Psalm 150:6 NKJV – Who do we cheer for?

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!

I am a sports fan. I love watching sports. I love the experience of a live sporting event and I also love the experience of watching it on our newer TV set.  Thanks so much Allyson and James.  Some of my favorite sports include Baseball, Football, the NBA, NASCAR, and even, if I can find it, Curling. Aye? I love cheering for the team and getting on my feet to either cheer or to argue with a referee or umpire. Like they can even hear me. My point is there’s a reason for – O..HI..O. We’re fans and I’m a “Buckeye” fan.

I remember coming home after an event and not having any voice left to speak. I had been screaming so loudly, that there was nothing left but a whisper. Now there’s nothing wrong with being a sports fan and even going overboard with our exuberance for the team. But really, let’s think about this in terms of value.

I can be pretty certain that my voice in the midst of tens of thousands of people didn’t have much to do with the outcome of the event. I can also be sure that the coach or manager didn’t worry about not hearing me and my “well thought out advice”. So what is the true value in it. My life goes on and the team goes on to the next game or event.

There have been sermons and messages about where our values lie in terms of God’s Kingdom. You may have heard messages about our exuberant cheering at the game and our not so exuberant praise to our Lord and King during our praise and worship time. I have. And it’s true. We’ve heard said, “Just suppose you would praise God with the same excitement that you cheer your favorite team. What do you think could happen?” Where do we place our priority? What is the ultimate value?

I believe there’s a great and glorious reason why Psalm 150:6 is the very last scripture verse in the Book of Psalms. I believe that the Holy Spirit, who authored it, wanted to make a very important point. He wanted to ensure that we understood where our focus should be. Where our priority should lie. Throughout the Book of Psalms, the Psalmist spoke of God’s never ending love for us and how we can trust and rely on Him. How God is our protector and defender. How we can walk with Him knowing that He loves us. The Psalmist taught us that in the midst of troubles, we can praise Him and know He will deliver us. We could cry out to Him and know He would hear our cries. So this last scripture verse says it all. It’s the ultimate “Conclusion” statement. “Let EVERYTHING that has breath PRAISE THE LORD; PRAISE THE LORD!”

In our day to day walk with the Lord, there needs to be a priority placed on praising God for all things. There’s Kingdom value in this. My voice in PRAYER and PRAISE reaches our “Coach”, God Himself. He hears it and receives it and answers it. Shouldn’t we be fans of God even more than fans of anything else? My desire is to make Jesus famous. In MY PRAYERS, MY PRAISE, MY LIFE, with EVERY BREATH. Want to come sit in my cheering section? J..E – S..U..S!

Dear Lord, hear our praise. Hear our prayers. Help us to make You famous. May we lift our voices Higher than High to our great and glorious King. You are our loving Lord whose desire is to bless us and prosper us; to give us hope and a future. Let us raise the roof in praise. Hallelujah!!! Forgive us Lord when we place You lower than at the top of our life, our walk, our day to day priorities. May You forever be glorified. Praise You Lord!!! All Glory and Honor is Yours!!! In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 34:1 NKJV – Our sacrifice of praise

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

God is worthy to be praised at all times. He has done and continues to do wonderful works in my life. He has saved me, raised me up and lifted me from the miry clay.(Psalm 40:2) God is my Savior, my Redeemer, my Healer, my Restorer, my Strength, my Shield, and my Everything. I will bless the Lord.

You might ask, “How can I bless the Lord? What is it that I can give to God that would bless Him?” Well, our praise lifted up to Him, blesses God. Our songs, our worship, and our PRAYERS presented to Him as a sacrifice of praise blesses God and honors Him. As we humbly lift our voices and our hearts to Him, God hears, God receives, and God finds favor with it. God looks upon our praise as a worthy sacrifice and returns to us His blessing.

Here is how I think about what happens when we “bless the Lord”. When we offer songs of worship or even PRAY, God hears our praise and adoration to Him and He smiles. God rejoices over us.(Zephaniah 3:17) Then God in His infinite and everlasting love for us returns a blessing to us. Then when we receive that blessing, our thanksgiving and joy causes us to return to God again and bless Him. And so on and so on and so on. The circle is there – The more we bless God, the more He finds favor with our sacrifice. And the more He finds favor with our sacrifice, the more He blesses us. Glory to God!!!

Heavenly Lord, we give You praise and bless Your Name. We offer our sacrifice of praise to You as a gift to an Almighty God who loves us, redeems us, and lifts us up. You provided the Way for all of us to live again, eternally with You. Thank You Jesus for living and dying and giving Yourself for us. May our praise to You be continually on our lips. May our hearts beat as one with You. Glory to You, oh Lord!!! In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 115:18 NKJV – Adoration Prayer

But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!

Sometimes we have to step back and meditate on the things the Lord has given us. If you don’t this world will begin to pull us back into a belief that what we have is what we have worked for. Well, I’m here to say I don’t believe that. At one time, I believed that, but I’ve changed. Thank You, Jesus. What I have now is so much less than what the world would think as being necessary, but in reality I have so much more. Am I making any sense here? Just keep reading. I’ll begin to clarify myself.

When I met Jesus and accepted Him as my Savior and the purpose of my life, I had to give up the world. I had to leave the world behind and follow Him. I made that choice. There were people who didn’t understand my decision. Some thought I’d get over God and come back. Some thought it was “nice” and they were glad I was “happy now”. I’m not condemning them. I have no regrets. I’m just speaking the truth. I continue to live and work in the world, but what I found to be important in my life and a priority has changed. I am now addicted to God. God healed me of my addictions to the world.

So sometimes it is vitally important that each of us spend some time in prayer but not ask for anything. What do you mean? Pray without asking? Yes. Prayer is a conversation with God from your heart. You can pray without asking. There is something very powerful in prayer without asking. Prayers of love and adoration to Almighty God Himself. Let me ask you something. When you were growing up, did you like when your mom or your dad or a relative or even a teacher called you out and told someone how special you were? I know I did. We all would love to hear how we were loved and how much we meant to someone? That’s human nature and it is birthed in us. To give and to receive love. How much more important is it to pour out that kind of heartfelt love and adoration to the Lord. To tell Him how much He means to us and how much we love Him. To recall the blessings He has given us. To thank Him for the times we felt His presence. So below, I’ve put together a list of some of the things I thank God for and cause me to bless His Name:

  • Before Jesus died, he prayed for me in the garden (John Chapter 17. You really need to read this and let the Holy Spirit get this into your heart)
  • Jesus gave His life for me so that can spend eternity with Him. (When He was on the cross, we were on His mind)
  • God causes the sun to rise each morning for me and the day and His mercy is new. (It’s a promise – Lamentations 3:22-24)
  • God loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • God is slow to anger (Psalm 103:8)
  • My lovely bride, Nancy, who I cherish and celebrate each new day with her. (My great gift from God)
  • My Son, Daughter and Son-in Law who love Jesus and call Him Savior

And the list can go on and on and on. My point is there is such a thing as prayer without asking God for anything. I call it Adoration Prayer. I believe that this kind of prayer is received by God as a first fruit offering. Because, let’s face it. Without God we have nothing. But with God, all things are possible.

Precious Lord, thank You. You are a great and glorious Lord and I worship You. O how I love You, Lord. I sing praises to You and worship Your Holy Name. For all Your goodness, I will keep on singing. Now and forever more. Let everything that is within me, Praise the Lord. I will shout of Your goodness day and night. Bless the Lord, O my soul. In Your Name, Jesus. Amen and Amen.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Luke 10:40-42 NKJV – Someone cares

But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt you were so bogged down with giving, and serving, and providing, that if someone would just see or give notice to what you faced and helped or encouraged you….Oh the frustration. The enemy uses this against us all the time. He comes in to persuade us that we are the only one who gives anything to the Lord and that no one even cares. Well that’s not true. I don’t believe that at all.

The enemy is a liar and a deceiver. He wants to attack us exactly where we serve. He wants to make us ineffective as servants for the Lord. If the enemy can cause us to take our eyes away from Jesus, he can cause our pride to rise up and to make us believe his lies. That is what happened to Martha. She only saw what was before her, with a flawed viewpoint. Martha’s preparation became elaborate and maybe even burdensome. But Mary had a different viewpoint. She knew that being at the feet of Jesus was an incredible and wonderful opportunity that took precedence over every other thing.

Our eyes need to remain on Jesus. He is our Hope. He is where our strength comes from. The Psalmist said, “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” (Psalm 3:3 KJV). We give, we serve, we provide as God directs because we love Him and “We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 KJV)   The scripture passage ends with, “and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” You see, there is someone who notices and someone who cares.

Lord God, thank You for being our hope, our strength, our joy and the lifter of our heads. Give us strength when we feel burdened with serving you and protect us from the enemy when his lies try to defeat us. Help us, Lord, to lean on Your strength and to keep our eyes fixed on You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 17:6 NKJV – Reveal yourself to us, O God

I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech.

You may or may not have heard that God hears our prayers. It’s true. In this verse God is asked to incline His ear and to hear the speech of the psalmist. Calling upon God is an act of dependence upon Him out of sense of need. What we are actually doing when we call upon God is saying we are dependent upon your hearing and acting on what we need or desire.

Calling upon God is an act of worship. We are saying, “O God, how mighty You are. Hear my prayer O God for You are able.” “Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!” (Psalm 105:1 NKJV) When we set our hearts and minds on God, knowing and trusting in Him to provide for everything, we are offering up a sacrifice of praise that God will receive and accept and return abundance back to us. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”. (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV)

Matthew Henry, the commentator, once said, “It will be a great comfort to us if trouble, when it comes, find the wheels of prayer a-going, for then we may come with the more boldness to the throne of grace.” The psalmist frequently went to God in prayer as in “I have called upon You.” Prayer was not foreign to him or something he was unfamiliar with. He spoke with God and gave direction in his prayer, “Incline Your ear”. He was comfortable with God. He knew God; not merely knowing about God, but also with knowledge of God’s presence and power.

Friend, to know God is to be transformed by God. And knowing God comes from revelation of Himself, most importantly through His Son, Jesus Christ. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3 NKJV) God the Father is revealed through Christ, the Son. “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27 NKJV) We can be assured that when we call upon God that He hears us and will answer us. That is the faith that the psalmist knew. That is the faith we need to have when we pray. Prayer is a natural part of worship: to know God is to want to worship him and pray to him.

Precious Lord, thank You that we can come to You. Thank You that You hear and answer our prayers. Our prayers to You are offered up as worship to You. Show us Your presence and power. Reveal Yourself to us so that our faith grows and is encouraged in You. May we always feel close to You and confident in our prayers to You. In Your precious Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

1 Kings 19:11-13 NKJV – Is that You God?

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Today I write on God’s “still small voice”. The Lord answers Elijah in an unexpected way. God is present in near silence. Divine silence does not mean divine inactivity. I think you would agree with Elijah as well as me that an Almighty and All-powerful God would speak in the same way; resounding in authority and power. Sometimes God resounds in a way we fully understand. He grabs a hold of us and communicates. While other times, in the gentleness of God, He simply whispers to us.

Either way, God will communicate to us. So how many times do we miss the “still small voice”? How many times do we come short of hearing the voice of God? Are we too busy, too preoccupied, or just don’t pay attention? I think it’s a little bit of all of that. When God wants our attention, He will get it one way or the other. The words of God’s mouth are always effective. “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed?” (Lamentations 3:38 NKJV)

Communication is the effective conveyance of a message. When we desire to hear God’s voice; sometimes it is necessary for us to quiet ourselves before Him and give Him time to speak. It’s a two way process. Seek Him in prayer and then listen for God’s reply. “Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.” (Psalm 27:7 NKJV) God’s desire is that all people should seek after him and find him.

Being quiet before God is something that isn’t as easy as it sounds. We need to be deliberate about it. We need to settle our minds and our hearts and put ourselves in an attitude of worship and prayer. We have to take whatever is happening around us and set it aside and place God in the #1 position of attention. We need to press in to the presence of God. God is near. The more we seek the presence of God the easier it will be to hear His “still small voice”. The voice of God is conveyed through His Son, Jesus where His voice is recognizable. “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:14-16 NKJV)

Friend, how much do you want to hear God’s “still small voice”? How much do you want to hear from Jesus? An intimate relationship with Jesus begins with two way conversation called prayer. An intimate relationship with Jesus is nurtured through the study of God’s Word. When we combine the study of God’s Word with prayer and worship, what we get is an attitude in our hearts and minds that allows us to hear God’s “still small voice”. The hustle and bustle of the world is set aside and all that is left is the quietness of the presence of God. Take some time to nurture your relationship with God and get into the quietness of His presence. God will begin to speak. Just listen. God is near and desires to speak with you.

Dear God thank You that You desire to speak with us. Speak to us, God, and direct our ways. Speak to us, God, and teach us Your ways. Teach us, O God, to settle our hearts and minds so that we can fully hear You. Our desire is an intimate relationship with You. Deliver us from our busy lives into Your presence where we may experience all of Your power. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Matthew 5:16 NKJV – A blazing fire or just a flicker

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

The light of Jesus shines in all who believe in Him. It’s our choice if we want it to be a blazing fire or just a flicker. Scripture often uses light as a symbol of the people of God, and especially the manner in which believers are able and required to reflect the glory of God in a dark world of sin. It is the light of Jesus that pushes back the darkness of the world and what better way of doing that but to walk and live and minister in the light of Jesus.

We are called to live in His glorious light. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7 NKJV) The light of Jesus demonstrates our belief in Him and the grace Jesus has poured out into our lives. This light shows others that we are different. Scripture even says that we are peculiar. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9 KJV) Yes, into His marvelous light.

Light is often used in Scripture as a symbol of the presence of God in the world. It is often especially associated with the word of God, the salvation brought about by God, or the person of Jesus Christ. Light is a symbol of God’s purity. “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5 NKJV) Light certainly is a symbol of God’s glory. “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.” (Revelation 21:23 NKJV) And light is a symbol of Jesus Christ. “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NKJV)

That which is visible on the outside may reveal the true person, but is sometimes misleading. Judging by it and boasting in it are typical of sinful humanity. God sees the inner reality. And God desires that His light shine from us so that the world sees Him in us. It’s never about us; it’s always about Jesus. People take note of our outward appearance and attitudes. The world is quick to judge. The world is constantly judging believers to see if we have flaws that the world can take advantage of. Yes, believe it or not, we are imperfect. We sometimes look at our flaws as being something fatal, but God looks at our flaws as a portal to allow His light to shine from us. And God has poured out His light in us so that the Father may be glorified.

So I have to ask this question. Would you rather live out Jesus Christ alive in you and His wonderful light and be a blazing fire to a lost world? OR Would you just like to live out His wonderful light in your life just being a flicker? I say I want to be that blazing fire that others seem to be attracted to. I want to be that blazing fire that glorifies God. I want to live my life in Christ making a difference and demonstrating Jesus Christ alive in me. Believers are to glorify God in their lives, as Jesus Christ glorified Him in His life. The light of Jesus should be so bright in and through believers that people are attracted to what we have in us. But we have a choice to make. Yes, another choice. Blazing Fire or just a flicker?

Dear Lord, thank You that Your light shines in us. Thank You that You live in us and when we live our lives glorifying You, Your light will be a blazing fire in us. Lord, we are imperfect and have flaws, but Lord when Your light shines in and through us, those flaws are portals for Your great light to shine through. May all we say and do give glory to Your Name. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!