Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fall 2008 • Praise & Worship: Going Beyond The Natural

Since it’s that holiday time of the year, I thought I would share some thoughts on being thankful.  Through all the years of my Christian walk, the most important part of my life is my personal devotional time with the Lord.  The time that I spend worshiping Him is so vital to my daily walk.  I want to take this time to share with you some specifics about that personal time, and praise and worship, that are important.  You see, worship is a result; it’s not a cause.  It’s the result of what you’ve been doing all week long. 

John 4:22-24 says, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

The supernatural is not enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm is being excited, but that doesn’t make it supernatural.  Excitement can sometimes be a by-product, reaction, or response to our being in a supernatural moment.  Sometimes our emotions respond to the anointing, but that‘s not necessarily spiritual.  Enthusiasm is not what shows your devotion to the Lord.  What shows your devotion to the Lord, and one of the keys to your devotion to the Lord, is your private time with God.  Your personal devotional time is what feeds you on a personal level.

The degree of power that you have in your life depends on your degree of personal commitment to your fellowship time with the Lord.  You can say it like this: you’ll only praise Him to the degree that you know Him.  You know Him by spending quality time with Him in fellowship and praise.  Personal praise and worship time with the Lord will truly change your life.

Jesus never promoted His own agenda.  Whose did He promote?  His Father’s!  The key lesson here is that if you promote God, He’ll promote you.  That’s a key in leadership and in the lives of those who have great vision for their lives.  Promote God and He will promote you.  One of the ways you can promote God in your personal life and have a supernatural walk with the Lord is through praise and worship. 

Praise and worship will draw or pull you into His presence and bring you great strength and joy!  The Bible says in Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.”  Psalm 16:11 says, “In His presence is fullness of joy.”

Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord, Hallelujah!”

Psalm 22:3 “But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel.”

When you praise God, you open up a realm in your life, a supernatural realm of His presence.

I was recently reading from Oswald Chamber’s book, “My Utmost For His Highest”.  He said some powerful things about praise and worship and it’s effect on our personal lives.  He wrote that: praise breaks personal ego, self-centeredness, defensiveness, hostility, and aggressive anti-social behavior. Praise is vital because it takes your eyes off of your self and places the attention upon Jesus. 

In Luke 9:24 Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. “  Mr. Chambers continued saying that one cannot truly praise without letting go of self.  When praise becomes a way of life, the infinitely loving God becomes the center of worship rather than our bankrupt self.  “Amen” or “Oh me!”

Worship is the fire of our communication with the Lord.  True praise brings the manifested presence of God into our lives on a personal and powerful level.  As the body of Christ, we have the responsibility to worship the Lord.  It is a vital part of our fellowship and communion with the Lord.  When you praise and worship the Lord, you set an atmosphere that is conducive to the Holy Spirit of God.  The first part of Acts 13 tells us that as they worshiped, the Holy Spirit spoke.  Worship truly opens a door for the supernatural in our lives.


Worship is you and the Lord in communion and fellowship together.  Sometimes in my devotional time of fellowship in the Word and in praise, I just don’t feel like it.  I’m like you, I get tired and want to sleep a little longer or feel I’m just too busy.  Notice what Leviticus 22:29 says, “And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the Lord, offer it at your own will.”

Hebrews 13:15 says, “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name.”  The Amplified Bible reads, “Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of our lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His Name.”


While grocery shopping, driving, mowing the lawn, or just walking, you can praise God!  If we want to draw closer in our walk with God we must live a life of praise and worship.  With thanksgiving we give Him praise.  Be thankful!  It’s the fruit of YOUR LIPS giving thanks to His Name!

Based on what we’ve just discussed, here are some things that will take place when you praise God.

1.   I It will cost you something…. Yourself!

2.     It is something that is of your own free will.

        It’s when you don’t feel like it sometimes.

4.      It’s continual.

Know that attitude is a bodily action, which is the reflex of a person’s mind or mood.  Give God glory and praise and you’ll receive an attitude adjustment!  Amen!


Prayer:  Father, I choose to daily give You Praise!  I will let the fruit of my lips glorify You always.   Even when it is a sacrifice, I will choose to magnify You! Amen.





Monday, September 8, 2008

Devotional: The Incredible Habits Of Happy People

There will always be opportunities and moments in life where we may face trouble, circumstances, set-backs, attacks, and even opportunities to be depressed, sad and lonely. In all of those moments, we have the choice to yield to the feelings or yield and submit to God's Word and His joy and victory for our daily lives.  

Check out what the Word of God says in the following verses:

Acts 2:28 (NKJV), "You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence." The Message Bible reads, "You've got my feet on the life-path, with your face shining sun-joy all around."

Psalm 144:15 reads, "Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!" The Message Bible says,"How blessed the people who have all this! How blessed the people who have God for God!"   The New Living Bible reads, "Yes, happy are those who have it like this! Happy indeed are those whose God is the LORD."

Psalm 146:5 says, "Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God."   The Message Bible reads,"Instead, get help from the God of Jacob, put your hope in God and know real blessing!"Wow! The real deal when it comes to happiness is found in Him Who we serve!

Proverbs 10:28 says, "The hope of the righteous will be gladness, But the expectation of the wicked will perish."

Psalm 34:8 says, "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!"

To be happy and enjoy life is the way that our God intends for us to walk. God wants you and me to enjoy life and be happy.   That does not mean that you won't have tough times, attacks, or trials, but we must be settled on the inside with the source of our joy and happiness in all things regarding this life in which we live! True contentment is found in abiding in Him!

Let me give you what I want to call, "The Incredible Habits of Happy People." You and I can take the time to develop and master these habits in our daily lives.   In doing so, you will find that these incredible habits will cause you to KEEP your joy through the toughest of times and in the darkest moments of life.

1. Happy People Think & Ponder On God's Word.   How simple is that? Yet it is truly the one thing that we don't go to first! We, without thinking about it, yield to our bad feelings and emotions first before we decide, "Oh, what does the Word say?" On a regular basis, reading and meditation of the Word of God will ENERGIZE YOUR JOY! Just like the "energizer bunny" you will keep going and going and going!   Psalm 104:34 says, "May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord."   Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path."

Jesus told us this fact in John 17:13: "but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them."   What He said is what matters and it is what will cause you to have what I like to call "full joy" within yourself! Again, happy people think and ponder the Word of God FIRST.

2. Happy People Regularly Commune With The Lord. From the word, "communicate" we get the word "communion". Communion is another way to say fellowship. Just as you need friends, you need time with God.   Proverbs 16:20 says, "He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he." Spend time with the Lord, worship and praise Him and roll your cares over onto Him. Let it go! Quit camping with your bad feelings and emotions! First Peter 5:7 says, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you." (NLT)

3. Happy People Have Vision! Proverbs 13:19 says, "A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul." Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart."   It is important to have vision for your life.   We need to have the ability to see past the here and now, but we use today, the here and now,   to build that tomorrow!   Setting goals propels you to tomorrow. Follow your giftings that God has placed in your life and take the steps to grow and mature to get to your tomorrows.   Ecclesiastes 6:9 says, "Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire." There are a lot of believers who do more "wandering" than staying focused and on course. Consistency of the Word is the key to greatness and fulfillment of His plan for our lives.  

Philippians 3:14 says, "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."   I can remember when we were building a house and I was showing a friend of ours what room was what as we walked through the open walls. They were excited about it and I was too. But as we were walking through I said, "in our next house we will have..." He laughed out loud and said, "You never cease to amaze me on how you can see past now."   Step by step let's grow in God! Have vision!

4. Happy People Sing Out Loud!   Isaiah 65:14 says, "My servant shall sing for joy of heart."Psalm 95:1 says, "Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation."   Maybe you cannot sing too well and you feel like you just don't sound good. Maybe people have told you, "Please stop singing you're killing us!"   LOL!   That does not matter at all! You ought to sing and worship God every chance you get. I sing when I mow the grass, I sing in the car, I hum and whistle walking through stores. In doing so, it helps me to stay full of joy. Find songs that inspire you and worship songs that drive you into His presence!  

5. Happy People Are Always Attending Church!  Hebrews 10:25 tells us, "not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching." (The Message Bible)   You need to be in church!   It is vital that you stay hooked up to good friends, people of strong character, and a strong pastor who will help you to stay on track to hit the mark!   If you have children, the attitude and consistency that you have in church attendance will work like seeds in your kids and will produce a crop one day.   As a parent you want to plant the seeds that produce good fruit for the future. That future starts with you and your heart. Be in church!   

6. Happy People Have Firm Internal Anchors!   God gave us His Son, His Word and His Holy Spirit - His anchors that hold us firm!   His Word is our source for comfort and clear direction as to what is His will. Internal anchors, anchored on the truth of His Word, are what keep us settled and content and not up and down, constantly looking for a feeling to justify and qualify our daily walk!   Second Corinthians 5:7 says, "For we walk by faith, not by sight."   The Amplified Bible reads, "For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance."  

There's a song that talks about Jesus being our ROCK.   It says, "Let the lightning flash, let the thunder roll and roll and roll.   It don't matter.   It will be alright because Jesus is the Rock!"   Jesus had internal anchors that kept Him on track to the cross so that we could be seated with Him as we are now. What are your "internal anchors"?

7. Happy People Are Turn Around Specialists!   When Jairus's daughter was sick, Jairus went to Jesus.   As Jesus was heading to minister to his daughter, the woman with the issue of blood stopped Jesus because she got healed.   As all of this was going on, Jairus was told that his daughter was dead. But Jesus was the turn around specialist!   He looked at Jairus and said, "She's just sleeping." Glory!   Jesus was the turn around specialist! First John 4:4 says, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."   You and I have the Greater One living big within us! We have the power to turn things around! With Jesus being the "Greater One" in us then we should be experts at being turn around specialists! Amen!

There you have it. Develop these habits in your life and your joy will expand and demolish your darkest hours! Your contentment and happiness are found in abiding in HIM! Proverbs 16:20 says this, "He who deals wisely and heeds [God's] word and counsel shall find good, and whoever leans on, trusts in, and is confident in the Lord - happy, blessed, and fortunate is he." (The Amplified Bible) AMEN!

Prayer: Father, You alone are my counsel, my peace, and my joy.   My true happiness is found in You.   I choose to yield to and abide in You at all times and in every situation. In Jesus' Name! Amen.

Devotional: Attitudes That Put You On Top

Proverbs 28:20 tells us that, "A faithful man will abound with blessings."   Faithfulness is what enables you to do something that you desire to do.   Faithfulness is what enables you to fulfill the plan of God for your life.   Jesus wasn't a "freelancer" doing His own thing.   He said that He came to do what "My Father wants." He was submitted to authority. Hebrews 5:8 says, "though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered."He submitted to the cross. Philippians 5:8 says,"And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."   Jesus had the attitude that put Him on top.   If you ever see a turtle on top of a fence post, know that he did not get there by himself.   He submitted to authority.

Your attitude towards authority will either exalt you or debase you.   It will decide whether or not you'll proceed to the next level.   Authority is designed to free you up.   Submission to authority in life will propel you forward to fulfill your destiny and your mission in life.   We read it in scripture, "a faithful man who can find?" (Proverbs 20:6).   A faithful man is one who knows the right attitudes. Not just going through the motions of the attitudes, but those attitudes are an actual part of their character and their integrity. It is their governor just as a governor is placed on a moving truck's engine to keep the engine from being blown, these attitudes towards authority will be what will make or break you in life. Whether in everyday living, ministry, or even in our relationships, faithfulness is a precious thing.   As the Bible says those who are of such are hard to find.   I believe that is one of the reasons "many are called, but few are chosen."   1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"   Being Born Again changes everything.   As a good steward we should submit to the authority of our Master, our Lord and our King.  

Notice the story that Jesus told in Matthew 7:24-29."Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."

As a wise man or woman, where is your house built? Jesus said "whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them."   We must be doers of the Word not hearers only (James 1:22). We must be good stewards of His Word. Here are some points about good stewards.

1. Stewards listen to their master. We trust in the Lord, not man or our own thinking (Proverbs 3:5-6). We must make our choices based on the principles of God's Word. Think about this: bearing witness is a response. It is your character responding to His Word, walking it and living it.  

2. Stewards don't just do something to be doing it. Is what you're doing serving a purpose? If it is, then you should be faithful to it and watch where it leads you. No matter how big you get, you'll always give an account. You'll always answer to somebody. Whether an employer, parents, bills... and you are going to always give an account to the Lord.  

3. Stewards will always seek the counsel of the Lord and His Word.   What does God say? What does His Word say?   Did you seek His counsel or did you just do it based on the emotions of the moment? Remember Matthew 7: a wise man will build his house upon the Rock.

4. Stewards always produce substance.   Jesus said that the Father is glorified when we bear much fruit (John 15). Let's not be caught maintaining, but let us be pushing ahead and going forth.  

5. Stewards will take an inventory of their life.Goals should be defined by measure and fulfillment. How you take care of your time, your money, and your relationships with others defines who you really are.   Paul said, "I press toward the prize" (Philippians 3:14).   To consistently press toward something, you evaluate your progress and adjust yourself to move forward to hit the mark.  

In closing let me give you four valuable attitudes that I consider to be paramount in my life through the years and in everyday living. We read in 1 Peter 4:7-11 these words,"But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."  Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."   Based upon those verses, here are four attitudes to always have in life.

ONE: Have a reverent spirit. Acts 23:1 says,"Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, "Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day." Always separate position from personality. Not separating position from personality is the difference between walking in the flesh, driven by emotions, and walking in the spirit, living in promotion.  

TWO: Have a grateful spirit. Psalm 62:5 says, "My soul, waits silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him." Your expectation is from the Lord.   He is your boss, your employer and He is the One Who is signing your paycheck. Keep your heart right and be thankful. Always be grateful in all things and at all times.

THREE: Have a servant's heart. 1 Peter 4:10 says, "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." Don't grumble, don't complain, have a faithful servant's heart. Mark 10:44 reminds us that if we want to be first, we must have a servant's heart.  

FOUR: Have a quiet spirit.   Psalm 62 says, "Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved." That's just verses one and two! The entire Psalm is so good.

You see, our trust is in God and what He's called us to do.   Where He wants me to be is the ultimate place to be. No matter what the storm is, His purpose will be fulfilled. Let's strive to be faithful at our jobs, to our families, and in our relationships.   Let's live a life of character and integrity, showing forth good stewardship in our lives. It's always a testimony to all. I heard a preacher say this, "Live your life so that the preacher doesn't have to lie at your funeral." "Amen" or "Oh me!" Remember, Proverbs 28:20 tells us, "A faithful man will abound with blessings." Live His Word and let it be WHO you are so that you are always abounding.

Prayer: Father, it is my desire to be faithful and keep the attitude of a servant in how I live. Thank You that Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.   Amen.

Devotional: Drawing Close

How many of you have good friends?   We would all say that our friends are very important to our lives.   We all have friends.   The more time that you spend with them, the more you get to know them.   The more that you know them, the closer you are.

Friends are the people with whom I associate.   They are the ones who "I have knowledge of."   If my friend tells me that they are going to do something or that they will meet me somewhere at a certain time, then based on how well I know them, I can have confidence in what they have said.   My lack of faith or trust in them is based on my knowledge of them.   How many of you have a job?   Your employer asked you to fill out a job application.   Their faith or trust in you is based upon their knowledge of you.   Simply put, what you filled out on the application is what they are using to base their faith and trust in you.

Let's look at what was going on with Israel here in Hosea chapter 4:1.

"Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the Land."  

In this verse, God's people were falling away because they had forgotten the important issues, which were truth, mercy, and the knowledge of God.  

In the same way, friendship works with the same issues that are stated here in this verse.   Friendship is a commitment. It is trust, mercy, and knowledge.   Friendship is a mutual understanding of what each one likes and dislikes, loves and hates, good or bad.   It all comes from spending time together.

God's people were falling away because they forgot about the importance of their relationship with the Lord.   They weren't walking in the truth or mercy, nor growing in their knowledge of God.  

The most damaging thing in a person's life and in their relationship with others is having a sense of insecurity in regard to that relationship.   You can't have faith in someone you don't know.   I wouldn't leave my kids with just anybody.   If I don't feel good about my knowledge of someone then I won't be too sure if I can trust him. If I have witnessed a bad "track record", then my confidence in them will be lacking.   If someone has a lack of knowledge toward or about someone, they have no firm commitment to that relationship.   God wants you aware of His continual commitment in your life. He is faithful!

Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children."

People are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.   Knowledge of who?   The Lord.   People get whipped in the midst of tests and trials because they don't know the Deliver!   They don't know the Redeemer!   You can't trust in someone you don't know.   Do you know HIM?

The deeper you get in your knowledge of God, the stronger your faith will be.   Many think that we have to struggle to get faith when we have all been given the measure of faith.   Our job is to develop our faith by growing in our knowledge of God.   In fact, the struggle for you to "get faith" will be replaced by the realization that God is faithful and trustworthy.   When you know that, you will find that your faith will develop without a struggle.

When you know the Lord, you know what His Word says and you just simply believe it!   When you know the Lord, His Word will really remind you of just how faithful God truly is.    He is faithful and He is trustworthy!   Forever and always!

Turn back to Hosea 6:3.   " Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth."

My desire is to know the Lord.   I want to let those rains of His Spirit, truth, mercy, and the knowledge of Him possess and control my life.   He must be our first love above everything.

When you truly begin to press in to know the character of God, you will find that He can be relied upon and trusted.   He is more faithful and trustworthy than the rising of the sun each morning. But the responsibility of pressing in is yours and mine.   We must press into His word, fellowshipping with Him, and truly having a personal time with the Lord God.   When was the last time that you prayed in tongues for two minutes, three, four, or five minutes?   When did you last take at the least a half hour of reading the Word and personally worshipping the Lord with no one else there, just you and Him?

The obedience of Moses, the boldness of Elijah, the heartbeat of David, the faith of Abraham, all came because they had an intense and intimate relationship with the Lord.  

When you know someone, it's easy to have faith in them.   My wife and I are so in love.   It gets better and better every day!   Because of our time together, our likes and dislikes have become very much the same.   Sometimes we say the same things or we do the exact same thing at the same time without any verbal communication to each other. We enjoy each other. We take pleasure in each other as well. But all the power and glory of our relationship is only as good as the time that we spend together.   The more time we spend together, the richer and deeper our relationship becomes. The peace that we have is even evident to others because of the deep, intimate, and closeness of our relationship with each other.  

As you grow in the knowledge of the Lord, you will find your likes and dislikes will become more like His.   You will find yourself becoming His true habitation and you won't be looking for His visitation.   You will become His habitation, not just be looking for the goose bumps or the falling out service.   You're not looking for the visitation because you are His habitation. What a revelation and a true feeling that goes with you each and every day! Do you know Him like that? James 4:8 tells us to draw close to God and He will draw CLOSE to YOU!

Prayer: Father, I choose to draw close to You. I choose to yield to Your Word. I choose to obey Your Word. Thank You for loving me. I choose to make my meditation all about You.   Amen.

Devotional: So They Hurt Your Feelings

I want to share with you a subject that can make you get "touchy".   What we want to share is all about dealing with being offended.   Every one of us has been offended at some time or another.   But we must realize that if we are offended, it is because we yielded to the offense and we did it because we chose to do so.

Let's start by looking at a couple of scriptures that will open our eyes to the truth.   Notice what Psalm 119:165 says.   " Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."   The Amplified Translation makes it even clearer to us.   It reads, " Great peace have they who love Your law; nothing shall offend them or make them stumble."  Well, how many of us have had our feelings hurt?   The good news is that your feelings are going to get hurt again!   I think that all of us at different times in our lives have taken an offense.   Here's another verse in Ecclesiastes chapter 10 that speaks a lot as well.   Notice how it reads in verse four from several different translations.

The New King James: "If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post; for conciliation pacifies great offenses."

The New Living Translation: "If your boss is angry with you, don't quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes."

The Message Translation: "If a ruler loses his temper against you, don't panic; a calm disposition quiets intemperate rage."

The Spurrell Translation: "If the spirit (anger) of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offenses."

Many people in churches get offended.   I have been a part of or in the ministry for over 25 years and I can tell you I have seen people offended time and time again.   There are all sorts of reasons why people get offended.   But, the questions to ask are: Is it OK to be offended? Am I justified to be offended? The enemy is real to our lives, and the Bible says that we need not be ignorant of his devices.   First Peter 5:8 tells us to "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."   The Bible is really clear that the devil is looking for ones whom he may devour.   The devil sets traps for us.   The word "offense" means a trap or a snare.  

A good hunter will use different types of weapons to catch or snare the prey.   The devil uses different types of weapons or snares for different people.   The devil is looking for your weaknesses.   He will prod and poke at you until he finds that sensitive spot that sets you off.   Then he will set a trap for you to fall into time and time again.  

Different things offend different people.   Things may offend you that won't offend somebody else.   What might offend someone else won't mean a thing to you.   Folks will get offended over comments made that didn't mean anything close to the way they took it.   If you are the "offended type", it seems the enemy will pick anybody and everyone around you to say something and do things that irritate you and hit your "offense" spot.   Then... you're offended!

It never fails that when people are offended, they feel insulted, hurt, and angry.   They start out feeling sorry for themselves.   Then they want to lash out at somebody.   Being offended is simply giving place to the devil.   Being angry, being hurt, and insulted is not the fruit of the spirit at all is it?  

When you are offended, get this clear in your head and in your heart... it is not someone else's fault.   It is your fault!   You are offended because you are wrapped up in your own PRIDE.   Nobody wants to deal with PRIDE, but all of us need to deal with it.   Anybody who says they don't have a problem with pride is usually the one who will consistently yield to pride. Selfishness is the initiator of pride.

Look at Romans 6 and verse11. "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." He's talking about making your OLD MAN "to be dead." You can go to any cemetery and see that dead men are never lifted up in pride, no matter what you say about them, because they're dead!

We should reckon our old stinkin' flesh to be dead no matter what is said or done to us.   Being insulted or offended should be far from our lives. If we get offended over something, it is because we failed to reckon the old man dead.   Don't think for a minute that you will never have any feelings of being hurt or angry, or being offended, because I'm telling you right now, you will.   Feelings come to every one of us.   If your old man acted or felt dead, you wouldn't have to reckon him to be dead.   The test for you and me is that when those feelings of offense come, you resist them - don't yield to them.   Put your flesh under. Catch this one clue here, act like you love people who say and do things that are hurtful to you, no matter how you feel.   That isn't being fake, it is just the simple fact that you are choosing to yield to love.   You are choosing to walk in love.

Remember 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.   Notice what the Word says.   Look at it like you've never seen it before!

 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails..."

The Beck Translation reads, "Love is patient. Love is kind.   Love isn't jealous. It doesn't brag or get conceited. It isn't indecent.   It isn't selfish. It doesn't get angry.   It doesn't plan to hurt anyone. It doesn't delight in evil but is happy with the truth.   It bears everything, believes everything, hopes for everything, endures everything. Love never dies."

I've been working in ministry or been involved in ministry now for over 25 years.   I have served as an associate several times, in youth ministry, as worship leader and in the itinerant or the traveling ministry.   I have heard and seen a lot.    People will say "the Lord led us here."   They hook up and become a great blessing.   Then all of the sudden they quit helping and even quit coming to church.   When you talk to them, they say, "We're not coming back.   So and so said this and you did this and we're just hurt and offended."   That begs the question, "If the Lord led you to come here, then what are you being led by now?"   Is my dead man showing?   Is my maturity or immaturity showing?

It is not always easy to follow what the Lord is telling us at times.   We will run into circumstances and we will run into personalities.   There will be times you will hurt all over.   But faith doesn't quit.   Noah stood firm and followed the Lord and what He told him for over 100 years before he saw a drop of rain.   Abraham waited for years before he saw the promise.   What if Joseph had been offended in jail, would he have ever been elevated to the position God had prepared for him?   Even when circumstances are at their worst, we still find ourselves in the middle of God's plan for our lives.   You don't quit.   Remember Ecclesiastes 10:4 again, "... don't quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes..." even your own offense. Submission will pacify your great offense.   Don't quit.   Ask yourself, "Is the Lord leading me or is my flesh just yielding to my offense?"   Many people never mature in God or go on to the things that the Lord has prepared for them because they can't cope, so they quit when it's hard.

There was a man who was in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.   He suffered many things.   After being out, he chose never to hold a grudge.   He said that the greatest power that any man has is ability to choose how to react to the circumstances around him.   What a statement!   Think of that in reference to our yielding to an offense.   He had a ton of things about which he could have been offended.   Had he been offended, he could have died there never seeing his liberation and freedom.

Don't be forced out of a situation and miss the plan of God by your flesh and its desire to be offended.   First Peter 5:6-7 says, "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time, casting all of your care on Him for He cares for you."   When it comes to offenses, you will find yourself better off if you will crucify your flesh and its feelings.   You choose to put the old man under.   Be led by the Spirit and not forced out of God's plan for your life due to an offense.   Remember, Jesus didn't just make us conquerors, He made us MORE than CONQUERORS!   We've got the victory, but we alone are the ones who choose to yield to it and walk in it.  

Prayer:   Father, I choose to yield to the walk of Love.   I choose to put my flesh under and fulfill Your plan and Your purpose for my life. I forgive and I forget, just as you did with me.   Amen.  

Devotional: Happily Ever After

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church."   Ephesians 5:31-32

Recently I had the privilege to speak at a pastor's conference in the country of Panama.   It was a wonderful time to speak to the pastors and their wives.   Our subject for the four day conference was "marriage".   It doesn't matter where you are in the world or to whom you are ministering, the subject of   "marriage" is always a good subject to talk about.   Since all of the conference is fresh on my heart, I thought that I would make it our devotional for this time.    

At the conference, I talked about what I believe has made my marriage to my wonderful wife so special.   Many men say that they have the best wives and that their marriage is wonderful, but I know that I do and mine is!   Do you know that you have the best spouse?  

The storybooks always end with, "And they lived happily ever after."   Sometimes it is hard to put into words just how much I love my wife and how much of a joy that it is to give to her and to love her.   She is a great blessing to our church family and congregation, but she is such a vital blessing to me as my wife and especially my best friend.   What makes our marriage so very special is that we choose to yield to "love".  

It is powerful to ask yourself these questions: What would "love" do?   What would "love" say?   How would "love" react?   

Keeping love alive and strong in our marriages and in our homes is very vital.   Our homes should be a sanctuary of peace for our families.   As husbands and wives, our love relationship in our marriages project and create those pillars of peace.  

In Ephesians chapter five, we read about wives submitting to their husbands, but the husband is shown in these verses as being an example of Christ's love for the church.   Ephesians 5:25 says,"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her."   Leadership truly begins at the top.   As husbands, we have the responsibility to set the spiritual atmosphere of the home.   But as we see in this verse, we are to be the leaders in love!  

So many marriages have the "he said, she said" mentality.   Love always gives!   If we can get past everything being all about "ME" we can rise to a new level in our love walk as Christians.   If we can get past everything being all about "ME" in our marriages and choose to the giver of love first, then we set spiritual principles into motion in our marriages and in our homes.   Galatians 6:7 tells us that we reap what we sow.   If we will consistently be the givers of love, we will "reap" if we faint not! (Galatians 6:9)

As husbands, we set the example in everything!   With the Bible as our guide, we are to love our wives as Jesus loved the church and "gave Himself for her."  Christ is our example.   He gave of Himself.   We, as husbands, should be the givers of love.  

But!   The same is true for the wives too!   Wives reap what they sow too!   Keeping love alive is the real key to living "happily ever after."   Quit being a complainer and be a sower!   Quit being a nag and be a sower!   Quit yielding to your flesh and the way your "all about me" fleshly, worldly attitude wants to react, and you choose to do what "love" would do!  

When we walk apart from "love's way" we are walking apart from God's way.   First Corinthians 12:31 is where Paul tells us that, "I show you a more excellent way."   After saying that, he takes us right into what is known as the "love chapter" of the Bible, First Corinthians 13.   Love, God's love in us, is a giver.   Love is not selfish nor does it have the attitude that it's all about "ME".   God's way is better than ours.   God's way is higher than my way.   Wouldn't His way be better in our daily lives?   Wouldn't His way be better in our marriages too?

As husbands and wives we must always remember First Corinthians 13:4-8.   Love passionately bears with our spouse.   Love doesn't demand it's way nor is it selfish towards their spouse.   Love goes overboard to take care of the needs of their spouse first.    I can go on and on!   Love never disappoints!   Love is a giver!  

What an example we can set for our children!   It really is not "do as I say"; it is truly "do as I do."   Amen!   The Bible says that we are not to give the devil an opportunity.   Walking apart from love and not being the giver FIRST is leaving the door open for trouble. We are to be "doers of the Word." We then must be doers of love as well!  

Let me give you some keys to living "happily ever after."  

1. Make Jesus The Center Of Your Home.  

As simple as it sounds we must be committed to God.   Obey His Word.   Be a doer of His Word and not just a hearer.   Joshua 24:15 says, "As for ME and MY HOUSE we will serve the Lord."   Our family is a product of our leadership.   As husbands and wives, let us lead by letting our homes and marriages be anchored on the Rock of Ages.

2. Always Be Willing To Forgive.

Our commitment to each other is that our disagreements always suffer short life spans.   Ephesians 4:26 says, "Be angry and sin not.   Do not let the sun go down on your wrath."   Don't you ever allow the sun to come up the next day and strife is still lingering around.   Don't allow things to fester and boil.   You can always correct your feelings when you choose to love!

3. Meet Each Other's Needs.

First Corinthians 7:3 says, "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence : and likewise also the wife unto the husband."   Let me give you a different type of definition for this due benevolence.   To submit is to voluntarily yield and respond to someone else's needs.   Wow!   Can you voluntarily submit to meeting your spouse's needs, forgetting about what you want to make sure that they are totally satisfied?

Psychologists, both Christian and non-Christian, say that the number one thing a woman needs is affection, both verbally and physically.   That's not pawing and grabbing guys; that's the soft, tender touch, the tender but strong hugs, and special conversations. Talking and sharing your heart can be a powerful turn on!   The same doctors also say that the number one need for a man is sexual intimacy.   Ladies, you know what makes your husband's "clock tick"!   Both of you together as husband and wife should seek to build intimacy verbally and physically.   That keeps the fire alive!   Seek to meet each other's needs!

4. Be Nice! Be Considerate! And Be Kind!

I can choose to be angry.   Choosing to be angry just means I have to yield to my flesh.   I can also yield to being nice, considerate, and kind.   I choose what I yield to.   Always walk in love.   Always yield to love. Forget about yourself and "what I want".   Ask yourself the question, "What can I do to meet the needs of my spouse?"   Ladies, what can you do to meet the needs of your husband?   Men, what can you do to meet the needs of your wife?   Ladies, give him a reason that's so exciting, that he runs home to you!   Men, give her a reason to dream about you all day until you get home from work.  

Be the giver of love always.   Don't just be the taker!   If you will always be the giver, you'll reap, as we say down south, " a mess of loving!"   I always shout "AMEN" at my house!   How about you?

Prayer:   Father I choose to be the giver of love.   I choose to love my spouse unconditionally.   I choose to build them up and be that example of Your love in my home.   I choose to always do "What love, Your love, would do."   By choosing to love I am yielding to Your way, love's way.   Amen.  

Devotional: The Most Excellent Way

Notice how First Corinthians 12:31 reads, "But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way."   We know that the letters of First Corinthians and Second Corinthians are exactly that, letters. Paul is giving a thought here and he continues in chapter 13 to show us what that "more excellent way" is.  

What is that most excellent way?   It's the way of love.   The way of love is the way of God.   It's the higher way, the most excellent way.   The way of God is the way of the New Testament.   It is the way to respond and the way to live life.  

The Apostle Paul continues his thoughts on the "more excellent way" by telling us how that excellent way is.   Notice chapter 13 verses 4-8.  

"Love does not give up. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. Love does not put itself up as being important. Love has no pride. Love does not do the wrong thing. Love never thinks of itself. Love does not get angry. Love does not remember the suffering that comes from being hurt by someone. Love is not happy with sin. Love is happy with the truth. Love takes everything that comes without giving up. Love believes all things. Love hopes for all things. Love keeps on in all things. Love never comes to an end."   (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 The New Life Translation)

God's ways are different from our carnal, natural ways.   Your flesh and my flesh want to do "their" thing.   Like the old song, "It's your thing, do what you wanna do..."   We can yield to our way or we can yield to a more excellent way.   His way!   The right way is truly Love's way.   So much of the time we want to just say it's the way we "feel" when we're angry or upset or hurt.   Your flesh wants to do as it "feels" it should be done.   It's own way!   But don't you know that it will cost you.   We must yield to the more excellent way!  

Many of us do right things but, a lot of the time, we do it in a wrong way.   You can do a right thing in a wrong way.   Many times how we say something can make all the difference.   We can have all the right intentions but it come out wrong when we say it.   Again, you can do the right thing in a wrong way.   How you say it can make all the difference.   The Bible tells us to "speak the truth in LOVE."   (Ephesians 4:15)   We can share a truth much easier if we speak it in love.   In doing so, you make it palatable to the hearer.  

There is a "more excellent way", a "higher way". That way is the way of the Lord.   That way is the way of love.   Love is His way.   And His ways need to be our ways. With your spouse, you can do a lot better in your communications by asking a question instead of making a statement.   When you are walking in a "selfish way", a "self-centered way", you are not walking in the "higher way".   In the selfish way, you are not walking in His wisdom.   You are not being wise.   You are doing your thing and walking apart from His wisdom.   His way is always better.   The way of LOVE is the more excellent way!   Amen!  

Ephesians 4:29 tells us, "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."   The way of love edifies and imparts grace to the hearers.   If we can seek to do things the "God way" then we will be living the "Love way."  

We all know a lot in life.   We've learned many things.   Sometimes people can even be arrogant about their knowledge.   But we must understand that it is not what you know that will help people, it is what they will receive.   You really haven't communicated until someone has received.   Love's way can communicate the truth and make it palatable to the hearer so that they can receive it.   To do so you have to keep that old flesh in check and yield to the way of love.   God's way, the most excellent way!

It is so important that we maintain a tender heart in the things of God.   The opposite of being tender-hearted is being hard-hearted.   The Bible talks about how those with a hard heart are "blind" or walk in "blindness".   If you get into "hardness" of heart towards someone or a situation you can "dull" yourself to the Lord and the things of God.  

Romans 13:10 in the Amplified Bible says this, "Love does no wrong to one's neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law."   Love does no harm to its neighbor.   Your neighbor is anyone you are with, working with, serving with, family, friends, boss, etc. Love does no harm.   Again, there's "your way" and there is the "more excellent way".   Handle things in the "way of Love" That's the higher way.   That's God's way!  

The Bible compares our words to arrows.   Many of us fire arrows a lot and will say things like, "I didn't mean it."   "I didn't mean to say it like that!"   Yeah, but you know you did say it.   You shot that arrow!   You and I need to use our words the way HE uses words.   The higher way.   The most excellent way!   The right way is Love's way.   Remember what 1 Peter 4:8-9 "And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." Be hospitable to one another without grumbling."

Love is the Master's way.   It is His way.   It is the higher way!   His ways are higher, and they need to become more and more our ways.   Amen.

Prayer:   Father, thank You for the great love that you have shown to me.   When I was wrong and doing wrong, You still, unconditionally, loved me. Thank You that I will seek to show that same love, Your higher way, to others.   Amen.

Devotional: Holy Ghost & Fire!

Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

Acts 2:4 "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

The purpose of this devotional is to stir you up about praying in the Holy Ghost.   The baptism of the Holy Ghost is real.   As a church and as a pastor, I make no apology for preaching about it or walking in it.   The fact is, our growth is associated with the preaching of the Word of God and the move of the Holy Spirit in our services! People are hungry for God and the things of God.   Our church has been marked by those facts and by many signs and wonders.   We've seen great healing miracles, salvations, people filled with the Holy Spirit and much, much more.  

The early church that we read about in the book of Acts was marked by it.   The move of the Spirit was powerfully evident in the beginning days of the church.   Miracles, signs and wonders, and powerful moves of the Holy Spirit were the things that drew people in.   Those were the things that drew the lost and the spiritually dry into the church.   It's when things are "going on" that people pay attention to and desire to be a part of them.   From Acts 2 and until the final chapter we read over and over the mighty things that took place. In all the Epistles we read about references to the Holy Spirit and our responsibility to act upon the Word of God and those principles.  

Through time, some have said that the moves of the Holy Ghost and the baptism of the Holy Ghost went away after the disciples died.   However, history records people speaking in tongues and signs and wonders taking place 70 years after their deaths.   Church history records the move of the Spirit time and time again all the way to today!   In America, in the 1700's and 1800's we can read about tremendous moves of the Holy Spirit among various denominations.   Great campmeetings on farms and in towns were so powerful that they shut down the bars and taverns.   People were being born again and filled with the Spirit.   People were falling under the power of the Holy Ghost; documented healings and miracles!   Throughout the 1900's, there were healing revivals of the 40's and 50's and, even today, the Holy Spirit is here moving among us!   Many of our founding fathers prayed in the Holy Ghost.   There are many references to the move of the Holy Ghost as they sought the Lord in the proper direction for this nation.   The gift of the Holy Ghost is for today.   Peter said it best in Acts 2:39 where he said, "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."   The baptism of the Holy Spirit is for everyone then and now.  

There are many churches today that seem to suppress the Holy Ghost in church services.   People are told not to lift their hands and worship for fear of offending the visitors in some churches today. People are told in some circles not to pray in the Holy Ghost for concern for the visitors.    We've gone from a charismatic worship service to a "dry milk toast" service in an attempt to appeal to a "wider group."   What is the real motivation in that?   I shudder to think about that one.   The days of "playing" church are over.   It's time to be a doer of His Word.

We cannot take Pentecost out of our Christianity. We cannot take the book of Acts out of our services.   What happened then is just as relevant and powerful today! Maybe even more!   People are hungry for more of God.   It's time to step up and step out!   Jesus told us that the works that we have seen Him do, greater shall we do.   It's time to grow and GO!

It's time to step up!   Those of us who know these things need not to step away, but do it all the more!   Being a Spirit-filled believer also means that we are walking in it.    Let me ask you a question.   When was the last time you prayed in the Holy Spirit for more than five minutes, fifteen minutes, thirty, an hour?   Paul said, "I thank my God I speak in tongues more than you all."

  In I Corinthians 2:9-10 it says,   "But as it is written: " Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God."

There are some things that no man can reveal to you. Only God, thru His Spirit, can. Let's get back to what Pentecost is about and how it changed the church world forever.

Here are seven reasons why we pray in the Holy Ghost.  

1. Tongues Are The First Sign.

Scripture references: Acts 2:4 · Acts 10:46

It's important to realize that speaking in tongues is the first sign that you are filled with the Holy Ghost. It is the supernatural evidence of the indwelling presence of the Spirit.   When you first spoke in tongues, it was the sign that you have received the Holy Spirit.

2. Praying In The Spirit Will Charge You Up!

Scripture references: 1 Corinthians 14:2 · 1 Corinthians 14:14

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:2 that praying in the Spirit "edifies" you.   Edify means to charge or to build up.   It is the supernatural way to build you up.   It is the supernatural way to fire you up.   1 Corinthians 14:14 says, "My spirit prays".   It is your spirit with the Holy Spirit within you in direct contact with God.   What a charge!


3. You Are Reminded Of The Spirit's Presence.

Scripture references: John 14:16-17 · Ephesians 5:18-21

Speaking in tongues is the evidence of having been baptized in the Holy Spirit.   But, when you, on a regular basis, pray in the Holy Spirit, you are continually in remembrance of the indwelling presence of His Spirit within you! Tongues should never dry up. As you continually speak, you'll be enriched in your daily walk with Him.

4. It Keeps Selfishness Out Of Your Prayers

Scripture references: Romans 8:26-27· John 16:13

Praying in the Holy Spirit helps you to pray in line with the perfect will of God.   Speaking in tongues allows the Spirit of God to do the praying through you.   Sometimes you don't know how to pray, but He sure does!   It helps in keeping your mind out of your praying and gets the job done right.   The things of God don't come by circumstance they come by your inner man.

5. It Stimulates Your Faith.

Scripture references: Jude 20

"But you beloved, build up yourselves on your most Holy faith by praying in the Holy Ghost."   Praying in the Spirit stimulates your faith.   It will make you more sensitive to His voice and His promptings.   It will make you sensitive to His person.   It will stoke your faith!

6. It Will Keep Your Mouth Clean.

Scripture references: James 3:8

When you pray in the Holy Ghost you are yielding your tongue to Him.   In doing that, you are taking a giant leap towards yielding all your "members" to God.   If you can yield your tongue to Him, you can sure yield the rest of yourself too!   When you are "Spirit" focused you will be less "you " focused.   It will help you to get a grip on your mouth, on your thoughts, and on your walk.   It's all because of your focus.   Pray in the Holy Ghost!

7. It Is A Spiritual Refreshing.

Scripture references: Isaiah 28:11-12

When you rest it always brings a refreshing.   Praying in the Holy Spirit is the rest that continually brings a refreshing to your life.   We all need refreshing all the time.   Praying in the Spirit guarantees your refreshing!

There's much more that can be said about the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.   As James' letter tells us, we must be doers and not just hearers only.   If you will consistently act on the Word that you know and develop it in your life, you will find that you will consistently walk in the victory that's been provided for us through Jesus.   Amen.  

If you are not born again or you have never been baptized in the Holy Spirit and you would like to know more about it, please send us an email or come see us.  

Father:   Thank You for the Holy Ghost!   Thank You for sending a Comforter and a Helper.   Thank You, Lord, for the Holy Ghost.   Thank You for Your leading and guiding me by Your Spirit.   I choose to be more sensitive to Your Spirit in the days ahead and to seek You and know You more.   Amen.

Devotional: Thanksgiving & Worship The Ultimate Act Of Faith

It is so vital that we be hungry for God in our lives.   Keeping yourself in a state of consistently growing is so important to your Christian walk. Do you want something new? I mean something new, something fresh?   Something beautiful!   You know if your horse is dead, you need to get off of it.   Do something different!   If what you're doing is not working, then hey, get off of it and do something different!   I believe God is all about change, don't you?

If you want a crop that you've never had before you have to plant seeds that you've never planted before.   If you want something that you've never had before in your life, then you have to do something that you've never done before.   We want a fresh move of God!

You see, if you want God to do something new in your life, then usually you've got to do something new.   The Bible says, "Draw nigh unto God and He'll draw nigh unto you."   If you want God to hurry and move in your life then you need to hurry and move toward Him!   Isn't that right?

If you want a quick move of God, then repent quickly.   Believe Him quickly.   Obey Him quickly and you'll get a quick move of God.   Amen!

Worship is an act of your faith!

Worship is so powerful for our daily lives.

•  Praise Him in the church.

Hebrews 2:12 says, "Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee."

Psalm 35:18 "I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people."

Psalm 150:1 "Praise ye the Lord.   Praise God in His sanctuary: praise Him in the firmament of His power."  

These are just a few of many scriptures that I could use in reference to praising God in the church.

•  Praise Him outside the church (translated "all the time").

1 Thessalonians 5:16 "Rejoice evermore."

Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say rejoice."

Psalm 34:1 "I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth."

The Ultimate act of faith is worship according to Hebrews 13:15.   It says to us, "By Him let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name."

We have a responsibility as the Body of Christ, to worship God.   We can see that in the few verses we've given so far.    Worship is not all there is to our walk with the Lord.   It is not everything, but it's a vital part of our relationship with God.   It's not what we know, it's what we do that counts.

Praise and worship is also the gateway to the supernatural.   It opens up the door for God to move, touch, and speak to you.   Worship creates that supernatural connection that we all hunger for in our lives.  

You can't please God in your flesh.   John 4:23-24 says, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.   God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."  

Romans 8:8 tells us that, "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."    In the Old Testament, men used to have to go to the temple, but now we can all worship.   In the OT times a priest did the communication.   Now, because of Jesus, we have a constant flow of communication if we make the connection.    Praise and worship is the key to keeping your communication lines open to the promptings of the Lord.

Let's talk about the power of our focus.

Let's look at Psalm 133:1-2.  

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!   (2) It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments."  

In verse one we see a clue of the power of focus. There's nothing like saying the same thing.  ONE FOCUS, on ONE THING, at ONE TIME. We can do that by singing and worshipping God.  

In verse two we see the results of the right focus. That ointment, (or the anointing) starts out as a drop, then a flow, then it coats everything that comes in contact with it. It gets stronger as it flows.   The anointing comes, not just so you can get blessed, but so other people can get help too.  

You bring His presence and His anointing on the scene when you worship Him.  

Four Goals That You Should Seek In Worship

•  Begin by rejoicing and stirring up the joy.

The joy of the Lord is our strength.   In His presence is fullness of joy.   Right? In Children's ministry you don't come in boring, you come in with joy. (Example: "If you're happy and you know it.")   You don't come in heavy.  

Isaiah 12:3 "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."  

There's a connection from heaven when you worship.   Joy unspeakable.   But YOU stir up that joy by putting a smile on your face.   Putting feet to your faith.   Taking action.   Faith without works is dead.   If your horse is dead GET OFF OF IT!

•  Get into thanksgiving and praise.  

In its purest form, being thankful is a response to the goodness of God.   1 Thessalonians 5:18 says,"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."   Giving thanks: that's the will of God right there for you!

•  Endeavor to worship God.  

When we say that we endeavor to worship, that simply means you and God in communion and fellowship together. One of the ways we endeavor to worship is by lifting up holy hands.

Look at your hands and say this, "These are holy hands." 1 Timothy 2:8 tells us to lift up holy hands.   Lifting up your hands to worship is an act of great reverence and consecration because it pulls a part of your flesh (that you use for yourself) and you take that focus away from your body and you point it toward your Creator.   There's a difference between "praise" and "worship".  

Clapping during the worship times, those quiet moments, was a big issue at one time.   If Billy Graham, or even the President of the United States walked in, we would honor them with a standing ovation.   But there is something different when God shows up.   We need to be humble and lift up holy hands and praise the one who conquered death, hell, and the grave for you and me.   The one who has delivered us!   Period!   Oh, when the Lord shows up, He is Holy.   Holy is the Lord!  

•  Take the time to worship so that when you get out into the world you have a source of power.

You see, in the dark hour, and before you are in a dark hour, you must worship Him.   Quit being controlled by your feelings or what the circumstance looks like or what your emotions are telling you, and praise your Deliverer!

Acts 16:25-31 reads, "Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, "Stop! Don't kill yourself! We are all here!" The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household."  

They sang praises at the darkest moment, in the lowest part of the prison.   Theologians say that was the place where the sewers ran. They say that old Paul and Silas could have been waist deep in unspeakables!   Oh, but at the midnight hour they sang praises!   The whole prison heard them.   They were LOUD! Then, the "suddenly" happened.   It would do you and me a whole lot of good if we'd just praise Him at all times!   That way something good is always happening to me!

God is always faithful and always present.   Ready to move if we would just open up that door corporately and personally.  

Abraham Lincoln  

It's been said that President Lincoln had an appointment one day with a very elderly lady. As she entered the President's office, he arose, seated her, and asked, "How may I be of service to you, madam?"  

The little lady said, "Mr. President, I know that you are a busy man.   I have not come to ask you anything.   I simply came to bring you this box of cookies, for I heard that you enjoy them so much."

A silence followed in which tears overflowed the eyes of the President.   Finally, he raised his head and spoke to the little lady.   "Madam, I thank you for your thoughtful gift. I am greatly moved by it.   Since I have been President of this great country, thousands of people have come into this office asking for favors and demanding things from me.   You are the first person who has ever entered these premises asking no favor and indeed, bringing a gift for me.   I thank you from the bottom of my heart."  

Church, we need to always be aware that our existence is not so that we can have a new car or house, money, etc.   God cares about us, and He will always bless us.   But our existence is to have fellowship with our creator.  

So many requests...as President Lincoln said. So many requests, and our Father simply wants our companionship. Amen.

Prayer:   Father, I choose to be thankful! I choose to worship and adore You.   You are an awesome God!   Thank You for saving me and delivering me!   Amen.