Saturday, May 21, 2011

Creativity and Worship

Creative expression is Worship to you. Our souls thrill when they are captivated by a striking piece of music, or for those with the blessed talent to play music- when their fingers hit the right chords that resound in their spirit and echo into the heavens. That is how my soul and spirit respond when I use the creative desire in photography that you have given me. I imagine this is how my mom feels when she sits at a canvas and her brush dances across the surface, creating beauty that pours forth in worship to the King of Kings. How a dancer feels as she executes her arabesque flawlessly across the stage. How a runner feels when they are in the rhythmic momentum of their jog. How a writer feels when the words flow forth onto the page.

It all cries out "Glory!" Praise! Be magnified O God! 

Those who don't know you think that the thrill of creative expression comes from within, and that it is meant to glorify themselves in some way. What they have yet to realize is that the gift of creativity was given to worship the Creator of all things! Sadly, these gifts can be used to worship self, to worship evil. Worship is exalting something, pouring out our focus on don't have to be consciously involved in a religion to worship something. We all worship something daily. Whether it is the almighty God, ourselves, the earth, other people, the media...sadly, much of the world is deceived. The Evil One is one of deception. Twisting our desires and focus, manipulating us slowly into worshiping something other than God, and therefor worshiping evil. How heart wrenching to realize that if it is not God we worship, it is evil! Because worship is meant for God only. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. 

The Word of God directs us to worship God only. Luke 4:8 says: And Jesus answered him, "It is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'" Jesus is responding to the devils attempt at tempting him. Manipulating Jesus' priorities and trying to take something good and use it for his own evil. One of the most used tactics of the enemy. Take good, and twist it a little to use it for evil. Sadly, the evil is subtle, and not realized. Pride, self worship...even "doing ministry" when the goal is to serve oneself and ones own pride. 

The beautiful thing is that we don't have to be manipulated! Glory to God! We are kept on the path of God Worship through the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit. He keeps our hearts right as we come humbly before him. He washes away our pride, our self desire, our inclinations to wander. And as we are washed, we can come to Him in divine worship.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
10 and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
12 saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."
Revelations 7:9-12

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Generous Living

Matthew 10:5-10
5 Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
"Don't begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. 6 Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. 7 Tell them that the kingdom is here. 8 Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
9" Don't think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. 10 You don't need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.

You have been treated generously, so live generously...

Generous living. Some people are such graceful examples of this. Christ lived generously.

My thoughts are drawn to a specific area of generous living, that of our hearts and emotions. Our culture puts self first, others second. If someone hurts us, we are taught to protect ourselves and build walls so they may not enter into the venerable realm of our hearts again. This can severely stunt generous living. Generosity is giving above and beyond, and when you are withholding yourself from loving others with your whole heart, generosity is crippled.

Jesus lived generously. Over and over again. He gave his time generously, he healed generously...but the most outstanding act of generosity in his daily life that stands out to me, is his love and acceptance of one man whom he knew, from the beginning, would betray him at the end. And yet, he allowed this man into his inner circle. He called him. He loved him. Judas.

Judas is brought up several times with the obvious statement that lets us know that his sin of betrayal was premeditated and contemplated. One such reference is in John 12:4-" Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him..."

That is generous living. He didn't guard his heart or words from Judas. And the whole time Jesus KNEW what was coming.

Another example of generous living is discussed in Matthew 10:41-42:
41 Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God's messenger. Accepting someone's help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I've called you into, but don't be overwhelmed by it. It's best to start small. 42 Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won't lose out on a thing."

This generosity is smaller, simpler, but just as important. We are all called to live generously, and even the small generosities matter. Jesus tells us that it is a large work, but to start small. You don't have to begin your life of generous living by loving your 'Judas' right this minute. It is character built up over time, through acts of generous living, and a constant giving of yourself to the Lord. Until one day, you find yourself able to love the Judas' of the world, because Christ loves them too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Prayer Journal {words and thoughts}

Heavenly Father, thank you for this day. I submit myself to your Lordship this morning. I give my day to you. May I do your will and not my own. I submit my mouth and tongue to you, I ask that your Holy Spirit would bridle it, that I would spiritually and consciously reign it in- in how i speak to my children, my dogs, the news that I share with others...let my words be ones of kindness and compassion, giving life, not causing death in heart or mind or soul. Let my words bless, uplift, be pure, sanctified. May I take every thought captive and thus every word captive. May my tongue be unleashed in praise to your name, giving you glory and honor. May I speak with kindness and compassion, gentleness and patience. You made my mouth, let your creation bring you honor, not dishonor. Make me sensitive to the Spirits prompting to check my thoughts or my words, to change them when He instructs me to.

James 1:26, 3:1-12
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless....
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.
4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.
5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,
8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?
12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

If you look in 1 Corinthians 10:5b you will read "...and take every thought captive to obey Christ", and in James 1:14-15 we read "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."

Our words come from our thoughts, our heart. Thus in pursuit of controlling our tongue, we should be taking every thought captive to obey Christ. Oftentimes I thing this scripture is applied to the more obvious thoughts of lust, ones that come from anger, and so on. But perhaps a closer study of our thoughts would reveal that we need to be taking captive thoughts of pride, judgement, and even plain self-centeredness. Or to take captive those lightning quick thoughts that led to an unbridled tongue, words of anger or short-temperedness that should never have been spoken. The path that words take can be seen in James 1. Here it is speaking of sin's conception and the sequence that it follows. First being lured by our own desire- I would say that this applies to our speech also, there is a desire to speak something inappropriate lures and entices us. Then it is conceived (I am thinking here that this would reflect being dwelt on, contemplated, or not taken captive and instead allowed to marinate) and gives birth to sin. The sin I am looking at today is that of the mouth, our words. And words have the power of life or death in them.

Proverbs 4:23-24 says:
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.

And Titus 2:7-8
7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,
8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Colossians 4:6 talks about life giving speech:
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

And a prayer in Psalm 19:13:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Today I commit to seeking ways to bless with my words, and to give life with my words!

-just megs

Monday, May 16, 2011

Personal thoughts on knowing God, and being filled with the Spirit of God

The following are my personal thoughts from some time I spent reflecting on where the Spirit filled life flows from. If you feel like digging in, join me!

Matthew 13:18-23 (The Message)
18 "Study this story of the farmer planting seed. 19 When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn't take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person's heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.
20" The seed cast in the gravel--this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. 21 But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.
22 "The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.
23" The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams."

Person -> hears AND takes in the NEWS -> produces harvest beyond wildest dreams

Person+Word of God taken in = harvest

Key thought- hear and take in the word of God


The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon
 Strong's Number:   191   
Original Word Word Origin
ajkouvw a root
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Akouo 1:216,34
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
ak-oo'-o    Verb
to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf
to hear
to attend to, consider what is or has been said
to understand, perceive the sense of what is said
to hear something
to perceive by the ear what is announced in one's presence
to get by hearing learn
a thing comes to one's ears, to find out, learn
to give ear to a teaching or a teacher
to comprehend, to understand

 King James Word Usage - Total: 437
hear 418, hearken 6, give audience 3, hearer 2, miscellaneous

  Strong's Number:   4920   
Original Word Word Origin
sunivhmi from (4862) and hiemi (to send)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Suniemi 7:888,1119
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
soon-ee'-ay-mee    Verb
to set or bring together
in a hostile sense, of combatants
to put (as it were) the perception with the thing perceived
to set or join together in the mind
i.e. to understand: the man of understanding
idiom for: a good and upright man (having the knowledge of those things which pertain to salvation)
 King James Word Usage - Total: 26
understand 24, consider 1, be wise 1

In personal reflection, the overflow of the Spirit is encountered in my life when I am truly immersing myself in the study of the Word. The Word is where we get to know God, and it would seem that we would need to know God to hear him.

A brief thought:
As the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one; so it seems the Word, purposeful prayer, and the Gifts of the Spirit are one

Pursuing Christ, and the Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 13:31-33
31 Another story. "God's kingdom is like a pine nut that a farmer plants. 32 It is quite small as seeds go, but in the course of years it grows into a huge pine tree, and eagles build nests in it."
33 Another story. "God's kingdom is like yeast that a woman works into the dough for dozens of loaves of barley bread--and waits while the dough rises."

31- time to grow
33- time to rise. Also, yeast infiltrates every part of the dough, thus producing rising bread. Yeast produces results. The Kingdom worked into a life produces results.

Matthew 13:52 The Message:
52 He said, "Then you see how every student well-trained in God's kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it."

Matthew 13:52 AMP
52 He said to them, Therefore every teacher and interpreter of the Sacred Writings who has been instructed about and trained for the kingdom of heaven and has become a disciple is like a householder who brings forth out of his storehouse treasure that is new and [treasure that is] old [the fresh as well as the familiar].

Matthew Henrys Commentary on Mt 13:52
4. A skillful, faithful minister of the gospel, is a scribe, well versed in the things of the gospel, and able to teach them. Christ compares him to a good householder, who brings forth fruits of last year's growth and this year's gathering, abundance and variety, to entertain his friends. Old experiences and new observations, all have their use. Our place is at Christ's feet, and we must daily learn old lessons over again, and new ones also.

Jamieson, Fosset and Brown Commentary on Mt 13:52

52. Then said he unto them, Therefore--or as we should say, "Well, then." every scribe--or Christian teacher: here so called from that well-known class among the Jews. (See Mt 23:34 ). which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven--himself taught in the mysteries of the Gospel which he has to teach to others. is like unto a man that is an householder which bringeth forth--"turneth" or "dealeth out." out of his treasure--his store of divine truth. things new and old--old truths in ever new forms, aspects, applications, and with ever new illustrations.

Matthew 22:37-40
37 Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' 38 This is the most important, the first on any list. 39 But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' 40 These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."

Love the Lord your God with all your Passion, Prayer, and Intelligence. Loving God and moving in the Spirit isn't feminine. It can have a form of strength, masculinity. Look at Acts, it was the Apostles who were moving in the Spirit. They set the example. But they were also rooted in the Truth. The Word of God makes us aware of what we are hearing- is it truth from the Spirit? Or is it from ones inner thoughts or desires? Instruction on guidelines could be beneficial. The Holy Spirit will never contradict the Word of God, for the Word is God-breathed, spirit-breathed.

John 15:7-8
7 But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. 8 This is how my Father shows who he is--when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples...

John 15:16
16 "You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.

Personal thought: depth of true worship can only come from a knowledge of the one you are worshipping, your theology of God. Depth of moving in the Spirit comes from abiding in His words and prayer where the Spirit works intimately in you, which then pours out in the giftings. But the key in Jesus words seems to be that you must seek God first. What good are Spiritual gifts if they aren't overflowing from a desire to know God more?

Friday, May 13, 2011

{the unforced rhythms of grace}

28 "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. 29 Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30 Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.

Isn't that what Jesus is all about? Grace. Freedom. Unforced. Unburdened.


Chrisitanity has become a "religion" lumped in with other religions to the world. And perhaps that is why it seems so dry to those on the outside looking in. Or even those on the inside.

And yet...religion burdens. Religion forces. Religion binds. Religion dictates.

This is where the difference lies. This thing, this relationship with Jesus, this love by the God of the universe, this is not a religion. It is a reality. Religions require things of you to gain a right standing with their God, or oneness with their nirvana. A list of standards that you
MUST follow and complete to gain access to the end reward.

Many people think this walk with Jesus, commonly called 'Christianity' is also a list of rules, of do's and don'ts, and often this is what
Christian people portray. But the God of Christianity, this one true God, the maker of heaven and earth, provided a way that doesn't require you to achieve something to gain a right standing with God. Instead it requires something very simple. Belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God, and repentance from sin. With that comes an intimate friendship with God himself, and eternal security.

It all comes from grace. Grace upon grace upon grace. It is the Gift of God, eternal life.

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