Saturday, June 26, 2010


Beware Of Anxiety. Next To Sin,
There Is Nothing That So Troubles
Our Mind, Strains The Heart,
Distresses The Soul,
And Confuse The Judgement
- William Ullathorne

As worshipers, what will cripple us from doing God’s will and enjoying His presence? What will rob us of the joy of the Lord? ANXIETY! ANXIETY! ANXIETY!
Why is Paul so concerned with our level of anxiety? Because :
1) Proverbs 12:25 tells us that “An anxious heart weighs a man down.”
2) Isaiah 61:3 equate this as "the spirit of heaviness"
3) Psalm 139:23 - "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." It's a little disturbing to us that king David equates anxious thoughts with an "offensive way" (verse 24) in this Psalm.
In what way can our anxiety be awfully offensive?
- When we harbour anxious thoughts, we are saying that the One who has promised to take care of our future (Jeremiah 29:11) might not do a good job of it.
- It says that the One who has promised to walk us through the waters and not allow the fire to burn us (Isaiah 43:2) might abandon us to the waters and the fire.
- And it says that His presence in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4) might not be enough to calm us
(an extract from Worship The King & Walk With God Devotional by Chris Tiegreen)

What is the solution to our anxiety? We learned from last week's post that the answers are found in Philippians 4:6-7. That we “Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the PEACE of God, which transcends ALL understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.” When our prayers and petitions are mingled with THANKSGIVING, we are opening our hearts (guarding your hearts - Proverbs 4:23) to His presence. Psalm 100:4 says “Enter His gates (opening your heart) with THANKSGIVING and His courts with PRAISE; give THANKS to Him and PRAISE His name.” Instead of occupying our thoughts with the spirit of anxiety, we “PUT ON THE GARMENT OF PRAISE for the spirit of heaviness (heavy, burdened, failing spirit)” - Isaiah 61:3.
Jesus taught us, " ... do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own." - verse 34 (Matthew 6: 25-34 in context)
Imagine a son lying awake at night wondering if his parents are going to feed him tomorrow. Or a daughter wondering if she will have something to clothe herself in. That might happen in some homes, but what does it say of the parents? Nothing complimentary.
As worshipers of God we cannot praise Him with such insecurities. Our anxieties are forms of anti-worship - a clear declaration that our God might not have promised us enough or might not be able to follow through on what He has promised. Yes, He may let us go through hard things, but never ourside of His timing or beyond His protection. So worship Him. And don't worry about tomorrow!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Pray, Give Thanks And Let God Worry - Martin Luther

Philippians 4:6 is one of the most straightforward commands in Scripture, but one of the hardest to fulfill. Yet if we believe in the inspiration of Scripture, the originator of this verse is none other than the Holy Spirit.
How can God expect us to be anxiety free? He must have a reason. He wouldn’t tell us to do something that’s impossible to do. No, the rationale for this imperative comes in the words that follow. The reason we can be anxious for nothing is that our prayers, petitions, and requests can be given over to God in the spirit of GRATITUDE. Prayer with thanksgiving gives us rock-solid assurance that our anxieties are unfounded.

It is possible for a worshiper who is practicing the presence of God daily to be able to manage all his fears, anxieties and stresses. How is this possible? The answer is found in the presence of God. When you are in the presence of God, there is JOY and “The Joy of the Lord is your strength”! That is why Paul is able to give us a command in Philippians 4:4 to “REJOICE in the Lord always. I will say it again: REJOICE!” In fact a worshiper who is practicing the presence of God will be able to stay calmed in any situations because “the Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5). And the result is having "the peace of God" (Philippians 4:7) in midst of all circumstances.

Can I challenge you further on the spirit of thankfulness, gratitude and rejoicing?

1) Colossians 3:15-17
"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
Be thankful - that is not a suggestion; it is a command. In all that we do we need to be guided by two principles: doing it "in the name of the Lord Jesus" and "giving thanks to God through Him"

2) Ephesians 5:19
"... speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
When you are full of the Holy Spirit you will continually give God thanks. In fact, you can measure the fullness of the Spirit within you partly by the spirit of a thankful heart. When you cease to do so, it is one sure indication you are beginning to leak out

3) 1 Thessalonians 5:18
"... in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
What is the will of God in Christ Jesus? To give thanks in everything. So if you are not giving thanks, as we have already seen, you are actually out of the will of God.

GRATITUDE is an attitude that if it isn't flowing naturally now, should be cultivated zealously. Practice it often, and it will soon become as natural as breathing.

Have a joyous and victorious week!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Practicing The Presence Of God - Part 3

"How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God."

Psalm 84:1-2

David, the shepherd-king of Israel, knew the secret of practicing the presence of God; his psalms clearly attest to that fact. I am constantly inspired and encouraged by the life and example of King David. If someone as thoroughly human and flawed as he could enjoy intimate fellowship with God, then I know there is hope for all of us! David made many mistakes – he was an adulterer, a murderer, and a less than effective father – yet in spite of these failings, he was a man of great faith who loved the Lord with all his heart.

The phrase “a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14) is a beautiful description of a person who enjoys an intimate relationship with God, and it fit David perfectly. Just samplings from the Psalms reveal s the power and quality of this relationship from David’s perspective:

“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

“Make me know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.” – Psalm 25:4-5

“One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.” – Psalm 27:4

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make it’s boast in the Lord; the humble will heart and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together … O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” – Psalm 34:1-3, 8

“For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.” – Psalm 61:3-4

“My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation.” – Psalm 62:1
God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirst for You, my flesh yearns for You, I a dry and weary land where there is no water … Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You … When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.” – Psalm 63:1,3,6

Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.” - Psalm 86:11

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." – Psalm 91:1-2

“Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways … How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! … Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me is the everlasting way.” – Psalm 139:1-3, 17, 23-24

“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands. I stretch out my hands to You; my soul longs for You, as a parched land.” - Psalm 143:5-6

“On the glorious splendour of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.” – Psalm 145:5

Dwelling in God, seeking God, thinking of God, waiting in quietness before the Lord – all of these descriptions are related to Practicing The Presence Of God. I think King David summed it up well when he wrote, "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked."
God created us for intimate relationship with Him, and we will never be satisfied with anything less. David knew this; that’s why he loved and pursued God will all his heart. The Lord has called us to do the same. . That is our purpose and our destiny.
(an extract from: The Lost Art of Practicing His Presence by James W. Goll)

Blessed week!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Practicing The Presence Of God - Part 2

" ... In Your presence is fullness of joy;
in Your right hand there are pleasures forever."
Psalm 16:11

How Do We Practice The Presence Of God?

Practicing His presence begins in our daily walk. While living out the demands of the day, we are filled with an inward worship and adoration. In the course of each day you need to begin to discipline yourself to make melody to the Lord. Begin to make melody in your heart to the Lord. It doesn’t happen. You have to start it … begin to sing to the Lord in the spirit no mater where, no matter when, no matter what the situation.

Maybe you do not play an instrument or sing. But you must say to yourself, “I am a worshiper.” Seek God as to how He desires you to worship Him. Believe it or not, for some it will be through your job that you worship Him. Your work will be such an excellent testimony and example that your co-workers will speak well or your work long after you are gone (Read Acts 9:36, 37a & 39a). Worship for many others may be through service at home and the care of what God has placed in your hands. Whatever it may be purpose in your heart to do it with all your hearts!

Let us look at Ephesians 6:18. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” You see, if you practice His presence when you are by yourself, it is not so hard to sense the presence of God when you come together with other believers. As part of being a disciplined worshiper and a disciplined life of worship, we begin to practice the presence of God. Have you ever been out somewhere when you suddenly felt like praying in the spirit? Sometime I am just walking along and all of a sudden the presence of God is there. It’s just as real as if someone were walking next to me. Then I find myself praying in the spirit. That is practicing the presence of God. You may be driving along and suddenly notice the presence of God there and begin to worship Him. You begin to practice the presence of God. You may be at home sitting and watching TV, and you feel His presence is there. Turn off the TV. It takes discipline. (I think it goes without saying that TV is one primary tools of the enemy. There are many programs out there now that will really leave you vexed in your spirit).

There are other things that God may be speaking to you right now. You need to make a decision to be disciplined in a certain area or let a certain thing go if you want to move into where the Levities, the sons of Zadok (Ezekiel 44:15-16), were and come in and minster to Him unhindered.

"The priests of the Levi tribe who are descendants of Zadok the priest were faithful to me, even when the rest of the Israelites turned away. And so, these priests will continue to serve as my priests ...They will come into my temple, where they will offer sacrifices at my altar and lead others in worship." (Ezekiel 44:15-16 CEV)

This is where we want to be - because we have lived the disciplined life of a worshiper, because we choose to practice the presence of God, we can enter into His presence unhindered.

But it is a matter of setting aside the time to get into God's presence and to practice His presence. When you learn to practice His presence, you know God is there. You know when He is moving. And, because of that, when more than one of us comes with a holy expectancy, it changes the whole atmosphere of the room.
(an extract from: The 2nd Flood - The Discipline of Worship by John W. Stevenson - )