Bible Reflections-Make a joyful noise

A couple of years ago when I started going to church after a 40 year ‘hiatus’ I discovered that I really didn’t know how to pray or worship. TN-Bible-Reflections-2019My take on it was more for ‘show’ and others than actually thinking or even trying to talk to God. I never even entertained the possibility of having a relationship with him.

Things are really beginning  to change for me in this. I’ve spent a LOT of time reading about prayer and worship, listening to a lot of people’s views and sermons on the subject and reading the Bible as to what did the scripture say about we were supposed to pray and worship.  I’ll admit I found a lot of difference of opinions but I finally ‘landed’ on a definition that makes sense to me. It’s scriptural and seems to have acceptance by the likes of Smith Wigglesworth, Kenneth E Hagin, Charles Capps, Kenneth Copeland, John G Lake etc. Basically though the key I think is that God wants us to worship him, (not just ask for things) and He wants us to  talk to him. And this may involve praying outloud and lifting the hands sometimes.

Since a big if not the biggest part of my problem was my praying was from the head and not my heart, I decided using music would hopefully help. So I looked for some Christian music that was focused on the Vertical vs the Horizontal take. That is, music that focused on thanksgiving and adoration of God, versus other Christian subjects (which are good too but not what I was needing  for this).  I  came across a song called “Indescribable” by Chris Tomlin. I really like it and for me it helps me open up to God. I can crank it up in the car and sing loudly to it, or I can lay in bed and listen to it before I go to sleep or when I wake up.  So I’ve begun to include it in my prayer time.

Here’s a link to the song with the lyrics. Take a few minutes and really listen to it and see what you think. It’s a musical song of worship. and if you know any vertical songs that open you up and help you connect to God, please let me know so I can check them out!

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40 Days Of Reflection-Day 45-Happy Easter!

Ask anyone who knows me and they can tell you I love happy endings. That’s why I’m such a fan of Hallmark movies. This past week I caught the endings of both Hacksaw Ridge and Rudy. I’d seen both movies before so TN-40DoR-Day45I knew what led up to the endings so I could sit back and enjoy. I’ve done the same on numerous movies like Flashdance, Staying Alive, Dirty Dancing (I think showing my age here must be all from the 70s and;80s). Not sure I even need to see the whole movies anymore…I just enjoy the rush of a happy ending.

Conversely I have never seen the endings of movie like Romeo and Juliet, Titanic or A Star is Born. I’ve seen A Star is Born several times with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristopherson, but I leave or turn it off after the triumphant scene when Barbra Streisand is pushed out on stage to sing and wows the crowd.

So why bring that up…well today is Resurrection Sunday and that is a happy ending of the best kind. Yes I know it’s only the beginning of the New Covenant, but it was such a triumph after the darkness of Good Friday. And with Revelation we all know how the story is ultimately going to end…it will be the ultimate of happy endings.

So I wanted to wish you all a Happy Resurrection Day!!!

40 Days of Reflection-Day 44-Are you joyful?

Today as I was at the Healing On The Streets ministry, (we go every Saturday morning ot a pedestrian bridge in Austin, TX and offer to pray forTN-40DoR-Day44 people). It was exceptionally pretty today and everyone seemed to be…happy.

When I thought about it I too was happy…but I was more than happy…I felt like I was joyful. It’s not a word I would have used before. Yet here I was feeling joy. I looked it up on google to see the difference between…Happy…and Joyful. The comparison was pretty like this; Joy comes from within. It’s about an inner peace where you know who you are…why you are… Basically you are comfortable in your own skin.  It took me 65 years to get there but I think I’m there.

On the outside my life might not look that different than it did several years ago. I still have debts, I live in the same house, and have the same job…but inside I feel totally different. All because of becoming a believer.  I feel a sense of peace that I don’t think I’ve ever really felt. And this feeling of joy and peace is getting deeper as my faith deepens.

So look at yourself…are you happy?  Or are you joyful???

40 Days Of Reflection-Day 43-Prayer continued

Hi there, my reflections on the subject of prayer continues. I wanted to add a couple of points to yesterdays video re prayer. The first is that there is a time in a person’s journey with faith and prayer that they are responsibleTN-40DoR-Day43 for their own prayers/healings etc. This was illustrated when Kenneth E Hagin’s 16 year old son was not healed even though for the first 15 years of his life Kenneth would pray for healing for his son when he was sick and his son was always healed…until…. so I share kenneth’s story. I thought it was a good illustration that we cannot always pray for others on their behalf. God hold people responsible and expects that once they learn about him, and have time, they will come to faith and deepen their own faith.

The other item with regard to prayer is about praying over and over again for the same thing. In Hagin’s study course on prayer he points out how scripturally that we are to pray (we are talking petition prayers where we are praying for ourselves here), only once with belief period. Then if we want to continue praying we should be praying in thanksgiving. We are to believe BEFORE we see things manifest. It’s all about belief.

however there is a verse in the Bible where the widow asks repeatedly of the judge and finally the judge gives in. Hagin says some people use this verse to say they are to ask repeatedly. His point is that we aren’t going to ‘wear God down’ by asking him repeatedly. That this was an entirely different situation and it was about faith in persecution. The story was meant to encourage people to have faith and persevere in persecution, not to continue praying in doubt. Anyway I thought I’d point it out and encourage you to dig into it on your own!

40 Days of Reflection Day 42 Part 2 -Faith and Prayer

This is Part 2 of Day 42 on Faith and Prayer.

Key to it all is to deepen your faith so you can truly BELIEVE in the Bible and God’s promises. Believe in your heart and TN-40DoR-Day42-pt2spirit not just in your head. Many, maybe even most believers believe the Bible in concept but when it comes down to really believing God’s promises for healing, abundance, moving mountains, they have their doubts. The thing is, God says in the Bible, if you believe with all your heart and ask for something in Jesus’ name you will have it…BUT and it’s a big BUT, if you have doubts…even little ones, then all the praying in the world won’t make it happen. The doubts negate the prayers.

The thing is we can’t get to the place of no doubt, full belief, without a lot of prayer and work. God knows that. That’s why we have the Holy Spirit to help us…the Holy Spirit and the Bible which is basically the book of instructions on how God wants us to live.

God tells us in the Bible we can deepen our faith but getting the Word into our hearts. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the Word of God.” Romans 10:17

So whether you are a baby Christian (like me), or have been a believer for decades, you still need to be in the Word. For me to get the faith…for someone else, to deepen the faith they have. God knows it takes effort to understand the Bible, but he’s worth it.

So get out those Bibles and dust them off, and start reading.

40 Days of Reflection – Day 42 Part 1 -Faith and Prayer

This is a two part video as youtube only allows 15 minutes. Enoch, a viewer, mentioned a video I did over two years ago re The Prayer of Jabez.

At that time I hadn’t completed my first TN-40DoR-Day42reading of the Bible so was very, very new in my faith. When I came across The Prayer of Jabez in 1st Chronicles I latched onto it. I googled and discovered there was a book called The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson. He suggested that we pray that prayer every day. It sounded like a good idea so in my journaling, almost an entire year, I wrote down/and prayed the Prayer of Jabez (modifying it for me). The further I got into the Bible the less it seemed to help/feel right. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with it particularly, but in the New Testament God gives new directions on how to pray. He speaks of how we can move mountains as long as we have no doubt in our heart and that we pray in the name of Jesus.

This seemed more scriptual to me. They couldn’t pray in the name of Jesus in the Old Testament because he hadn’t been born/crucified yet, so of course the rules have changed.

In the video I refer to a series of study courses I’m working with right now that I find very helpful. The first one I completed was Bible Faith study course, by Kenneth E haggin ($12 on Amazon), now I’m reading the Bible Prayer Study Course, then I’ll move on to the Holy Spirit gifts and then the one on Healing. I’m finding they are good primers that take the word of the Bible and break it down into sections.

I’ll likely do highlights of the courses down the road but for now I’ll just suggest if you are new to the Bible like me, you might find these very helpful.

The start of it all is deepening your faith and relationship with God and you do that by… “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ” Romans 10:17 So read the Bible people!!!

Once you read it and believe it a whole new world opens up. A world of promises of how God wanted us to live (before Adam and Eve screwed things up.) The Bible is true…I believe it…and that settles it!

40 Days of Reflection – Day 41 – Palm Sunday

So this is Day 41 of my 40 Days of Reflection. I decided stopping the videos on Easter Week didn’t seem right. This is the most TN-40DoR-Day41important week of the Christian calendar so it only seems fitting that I finish out my Days of Reflection on Easter Sunday.

It wasn’t until I finished my first read through of the Bible in 2017 and was baptized that I began looking at Easter Sunday differently. Up to that point it really was more of a secular holiday really. I of course knew what Easter represented but somehow it all didn’t seem real. Maybe it was that I couldn’t wrap my head around that kind of love.

However after reading the Bible a couple of times (and continuing) and studying the Word and to be honest reading a fictionalized series based on the Bible called “The Jerusalem Chronicles” series by Bodie Thoene, that Jesus and the disciples began to become real people to me. They were no longer characters in a book. They became real flesh and blood people. People who existed, who loved and were loved by family and friends. People who had feelings, felt pain, loved family and friends etc. That was a huge ah hah and a turning point in my understanding of the Bible. I began to look at the Bible and the Holy Trinity differently.

So today is Palm Sunday, the day Jesus road the donkey down the streets to people praising him as their king. Yet He knew what was going to be happening in a few short days. How awful must that have been for him. Yet he did it because he loved us…me…he knew he had to go forward with the crucifixion in order to finish the Old Covenant and create the new. No longer would the animal sacrifices have to be carried out to cover sins, now his ultimate sacrifice would wipe out the sins for good. It was a whole new beginning for all of us.

So this week is truly a time of reflection, of worship and of gratitude. I still have a ways to go to wrap my head around that kind of love but I know which each passing year my faith deepens.