The heart of worship

I was reminded this week of how easy it can be to neglect our worship times with God especially in the current COVID circumstances. I can get distracted by doing life, work and the busyness of doing and then my times of personal worship to God suffer.

The Lord prompted me through a dream not to neglect the former things but to return to the heart of worship. There is a song about this by Matt Redman with beautiful lyrics which say:

“When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart
I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus

King of endless worth
No one could express
How much You deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is Yours
Every single breath
I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart”

Those words really spoke to my heart and as I listened to the song, I realised again how gracious God is when He gently reminds me to check my heart and draws Me back to Him. The source of life and perfect peace.

A glimpse of heaven awaits us in our times of worship. We lift up our eyes to His throne and His glory. Heaven’s seat of might and power. As we worship we see the Lamb of God..His beauty, His power, His glory. Heaven’s darling. We saturate ourselves in His presence through our praise and worship. We get a heavenly perspective of things and clearer revelation to help us be steadfast in faith and overcome things. We ascend those hills of praise and answer His call to come up higher to Him. To ascend the hill of the Lord. Our faith rises up as we gain fresh understanding and revelation of our great God and Jesus. We encounter the refreshing power of His Holy Spirit as we meet with Him.

I encourage myself (and I hope you) to keep the music of heaven and worship alive in our hearts. We exchange the spirit of heaviness for the garment of praise and are filled with the joy of our salvation.

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” Psalm 42:1

Bless the Lord Oh my soul

Whilst walking in the park the other day, these words kept coming to me, “Bless the Lord oh my soul, forget not all His benefits, who heals all our diseases”. I started singing the words from the song 10,000 reasons to bless the Lord by Matt Redman which starts with the same words , “Bless the Lord oh my soul” but I also remembered includes the line “May I be singing when the evening comes”.

I pray for those who are going through very difficult times at the moment that God will strengthen you by His grace. His grace is sufficient for us and His mercies are new every morning. Keep going, hold on, keep your eyes lifted to Him. He is sovereign and on the Throne. He loves us with an everlasting love. Remember His faithfulness and promise to be with us at all times and in all circumstances. I encourage you not to give up your confidence in Him but hold on so that when the evening comes you will be able to say “Bless the Lord Oh my soul”.

Psalm 103 is a beautiful and uplifting Psalm. I have posted it below and hope as you read it today that you are blessed, edified and inspired by Gods Word.

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

The Lord has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.

Bless the Lord, all His works, In all places of His dominion. Bless the Lord , O my soul!
Psalm 103:1-22

I have added the link to Matt Redman’s song 10,000 reasons below.

Have a blessed day in Jesus name.

It’s time for a praise party! Rise up in praise people of God #24/7 praise

Morning everyone 😁 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord hallelujah! hallelujah! hallelujah! It’s time to rise up in praise to our God. Psalm 150 what incredible words of praise. Let all things praise God.

We are at a time I believe when giving praise to our God is key to seeing His kingdom come and overcoming the darkness and evil which is seeking to rise up in these times in opposition to God. There is power in praise. Power to see victory and freedom in our lives. Power to overcome.

Satan hates our praises of God and will do what he can to stop us praising our mighty, wonderful and awesome God. He wants to silence God’s people and rob our praises. He wants to silence us so much. We under estimate how much he wants to rob our praises. He wants to discourage us. He wants to distract us from praising. He wants to try and quash any revival amongst Gods people.

We see around us disease, civil unrest, injustice, violence and lots more evil at work at this time but God is on the throne. Light is more powerful than darkness. Good is more powerful than evil. Truth is more powerful than lies. Hope is more powerful than despair. Death is defeated in Christ Jesus. Satan is defeated.

I refuse to be silenced at this time. I will speak, shout out, sing, write and declare my praises to God and Jesus. I am waking up with praises running around my head at the moment so can’t ignore this prompting from God’s Holy Spirit.

My actions, what I do, my very existence and my life will be my praise to Him. My very breath every day is testimony and praise to Him and the power and grace He works in my life. So it is in yours too!

Take hold of that. Who you are, your very life in Christ, your faith and service of Him is a powerful testimony of Gods amazing work of grace and redemption. We may fall and mess up but His grace is more than sufficient for us. His mercies are new every morning. His forgiveness is overwhelming.

Our Father in heaven and our saviour Jesus are worthy of all praise, honour and glory. All glory and honour belong to them. Whatever is happening at the moment, whatever season we are in, let us praise. In the good times and in the bad. He is worthy. Not because of what He does or has done or will do but simply because of who He is.

At the moment many of us cannot meet together as Gods people for corporate praise. Let’s get creative. Let’s share ideas and our praises. Let there be 24/7 praise to our God.

Can I encourage you to praise. To keep praising or to start again if you have stopped. Let’s get the praises to our God and King flooding the airwaves and the spiritual realm with truth, hope, life and light.

Praise Him in your homes, in your car, on your phones. Share praises with your social network, organising online praise parties or meeting in smaller numbers outside to praise. There is great praise music and resources out there on line to help. There are bible readings on line. Play or read aloud the word of God.

Let’s get praising Hallelujah 🙏🙏🙏 please share and encourage everyone you know to praise our awesome God. Let’s get a praise party going 24/7 down here on earth just as it is in heaven to Him who sits on the throne.

Revelation 4 v 8 “ and they do not rest day or night saying “ holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come.

V11 you are worthy, O Lord to receive glory, and honour and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created”

24/7 praises Amen 🙏

Going deeper for the treasure

grayscale photography of man jumping on body of waterOnce a month our fellowship has started an evening service dedicated to worship and seeking God’s presence.    I had a picture during the worship time recently of a large lake.  A leisure lake and there were lots of people enjoying and having fun in the water.  Some people were running and jumping into the lake, doing back flips, dive bombs etc.  Some people were stood on the shore just dipping a toe into the water – testing it out.   Some went up to their knees for a paddle – some ventured a bit further and started swimming.    I felt God saying that the lake represented His presence.    People entered and experienced it differently.  Some people were taking things slowly (especially if this was new to them) whereas some would dive straight in,  but the most important thing was taking that first step.    If you want to start by dipping your toe or if you are the sort of person to jump straight in then that is fine.   That is your starting point and from there we gain the confidence and enjoyment to stay longer and go deeper with God.    God wants to encourage you not to stay in the shallows all the time though and also not just to play around on the surface but to go deeper with Him.

 

 

gold beaded necklaces on gold jewelry box

In the picture, I saw people diving down below the surface of the lake going deeper and deeper down.    As they did so they discovered beautiful pearls on the bottom of the lake- some of the pearls were hidden in the weeds, some were hidden in the muddy depths, some were in the dark places – these pearls were God’s treasure that was hidden waiting to be discovered.     As we go deeper into God’s presence we will discover this treasure that He has for each one of us.   We have to search it out and press in even when we feel uncomfortable.  I encourage you today not to stay at your starting point but to press into God and see what He has for you and what you will discover about Him.

 

 

 

Prayer – Prayerful Confession part 2

In part 1 we focussed on how meditating and confessing the names of God and discovering the character of God (which is revealed through His names) can help us in our times of prayer.    Other things to help us in prayer are:

1. ATTITUDE; – The word “confess” comes from the Hebrew word “Yadah” meaning “an open or extended hand” – In prayerful confession we are reaching out to take hold of God and Him alone and declaring that we are putting our trust in Him alone.   We are acting humbly by putting God in His rightful position and focusing on Him.

This humble attitude is a KEY to God hearing and answering our prayers:

“If my people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land ”  2 Chronicles 7 v14

A HUMBLE ATTITUDE in our hearts can be demonstrated physically in prayer by KNEELING, LYING ON OUR FACES BEFORE GOD, RAISING OUR HANDS etc.

Jesus’ model prayer demonstrates humility in his final words “FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER AMEN”.

Let us not forget (particularly when prayers are answered or when the gifts of the Holy Spirit are in operation) that the glory always belongs to God and Jesus.

2.THE WORD OF GOD;   If we are going to give voice to our faith and understanding of GOD’S Character, His Works, His Wonders, His Glory and confess our belief in God, His promises and His Word then we need to have our bibles or other access to the Word of God to hand whilst we pray so that we can confess scripture out loud or meditate on the Word.

Try and get into the habit in your prayer times or meetings of praying with your bible to hand or other access to the Word of God through your phone, tablets etc.

Isaiah Ch 55 v 11 “ So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth: It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing which I sent it”.

When you proclaim the Word it will build you up spiritually and encourage you in your faith. You are also proclaiming God’s word to spirits, principalities & powers and you will learn to use it as a sword. e.g. if you were in a situation where you needed to be assured of God’s victory/might in battle you could read out the song of Moses in Exodus 15 1-18 when God rescued the Israelites from the pursuing Egyptians. If you needed to declare Christ’s sovereign position and authority then read out Revelation 19 11- 16.

It will take some effort initially to look up relevant portions of scripture but the Word of God is the sword of the spirit (Ephesians Ch 6 ) and one of the weapons of warfare so we need to know how to use THE WORD effectively in prayer.  This doesn’t mean picking out scriptures without any thought to throw at situations but by prayerful meditation on the Word allow the Holy Spirit to direct you to passages of scripture.    When you meditate on the Word in prayer it also gives God the opportunity to speak to you through HIS WORD and His still small voice in your spirit.

3. WORSHIP –   Prayerful confession of God’s name is also part of WORSHIP which literally means – giving worth to HIS NAME . Our response to the name of the Lord is to worship (Psalm 66:2) and to give thanks, praise and bless (Psalm 100:4) and to lift up our hands (Psalm 63:4) – See later notes on Solomon’s attitude in prayer.

It changes the atmosphere when you speak out and give voice to the praises of God and Jesus in your prayer times. Praise and worship should always be part of our times of prayer as it is the pathway of praise & worship which leads us into His presence.   If you find it difficult to praise and worship on your own or in a small group then perhaps start by reading a Psalm of praise out loud/ putting on worship music/reading out loud the lyrics of a worship song.   I have found that repeating the name of Jesus over and over and meditating on His name and telling him how much I love him is helpful at such times.

ln Psalm 103 we are encouraged to “Bless the Lord O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name” and in Psalm 99 “Let them praise Your great and awesome name – He is holy”

4.REPENTANCE – Confession/revelation of God and His character will lead us into repentance. Ask God by His Holy Spirit to reveal areas of our lives where we are not living right. Take time in prayer to allow God to search our hearts. Pray and meditate on Psalm  51 v 10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me”.   Repent of anything revealed and receive and thank God for his forgiveness and cleansing by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.   Remember this is conviction not condemnation. We should repent of sin (including sins of omission, bad attitudes etc) then receive forgiveness through Christ and move forward. We can’t be effective in prayer if there is sin between us and God. We need to be right with God before we can pray effectively.   It is the “ FERVENT PRAYERS OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN WHICH ARE EFFECTIVE” James 5:16

PRAYERFUL CONFESSION in SCRIPTURE;

An example of prayerful confession and the importance of declaring God’s name is found in many of David’s Psalms but also Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the temple to God in 2 Chronicles Ch 6 v 12-42.

In these verses first of all we see Solomon demonstrate a humble attitude before God by kneeling down before all the people and lifting his hands up towards heaven.     Kneeling before God in prayer/lifting up our hands to heaven demonstrates submission to God as mentioned earlier.     Solomon did this before “all the people”. He was the king but he wasn’t too proud or embarrassed in front of the people to adopt this humble posture before God.

Solomon starts by confessing who God is “v 14 LORD God of Israel, there is no God in heaven or earth like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with your servants who walk before you with all their hearts”.

Then Solomon goes on to ask God to hear and answer the prayers which the people will make in the temple. He points to the responsibility of the people to seek God for mercy and the importance of repentance and confession of God’s name (v24 & 26) as part of this.

RESULT: “ When Solomon had finished praying fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices and the glory of the Lord filled the temple” Ch 7 v1

If we want the fire of God to fall on us and spiritually ignite us in prayer so that we experience God’s glory then I believe we need to give God a sacrifice of prayer, praise and worship. This means spending time in prayer and making prayer our lifestyle.

THE BIG QUESTION WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES IS AND I COUNT MYSELF IN THIS TOO – AM I WILLING TO SACRIFICE TIME IN PRAYER TO SEE REVIVAL IN MYSELF, MY FAMILY, MY CHURCH, MY COMMUNITY & MY NATION?

If the answer is yes, particularly in these troublesome times, then let us all spend time each day seeking God in prayer and asking Him to increase our desire for him, actively seeking Him, for Him to give us an urgency in our spirits to pray and to pour out the Holy Spirit upon us in power and the fire.

John the Baptist said of Jesus “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire”

Let’s agree to pray for some of that fire.

“I pray that you will know God and the Lord Jesus Christ in a new and deeper understanding. That you will have a deeper revelation of who Jesus is and the power which is His.

I pray that the eyes of your heart will be opened.   That your spiritual eyes will be opened.   That you will have a deeper and more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ from this day forward.

I pray that fire from heaven will fall upon you and the power of the Holy Spirit. That you will be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and will go out and do great works by the power of His holy name, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Let the fire fall and let your heart be aflame with love and revelation of Jesus and the power that is in Him. Never tire of doing His good works and walk in His footsteps forever and ever. Amen”

Prayer – What’s in a name? Part 1