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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Praise is Powerful

Praise is Powerful

But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabits the praises of Israel. 
- Psalm 22:3

Read: Psalm 22:1-4

When I feel down or discouraged I'm often drawn to sing an old song by the Imperials titled "Praise the Lord"   Imperials "Praise the Lord"    The song encourages the believer to walk by faith and to praise God regardless of the circumstances. 

When we praise God He works in us.
When we praise God His presence is more evident.
When we praise God the chains of doubt and despair fall away.

The Psalmist understood this. David wrote, "Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence."- Psalm 42:5

Praise is a choice that reminds us that God's not done 
Praise is a choice that reminds us that we are not defeated. 
Praise is a choice that reminds us that God alone is our one desire.

Why is praise so powerful? Because praise reflects on God's character, God's conciliation, and rewards God's children with hope.

In short, praise is powerful because we choose to refuse the fear of the unknown for faith in the One we know.

Praise the Lord, He can work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seems to bind you
Serve only to remind you that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him

Thursday, May 12, 2016

No Bible - No Breakfast

No Bible - No Breakfast
In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. - Psalm 5:3
READ: Psalm 5
My mother is the one who helped me establish a daily quiet time and a missionary's words challenged me to have it early morning.
My mother brought me my first daily devotional as a youth titled “Our Daily Bread” and I’ve used it ever since. It is both relevant and timely.

A few years later I heard a missionary remark, "No bible - No breakfast." He meant, of course, that he wanted to feed the spirit before feeding the flesh. This statement struck me to my core; from that day, I've seldom missed a morning quiet time with God and His word before anyone in the house rises. It is truly a blessing!
You may not be a morning person; know that, you could be missing a blessing (Matthew 6:33).


But I, O LORD, have cried out to You for help, And in the morning my prayer comes before You. - Psalm 88:13
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words. - Psalm 119:47
Awake, harp and lyre; I will awaken the dawn! - Psalm 119:147
My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. - Psalm 130:6

Friday, May 6, 2016

Generation Gapless

Generation Gap by Emerson David Myers
Generation Gapless 

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, - Titus 2:3 

READ: Titus 2:1-15 

I work in the power industry where safety is paramount. Consequently, we spend hours each month training, talking about, and tracking safe work habits. The following email arrived this morning:  

"Working with a team exposes you to the methods and work ethic of your coworkers, which can help you learn more and finish jobs in a faster manner. We work with people of all different ages and experience levels. This provides a good atmosphere for the young bucks to learn the ropes and the old timers to see things from a different point of view...You and your coworkers’ safety should be your top priority while working together each day. Teamwork prevents accidents.  "

This got me thinking about how generation gaps simply do not exist, for the most part, in business. Why; because, gaps are ineffective, inefficient and often unsafe. So, why have we bought into the idea that generation gaps work at church? 

PRACTICAL EXERCISE: This Sunday, shake things up and fill in the gaps by purposely sitting beside a teen or an elder whom you've never sat next to before.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Artist's Insomnia

Artist's Insomnia
A blessing in disguise

My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word. - Psalm 119:148

A masterful pianist friend and I were lamenting our mutual malady. Musicians often suffer from this common but oft hidden sleep disorder cynically dubbed, Artist's Insomnia.

Perhaps you've experienced it. You cannot sleep or worse, awake from a dead slumber, due to a musical or creative idea playing through your mind. Well, I've a somewhat new solution? I say "somewhat" because the prescription was written over two thousand years ago.

The next time you can't sleep meditate; or, to put it another way: don't ruminate - meditate.

Psalm 119 is all about how God's word interacts with and intersects our lives. We receive blessings by obeying it (Ps. 119:1-8) Cleansing by allowing it to minister to our souls (Ps. 119:9-16) And of course the word gives us confidence, strength, and a sure foundation (Ps. 119:41-48). 

But when was the last time you actually looked forward to the wee hours of the morning because it afforded you a moment of quiet uninterrupted contemplation of God's promises? Better question: have you considered that God may be the One Who is waking you?

Meditating on God's word through the night may be new to many of us but it isn't a new idea at all. So, the next time you find yourself unable to sleep treat it as an opportunity to draw nearer to your Father God.

Don't ruminate - meditate

Dig Deeper:

Psalm 63:6
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,

Psalm 119:15
I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

How to Take Better Sermon Notes

How to Take Better 
Sermon Notes

I can't remember exactly how I came by this outline, but have used it for years and found it very helpful; especially since I tend to lean toward "Preoccupied Hearing".

19This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. 21Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.  – James 1:19-25

Key Idea: Walking in the Word brings blessings to you today and hope for tomorrow
Goal or objective: I want us to see and experience the benefits of walking God’s way
Title: Bend Your Ear to Hear God’s Heart

1.       Evaluate what kind of hearer you are
a.       Apathetic hearer  (v. 19)
b.      Superficial hearer (v. 20-21)
c.       Preoccupied Hearer (v.22)
d.      Reproducing hearer (v. 23)

2.       Be alert for a word from God (Jas. 1:19)

3.       Clear away all sin and pride so that the Word may be planted in your heart (Jas. 1:21)

4.       See your reflection in the mirror of God’s Word (Jas 1:23)
a.       Take notes
b.      Write the points of the message as they are presented
c.       Under each point write three things: explanation, illustrations, application.
d.      Write any specific statements that the Spirit impresses upon you.
e.      Summarize as soon as possible the main thing the speaker wants you to do, be, and or feel as a result of the sermon.
                                                               i.      Specific point God spoke to you
                                                             ii.      How does my life measure up to this word?
                                                            iii.      What specific actions will I take to bring my life into line with this word?
                                                           iv.      What truth do I need to study further?

5.       Do the Word, and you will be blessed in what you do (Jas. 1:25)
a.       Check yourself several times in the days to follow to see if you have incorporated the message into your life and have begun to bear fruit in relation to it.

Let me know if it helps!