Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Words of Encouragement


“UNTO thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.” Psalm 25:1-4

Confidence in prayer. Trust. This Psalm of David reminds us of how we should pray when we are faced with situations that seem unmovable. We know how much David went through as he ran from Saul who was trying to destroy his very life.

When we are in situations that seem too hard to move or that we feel like we are running just to stay alive, we can take comfort and know we can trust in God. We must lift our hearts to the Lord. Just as was stated last week, when we lift our situations up to the Lord we give him access to them, because we are no longer trying to solve them alone.

We can lift our downcast souls up to the Lord and know that we can trust in him. We can ask the Lord for the victory in our situations just as David did. He asked the Lord not to allow his enemies to triumph over him. Are you under attack and things seem not to be going your way? As a child of God he will not allow the enemy to triumph over you. Yes God may allow us to go through situations for our perfecting, but he will not allow them to destroy us.

God allowed Satan to test Job but he didn’t allow him to destroy him and when it was all done, God still had the victory in the life of Job. We can know for ourselves that we are overcomers, victors in the Lord. For the Lord will judge the unrighteous and he will deliver those that belong to him.

So in our walk, we can say unto the Lord teach me your way and show me how I should walk. If we are following after God, we can be confident in our prayers and trust that God will answer. He will not bring us to shame. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. We will not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So today in whatever situation you are facing, be it at work were you are being ridiculed or lied on or even passed over. Maybe it’s in your home or marriage, it seems as it the enemies is laughing at you and mocking you by the decline happening right in front of you. Whatever the situation you face that seems to be trying to bring you shame, know you can trust in God and he will deliver you. Praying for us to have confidence in our prayers and to trust God’s leading.

“Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.”
Psalm 25:5-6

Confidence in prayer. Guidance. This Psalm continues in the request for God’s direction. In these two verses, the request is for God to lead in his truth. To be lead in God’s truth means we read his word and then allow God’s spirit to direct our path based on the word. We don’t just hear the word and walk away from it, not being changed or affected.

In order to be taught by God we must be willing to let go of our own thoughts and our own ideas. We must be willing to allow God to direct our understanding of his words. See if we go in with our own agenda’s we are not going with a teachable spirit. In our pray life we must start first by asking the Lord to bring us to the place where we can be lead by his truth and to be taught by him. What we are really asking is for the dying of ones self.

We must be willing to wait on God. Waiting means we don’t try to fix things ourselves and we don’t try to work it out in our own way. See our ways are not God’s ways and our thoughts are not his thoughts, for his are greater and higher. In our waiting we can remind ourselves of how the Lord has been and is being merciful to us. We can remind ourselves of his love toward us. We see it in our lives and in the lives of his people as recorded in his word. His mercies are from old, from times gone by.

Today we can have confidence in our prayers that God will guide us and he will teach us if we but ask him to. And in our asking go with the attitude that I will die to myself, so that I can live for Christ. Praying for us today to be lead by God and to be taught by him, so we can be a people mighty for the Lord.

"Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy goodness' sake, O LORD. Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek he will guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach is way. All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies."
Psalm 25:7-10

Confidence in prayer. Forgiveness. Want a wonderful thing it is to know that God will forgive us of the foolishness of our youth. Not just our youth in physical age, but our youth in spiritual age, our time of immaturity. God will forgive us of the wrong choices made if we ask and turn to him.

This scripture reminds us of Gods goodness. Because he is God he will teach the sinner that comes to him how to move from that place of sin into a new life. He will teach us his ways.

The scripture says all paths of the Lord are mercy. This doesn't mean ALL paths lead to God, but wherever the Lord leads you personally is filled with his mercy and his truth. See some believe everyone can get to God no matter the path they take. That doesn't agree with scripture. Scriptures says Jesus is the only way to God.

Once we are on the right track, God has different assignments for us to accomplish. So my journey or path may be different than yours, but it is one lead and directed by God. And as long as we are following after his righteousness and seeking his face, we have access to all his provisions.

So today when we take are times of prayer, let us remember to be thankful for the forgiveness that has been given to us. Let us be thankful for our past sins being no longer held against us. Let us rejoice in the fact that God is good and upright. We can have the confidence in our prayers that our Heavenly Father will answer us, because we have been forgiven and now have access to the father’s provisions. Thank God for he is the God of our salvation.

"For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great. What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth. The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; ad he will shew them his covenant. Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluk my feet out of the net."
Psalm 25:11-15

Confidence in prayer. God's mercy. This part of the chapter starts with confession of sins. He says for my sin is so great, yet for your names sake you can pardon. In our daily prayers we must continue to take inventory of ourselves before the Lord. Lord is there anything in me that needs to be removed? If so, Lord then I place it in your hands and I ask that you teach me how I should think, how I should live.

When a part of our prayer life is focused on walking rightly before the Lord, we can have to ease or peace with God and in God. We can have the security of God's protection when we dwell with him.

We can also have confidence in our prayer of God sharing with us from his treasures. He will reveal to us the secret things that no man can understand without the working of God's spirit. We can have confidence in our prayer that God will rescue us from the traps set to destroy us.

As we go to prayer, let us remember to seek God regarding our daily walk. When we do, he will teach us, he will protect us, he will show us his ways. We can have confidence in the mercies that God shows us, for they are new every day.

So today I pray for us to be mindful of God's mercies and how he is available to us for all that we stand in need of. Let us remember that no matter how hard the situations look that we face, if we are in Christ Jesus, we have God's power to protect, guide and deliver, for the scripture says he will deliver us from the net. Praying for us.

"Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins. Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles."
Psalm 25:16-22

Confidence in prayer. God's protection. As you read these verses you get the true sense of a person in need of help. I know we can all identify with that. If you aren't there now, you have been or will be, at the place were it seems everything is going against you or everything is seeking to destroy you.

On your jobs people are plotting against you. That would be enough, but then you're going through a hard place in another part of your life. It really just seems like this is too much and you can't handle it.

That is our time to pull out the weapon we have against the things that trouble us, our prayers. When the heat turns up, we need to turn up and pray. We need to turn our focus upward and voice our concerns to God. The one thing I really like about this scripture is it shows God can handle our complaints.

I've had people tell me before that when you pray to God you shouldn't complain or talk about negative things. Well if I'm wrong, I'm sorry, but I talk to God about everything and some of it's negative. I tell him when I'm having wrong attitudes about things and I ask him to help me.

I talk about when I'm hurt and how I really, really don't like it. Yet I'll handle it if he helps me. That's just what our psalmist did, he talked about his troubles and how they were weighing him down. And then he asked God to come and see about him. To not allow the enemy to get the victory over him.

God can handle our prayers. Even in the midst of the complaint, the main message was sent, God you are my protection and I wait on you. That is what the message should be in our prayers. Yes God I don't like this or that, but you are my protection and I wait on you.

We can have confidence today in our pray life because we know that God will receive our prays. He wants us to bring our cares and our concerns to him. There is nothing we can tell God that he can't handle.

So when we go to worship this week, let us rejoice in knowing we have the ear of God regarding our concerns and our request. We can have confidence in how he will lead us and that he will teach us his ways. We can have confidence that he will protect us and he will remove our foot from the net. We can know God will never leave us or forsake us. Let us rejoice in the God of our Salvation!

The Week in Review

View of Chapter 1 & 6 Pastoral Ministry
Foundations of Ministry – March 12, 2006

Ministering within the church requires God’s people to be prepared biblically for the task. The church of today is faced with choices that could lead them away from being a biblically based church thus rendering it ineffective. John MacArthur, the author of Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically, gives the readers some insights into how to shepherd the church God’s way.

One of the first things the author, John MacArthur, wants his readers to understand is that the title or position of shepherd is one of responsibility and not status. The shepherds in many cultures were the ones that occupied the lowest positions. This encourages all that will accept the call to minister God’s people to understand that this is a way of sacrifice. One must be willing to accept the challenges that will come along with this call. In doing so, one must be willing to also look at how they minister alongside God’s mandated.

In the first chapter, Richard L. Mayhue writes, “A growing number of respected evangelicals believe that the present redirection of the church toward being less biblical and more acceptable to man will ultimately lead to a Christ-condemned church” (3). The writer points out ministers and pastors can take one of two routes. One is the need-based, man-centered, consumer-driven and culturally defined way (4). This way is constantly changing and is based on the desire of the people. The second way (which is the way the writer suggests) is based on God-focused, biblically defined and scripturally prioritized ministry.

It is important to care for the church but it is not in her best interest to give her everything she wants and not the things needed. The responsibility of leadership is to equip the saved for work in the mission and bring the message to the lost. When a church becomes too concerned with making believers “comfortable” one can lose the focus on the true mission of the church.

The writer warns that because of the trends of the church, people are equating religion with Christianity and “going to church” with salvation (13). He also mentions the confusion with emotion as a sign of worship in Spirit and truth and the cleverness of man’s words with the power of the gospel (13). The concern is that if the ministers and the shepherds do not lead biblically, the church will lose it’s power and be replaced with an “impotent, idolatrous religion” (13). The trend of today makes believers act as if they are attending an “elite” club or gathering. Some believers do not see or understand the importance of their part in the mission. That is why the belief of attendance as salvation is so easily accepted. If one attends, then they are part of the body and have done what is necessary to do. If the word of God is not given to combat this belief, the people will continue in this fashion.

What is the way to combat this trend? The writer, James M. George, in chapter six gives some suggestions. It is for the called to serve in a way that is in line with God’s directives. The called must confirm with God and with others they are called to the ministry. They must also have a deep desire to serve in the ministry. The called must be able to teach others or equip them for service.

I agree with the writers of these two chapters that the state of the church is greatly linked to those in leadership over the churches. This warning, however, is not a new one. Jeremiah was sent by God to the priest and the prophets of his time to give them a warning about how they were teaching the people to transgress against his laws. “The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit” (Jeremiah 2:8).

God is still seeking leaders that will follow after him and teach the people what is right and just. The writer states, “This aspiration for the ministry is therefore an inward impulse that releases itself in outward desire. Sanders noted that it is not the office but the work that is the object desired. It must be a desire for service, not for position, fame or fortune” (90).

The call and acceptance to the ministry is to be entered into with prayer and assurance from God. When the assurance is received, then the undertaking should be done only with biblically based instruction. If one tries to lead with selfish desires or gain, the result will be a weak church, with believers not equipped for the true mission because the focus is not on God.

Work Cited

MacArthur, John, et. al. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2005.

Thompson, Frank Charles, D.D., PH.D. The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, 5th ed. Indianapolis, IN: B. B. Kirkbridge Bible Co., Inc., 1988.

The Week in Review

Assignment #4 – Theology of Worship
January 11, 2007

The greatest challenge for today’s worship leader in a postmodern world is how to help individuals feel and think within the worship experience. These challenges cause trouble for the worship leader because they must try to blend different worlds together. In the book Experiencing God in Worship, Leonard Sweet, the author of the piece titled, A New Reformation: Re-Creating Worship for a Postmodern World, states “Here’s the point: In postmodern culture, the experience is the message. Post moderns literally ‘feel’ their way through life. If postmodern worship can’t make people furiously feel and think (in the old ‘modern’ word, we would have said only ‘think’), it can’t show them how God’s Word transform the way we ‘feel’”(177).

With this understanding, it is vital for the worship leader to seek God’s direction for the Spirit to guide the worship process as stated here, “worship is not about style; it’s about spirit. If the ‘spirit’ isn’t right, presentation means little – no matter how contemporary or high-tech. Ten times zero is still zero. And, if the Spirit is there, presentation also means little – no matter how traditional or bookish” (Sweet, 181).

The worship leader’s job, with the help of God is to help the congregation address some of the problems facing worship today. First, the congregation needs to be given an understanding about the purpose of worship. In the book Experiencing God in Worship, George Barna in his piece titled, Worship in the Third Millennium, states, “Most adults will contend that a Christian has a responsibility to worship God. However, when asked to define what worship means, two out of three are unable to offer an appropriate definition or description of worship…For most Americans worship is to satisfy or please them, not to honor or please God” (15).

A worship leader must allow God to work through them to create a worship service that will grasp the attention of the worshipers and call them to interact with God. The worship leader must create an atmosphere that calls for individuals to thirst for God, and that can be difficult when trying to blend different music and artistic styles. It is important then for the leader to introduce changes, such as music, dance, video or other artistic mediums in the service in a gradual way, with much prayer and leading by the Spirit of God. Some will complain and that is unfortunately due to the fact that individuals think worship is more about them and their likes or dislikes. “The problem is that American Christians do not have a heart that is thirsting for an experience with God, eager to express gratitude and praise to him, and open to his response to their efforts to convey humility, appreciation, acknowledgement of his love and character, and joy in knowing and serving him” (Barna, 16).

A worship leader may also face difficulties because of the age and cultural differences within the worship services, along with the difference in music preferences. The step that can be taken to help is to teach the importance of worship. “Teaching individuals how to worship by helping them achieve a sense of God’s holiness, understand the meaning of worship, and commit to worshipping God is often necessary if more than just a scattered handful of attendees are to be engaged in real worship” (Barna, 25).

The greatest help the worship leader can give is to help individuals experience God in worship through the flow and choices made using different styles of music and artistic blends. The individual can then begin to move from the idea that worship is about one’s self and understand that it is more about giving to God. There is no one way of doing it, so each worship leader must seek to present what is needed for their congregation remembering that the most important factors are the leading of the Holy Spirit and prayer. Alas, with all changes, both good and bad, there will be individuals that will resist. The leader must not give up, but patiently help others see that the changes are not to move the church away from God, but to move his people closer to experiencing his presence.

Work Cited

Barna, George, et. al. Experience God in Worship. Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, Inc., 2000.