back to my office and talk about it?" I asked, not really sure what I was going to say.

"Sure," she responded.

When we were back in my office I said, "Judy, do you know that there is a battle going on for your mind?" She nodded. "Has anybody ever talked with you about this before?"

"No one I've talked to has brought it up. Either they didn't know what's going on inside me or they were afraid to deal with it," she confessed.

"Well, we're going to talk about it and we're going to deal with it," I assured her. "Are you willing to do that with me?" Judy agreed.

We began to meet weekly. I assumed that her problems were either the result of a moral failure in her life or a history of exposure to or participation in the occult. So I quizzed her about the moral area and found no basis for her problems. I asked her if she had ever been involved in the occult. She had never even read a book on the subject. By this time I was really scratching my head because I couldn't figure out the source of her severe and obvious spiritual conflict.

Then one day we began talking about her family. She described how her father, a noted pediatrician, had divorced her mother and run off with a nurse. Judy's mother and other family members had vented their hatred and frustration openly. Judy, the only Christian in the family, thought she had to be a good witness. She was determined to be the loving, conciliatory daughter. So she kept silent while her emotions tore her insides to shreds.

"Let's talk about your dad," I suggested.

"I'm not going to talk about my dad," she snapped. "If you talk about my dad, I'm out of here."

"Wait a minute, Judy. If you can't talk about your father here, where can you talk about him? If you don't deal with those emotional issues here, where will you deal with them?"

I discovered two passages of Scripture that added significant insight to Judy's problem-plagued life. The first one is Ephes. 4:26, 27: "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." Judy's unresolved anger toward her father was never confessed, and because she had been repressing her anger instead of confronting it, she had given the devil an opportunity, a "foothold" (NIV)—literally, a place in her life.

The second passage is 1 Peter 5:7, 8 (NIV): "Cast all your anxiety on him [God] because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." Instead of casting her anxieties about her father upon the Lord, Judy tried to be spiritual by covering them up. By not being emotionally honest, Judy became spiritually vulnerable.

Judy began to face her unresolved feelings toward her father and work through the problem of forgiveness, which was the crux of her problem. Within a few months, this young woman, whom psychiatrists had given up as hopeless, made significant progress and became involved in the children's ministry at our church.

Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------


God bless you all!


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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The importance of Music in Church

Had to write a paper for Church History Class, so thought I'd share it.  You are dealing with one lazy blogger! 

The Importance of Music in Church Services
             If you are going to make the case for the importance of a thing, it is customary to be able to express how the particular thing has value or serves a purpose.  So in regarding the importance of music in the church, we have to ask the questions:
·         Does music serve a purpose in church services?
·         Is music valuable to church services?
If these two questions are examined and answered, we will truly know the importance of music in church. 
Taking Care of Business
            My earliest recollection of the role that music played in church services was one of structure.  The Catholic Church service was divided in parts and the music would tell the parish what was happening next.  The service would open and end with songs of praise and worship and at certain intervals parts of the mass where sung.  So music played the utilitarian role of time keeper; my family was particularly fond of the closing hymn that marked the end of service. 
            Beyond the basic divisions of time, church music played the more important role of teaching and giving praise.  The hymns that were sung in church reinforced the lessons about Christian doctrine I learned in Sunday school.  My fondest memories of church music in my youth was giving praise and honor to God in song, particularly with Christmas themed hymns like “Come All Ye Faithful”, “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World!”.  These moments of my youth in church proclaiming praise in song had me deeply rooted in belief in Christ and proud to be one of his followers.   
Purpose? The purpose of music is to Rock!
It is commonly thought that the purpose of music is to entertain.  The criticism of the use of music in the church has primarily been aimed at the entertainment value of the music performed. When the focus of music in church is solely for the entertainment of the audience, these criticisms are warranted.   While music is a form of entertainment and entertainment could be listed as one of the purposes of music in church,   the main purpose of the gathering of the church service is to give glory, honor, and praise to God so this should be the purpose of the music in the church service as well. 
The argument against music in church could take aim at the content of the music, the style, or both.  Throughout the ages of church history, critics have claimed that certain forms of church music was dishonoring God, making light of the gospel, or was too worldly. The use of particular musical instruments, hymns, or certain arrangements was deemed an unholy form of praise, unbiblical, or drew the attention from God to individuals.  For example, the Lutherans used organs, choirs, and traditional catholic congregational songs that reinforced the meaning of the gospel where as other branches of Protestantism rejected these forms, insisting that the only acceptable music was music that came directly from scripture.  So who’s right?
Music appreciation is truly subjective. Our grandparents’ standard of acceptable church music is different from our standards.  The Lutherans and the Calvinists had different standards.  Styles and standards might change but we must remember that our purpose is to glorify God, and if that is the case, I feel that the music in church must: 
·         Give respectful and reverent praise towards God
·         Be in accordance with biblically moral standards of conduct and decency
·         Be biblically and doctrinally accurate.
This might be a short list of requirements but as long as they are met, who am I or anyone else to say that the way that someone chooses to honor and praise the Lord is wrong.  So be it rap, country western, or didgeridoo church music, as long as God is being praised respectfully, genuinely, and accurately the true purpose of church music is fulfilled. 
Value: Beyond Purpose
            The purpose of church music has been shown to be:
·         Utilitarian – Division and structure, keeping time.
·         Educational – Teaching and reinforcing gospel doctrine.
·         Entertainment – Some list church music as the reason for going to church!
·         Devotional – Praise and Honor to God.
Church music fits the bill in terms of purpose.  Something meeting four purposes would automatically be considered valuable.   Four purposes shows music in church has a quantifiable value.  However, sometimes it’s not the quantity that matters; it’s the quality that really determines value.  Sometimes the whole is worth more than the sum of the parts.   There are two qualitative aspects to music in church that go beyond purpose and surpass the use of music in any other setting.  These two aspects are: the sense of community and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.   
            It is true that music brings people together but the sense of community that is established when believers of the one true God come together and give praise, honor and glory to Him is more than the good vibes of a rock concert. It is the united proclamation of truth and devotion that builds bonds between believers corporately while also connecting believers to God Himself.  A small glimpse of heaven is gained when believers rise up joined in song. You can imagine the scene in Revelation 4 where the living creatures “do not rest day or night, saying “Holy , holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”  This sense of community is the result of the fully appropriate and righteous praise of the Lord. 
            The sense of community that we feel in church through music is amplified through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This anointing is understood by believers when the quality of the worship is elevated in a sense where the presence of God seems to flow through you and wash over you. The experience is marked by incredible joy and an overwhelming flow of emotion and timelessness that is difficult to articulate but is understood experientially as something super natural.  The first time I experienced this anointing at Rock Solid Church I was visible shaken and taken aback by the power I experienced. I was new to the church and I remember a member of the congregation greeting me.  I remember saying “Yeah” or “Wow!” and He just sort of laughed because he could see I was really moved by the worship.  It was okay because I didn’t have much more to say, having been rendered speechless. 
This is what is special about music in church or church music anywhere; it connects us to God.  It takes that intellectual knowledge and ties it to our hearts and the Holy Spirit is confirming that it is real and it is all true.  These realizations and experiences of abiding with the Holy Spirit I have known have come through prayer, studying the word, praying in tongues, and praising Him through music.  So if you ask me if it is important to have music in church, I would have to say “Yeah” or “Wow!”