Worship Like No One is Watching

Unable to move away, I just stayed there, eyes closed, hands raised and worshipping my God.

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worshipEver have one of those times during worship where you felt like no one else was there and didn’t want it to stop? How did it make you feel? I remember one such time myself. As a disclaimer, if you don’t believe in the gifts of the Spirit including speaking in tongues, you may not want to continue reading. I hope you would finish to the end though.

The worship service for me was at an all-time high. I was deeply immersed in the moment of personal worship and I had to stop playing my keyboard. I can’t tell you the song we were singing or how long it lasted, but I will say it didn’t last long enough. The anointing of the Holy Spirit was very strong and weighty that morning. I had closed my eyes and just began to worship from my spirit in a way that I had never done before. I was asking God to allow me a breakthrough and to experience His presence in a tangible way. It was then that I felt as if I was being pushed backward into the wall behind me. Unable to move away, I just stayed there, eyes closed, hands raised and worshipping my God.

It was at that moment that my own tongue began uttering things I could not understand. I have had my prayer language for several years and use it regularly, but this was different. The sounds I heard coming from my mouth were very new and it was the only time where I had no control over my tongue. The Holy Spirit began speaking through me for what seemed like an eternity, but was only a moment or two. It was as if He opened my mouth and when He had finished, he closed my mouth. When that moment was over, my body felt numb and light at the same time. I felt like I had truly been in His presence and immersed in His Spirit.

These are moments we should all strive for. These are moments that the Father longs to spend with us. Sadly, most of us do not know how to get there. Most of us are too distracted by our surroundings and our thoughts during worship.

How do you get there? There are no specific steps or things to do, but there are a few things that I try to do before a worship service to make that experience more of a possibility.

  1. Spend ample time in prayer. Jesus says we are to pray without ceasing. This simply means that we should live a lifestyle of prayer. It really just means to talk to God. Don’t just ask Him for things or complain about them. Just talk to Him. Let Him know how your day is going. Find out what He wants to say to you.
  2. Worship privately. Learn how to worship by yourself. This is training for a corporate setting. If you can learn to worship God when you’re alone, you develop a deeper intimacy with Him and you can worship as long as you’d like to. You have no time constraints.
  3. Read the Bible. Don’t just read it for the sake of reading it. You won’t get anything from it this way. Read it to learn. Read it to find out what God is telling you now. Get ahold of a commentary and a Hebrew/Greek dictionary. These can be invaluable to help you learn what the Bible is really saying. By all means, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you when you read and study.
  4. Close your eyes. You CAN worship with your eyes closed. This is a good practice to get into if you want to worship and not be distracted by the next person. If you are busy watching everyone else, you’ll miss out.
  5. Have an open heart and mind. Don’t limit how God can move upon you. Be open to Him moving however He sees fit for that moment.
  6. Lastly, EXPECT!! If you don’t expect to experience God during worship, you probably won’t. If you come to church or Bible study or even in your private worship and you expect God to do something, He will do it. It may not look like what you want, but He will do something.

The Powerhouse of Dad

Proverbs 16:7 tells us that fathers are the glory of their kids. It actually will read different than this, but it’s what it says. The word used for glory means weight or heaviness. It is also used for honor in other places. In this context, it shows me a picture of God and His nature.

God has been taking me on a fatherhood journey lately. I have been asking Him to show me how to be a better dad and a more compassionate one. Basically, I want to be more like Him as a dad.
He has begun showing me things and teaching me things that I thought I already knew. Funny how that works. We think we have the answers because of how we were raised. We think that the way we were raised will work with our own kids, but that is not always the truth.  
As a dad I am learning through testimonies of other dads that I really don’t have to be a drill sergeant when it comes to discipline. One very important thing that keeps coming up in nearly everything I am reading is so very critical. 
Men are hardwired to be strong and tough. We are wired to carry the weight of the family. This means that we  need to be mentally and emotional strong, not stone cold. It is also part of our DNA to be physically strong. So, off to the gym we go to bulk up and build up all that muscle. Before I go down that road, I am going to say that this can be a good thing for our mental and emotional stability, but it can be carried too far if left unchecked. There needs to be some balance between looking fit, muscular, healthy and looking like someone on steroids. 

Consider that for a moment. What is your definition of being a dad? As men, we are powerhouses of strength and at times can be very intimidating to our kids. Because men have a natural tendency to want to fight off the person who is bullying his wife or kids,  we need to learn that we don’t need to show off all that strength all the time. 

Proverbs 16:7 tells us that fathers are the glory of their kids. It actually will read different than this, but it’s what it says. The word used for glory means weight or heaviness. It is also used for honor in other places. In this context, it shows me a picture of God and His nature. 

God is merciful and gracious. He is slow to anger. Are you seeing this? Because of all the sins I have committed, I should be dead. I should have died a long time ago, but because of the blood of Jesus Christ, God extends grace and mercy to me so that I can learn to be more like Him. 

The Bible paints a picture of God that is so awesome and astounding. One time we look at Him and we see a God who just destroys everything and everyone. The next time we look, He is healing someone and making them whole or He is restoring life and loving the unlovable. 

He could very easily snuff me out in the twinkling of an eye. He could so easily send me to hell. He could push me to my knees in not so humble submission to Him. But he relents because He loves me and knows me as His child.

I am learning that just because I am a man who happens to be a dad doesn’t mean that I need to exert all of my strength on discipline. I need to let them know that I could destroy them, but I won’t because I love them and they are my kids. I am not talking about psychobabble here. I mean that my kids need to see a dad who genuinely loves them. This means they need to see that while I might have a forceful, warring side, they need to see me equally as a dad who loves and cares for them and would never intentionally hurt them.

They need to learn that I am a dad who means business when it’s a disciplinary matter. They need to feel safe with me and know they can trust and love me, but also know that they do not want to provoke the wrath of dad. 

Someone once said that just because you might drive a car with a lot of power at high rpms doesn’t mean you should always drive at those high rpms. It will damage your car and could possibly cause a wreck. 

Stronger is not always better.

Too Close to Home

Recently a pretty heated altercation took place at a local high school. This leaves me wanting to hear from you about the issue. 

A girl came to school wearing a hat with a confederate flag on it. Another girl took offense to it and a heated fight took place. 

The principal exercised his right and put a ban on all things confederate on school grounds. The superintendent approved this decision.

It is my understanding that the confederate flag represented those in support of slavery.

While there is a huge debate on this event on social media, I want to share my thoughts and then open the floor for discussion. All comments will be reviewed before being approved, so keep it clean, folks.

My thought on the issue is that of historical background. Regardless of opinions out there, the confederate flag is part of American history, for better or worse. It may have once had a negative message, but that was in the past. That flag played a part of America being the nation it is today, but it doesn’t define who we are today. 

Is slavery okay? Not at all. Do I support people who still have slaves today? No, I don’t.  But I will say that everything that happened in America’s early days happened for a reason. Where would we be if none of it ever happened? Would we have had a civil war? Would we have Black History Month each year? Would we remember Martin Luther King Junior every year? 

As far as the school’s role, they did what they felt necessary. And yet, I wonder just what they are teaching kids today about American history. 

What is Love?

 

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Amplified Bible

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

 

 

What is love? Baby don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me no more. Wait! That’s not where this post is going. People really don’t understand what love is. We’ve all heard people say things like I will love you if _____________(fill in the blank). I will love you if you stop doing _________________. Or, you don’t really love me because if you did, you wouldn’t do ____________. Or, if you loved me, would or would not do _______________. Or, you say you love me? Prove it.

You see, these few verses up above paint an entirely different picture of what love really is. As humans, we can never live up to that expectation of what love is because we are just that, human. We look at love as this thing we can just throw around. It is a word that not many of us take seriously. We say we love inanimate objects. We say we love our spouses, but we also love chocolate ice cream. But really, what is love?

Jesus taught us that perfect love casts out fear. He also taught us that if we know God, we love God for God is love.

God is love. What a concept. It’s not so much that God loves us, but that God is love. It is His nature. It is in His DNA  just as much as it is in my DNA to have more hair on my face than on my head.

My point is that God loves you more than you can ever hope to understand. His love for you is so deep vast that He even says He knew you before you were even born. He knew and loved you even before all of the bad things in your life happened. He even loves you when you make stupid mistakes and when you grieve His Spirit. He loves you so much that He made a way out of your stupid mistakes and sins. He gave His only Son as a sacrifice so that you would not have to pay the price yourself.

Valentine’s Day

Where do I begin? This is the third draft I have written for this post. Though it’s not my favorite day of the year, I thought I would take a few minutes to talk about it.

Women, if you happen to have read this to the end, you can thank my mom for raising a guy who knows there are just some things that aren’t worth the energy to fuss over.

Have you ever wondered why your woman doesn’t respond to you the way she did when you first fell in love? You probably don’t respond to her the same way either. They say that the honeymoon only lasts for just a few months and then your true colors start showing. When you first started dating, certain things just didn’t matter. But well into the second and third years, you begin to notice that your woman just isn’t the same person you met, dated and married all those years or months ago. You’ve begun to notice that it really does bother you that when she brushes her hair, she leaves it all over the house. She thinks the same of your after you’ve finished shaving. You’ve begun to notice that it really does bother you that she has way more clothes than you do and she takes up most of the closet space. It really does bother you that she has an entire closet dedicated to shoes and purses. Let’s go there and make it an entire room of the house.

But what about you guys? You’ve gotten sloppy over the years. You’ve started leaving your hair all over the sink when you shave. You’ve stopped putting the toilet seat down. You’ve stopped aiming when you relieve yourself. Cupboards and drawers are left open. Your shoes and dirty socks are left in the living room. Maybe you’ve stopped shaving or combing your hair. You have forgotten how to put on a new role of toilet paper (the right way being to pull from the front of the role, not the back). The list could go on.

Those are just trivial things. They really aren’t that important, but they’ve begun to drive you crazy and irritate you to the point that you start getting annoyed with each other. If you aren’t careful, they will begin to drive you apart. And we all know what can happen if those “problems” don’t get resolved.

Maybe you’ve been married for ten years and have found yourself in the place where you don’t think there’s much hope left for you and your woman. I want to tell you it’s not too late to start over. It’ll be too late when you’re dead.

Myriads of books and articles have been written on the subject. Some good, some excellent and some not so good. And while I understand and know that this is not the only way to fix problems in a relationship or to prevent them, it is but one method that has worked for many people.

You may have heard of the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. His theory is that everyone has a ‘love tank’ of sorts that needs to be filled regularly in order to feel loved. In his book, there are five languages or ways to communicate to your spouse or boy/girl friend in such a way that they feel loved.

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Physical Touch
  4. Receiving Gifts
  5. Acts of Service

Gary goes into detail in his book as to what each of these look like and gives example stories of how each one impacted different relationships for better or worse.

The concept is that you feel loved most when ___________ insert action or phrase. You may even have two of these languages you speak fluently, but your spouse or boy/girl friend will speak another language. For instance, you feel loved the most when your husband does the dishes for you after working a long day at the office. Guys, you may feel loved the most when your wife gives you a back massage or just touches your shoulder for a moment. Or maybe, you need to hear her say she loves you or gives you an encouraging word.

The idea is that we need to learn how to speak the other person’s love language or particular style so that we can effectively communicate love to them. Sometimes, we make the mistake of showing love the way we want to be shown love. For instance, I love just being alone with my wife. Just being alone with her and no one else. She is my world. Fortunately for, me we are one of the rare couples who have the same primary love language. But for this example, I love to just spend time with her and I want her to spend time with me. But if her primary love language is acts of service, I am not showing her love by spending time with her. Likewise, her hanging up my coat wouldn’t show me that she loves me. It would, but not as much as it would as if either I did the dishes for her or she came and saw me during my lunch break at work.

The concept is that we need to learn how to communicate to the other love the way that they speak. If the primary love language is acts of service, learn to speak this way. If the primary language is quality time, learn to speak this way. A good indicator is when your wife or husband starts nagging you that you never do or say such and such any more. When you learn how to communicate love to your loved one in a way they feel loved the most, you will feel you can conquer the world.

Again, this is just one of  many thousands of ways to help heal and/or prevent problems in a relationship. But this would be a good way to start the process.

With this information in mind, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and guys, your lady is expecting you to come through once again for her on this day. Time to dust off the big boy pants and remember how much you love your woman. Go ahead and buy her the entire dozen of roses in the color she likes best. Go ahead and make that reservation to her favorite restaurant. Just make sure you have the money to do so and do. not. be. late. Don’t make it at the last minute, either. Go out of your way to tell your girl you love her the way that makes her feel loved the most, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you. It’s like learning how to speak Spanish. The more you practice, the better you get.

Ladies, if your man doesn’t quite get it right on Valentine’s Day this year, have some compassion on him. After all, unless he has an extremely romantic side, he did put in the effort to do something special for you. If you know he doesn’t really like this day, let him know that you appreciate the attention and that you love him still. Because he loves you and he knows how much you love Valentine’s Day, doesn’t he deserve at least a little credit for trying?

Don’t be afraid to get out there and have a romantic Valentine’s Day.

 

How Am I Doing?

I think I have written 12 posts now since joining WordPress. I think it’s time to take it up a notch. I am going to be a little more organized in what I write about. Instead of writing incredibly long posts to be read in one sitting, I want to break things up more. So, each month I am going to write about a single topic. So, because February is most famous for Valentine’s Day, this month will be love themed. I won’t guarantee a new post each day, but at least one a week that will talk about love. Stay Tuned…