Praise the Lord!

25 Mar , 2020

“Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.” (Psalm 98)

Praising God in Worship

The Pastor had been encouraging the congregation to let loose and shout their praises to God. After the service Aunt Deborah approached the Pastor with a frown.

“Pastor! Why are you encouraging the people to shout and sing so loudly? Do you think God is deaf?” she said disapprovingly.

“No,” he answered, “and I don’t think he is nervous, either.”

Praise and Not Ashamed

David Wilkerson, the author of The Cross and the Switchblade, had a suburban Pentecostal church. They loved the Lord. David’s father was a retired old time Pentecostal preacher. He was visiting, so David asked his father to preach. During the service his father noticed the subdued nature of the worship, because they did not want to offend the neighbors.

When the elder Wilkerson got up to preach, he stood beside the pulpit and took off his muddy shoes. He plunked them down on the pulpit. There was a gasp from the congregation.

He said, “This is not holy! It is a place for proclaiming God holy word, but this is material and temporal. It will get old and need to be replaced.

“You have fallen into complacency, since you moved into the suburbs. God called you to proclaim your love for Him and to worship Him exuberantly. Now we’re going to have a Jericho March, singing in triumph at the Lord’s victory in each of our hearts.

“You on both sides open all the windows, all the way. We’re going to notify the neighbors we are here and we are proud to declare God’s glory!”

What the Bible Says About Praise

Now let’s look at what the Psalmist and God are telling us.

Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.   (Psalm 98:1)

Psalms 96 also tells is to sing, to create a new song,

“Oh sing to the Lord a new song; Sing to the Lord, all the earth!

Sing to the Lord, bless his name; Tell of his salvation from day to day.

Declare his glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!” (Psalms 96:1-3)

Marvelous works – these are not superior, natural things. They are miraculous, supernatural entrances of יהוה into the affairs of men.

His right hand, and his holy arm, hath wrought salvation – this indicates God has rolled up His sleeve to get us salvation – a real effort of love. It required a two-fold sacrifice;

  • First, God the Son had to sacrifice His position at the right hand of God the Father to be born the God-man, Jesus. Then it required Jesus to grow up into manhood and next, in the prime of life be not only crucified, but also become the sin-bearer for the Elect. Thus, because He bore our sin, Jesus, the Son of God experienced the rejection of His father. He suffered the punishment for our sin – rejection by God and death, once and for all!
  • The other sacrifice required the Father to send His Son into the certain danger of torture and death. But worse, once Jesus was on the cross, and became sin for us, His Righteous Father had to reject Him and turn His back on His Son,

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

Contrast the little effort God took to create all the stellar lights.

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;” (Psalm 8:3)

Salvation and Praise

Creation itself was mere finger play.

The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. (Psalm 98:2)

God displayed His acts of salvation publicly for all the world to see, to note and to believe. Paul declared before King Agrippa

“That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.”  (Acts 26:23)

“For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.” (Acts 26:26)

“The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” (Isaiah 52:10)

“And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.” (Exodus 3:20)

God’s Love and Praise

He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen he salvation of our God.   (Psalm 98:3)

God has openly revealed His love for His Chosen People. He has made no secret of the way to participate in salvation.

“Shew thy marvelous loving-kindness, O thou that saves by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.” (Psalm 17:7)

Praise with Singing

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!   (Psalm 98:4)

“Make a joyful noise” this is a command to express your love for God exuberantly is declared seven times:

  1. Psalm 66:1 “Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:”
  2. Psalm 81:1 “Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.”
  3. Psalm 95:1 “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”
  4. Psalm 95:2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.”
  5. Psalm 98:4 (here) “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”
  6. Psalm 98:6 “With trumpets and sound of cornet, Make a joyful noise before the King, Jehovah.
  7. Psalm 100:1 “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.”

Joyful–there are two Hebrew words used in these Psalms. In 66:1; 81:1; 95:1&2; and 100:1 they use רָנַן (raw-nan), which means to “emit a strident sound, shout aloud for joy, be greatly joyful, sing aloud for joy”. Psalms 98:4 & 6 use עׇלַז (aw-laz), which means “jump for joy, exult”.

Three Hebrew words are used for “noise”. Psalms 66:1; 81:1 שׇׁאוֹן (shaw-one) = from a root meaning “to rush”, thus “roar as a rushing sound) tumultuous’. Psalms 95:1 קוֹל (kole) = “call aloud, sing, thundering voice, yell”. Psalms 98:4& 6; 100:1 פׇּצַח (paw-tsakh) = “break out in joyful sound, break forth in joy, make a loud noise”.

Putting these words together multiplies their force. The Psalmists used different word combinations; nevertheless, the meanings of all are the same. When we worship יהוה, if we love Him, we should cast self-consciousness aside and shout for joy at the top of our lungs, we should sing His praises exuberantly.

Since the worship in the Temple involved not only music and singing, but also dancing. We must use our bodies to worship, jumping for joy, whirling in delight and any other appropriate movements that express our joy in worshiping our God.

When we worship with un-self-conscious exuberance, we glorify God and proclaim His majesty. Conversely when we are self-conscious, we are wrapped up in self and what people think of us. We are not freely worshiping God in spirit and in truth. A half-truth is a lie.

Praise with Music

5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!   (Psalm 98:5)

Music out of full hearts blesses God. He takes pleasure in exuberant, and Loud praise.

6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!   (Psalm 98:6)

יהוה is King of kings. We honor Him with boisterous fanfares and with loud cheers and shouted praise. He is not nervous when we boisterously and exuberantly sing at the top of our voices and shout for joy at His Presence.

When Queen Elizabeth goes out in state the people line the streets and cheer wildly, “Long Live the Queen!” A marching band accompanying her plays loudly, “God Save the Queen”, which is the same melody as our National Anthem.

We, in extolling the majesty of Almighty God, El Shaddai, should be as exuberant, or more so.

Praise All Over the Earth

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it!   (Psalm 98:7)

This is not “respectful” and quiet, but resounding, even crashing praise! This is not disrespectful, but honoring the greatness of God! Consider what the sound will be when the voices of all the believers, billions of voices, are joined together in praise of their most loved God. That is what will occur around God’s throne, when we will all be standing in His Presence.

After these things I saw, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes, and palms in their hands; and they cry with a great voice, saying, Salvation unto our God who sits on the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels were standing round about the throne, and about the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.   (The Revelation 7:9-12)

8 Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together.   (Psalm 98:8)

Everything in the world praises their Creator.

Jesus is Coming!

9 before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.   (Psalm 98:9)

When Christ comes again, he will come in glory. His purpose will be to bring everything to the culmination. He will judge impartially and righteously. All people throughout history will stand before Jesus, the perfectly righteous Judge. Each person will get their just deserts.

He will act with equity, but He will not be vindictive. Those who have believed, Jesus will own and acknowledge His blood covering their sins and His righteousness clothing them. He will embrace them and welcome them into His Presence. Those who have not believed, He will see their sin and see their nakedness. He will not acknowledge them, instead He will disown them and cast them out of His Presence.

After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”

And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.”

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”   (The Revelation 19:1-9)

Praise With No End

Do you think the rejoicing in Heaven with all the Cherubim, Seraphim, Archangels, Angels, the patriarchs and the teeming billions of the redeemed in the Church Triumphant is going to be subdued? “Whew, I’m glad that’s over. Now we can rest in peace -z-z-z-z-z-z…” Of course not! The myriad of voices will be raised in glorious praise at the top of their voices. Hallelujah! Praise God! Praise the Father! Praise the Son! Praise the Holy Spirit! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! If the Earth, Sun, Moon and stars had not been rolled up, the resounding praise would have shaken them out of their orbits.

All this is to say exuberance in worship is a blessing to God. Never be inhibited in demonstrating your love for your Father, Your Savior, your Guide, Counselor and Truth Teacher!

Sing your praise! Shout your Praise! Declare your praise! But do not suppress your praise. You are addressing El Shaddai! You are praising Almighty God, Creator of all that exists, who is worthy of all your praise.

Sing Praise to God

Prayer of Praise

You are magnificent, Almighty Father. We worship you with all our hearts, souls, minds and spirits.

Free us from anything that binds us. Any infirmities of our flesh. Any reticence or inhibitions of soul. Free us to be exuberant in our worship and praise.

Let our voices rouse the neighborhood. Draw them in to see what the commotion is.


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Glad Tidings

The Ol’ Time Religion

7 Oct , 2019  

GT—Volume 16 Issue 10

Music as Praise to God

A Christian radio station in our area advertises that it is the source for classic Christian music. Then it raises the question of veracity by playing the recent upbeat gospel music (unknown by us ‘ol’ fogies) and the 7/11 gospel, i.e. seven words repeated eleven times.

I hasten to state that I am not dismissing all the modern Christian music. There is much that leads me (us) to rejoice in Christ. Much is a fresh sound that has an emotional appeal.

But I still prefer the traditional hymns of the Church. They are time-tested and have a clear statement of the Gospel. We can zero in on the words and be led to the “Throne of Grace”.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.   (Hebrews 4:16)

Many are statements of our position in Christ. Many are clear glorification of our Masterful and Majestic Lord and God.

Jesus admonished the Church at Ephesus:

But I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love.  Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.  (The Revelation 2:4-5)

The Hymns that have been written over the last several centuries were written by those who understood the truth of the human condition and the Truth of the Gospel, variously expressed in creative poetry. Their words have been matched with grand music. The vast majority are set so they are easily sung by congregations. This makes for body worship, with each person offering her or his heart in the music to our Lord.  dove-vector-clipart

Hymn Writing and Singing

Praise To The Lord, The Almighty

Praise to the Lord, the almighty, the King of creation; O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation: All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near, Joining in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth, Shelters thee under His wings, yea so gently sustaineth: Hast thou not seen How thy desires er’ have been Granted in what he ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee; Surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee: Ponder anew What the Almighty can do, If to the end he befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!  All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him!  Let the Amen sound from his people again:

Gladly for ay we adore him.

For the believer, praise of God is a natural outcome of the truth of what He has done in, to and through us. First in this hymn we acknowledge God’s sovereignty over all Creation. We acknowledge that it is from the loving God that our salvation comes. Implicitly we are witnessing to the sacrificial death of the Son of God so that we can live eternally. We affirm that in Jesus is the source of our health and continuing life. Then, we reach out in evangelism to invite all within the sound of our voices to adore the One true God with us.

Next in song, we affirm His eternal loving care – physically while we are in this life; and then throughout eternity in His glorious Presence. The third verse declares God’s omnipresence; living and working in and with us. It affirms the magnificent promise of His friendship. The closing verse exhorts all people (and animals) to join in the glad chorus of praise, because we all ought to adore Him.

Spirit of God, Descend On My Heart

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move.
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

Hast Thou not bid me love Thee, God and King?
All, all Thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind.
I see Thy cross; there teach my heart to cling:
Oh, let me seek Thee, and, oh, let me find!

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh;
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no opening skies:
But take the dimness of my soul away.

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The baptism of the heaven descended Dove:
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

This Hymn is addressed to the Holy Spirit, calling for His presence. We know that we are weak and fickle and easily led astray, so we call upon God’s mighty Spirit to make us love God properly. We acknowledge the Old Testament affirmation that we are to love God with all our heart, mind and strength.

We affirm that we are not seeking some mighty miracle, but only to see Jesus more clearly in the midst of a hectic, fallen world.

Then we address the Holy Spirit directly to appeal to Him to make Himself known to us in the midst of the hurly-burly of this material life, thus keeping us from temptation, impatience and discouragement.

The final plea is to teach us to love God with a heavenly mindset; to be single-minded in our devotion. We cry out for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit to empower our faith so that we can love our Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit with a sacrificial love that is all consuming, like the flame that consumes the sacrificial victim on the altar.

My Jesus, I Love Thee

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In this hymn we express out faithful love for Jesus throughout our lives, from the moment of salvation, when we first become aware that our sin is displeasing to our Farther. The result for the righteous is to seek to eliminate sin from our lives. The reason is in the second stanza – Jesus first loved us and sacrificed everything for us in His accepting the nails, the thorns, and death for us and for our salvation.

We assert that our love will be faithful throughout our lives and even when we face that dread last enemy – death. Even then, we will love our Savior.

We look forward to our translation into God’s eternal glory where, standing before His throne we will have been completely cleansed and rid of sin and have received our unmerited rewards.  In that eternal moment we will love our God unrestrained, completely.

Joy To The World!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!  Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Here is unrestrained music to glorify God. Angels announced the birth of King Jesus; the heavens rang with the song, “Glory to God in the Highest!” Jesus is not only the King of the Jews and of redeemed believers from all ethnicity, but, in fact, he was slated to reign over the fallen world, as well. So, joy indeed to the world! This being true, the admonition is that every heart of man should prepare to receive the King of kings.

He is also the Savior. He has come to redeem mankind from sin. He has also come to remake the world in the process of God’s time. It will be perfect as it was before the Fall of Man corrupted God’s Creation. Therefore, all the animals, plants and minerals join in the resounding joy.

King and Savior means that sins and sorrows can cease. We can enter into His creative work in the world, setting aside our sin, because of Christ’s redemption; we can throw off sorrow, knowing that this is but a temporary affliction, because Jesus is triumphant over all!

His rule will establish truth as the outstanding element of our lives. His grace will overflow the governments of the world and they will operate to prove that His righteousness will be predominant and universal.  dove-vector-clipart

Music to Soothe the Savage Breast

“Music has charms to sooth a savage breast,” (Poet William Congreve, in The Mourning Bride, 1697: ACT I. SCENE I.)

King David established courses of musicians and choirs to ensure that the House of God (first the Tabernacle of David and then in the Temple when it was completed). They played in their courses on a rotating plan that had music on the sanctuary 24 hours a day.

“And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren the singers, with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding aloud and lifting up the voice with joy.”  (1 Chronicles 15:16)

“So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were appointed, with cymbals of brass to sound aloud; and Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries set to Alamoth; and Mattithiah, and Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps set to the Sheminith, to lead.  And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was over the song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful.”  (1 Chronicles 15:19-22)

“And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: and David had upon him an ephod of linen.  Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of Jehovah with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, sounding aloud with psalteries and harps.”  (1 Chronicles 15: 27-28).

Apparently, God enjoys music. He enjoys it soft and sweet. He also enjoys it loud and brash. What He does not enjoy is self-serving music that is performance for the sake of glorifying the performer. Unhappily that is much of the modern church music.

The role of all in the worship service is to glorify God, and then to be open for God to edify each one worshiping. If the music enhances those two purposes, then it is truly a worthy worship experience. If instead, the music is to gin up emotion so that the performer has a gratifying time and the people have an emotionally good time, but without the heart connection with Jesus, then it is an idolatrous performance.

I have been in churches where the music group was “cookin’’”, but the people in the congregation were only singing the words with no indication that they were in touch with Jesus. I have been worshiping in churches where I had to worship in spite of the music. I have struggled under the performance artists who have no sense of being an accompanist to the worship of the congregation. Instead they were the professional performer, expecting the congregation to follow along.

Music as Worship of God

Music in worship is a blessing to God. His desire is to have all His children in unity and glorifying Him. That is where the sacred hymns have a decided advantage. Their words and music are uplifting and they are food to our spirits. There are numerous new songs that are enhancing to worship as well. Those old composers were reliably mature in the spirit as well as gifted. They capture the truths of God’s Word and our lives in Christ. When all who have come to worship our Great God sing those kinds of hymns and songs, we are ministering and being ministered to in the sense of.

And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18-21)

It is an old truth, and I do not believe it becomes trite by often repeating it: God loves us and wants the best for us. He said via Jeremiah,

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

He gives us the best music to worship Him. That is why Christianity has such a plethora of beautiful, spiritually uplifting music. No other religion has such a developed theology sung regularly by congregations gathering to worship.

Buy a good one, if you do not have one. I recommend “Hymns for the Family of God” by Paragon Associates, Inc. Nashville

May I suggest that you open the hymn books you have at home and include singing a hymn or two in your regular family worship (even the choruses to hymns can enhance family and personal worship.).

Paul tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) It is not a corruption to say “worship without ceasing”.  You can incorporate singing of hymns in your worship, while walking through this fallen world. God loves to have you close to Him.  He loves to have you holding Him central, as you deal with the vicissitudes of life.  Worshipping with the family of God is vital, but living daily in the Presence of God by worshiping and praying as an ongoing practice becomes an undergirding foundation that carries you through the attacks, failures, griefs that occur to all of us.  We find, in Christ’ Presence, great joy that cannot be diminished.

I will sing unto Jehovah as long as I live: I will sing  praise to my God while I have any being.” (Psalms 104:33)

God loves His children.  He demonstrated great love in giving us His Son to save us.  He truly wants to spend time with us.  So, He is with us every minute.  To make life fully satisfying, we need to be with him.  That is what our Father longs for,too.  He has placed that reality in our future.  We don’t have to wait until we enter His Presence through death’s door.  We can enjoy His Presence every Day!  Sing to His glory the Hymns of faith.  dove-vector-clipart

Questions Demanding Answers

This is a recurring feature. I pose a question in one issue. You have the opportunity to send me answers. I publish the best ones in the next issue. Please cite Biblical authority, and keep you answer within 250 words.

QUESTION: How can the Holy Spirit dwell in us?

ANSWER: We tell little children to ask Jesus to come into their hearts. One of the questions they ask is, “How can a big, grownup man fit inside me?” They do not have the concept of immaterial spirit. The Holy Spirit, being Spirit, easily “fits” in the hearts of believers. Jesus breathed on His Disciples the evening of the first day of the week and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

As God breathed life into Adam (Genesis 2:7), just so Jesus breathed the living Spirit into the Disciples (and us). That was (and is) not only the regeneration of the dead spirits within us, but it was (and is) the imparting of the Holy Spirit to believers.

That is how the Holy Spirit “gets here”. That raises another question, “What makes the Holy Spirit stay?” We are sinners. When we are born again, we are regenerated. Our sins are forgiven, but we do, in fact, continue to sin. Why is not the Holy Spirit revolted by each sin we commit after our salvation? Why does He not fly away? We give Him many reasons each day to abandon us. Why does He stay?

Because the Holy Spirit is God’s guaranty that we are saved. Paul taught,

… to the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,—in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, unto the praise of his glory.   (Ephesians 5:12-14).

In God’s economy, Christ’s blood covers our sin and Jesus has clothed us in His righteousness; therefore, we are an acceptable home for the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of God is omnipresent.  He is everywhere all at once, all the time.  He is actively present and available to every believer

Those who acknowledge His presence and defer to Him, are constantly in communication with God the Father.  Any believer can open her or his heart for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as John the Baptist taught and Jesus taught:

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but there cometh he that is mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not [a]worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you [b]in the Holy Spirit and in fire:” (Luke 3:16)

“But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The Holy Spirit’s power transformed the Disciples from frightened believers in Jesus to courageous proclaimers of God’s truths in Christ.  That same power is available to each believer who is willing to receive.

QUESTION:  What does it mean to be a saint?

The Holy of Holies

Join me in bowing before our God in gratitude that we can speak directly and personally to Him. He is our loving Father, so we can embrace Him boldly, but respectfully.

Holy Spirit, God divine, reveal to me Who and what You are.  Teach me about Jesus and reveal to me truths that I have not seen in times past.  You are the Wisdom of God.  Grant me to know what is profitable for me.

I come to You with empty hands. I raise them in surrender to Your Majesty. Fill my mouth with Praise of Your splendor. Fill my heart with songs that will glorify You and edify my spirit.

You are the glory of all anointed servants of God. You give them power  to conquer, wisdom to adjudicate, love to embrace and help, and mercy to forgive.

I praise You for Your work in my life. You have taught me about my Savior. You have introduced me to the riches in Your Word. You have guided me in my decisions. Thank You for your manifold ministries in my life. 

I behold in Your Word the glories of the throne room of God.  I have an inkling of the Glory of our Father on His throne and of the wonders around His Presence. We have an image of our Savior, the Lamb of God. Help me to see Your Presence with the Father and the Son. Show my dull mind how You are depicted in Your vision given to brother John. 

As the author of the Book, You are not seen, just as the one who takes a photo is not in the picture. It is Your efforts in John’s heart that allowed him to reveal those images to us. Your magnificent humility holds You back from the center stage. And as the director is never on stage in a play, You are in obscurity while glorifying the Father and the Son.

In Your self-effacing stance, You teach us to be brothers and sisters, always lifting up others into the spotlight, while quietly working the works of our Father. Give me the shelter of obscurity to concentrate on God’s purposes and to accomplish great things that give glory only to Him. Stifle my yearning for recognition. Give me the satisfaction of my Father’s quiet approval. Let me find deep pleasure in worldly shunning, while my Father takes pleasure in my efforts on His behalf. Keep me under the shadow of Your wings in intimate relationship with You and separate from worldliness and applause.

Blessed Holy Spirit, speak to me in that still, small voice that is for me alone. Allow me the courage and the privilege of proclaiming Your Name, so that others will begin praising Your Majesty, glory and dominion over their lives! Hallelujah most magnificent God, Almighty.  Hallelujah! 



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One, True God

30 Apr , 2017  

February 12, 2017

The Existence of Our Amazing God

singing-bowls-1615498_960_720“There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might.
Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms is none like you.

They are both stupid and foolish; the instruction of idols is but wood! Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz. They are the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith; their clothing is violet and purple; they are all the work of skilled men.

But the Lord is the true God; is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.” (Jeremiah 10:6-10)

A January 2017 survey from reveals that 76% of the nation personally believes in the existence of a God

That percent is down sharply from 2011 Gallup Poll that reported 92% believe God exists.

I suspect that half of those who say they believe in God, do not believe in a personal God. They understand God as one who created all things, set them in motion and left the world for us to manage. That is a Deistic “Clockmaker God”.

In contrast, we, who have affirmed that we believe in the personal God, because we have embraced Jesus as our Savior, the Father has adopted as His sons and daughters.

Certain That We are Known

Therefore, I’m asking that we pray in two modes:

  • First, we’ll pray corporately and individually to acknowledge our One, True God. I will pray a general prayer and then pause so each who would like to may affirm his or her love for God in a personal way.
  • Then I will offer a prayer for the joys and needs we have and know of. Again, I will pause to allow individual prayer.

Please join with me in expressing to God what He means to us.


Untitled design (18)You are our God. You have come to each of us personally. You know us intimately. You love us extravagantly. You are active in our lives daily. We are so privileged to have You as our God. We love You Father, our Brother, our Master and our Friend.

Pause for Prayer

Please offer your expressions of thanksgiving, praise, and petition to our loving God.


Our gracious Lord God we are deeply thankful that You have become a significant force in our lives. Your love for us emboldens us to come before You to express our needs and those of people we care for.

Pause for Prayer

Hallelujah! Our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We open our hearts to You to fill us with your truth and love. Give us the power to live our lives as proof that you are real, active and loving God.

Join with me in the Prayer that Our Savior taught us, saying…

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.



While We Were Still Sinners

22 Aug , 2016  

March 3, 2013

But God proves His love for us in this:While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.   (Romans 5:8)

Pray as the Holy Spirit Leads You

First, we will pray for those we love. And then we will glorify God and present ourselves humbly before Him.

Personal Prayer

These are the words of The Revelation to St. John and the word of God.

The four living creatures, having each one of them six wings, are full of eyes round about and within: and they have no rest day and night, saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”

And when the living creatures shall give glory and honor and thanks to him that sitteth on the throne, to him that liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders shall fall down before him that sitteth on the throne, and shall worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and shall cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

“Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power: for thou didst create all things, and because of thy will they are, and were created”.   (Revelation 4:8-11)


“And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a great voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might and honor, and glory, and blessing’.

And every created thing which is in the heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things are in them, heard I saying, ‘Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever’.    (Revelation 5:11-13)


“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunders, saying, ‘Hallelujah: for the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigneth.  Let us rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us give the glory unto him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready’.

And it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright and pure: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

And he saith unto me, ‘Write, Blessed are they that are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he saith unto me, ‘These are true words of God’.”   (Revelation 19:6-9)

All creation proclaims Your glory.  Seraphim, Cherubim, Archangels, Angels, Patriarchs, Martyrs and myriads of the Redeemed all join in a host of praise.

Almighty Lord God we are like the centurion, who desired You to heal his servant, but declared, “I am not worthy that You should come under my roof, speak Your word only and my servant shall be healed.”

We are not worthy to join that host in giving You glory. We are lost in sin. Our lives are too much our own because we have not loved you with our whole hearts, souls and bodies. We have too often closed our eyes to sin to pursue our own pleasures. We like Isaiah, if we were honest with ourselves, would cry out in Your Holy Presence, “Woe is me! I am undone! I have unclean lips and I live in a society of unclean lips!”

Prayer of Contrition

Now we will glorify God and present ourselves humbly before Him.

Personal Prayer

Nevertheless, our Savior, Your love for us exceeds all other love and breaks all bonds. While we were yet sinners you died for us. You shed Your precious blood to cleanse us from sin and all unrighteousness. You wiped the slate clean for all of us. And not being content with that, You imputed Your Righteousness to us. Now when the Father’s holy eyes fall upon us they see not our nakedness, but the righteousness of Christ. We are accepted in the beloved. We are adopted into Your family–sons and daughters of Yahweh Elohim Sabaoth, The Lord God of Hosts.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Personal Prayer

Because of Your love and sacrifice, You have declared us worthy to join that magnificent throng. And having been cleansed, like Isaiah, You confront us with a call to ministry. Make us not of blind eyes, nor of deaf ears, nor of tongue-tied speech, but instead give us quick-hearing hearts and instantly obedient spirits and loud, clear voices to proclaim Your truth. Recognizing we are unworthy to carry Your glorious message, give us holy boldness to make Your name known to our world.

Personal Prayer

As we join together in the prayer our Lord taught us, let us reconsecrate our hearts to His service.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.




Easter Praise

30 May , 2016  

Maranatha! Resurrection Day!
March 31, 2013

First, let me share with you the traditional Easter greeting.
The greeting:
Hallelujah! Christ is risen!
The Response:
Christ risen indeed! Hallelujah!

We are elated that God’s promise of the resurrection was proven to many witnesses. They saw the death of Christ. They knew that He was dead and buried. And yet, they saw him alive. They testified to us that Jesus was and is alive from the dead. Therefore, we believe in the resurrection. We have embraced God’s promise for us.
But what if – what if it is not true. Paul addresses this question.
“Now if the rising of Christ from the dead is the very heart of our message, how can some of you deny that there is any resurrection?
“For if there is no such thing as the resurrection of the dead, then Christ was never raised. And if Christ was not raised then neither our preaching nor your faith has any meaning at all. Further it would mean that we are lying in our witness for God, for we have given our solemn testimony that he did raise up Christ—and that is utterly false if it should be true that the dead do not, in fact, rise again!
“For if the dead do not rise neither did Christ rise, and if Christ did not rise your faith is futile and your sins have never been forgiven. Moreover those who have died believing in Christ are utterly dead and gone. Truly, if our hope in Christ were limited to this life only we should, of all mankind be the most to be pitied!
“But the glorious fact is that Christ did rise from the dead: he has become the very first to rise of all who sleep the sleep of death. As death entered the world through a man, so has rising from the dead come to us through a man! As members of a sinful race all men die; as members of the Christ of God all men shall be raised to life, each in his proper order, with Christ the very first and after him all who belong to him when he comes.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-23 J.B. Phillips)

Thus, we have reason to celebrate!
Leader: Hallelujah! Christ is risen!
Response: Christ is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
Leader: Hallelujah! Christ is risen!
Response: Christ is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
Leader: Do not be afraid to make the walls ring and the windows rattle
Response: Hallelujah! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

Speak aloud your praise to God the Father. Speak aloud your adoration of the Lord Jesus. Speak aloud your thanksgiving to the Blessed Holy Spirit.

Pause for Prayer

Adoni Sabaoth, Jehovah Jireh, We magnify You for the glorious provision You have bestowed upon us. You came into our darkness and took us by the heart and led us into your magnificent light. You opened our blind eyes to your splendor.
If that is all you had done it would have been ample, since we were lost in darkness without You. What was sufficient for us, was not enough for You. You had far more and abundant riches to bestow.

Pause for Prayer

You not only revealed Yourself to us, You gave us a beautiful and fruitful world in which to live. We offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving for Your amazing generosity.

Pause for Prayer

You not only gave us this abundance, You adopted us as Your sons and daughters, making us family. O how we praise You our glorious Father.

Pause for Prayer

You not only adopted us, but You gave us an exceedingly great legacy as joint heirs with Christ.

Pause for Prayer

You not only made us joint heirs with Jesus, but you gave us the outstanding promise of resurrection, transfigured bodies and eternal life. Your love and openhandedness are overwhelming. We lift our voices in praise of your astounding grace

Pause for Prayer

Having experienced Your love and benefited greatly from Your mercy we lay before you these concerns for others and ourselves, confident that you gladly receive our prayers.

Pause for Prayer

We rejoice in Your resurrection and in the promise that we too will rise. Now, Lord Jesus, we join our hearts together offering the prayer you taught, saying.

The Lord’s Prayer

Leader: Hallelujah! Christ is risen!
Response: Christ is risen indeed! Hallelujah!



O Magnify the LORD with Me

30 Dec , 2014  

December 11, 2014

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. (Psalm 34:1-9)

Please Pray with me

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty! Thrice Holy Is His Son our Savior. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Holy Spirit.
Praise and magnify His name for His love for us.
Praise and Magnify His name for His salvation He purchased on the cross.
Praise and magnify His mighty name for His truth that he has delivered to us.

Almighty and most powerful and fearsome God Our Father, most righteous and perfect God our Savior, Most Holy and loving Spirit, Who convinces us of sin, we come now before Your majesty. We are aware of our unworthiness to enter into Your Magnificent Presence, and yet trusting in the way that our Savior made for us by His precious Blood, we come boldly into the Holy of holies. We enter you inner sanctum to honor and worship You.
Praise Almighty God! Praise the Creator! Praise the Deliverer! Praise our Provider! Praise our Savior! Praise His Majesty. Praise His Wisdom! Praise His Love! Praise everything about our God for he is worthy to be praised eternally!

We come also to intercede for those we care about. Father, we are distressed by their difficulties. We know that You are infinitely more distressed; here in faith and confidence we lay these petitions at your feet.

Please Pray for our Loved Ones in Need

Father, You have blessed Grace Fellowship in giving us Your love. You have chosen us to be bound together in strong chains of love. Now, Father, as we come to you individually with our praise for this fellowship and for You who is our Founder and sure guide in our life together, honor our prayers by granting our desire to grow as a fellowship deeper in Christ and grow in embracing others in this deep, rich fellowship of Grace. We pray now for the church You have given to us.

Please Pray for our Church

We lift our hearts to give thanks to our God for Your love for all Your children. Lord, Jesus, You have sheep in many other pastures. We recognize these as our brothers and sisters. Here in the Holy of Holies we bow before Your throne and offer brothers and sisters we do not know to You for Your help, for Your healing, for Your deliverance, for Your instruction in righteousness, and for Your blessings of basic necessities and safety.

Please Pray for our Brothers and Sisters around the World

To You, our God, we offer Honor Praise, and Glory. We declare Your Majesty, Dominion, Power, Grace, and Love in the joy that You have given us.
Hallelujah, Lord God Most Holy!

Join with me now in offering the prayer that our Lord Jesus taught us, saying

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.