Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Bless Your Name....

Psalm 34:1 says "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth..." We read in Psalm 33:1 that "praise is comely for the upright."

Have you ever been in a "prison in your mind?" Did life ever seem so bleak that you simply could not see any way to get on top or ever feel that life would have meaning again? I believe we CAN find an answer for these difficult times in something as simple as praise.

I recently listened again to a song sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir which really blessed me. It talks about Paul and Silas being in prison, having been beaten. We read in the scriptures of that account in Acts 16:19-39. They had cast out a spirit of divination from a young woman which caused her masters great concern, for how could they continue to receive such great gain from her? No longer would she be able to supposedly tell fortunes. Her masters brought Paul and Silas into the marketplace, complained loudly against them, and before it was all said and done, Paul and Silas had been beaten and thrown into prison.
Wouldn't that make you want to keep preaching the gospel? Hardly. But, for Paul and Silas, a "praise meeting" commenced at midnight. They sang the praises of God, and something amazing happened. An earthquake occurred, the prison was shaken, the doors were opened, and all the prisoner's had their chains loosed! Another miracle awaited in that the jail keeper and his entire family were saved!
Here we see the power of praise from the upright! The soloist for the Brooklyn Tabernacle sings so beautifully, these words:
"Some midnight hour, if you should find.
You're in a prison in your mind.
Sing out in praise, defy the chains.
And they will fall in Jesus name!

I bless Your name! I bless Your name.
I give You honor, give You praise!
You are the Life, the Truth, the Way!
I bless Your Name, I bless Your Name!"

Praise can bring you into the presence of the One who can break chains!
Sometimes it will only be a conscious decision. We will not feel like praising.
But, He can lift us above our circumstances. He can bring us out of darkness. He can help us to see the He will be with His child, even IN the darkness. He can help us to see that He is still ruling, reigning and living!

So, my friend, start praising Him! Bless His Name!

Monday, March 7, 2011

"His Kingdom Come..."

Have you ever thought about what it means when we recite the Lord's Prayer and we say "...Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven...?" What does this mean for me? For you?
Strong's defines "kingdom" as "properly, royalty..rule...realm...reign." His kingdom has to do with His royalty, which is undeniable; His rule, which is all encompassing; His realm, which is all of the earth and universe;
and His reign, which will be forever! We assume that eventually this will happen during His Millennial reign as the earth enjoys a thousand years of peace. But, have you ever wondered what it would be like to have this reality in your own life? What would it be like to have this reality in MY own life? What would it be like if it started happening today? What if God's kingdom and will could begin to happen in each of our lives, then spread to our families, to our churches and into larger areas?
What is God's will? Strong's defines the word "will" as "
a determination ...choice (specially, purpose, decree; abstractly, volition) or (passively) inclination:-- desire, pleasure, will." What would it be like if God's will truly came into my life today, your life today and into an ever increasing area through a ripple affect? What would it be like to have God's purpose, decrees, desire and pleasure happening in our lives in a personal way?
We know that ultimately His will has to do with His holiness and His glory. We know that His kingdom has to do with His purpose to redeem a lost human race and restore us to Himself. We know that He wants to live in us, and that His kingdom is there, inside of us if we trust in Him. How do we make that personal?
How do we move beyond the reality that our world is growing increasingly godless, moving more swiftly to an eternal hell, and Christian values are being attacked every day in so many arenas. What difference WOULD it make, if God's kingdom and will even came into my life?

Evelyn Chrisenson writes in her book What Happens When Women Pray, "...there is a spot on earth that belongs only to you. It is your own personal sphere. It has been given to you by our Heavenly Father
. {The disciples} knew they couldn't change the whole Roman Empire, but they also knew it was possible for them to change the spheres of influence which had been given to them by God...God frequently changes circumstances and people when we in a very personal way pray that His will be done in our own spheres of influence...Think of what would happen if every Christian really brought God's will to the little sphere of influence that is his or hers, with nothing contrary to God's perfect will! How different would be our nation, our cities, our churches, our homes."

What would that look like? Would our love for God really show in the way we talk? In the way we view the outcasts of society? In the way we treat our family members and those who disagree with us? Would it show in the neighborhood with the neighbors who annoy us? Would it show in the supermarket when the cashier gives us too much change? Would it show in the things we watch/listen to/read/spend time doing? Would it show in the church when it comes time to try a different approach? To pick a new color of carpet? Would it show by how many people we shared Christ with?

Would it show each day that we lived it as if it were our last? Would it show in the things that we treat as important? Would we view earthly things differently in the light of eternal values?

I am preaching at myself as I share this...what are your thoughts???