When Our God Reigns!

When Our God Reigns!

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song. May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. May you blow them away like smoke— as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD.A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  Psalm 68:1-5 NIV

Though the world seems to be spinning out of control–Our God still reigns and when He reigns in the heart of His people–His enemies will be scattered.

In a home where roaches are planning a take-over–they creep everywhere in darkness, leaving their trail of germs wherever they go, but the moment a light switch is turned on, they scatter–fleeing in every direction–trying to escape the light and certain death by those who are determined to keep them at bay. Whether they are squashed or sprayed, some know there is certain death if they don’t scatter and hide in the crevices of cracked plaster and peeling paint and warped floor boards.

The enemy–all those demonic forces–will scatter when we allow God to reign in our hearts because when we allow His righteousness to shine in the dark places–the enemy knows certain death is imminent. Death to addictions and temptations to sin. Death to sickness and disease that attempt to take lives before our appointed time. Death to rebellion and witchcraft exercised by those who refuse to wake up and acknowledge they are living in darkness.

In the natural, we seize the moment to rid ourselves of those things–the pests that destroy our food supplies and carry bacteria and germs–and most of us don’t stop until they are all dead and gone. Our determination to rid ourselves of the pests that annoy and irritate should be as strong in the spiritual realm of our lives so we can rid ourselves of the temptations to sin against God and keep us receiving God’s best.

When He reigns–in our hearts–the outcome will result in His reign over the land and when He reigns over the land, the enemy will scatter–his demonic forces–powerless as smoke in the wind and wax that melts in the heat of God’s wrath. When Our God reigns there will be peace in the land and no one will suffer from lack of anything needed because the love of God, will rise in us and we take of the fatherless, the needy, vulnerable and poor.

When our God reigns we will rejoice in the victory of obedience!

Why There Is Power In These Seven!

Why There Is Power In These Seven!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. I Thessalonians 5:16-22 NKJV

I have seen a number of blog posts, articles, essays dealing with numbers and or promoting numbered steps to achieve anything. Usually, I avoid these simply because each numbered step may or may not work for everyone. But as I read this passage of scripture today, I realized there is indeed a methodology to seeing the power of God at work in our lives.

Rejoice always–the phrase, “don’t worry, be happy” comes to mind. No matter what happens in our lives-the good, the bad, the happy, the sad, we can find something to rejoice about if we think about it. There are a number of jokes out there that would be applicable, but I want to bring this point with clarity. When someone loses a house in a fire or storm, we can rejoice when there is no loss of life. Things can be replaced–people cannot. Job managed to find peace within himself until he started listening to his friends. He had lost much. When we don’t get the job we want–we can rejoice in the knowledge that there is something better waiting for us. We have to be like the battery bunny–know how to keep going, and going, and going.

Pray without ceasingcontinuing to talk to God no matter what happens. This does not mean we keep saying the same thing over and over again; it means we keep communicating with Him who can change our circumstances in an instant. Most people only talk to God with they’re in need, but we should always talk to Him and listen to Him on a daily basis. Prayer is not just asking–or petitioning God–it is communicating–talking to Him like we talk to one another. Think about it–if we’re saying the same thing to people every time we talk to them, soon we stop listening because it becomes boring to hear. What makes us think that God doesn’t hear what we say the first time? He’s not forgetful and He’s certainly not deaf.

In everything give thanksfor this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us. We need to thank God for the opportunities we have to learn from our mistakes and not just for the things we do well or what we receive. In sickness–give thanks for the strength to endure to the end. In poverty–give thanks for the will to rise above it. In turmoil–give thanks for His peace residing within. Now, notice this scripture says, “in everything” not for everything. There is a difference. When people do not know how to “rightly divide” The Word, they often lead people astray. In all of our circumstances we give thanks to God in whom we can count on to bring us out.

Do not quench the spirit–the Spirit of the Living God who resides within us, speaks to us–when we’re willing to hear Him, guiding us at all times. Hear Him! Don’t try to squelch His commands in order to fulfill the lust of the flesh. Heed what He has to say at all times!

Do not despise prophecies--from those we can ascertain are speaking God’s Truth because we know God’s Truth. When we know The Word, we know when someone who purports to being a prophet is actually hearing from God for what they say, will line up with The Word.

Test all things, holding fast to that which is good–by exercising the spirit of discernment we can determine if something is right or wrong for us. When things we do or want are not in opposition to God’s Word, we maintain our integrity to keeping God’s Word. If a person proclaims to be something and yet there is no evidence of it, disregard what they say. If the evidence is present, they have proven their credibility. This is almost like testing water temperature before we step into it. Water too hot will scald and too cold will chill.

Abstain from every form of evil--keeping away from all things that could be construed as evil or out of the will of God. This covers so much territory that I cannot begin to enumerate all of the facets of evil to which this would apply. There is an adage, “Birds of a feather flock together” that applies. If we hang out with the wrong folks, people will assume we are like the people with whom we associate. If they are liars, we’ll be labeled a liar. If they are thieves, we’ll be labeled a thief. This is why we should be careful in our associations with people.

IF–we can do these seven things–always keeping them in the forefront of our thinking, we will see the power of God working in our lives like never before and we can rest in His peace.

 

 

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff!

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 NIV)

There are so many things that can throw us a curve and if we allow every little thing that happens to defeat us, we will never know the peace of God. Being anxious about things we do not control, keeps us from rejoicing in the Lord, changes our personalities, and results in the enemy rolling in the floor, laughing at us.

We are so consumed with being politically correct and not offending people that we have forgotten how to enjoy life, be silly, and laugh at ourselves. The Word tells us that laughter is like a medicine and if we learned to laugh more, releasing anxieties and the stress that accompanies it, we would discover a much more enjoyable life, no matter what our circumstances are.

How foolish is it for people to make a big deal over the design or color of a coffee cup? Really! Are we so needy for attention that we think we can tell a company how their cups should look? Or is it the media–so lost for real news that they waste their time and resources reporting on nonsense? What’s more important–the cup or the contents? And if it makes someone that upset–get your coffee somewhere else or learn to brew it at home!

And then we want to censor creativity with acronyms. Let’s face it–around this time of year, creative artists and marketing teams do all sorts of crazy things to garner attention and the expendable income they know could come their way. It’s their job! They cannot entice people to buy things without first getting their attention. Once again, if an item offends–don’t buy it! But just because it offends one person or one group of people, don’t interfere with others enjoying a sense of humor.

I don’t necessarily appreciate all the nonsense in commercials and advertising I see, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it and I’m certainly not reporting it to the media. My solution–I simply don’t buy the product or patronize the business. Ta-dah! It’s just that simple. There is no need to create a lot of hoopla about something, directing more attention to it, and then buying it anyway. And that is what some will do.

I’ve known people to complain about the contents of a book–outraged by something they don’t have to buy or read. If it’s going to offend, don’t participate. It is the height of foolishness to declare something or someone offensive and yet engage in the promotion of a product through negativity, or to continually berate someone--keeping them the focus of attention.

So, in looking back at what I just wrote–I guess those who protest against God and the Bible are not as offended as they claim. If they were, their focus would be on Him and His Word and not all the other foolishness that won’t help anyone enter into to eternal life. Imagine that!

Now, as Believers–we know we have no need to sweat the small stuff for our faith is in Him and our confidence is in His ability to change the hearts of men and women and to transform lives so that our focus will be–rejoicing in Him, stress-free!

Why Are We Weeping?

Why Are We Weeping?

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” (John 11:33-36 NIV)

There are number of reasons why people cry–creating pools of sorrow or joy–when we weep, but sometimes, we could avoid the sodden cheeks and salty trails if we would just obey. There is a reason for everything that occurs in our lives–some things we can control–others we can’t. Even though Jesus wept when He realized Lazarus had died, His tears were not just out of sadness, but out of realization that some things must happen, in order for others to get right with God.

The moment the criticizing, waffling Jewish leaders saw Him weep, they were amazed at how much He must have loved Lazarus, but then they started bickering, “If He is so great, why didn’t He save Him,” they started murmuring. They didn’t understand what was about to happen, but Jesus knew, Lazarus’ death was for such a time as it occurred, so God would be glorified.

There are many people weeping today. They are weeping over the loss of children who are dead before they had a chance to explore life and live. They are weeping over the senseless acts of violence that destroy lives–the victim’s and the perpetrator’s–and all the families involved. They are weeping over the mistreatment and abuse of others at the hands of zealots who don’t know God, but claim their actions are directed by God. And they are right–the god of this world–Satan directs the destruction of lives, hoping to see humanity cease to exist. People are weeping over negligent governments who because of their greed and corrupt spirits are destroying the lives of people on all levels, but especially the aged and vulnerable.

Some weep with bitterness and regret over lost opportunities or poor choices that leave them with no hope, frustrated and angry. And these are those whose lives are ruined, set out to destroy the lives of others, not understanding their choices are what put them where they are.

Then there are those who weep with joy with the birth of new family member, a promotion of a job, a hard-earned accomplishment, a bride’s beauty, the beauty of a moment, or seeing a soul saved and lives transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When we weep at funerals or home-goings of those we cherish, sometimes it is for us, in our self-pity, and sometimes it is genuine feeling of loss for those we won’t have a chance to serve again. There is a belief among some that we should rejoice when people die and cry when they are born. For those who understand the trials and challenges of living–this is true. For those who don’t–they haven’t lived long enough to understand it.

When God looks upon us–is He smiling or weeping? I can imagine with the condition of the world today, He’s probably saddened by the corruption, greed and waywardness of those who deliberately choose to live in opposition to His Word. But for the remnant–the few who will do everything they can to please Him, He’s smiling–rejoicing in His children’s obedience to Him.

Now–look inwardly, not at others and determine if God is smiling over what we do or if He is crying and why.

Praise The Lord!

“Every Day I will praise You and extol Your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.  For The Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory.” (Psalm 145:2,3; 149:4 NIV)

This morning as I write, tired but rejoicing–over the victory won by our 18-member High School Marching Band, I have reason to praise The Lord, as do they all.

If people don’t understand how important it is to recognize that all of God’s Word is relevant to our every day lives, it is because they do not understand it or how marvelous our God is!

We have been steadily encouraging our diminishing band to think and work as hard as they can. Many were discouraged because of the small size, but one of the things I have constantly said to them is that it is not about the numbers, but the individual effort. Last night, their collective individual efforts earned them a Division 1 Ranking during the 2015 Band Festival of Marching Bands. Our senior drum major was so shocked, his mouth fell open (his story), but I remained confident in the blessing of our Lord–honoring their effort because they played and thrilled the crowd with a dance coordinated by the band director. They were awesome.

Here’s the link on YouTube: https://youtu.be/czsIdff-BeA

Since I was the one videotaping their performance, I must apologize for the shaky start of the video; I was trying to manipulate the camera around other people.

Though they are small number they are mighty in sound and courage in facing-off with other bands much, much larger than they are. God’s grace and mercy abounds and prayers were answered–our band members are no longer discouraged, but encouraged.

We must remember that Gideon had his mighty army reduced to a handful so the army would not get the glory, but God. And considering everything this little high school marching band has endured, God indeed gets the glory for their accomplishment.

I pray that each of them will continue to do their very best–individually and collectively–not concerned with the numbers or the naysayers and doubters, but mindful of a God who is more than enough and it is He who gives us the victory in all situations.

Whenever we face obstacles, challenges, naysayers and doubters–all those who would attempt to discourage us and keep us defeated; we need to remember that there is no battle too hard for God and no victory withheld from those who love Him–whether in a marching band or marching through this journey called life. As long as we march to the beat of His Word and live according to the rhythm of His grace–we will know victory and for that–WE GIVE HIM PRAISE!

Has That Day Come?

“In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9 NIV)

Looking at all of the natural disasters–those caused by human error, and demonic influence–most people are wondering if God is even paying attention to us. I can imagine people living in some countries where man’s greed and arrogance is causing uproar and chaos are having a difficult time believing God cares. I can imagine that families who have lost children to abductors and tragic accidents cannot believe a loving, caring God still exists. I can imagine that loved ones lost due to the depression of others who for a moment, controlled their environment are not happy with God–how could they be, when such tragedies occur? In the midst of every tragic situation–our God still reigns. It is not that He cannot keep the tragedy from occurring; everything in life is part of a plan and God will not control what other people do, unless He’s invited to do so. This is what we’re missing–God must be invited to situations and everyone must submit to His will before we will see any lasting change in our world. Are we there yet? Does sin still reign in the minds of those who will not submit to God? We’re not there yet, but many are on their way. We realize that everything we do, influences the outcome of how we live and what we are able to do for others. We have submitted and we do all we can to encourage others to seek Him and submit to Him, so we can watch the devil flee. For as long as the enemy can influence the thoughts of those who have not submitted to God, evil will exist and create havoc in the lives of many. But on that day, when we see people turning their lives over to God in total submission, we will see the hand of The Lord, settle the minds of people and peace will reign over all the earth. On that day, we will thank Him for all He is doing and will do on behalf of all who love Him. On that day, we will stand proudly, proclaiming our trust in Him. On that day, we will rejoice in the God of our salvation–who saves to the utmost! Until we get to that day, those of us who know the power of prayer must continue our vigil, interceding on behalf of all who have yet to submit to Him, so we can see change and peace for all of God’s people. Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to understand the urgency of the times, seek You for direction and wisdom in all things, and submit to Your will in everything we do.

Glad Heart, Rejoicing Tongue, Rested Body!

“David said about him: “ ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope,” (Acts 2:25, 26 NIV)

Knowing that Jesus was not defeated in death and that He rose with all power in His hands makes my heart glad!

Considering the history of God and Satan–when Satan was thrown out of heaven, along with a third of the angels (now demons), it is not surprising that Satan was defeated in his own territory (he is the god of this world). And because Jesus rose from the grave, we have been given the same power to keep the enemy defeated through Holy Spirit, when we allow Him to reign in our lives.

We are in a battle–for flesh will always war against the spirit–but since we have Holy Spirit living within–we can be victorious–maybe battle-scarred, but never defeated!

Since we know we have the victory over Satan’s influence, we can share the good news with others so they too can know victory. Therefore, our tongues rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus and our lips are full of His praises–knowing He rejoices in our praises of Him.

While we’re rejoicing in the victory of keeping Satan under our feet, and our heart is made glad because we know we are never alone, our bodies can rest in His peace and in the hope of His return! Glory to God! What a great day that will be when we all get together, caught up in the sky, ready to reign with Him for all eternity.

So, if our hearts are saddened by the events of this world, we can make our hearts glad when we rejoice in the knowledge that earth is not our home, we are merely passing through and while we are, we are never alone. Rejoice! We have a risen Savior who will not leave us and we can rest assured that He is going before us and has granted us favor with men, to do all He would have us to do.

Resting therefore in the peace of God, never shaken by the chaos in the land, keeping our eyes on the prize–Jesus Christ and His return–knowing our mansions await, we can continue this journey in life with a glad heart, rejoicing tongue and rested body! Hallelujah!

Can You Hear Him Singing?

The Lord will rejoice with singing over His children when He delights in them. (Zephaniah 3:17 Paraphrased)

Can you hear Him singing with joy over the things you do?

If He is singing with delight, we must be doing the right thing–loving Him and others. If we cannot hear Him singing with delight, maybe we should take another look at what we’re doing. Could it be that our behavior is not pleasing to Him? Could it be that our speech is not pleasing to Him? Could it be that our complacent attitudes are not pleasing to Him? Just what is it that is keeping us from hearing Him rejoicing over us?

If we don’t have the answers, we must assume the position of prayer and seek Him to determine why we cannot hear Him singing with joy over what we do or say and make a change, today!

If we can hear Him singing–Hallelujah–keep up the good work and know that His love is everlasting and He never gives up on us and neither should we! I can hear Him singing right now!