God Provides Instructions On How To Build A Healthy Spiritual Life Support System – Part 3

Jason's Lake Pic

Jay’s View of Worship and Thanksgiving

Good morning, my dear readers.  You know, one thing that was heavy on my heart was the fact that my two grown children were not attending church services as regularly as they had been required to do when they were kids.  Both children are married now and have their own families and life-problems, but I was still expecting them to connect with a corporate body of church folks.  But this morning, the Lord ‘rung me up’ and shared an endearing message with me from the heart and mouth of my son, Jay.

Here’s how it all began.  I prepared a cup of coffee, went into my office, sat down at my computer and began to compose Part 3 of my blog for this week on the Discipline of Worship.  I had just finished praying a short prayer and had asked the Holy Spirit for His guidance when suddenly the phone rang.  It was Jay.  Now Jay is a retired executive from the corporate world who had just moved his family to a beautiful lake front property in North Carolina.  And he wanted to call his mother and share with her the serenity of the majestic scene he was now privileged to view from his bedroom window.

I was awe-struck by the picture Jay was describing to me and the excitement that was in his voice.  Mom, I can see for miles and miles up the river; all kinds of birds are swooping down over the waters; blue jays, blue birds, red birds, yellow birds and eagles.  I can see the white feathers on their heads.  And my little furry neighbors; the squirrels and rabbits and chipmunks running around.  Mom, sometimes in the early morning there’s a lite mist hovering above the lake.  Mom, you’ve got to see this.  Everything is just so beautiful.

And with that introduction from Jay, it led us into an in depth conversation about God and his magnificent creation and His goodness He has allowed our families to share.  After a time of giving Him all the praise, honor and glory we were both shedding tears of joy and thanksgiving.  When I hung up the phone, I remained still and I heard the Lord say in a wee small voice, My child…NOW THAT’S WORSHIP!

The Discipline of Worship

To have a complete understanding of the Discipline of Worship means you must be able to define worship.  What is worship?  Worship is the human response to divine overtures and initiatives of love which come forth from the heart and dispensation of the Father.  Consequently, true worship can come forth only after the Spirit of God touches the spirit of man.  John 4:23, 24 – “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

All corporate preliminaries that go forth to comprise a worship service such as the liturgy, singing of songs, scripture readings, prayers, announcements, etc., are just that:  preliminaries.  The component to remember for your spiritual life support system is that worship does not take place until the Spirit (God) touches the spirit (human beings).  And the “touch” can come in places other than the sanctuary.  (Just ask Jay.)

During the Discipline of Worship it allows our spirit to see God high and lifted up, to see His marvelous acts and how abundantly His grace abounds.  One can do nothing short of praise.  The Discipline of Worship also helps us put our priorities in order.  Worship comes before service.  So stop running around answering the call to service at the exclusion of ministering to the Lord.  Mark 12:30, 31 – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”…and your neighbor as yourself.”  And if I might add:  in that order!

Cornerstone church service

Corporate Church Services

When we gather in our sanctuaries for worship, we go forth in anticipation and great expectation that God will meet us there.  We remember what we read in the History Books of the Bible.  How God appeared in mysterious lightings, how foundations and walls shook, how people were slain in the spirit and just plain slain and how birds became your GPS system.  Yes, we do come to a physical place in order to worship.  But now we have learned how to go inside ourselves where it is quiet and still and we can listen for our Master Teacher’s voice.

You will recall in Part 2, at the time when we discussed the Discipline of Solitude we identified moments in your life when you thought God had left you.  “The dark night of the soul.”  It is during those times you are to initiate acute listening skills.  Well, if God is expected to meet you at the traffic light, or while standing in line at the store, or while sipping your morning cup of coffee, surely He will meet you in corporate worship services at your church.  So why not go into worship with great expectations?  Just look what is at work here.  Positive thinking, constantly engaged in holy communication, the ability to recognize the Presence of God and unspeakable joy when it all comes together in worship.  It’s the epitome of Galatians 2:20…”I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Here is an example of what I mean.  If only a minority of worshipers come into a public worship service with divine expectations they can supernaturally change the entire assemble.  Those who are troubled and contrite are quickly drawn into a sense of the silent Presence of God.  I personally have experienced and testified to God’s grace in this way: Often while the preacher is delivering his or her sermon and I receive a revelation identifying additional scriptures that will also align itself with the words of the preacher, I’ll pray that those words of God will also come forth…and sure enough, the preacher does deliver them!  Another example is when one Sunday morning, just as the Pastor stood up to began preaching a baby started to cry.  I immediately went into my quiet place and talked to God about it.  The baby stopped crying instantly!  Often similar distractions can interrupt the services, but did you know that you have the power through the Name of Jesus Christ, to marginalize or to suppress them, while at the same time continuing to worship God.

(I’m reminded of a non-biblical expression:  “God Works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.”)

Yes, the Discipline of Worship takes work.  But the Lord pours out blessings from the top of your head down to the hem of your garment.  DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ENGAGE HIM!

In closing this blog, I want to challenge you to always look for and expect Jesus Christ in your worship services. If you are at mid week prayer service, listen for Him in the testimonies of others.  If you are at an all night prayer vigil, expect to hear a prophetic word.  If you are at a healing service, expect a miracle.  If Jesus Christ is truly the leader during your worshiping experience you will see and hear all types of people offering up praise and worship.  There should not be any big “I’s” and little “You’s”.  And this is a quote:  “Christ selects the human instrument He wants to play” in His sanctuary.

So, never humanly initiate spiritual activity in an attempt to aide the Holy Spirit.  Let all of your expressions of praise be divinely prompted.  Even if you don’t have a personal testimony, you can always praise the Lord with your body.  You can raise holy hands, kneel, clap, sway, be in agreement by saying “Amen” or “Praise the Lord”.  Yes, your Godly emotions need to be brought into your act of worship.  Not just your mind and spirit.  A quick vocabulary lesson teaches us that the Hebrew word translated “worship” is “to prostrate”.  The Hebrew word “bless” literally means “to kneel”.  And the Hebrew word for “Thanksgiving” refers to “an extension of the hand.”  So there!

Blog - Church choir singing pic Blog - kneeling in prayer pic Blog - Hand clapping pic adult-audience-colors-2019331

  By Singing         By Kneeling       By Clapping        By Raising Hands

The point is, without a doubt, we are to offer our body parts as well as all the rest of our being as we worship the King during the Discipline of Study, The Discipline of Solitude and the Discipline of Worship.  Amen

TO REVIEW PART  2 OF THE DISCIPLINES,  CLICK ON THE RIGHT, MARCH 2019 AND SCROLL DOWN.    TO REVIEW PART 1 OF THE DISCIPLINES, CLICK ON THE RIGHT, SEPTEMBER 2018 AND SCROLL DOWN.

Scripture Lesson:  “Where two or three are gathered in My Name there am I in the midst of them.”  Matthews 18:20

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!     

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God’s Name Was “Houston”

Blog God's Name Was Houston morning pic

This morning I woke up with Jesus on my mind.  This happens quit often, but on this particular Monday morning, seemingly a centrifugal force was guiding me.   While still in my PJs, I went into my office/den, sat down at my desk and began to leaf through a stack of magazines.  Now, so far, I really wasn’t looking for a topic for my weekly blog post because I had already decided to share Part 3 of last week’s blog with my audience.  That blog was about building a spiritual life support system.  Part 1 was the Discipline of Study and Part 2 was the Discipline of Solitude.  Part 3 will be about The Discipline of Worship.

BUT GOD HAD ANOTHER ASSIGNMENT FOR ME!

Suddenly, my attention was drawn to the December 2018 issue of the AARP Bulletin news magazine/paper.  I began to leaf through its pages and was reminded just how much I have always enjoyed its content about senior living, senior legislation, senior commerce and senior places for travel, and senior health issues.

But imagine my surprise to read about a Q&A interview AARP had conducted with former Astronaut James Lovell on page 32.  The content of this interview was commemorating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8, the first Apollo mission and the first to orbit the moon.  What grabbed my attention was the reference Astronaut Lovell (now 90 years old) made about how his philosophy had changed while orbiting the earth.  For some reason, God had me to read that paragraph over and over again.

Blog God's Name is Houston pic

There’s an old saying, “I hope to go to heaven when I die.”  Suddenly, it dawned on me that we went to heaven when we were born!  We arrived on a planet that had the right amount of mass to have the gravity to contain water and an atmosphere, just at the proper distance from a star.  It appeared to me that God had given mankind sort of  a stage to perform on.  I guess how that play will turn out is up to us.”

The above is a direct quote and picture from the article.  BUT God whispered in my ear and gave me a direct “eye-opener” from Heaven.  God said in conversation to me; My child, do you know why that mission trip was a success and returned to earth safely, in spite of a near catastrophe, when one oxygen tank was empty and another was leaking profusely?  I responded by saying…Say on, Lord!  It was because of Astronauts Lovell,   Jack Swigert and Fred Haise’s “May Day” message to their command post…”Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

Little did they realize that because of Jim’s highly insightful, informal and innamorate prayer of recognition towards Me, and his eye opening comparison of my gift of an ‘earthly stage’ for humanity to an eternal future heavenly ‘Place’, caused all of My heavenly Angels to shout Hallelujah to the King of Glory.  It took Me to this very day to calm them down and to tell them to get back to the business of protecting and guiding My people.

Yes, and as you know…”HOUSTON, WE’VE GOT A PROBLEM” has become an iconic quote because just as the article said, ‘it fits into millions of situations people experience every day’.  Always remember My Beloveds, when one of My ‘disciples‘ gets that excited (as Jim Lovell did) while admiring My Creation, he or she can call Me by any Name…I’ll even answer to the Name of HOUSTON and I will sure-nuf respond to their call.

Ultra High Definition 4K View of Planet Earth NASA

Meditate on Jesus [Let Us] while viewing this 1:38 minute video.  Just Click and converse with Him.

One final note…many, many, many years ago I referred to God as “Mr. Character”.  I blogged about that conversation and encourage you to expand your recognition of Who God Is.  Approach the Throne of Grace with humility and steadfast love for Him.  Check out http://www.tgifmasterminds.wordpress.com/Mr.Character

Scripture LessonIn the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.  Genesis 1:1-2

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth.  Psalm 8:9

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!   

 

God Provides Instructions On How To Build A Healthy Spiritual Life Support System – Part 2

In September 2018, I posted a blog entitled “God Provides Instructions On How To Build A Healthy Spiritual Life Support System”.  The first component dealt within that post was the discipline of study.  If you would like to refresh your memory concerning that conversation I had with God, please select “September 2018” to the right of this page and scroll through those weekly blogs until you see the title listed above.  Basically, a quick review will help you better connect with this week’s blog.

Now, in this week’s blog, I would like to continue sharing about how to build a healthy spiritual life support system by once again revisiting my conversation with the Great Physician, who has never lost a case, for our Part 2 spiritual checkup.

Blog God Provides Instructions Part 2

So, let’s leave the office of “Dr. Discipline of Study” and go down the hall to the office of “Dr. Discipline of Solitude.”

The doctor takes our pulse and heart rate and immediately turns as white as a sheet.  He instantly realizes that we are all deficient in the component of Solitude.  He starts his examination with probing questions.  “How often does Jesus stop by your house to prepare a table before you?”  Followed by, “How frequently does He anoint your head with oil?”  (Psalm 23)  Surely, when recalling events of this magnitude you did not trust your memory.  You did write down the dates in your calendar, didn’t you?”

The very absence of the ability to regularly recognize an encounter with Jesus Christ is an indictment that we don’t understand the power of perfecting the Discipline of Solitude.  It goes without saying, as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, or putting it another way, as we go through life during distressing times and we can’t recognize the chastising presence of our Lord and Savior, we will surely fear evil.  Tell me, who among us does not have problems from time to time in this area?

NOW, AS A BLACK BAPTIST PREACHER WOULD SAY IN A LYRICAL MONOTONE: 

Winston Porter Large Musical Notes Wall Decor Image 1 of 1“LET ME-Ah–TAKE YOU-Ah–A LITTLE BIT-Ah–HIGHER.” 

Usually a Christian’s first conversion to walking by faith is tied to the first component: The Discipline of Study.  With that discipline we learned how necessary it is for new and seasoned believers to stay connected with God’s Word, the Holy Bible, while building up their spiritual houses based upon the following scripture in 2nd Tim. 3:16-17:  “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (or woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  These verses basically deal with the outer man.

After thoroughly understanding the first conversion/component, you are now ready for the second conversion/component:  The Discipline of Solitude.  This discipline is based on the second most memorized Scripture by Christians which is found in Mark 12:29-31:  “And Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, Hear O Israel:  The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:  this is the first commandment and the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  There is none other commandment greater than these.”  These verses basically deal with the inner man.

So, to completely understand the Discipline of Solitude, let’s look at its meaning.  Solitude means being alone, without companions in a remote place from society.  “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he (Jesus) went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35

Blog God Provides Instructions Man praying Pic 2

Be still and know that I am God!

It is extremely necessary for the believer to include The Discipline of Solitude in their quest towards building a healthy spiritual life support system because this is an opportunity for God to perform a cleansing act in your life.  This is God’s time to eradicate ‘self-love’ from your soul.

THE TRUE STATE OF THE DISCIPLINE OF SOLITUDE REQUIRES THAT IT BE INITIATED BY GOD AND THAT YOU COME INTO IT “EMPTY” AND FREE.

In my conversation with God, He made it quite clear for me that there is a distinct difference between quiet time, meditation time and solitude time.

Quiet time with the Lord often includes verbal as well as non-verbal communications:  audible prayers, devotional readings, singing of hymns, rehearsing of events of the day, etc.  To meditate means to engage in deep thought before prayer.  You are more focused on the attributes of God.  Your brain is highly activated.  Your emotions are heightened.  You may even design a special place in your home and position your body in a certain posture when meditating.  The common thread that binds quiet time with meditation is that you initiated the act.

There was an incident in the Apostle Peter’s life when he recognized the need for perfecting the Discipline of Solitude. He needed to get away to a quiet place far from society and companions.  Peter needed his deficiencies pointed out by God.

Peter experienced a rude awakening that what the Lord had prophesied over him had come true.  Peter had denied Him thrice before the cock crowed.  The realization was that because of Peter’s mind-set for ‘self-preservation’ or ‘self-love’ he had chosen not to stand on the first and second commands of Jesus’ words recorded in Mark 12:29-31.  And thus, Peter needed the holy chastising of the Lord. (In this case, just an accusing glance.)  Peter had to get away and to be alone with God to allow God to cleanse him of a virtue that all of us believers have…professing God, but only up to the point of ‘self-preservation’ or ‘self-love’.  Peter’s redeeming proclamation was he had to affirm Jesus thrice.  (You’ve heard that old adage…self-preservation is the first law of nature…..but it is not the first law of God!)

When God calls you to solitude, He puts breaks on every other activity in your life.  This includes your relationship with Him.  Even your spiritual growth is temporarily placed on hold.  God wants to come in and sup with you.  These periods are described as “the dark night of the soul.”  These periods usually happen after you have been to the mountain top.  [One of my pastors used to say, you have been to the mountain, now come back down to the valley.]  The purpose of the darkness is not to punish or afflict us.  It is to set us free.  But when this dark period of “rebirth” tries to take its rightful place in the inner man, the outer man tries to kill it. (See Psalm 32.)  Just remember that Jesus Christ has already conquered death, hell and the grave.

Finally, I want you to remember that the fruit of solitude is this:  increased awareness of your surroundings; increased sensitivity for others; increased compassion for all living things; increased appreciation for keeping your mouth shut; and increased respect for those times when you find yourself alone.

No more fear.  You are silently waiting on God Almighty while enjoying the spiritual maturity growth that is taking place within you.  God is building you up through the power and gospel of Jesus Christ for the sake of the brethren, while at the same time washing away self-love,  in order that you might love others for who they are and not for what they say.

The Lord closed our conversation with this question:  Are you ready to lay down your life for a friend even if “friend” not only includes your neighbor BUT me-myself-and I, too?

Scripture Lesson:  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins (including self-love) and blot out my iniquity.  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Amen  Psalms 51:7-10

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!