Friday, January 20, 2017

Personal Log: Inauguration Day

inauguration

  • the beginning or introduction of a system, policy, or period; 
  • the formal admission of someone to office. 
  • a ceremony to mark the beginning of something.

Well today is a new day. In the United States, it's Inauguration Day; some people are happy & some people are not, that's just the way it is... regardless of how you voted this is a day to come together & unite.

It's a new era, not only for America but for myself as well. 2017 has already been something different than what I expected it to be; a year ago I was in a completely different place, certain things were not even on my radar but I look where I am now & see a future & a hope in so many areas. The Lord has really done a work in me the last couple of months & changed my heart & attitude on a few things I've wrestled with but like He told me, "it's going to be okay".

I'm still finding my place & where I belong but in the meantime I have a couple of recording projects to keep me busy. 'Been writing/re-writing some worship songs & feel pretty good about them. I'm not actively playing on a worship team & that's okay, if I'm asked to help I will, if not I won't, but right now I'm very content where I am & am trusting God in all things, through all things & for all things.

Our Country is going to be okay.
My fellowship is going to be okay.
I'm going to be okay.
It's all going to be okay.

It's a new year & a new day, let's put the past behind & look forward, reach forward & move forward in every area of our lives with Jesus as our focus.

Matthew 19:26
"...with God, all things are possible"

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Twelfth Night 2017



Well, the 12th Day of Christmas has arrived & it's always a little sad for me as I love the Christmas season but everything  has it's time & everything must end so a new season can begin…

Since Thanksgiving I've done quite a bit of study &  reflection (& of course entertainment) on the Advent & the passion of our God in becoming one of us so He could save us…. The 12 Tribes of Israel… the 12 Disciples… the 12 Days of Christmas… Twelfth Night… it all comes together & weaves a beautiful story of love from Love Himself. 



To kick off Christmas I go w/ Charlie Brown but I have a personal tradition on this day, the 12th Day of Christmas/Twelfth Night to end the season w/ “The Passion of the Christ”, a movie that really brings it all home & reminds me just why Jesus came. It's intense & when it's over I mop up my tears, I worship & then I need something lite so I sandwich the season by popping in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” & look forward to December once again.

I have always, always hated the western mindset of this big build up to December 25th then “bam!” it's over: the tree comes down, the lights are put away, everything is marked down & put on clearance. Since I've started observing the 12 Days of Christmas, Jesus Christ has become much more meaningful to me so I encourage all of you to consider stretching Christmas 2017 out just a little bit longer; who knows, you might find new meaning in it too...   

Monday, January 2, 2017

Personal Log: 1.3.2017

Here are some things you can do this year to enrich your relationship w/ Jesus:



Have a Dedicated Bible Reading Plan

There's nothing like reading the Bible but some people have always had a hard time w/ exactly how to do that:
  • Do you read it chronologically?
  • Do you study themes/topics?
  • Do read a chapter per day or chapter of OT, NT, Psalms, Proverbs per day?

However you read the Bible, try not to rush through it to meet your set quota. Here are some tips:
  • read it slowly
  • ask the Lord for revelation of what the passage means 
  • ask the Lord to see Jesus & the heart of God in each book or scenario
  • look at who the intended audience was
  • dig into the Hebrew & Greek words
  • read as many commentaries on a certain passage/theme as you can
  • read it in relation to the finished work of Jesus on the Cross

I tried something once that was really interesting & brought the Bible to life for me. I read the passage where it says, “God is love” so I went back to Genesis & re-read the Bible replacing the words God, Lord, Jesus, He, Him, My, etc w/ the word “Love” & it changed everything for me.

Examples:
  • “In the beginning God created the heavens & the earth...” became “In the beginning Love created the heavens & the earth...”
  • “Jesus fed the 5,000” became “Love fed the 5,000”
  • “the wrath of God” became “the wrath of Love”
  • “the great & terrible Day of the Lord” became “the great & terrible Day of Love”
  • “the revelation of Jesus Christ” became “the revelation of Love”

Can you see how things like this just transforms your daily Bible reading? 

There's so many different ways of reading/studying the Bible; find the one that's best for you right now & go w/ it, the method may grow & change as you do.  

Use the Audio Bible

There's also nothing like listening to the Bible being read.

I got into this last year & just loved it. In my lifetime, I've read the NT letters & epistles countless times but when someone is reading them as an actual letter to actual people, w/o chapter breaks or verses, it becomes so passionate & so clear. 

Let's face it: books like Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy & Revelation can be a hard (or scary) read for anyone, but listening to them can be a bit easier on you. 

I was laying in bed one night listening to the entire book of Leviticus & when it came to chapter 26 I caught such a revelation of grace & of God's desire for us & our company, it was amazing… I had read it several times before but hearing it just hit me in a new way.

The audio Bible can also be great for when you're going to/from work. In 20 minutes you can hear all of Philippians or Galatians & hear them again on the way home. 

Prayer

I pray in the Spirit & I also pray in English. Praying in the Spirit helps me: helps me focus, helps me when I just don't know how to pray for something or someone… it just helps.

If you don't believe in praying in tongues then try to have a dedicated prayer time, anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes per day, whatever works for you.

Lately, much of my personal prayer time consists of simply loving, thanking & praising God. I rarely ask for anything anymore; God has already supplied all my needs & what He hasn't supplied I must not need (at least right now). 

Yes, there are times when you ask God for something but most of my prayer time is thanking God for my health, for His love, mercy, protection, for His authority… thanking Him for taking care of me, for His provision, for handling things/people as I place them on the altar & into His care… just praising Him for who He is.  

Years ago I adopted the mantra “fasting from asking”, my prayers before that were mainly begging & pleading w/ God, in other words “seeking His hand not His face”. Now, I'm just enjoying Him & all His blessings in my life.

Once a week I try to sit in silence before God: no praying in the Spirit, no talking, no nothing. I just turn everything off & sit there in silence, enjoying His presence & waiting on Him.

I remember one time about 8 years ago when I took over corporate prayer on a Wednesday evening at my fellowship. I turned off all the lights except for the candles, closed all the sanctuary doors & posted on the outside of each door explaining that this night only we'll be sitting in silence for about 45 – 60 minutes, then we'll gather up front & share. I had people come & go but it was dead silence in there for that time & afterward the sharing was so powerful:
  • Some said they had never disciplined themselves like that before & they felt God's presence to the point of almost shaking
  • Others said it was like God wrapped His arms around them & they never felt such intense love & acceptance
  • Still others never realized just how much they dominated their personal prayer time
  • Others received such incredible clarity & direction for their lives all because they were silent…

I'll never forget that night, it was the night I realized the value of what the Psalmist sang, “in silence my soul waits for You”.

All these things may or may not help you, if you feel led then give them a try.