Do you find yourself anxious about tomorrow? Many people do, especially listening to the segments of the evening news. Our lives are bombarded with reporting on brutal murders, abuse, wars, political jockeying and power seeking opportunities. People crave for the power and notoriety only to discover that it's more frustrating and mentally debilitating. There is no shortage of church buildings but a spiritual deficiency in the lives of many of us who journey there each Sunday to be refreshed with the life-sustaining Word of God.
Upon sitting and hearing the gospel truth, many find the life of self-denial and truth difficult and intolerable. Yet, God's truth is the only real answer to what troubles our lives. The Bible contains life-provoking words of encouragement to counteract our worries, discouragement and fears. Is your life bombarded with busy schedules that have you stressed? Are you constantly on the fast track, struggling to keep up or get ahead, pursuing things, people, and professional accomplishments? 1 Peter 5:6-7 instructs us to "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He might exalt you in due time: Casting all your cares upon Him for He careth for you."
Why not pray and ask God to help you? When we seek God and sincerely desire a life that pleases Him, He will provide your release from a life of anxiety, worry, fear and give to you his abundant life of contentment, joy and peace. Discovering the mind of Jesus will reduce the distractions, wrong pursuits and challenges of this present life. You can start by stepping away from chasing after worldliness and chase after God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). He is the source of comfort, encouragement and self-worth.
Experiencing a Dynamic, Intimate Praise & Worship Life
Sylvan Vista Baptist Church
May 16, 2015
Experiencing a Dynamic, Intimate Praise and Worship Life Psalms 34:1-5
God’s people should make each day count by giving God our best praise and worship. See Psalms 34:1-5. Learning how to effectively offer to God unashamed and unbound praise, worship and prayers requires us to be willing to allow his word to direct and empower us. All praise and worship must be earth exercised, but kingdom focused. Therefore, it is imperative that we allow the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us to seek God’s perfect will and purpose. To consistently and effectively maximize our ability to praise and worship God, we must long for and focus on his divine will. In other words he must be the reason and the purpose for which we are doing what we are doing.
Praise is when we magnify and glorify the Lord in our heart, mind and soul. Worship is when we offer adoration and thanks to God for being our Creator, and sustainer of life. Praise and worship is returning glory and exaltation to him for what he we have already received from his excellence and sovereignty. We will not enjoy and thirst for perfect fellowship with God, unless we understand why and how to maximize our praise and worship time with him.
To get the most bangs for our bucks, we must invest quality and quantity time, sharing intimate moments and fellowship with God. The greatest hindrance to exuberant, powerful praise and worship is us. In brief, we don’t want intimate fellowship with him bad enough! We must be willing to voluntarily get outside of our human limitations and into his divine presence. According to the scripture, God wants us to praise and worship him wholeheartedly. See Jeremiah 29:13 and John 4:23-24. God is honored by the sincere praises, prayers, and testimonies of his people. See II Chron. 7:14.
The following are some suggestions to elevate your praise and worship experience:
Truthfully evaluate and acknowledge the current state of your relationship with God.
Are you in a new life saved relationship with Christ?
Do you totally trust the word of God as your bread and butter pitch?
Do you get outside of yourself and seek God’s truth for your life?
Do you praise from the heart, rather than merely profess words from the lips, without sincerity?
Do you start each day acknowledging and seeking God’s priorities and desires for you?
Identify any strongholds in your life that may be blocking your praise and worship experience.
Thought patterns influenced by Satan. Positive thinking and effective praises and worship denies Satan of operating room because God’s thoughts are in control. See Psalms 27:6; 30:12; 100:4; and 113:3).
Behavior patterns that are unholy and not becoming to the sanctified, transformed believer. See Romans 12:1-2; Eph. 4:14-24.
Do you have an effectual prayer life?
Incorporate spirit-filled music in your praise and worship.
It sets the worship mood and environment. See II Sam. 6:5.
It focuses our hearts upon God’s glory and magnificence.
Offer hymns and songs that reverence God’s omnipotence. See Psalms100; 104.
Elevate from ordinary church attendance to powerful impact worship.
Seek a higher dimension fellowship with God as Lord.
Prepare to dwell in God’s presence by meditating on his word and truth.
Keep your heart, spirit and mind open to hear from God.
Understand that prayer is the key to unlocking a lackluster worshipping attitude.
Avail yourself to enjoy the fullness of the worship period without distractions.
Understand that there is no set way to praise and worship the Lord.
Share your praise and worship victories with others.
What, if anything, keeps you from a more enjoyable praise and worship experience?
Have you ever evaluated your attitude toward God and worship?
How can changing the way you think about, seek for, and love God, make you a better praise and worshipper?
Determine, select, and list godly praise and worship music that you believe pleases God.
How, if at all, has fear, laziness, cultural traditions, worldly involvements, or lack of commitment, kept you from effectively praising and worshipping? Explain.
Thanksgiving Reflections - NEW!
From Pastor’s Desk:
As we celebrate this Thanksgiving season let each of us consider the numerous blessings and generous privileges that our Creator has so graciously showered upon us and our loved ones. This has been a year of challenges and opportunities. A few days ago we witnessed the climax of an arduous year of political debates and unkind words like never seen before. We must not become disconcerted and faint when going through various storms of life. We have a new president elect at the head of our nation. Let us pray for him and the future of this nation and the world. As God’s people, we must enter this season as hopeful as ever knowing that our God has a plan to bless His people even if it does not appear that way. We have seen enough of hurtful behavior that did not reflect being thankful to our God. This is a time when we must encourage others who have no hope and are doubtful about the future. Nothing catches God by surprise. Let the people of God rejoice and bless his Holy name giving him all our thanks and glory.
This holiday, as you sit around the dinner table with family, friends and guests, do not forget to give God thanks for the privilege and opportunity to share love together and enjoy the presence of people who care about you. This Thanksgiving, think about the goodness and greatness of our loving God and you cannot help but give him not some, but all your praises. Remember that the word of God instructs us to “praise God at all times” (Ps. 34:1). Paul tells us “in all things give God thanks” (I Thess. 5:18). Regardless to how circumstances and situations appear in your life today, understand that offering your thanks to your God is the wisest decision that you can make. His eyes are always upon the righteous and those who have thankful hearts and praying spirits.
I personally want to urge each of us to spend this holiday season not concentrating on what we will be given, but focus and spend time seizing every opportunity to help others to enter into a savings plan that will never run out of funds. Instead of dialoguing on the football games, let us strike up discussions that will lead to exalting our awesome and phenomenal God. No one has kept us all year long but him. Throughout the year, He has been looking out for us and overshadowing us when evil and darkness hung all around. When our finances were low, he favored us by supplying support that we did not deserve. Please join me in praying for each other, our nation, newly elected president, and the future of this world. After all, the past is behind us and the future is in God’s hands, the safest hands. This season, warm someone else’s heart with kind, faithful, hopeful, forgiving and loving words. Let’s make God proud of us!
Happy Thanksgiving with love,
Pastor, First Lady and First Family