THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: PRAYER

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DIFFERENT FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’re learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties but rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

PRAYER: Interactive conversation with God about what we and God are thinking and doing together. ~ The Life With God Bible

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.  ~ Psalm 141:2

The Spiritual Discipline of Prayer is the most important of the disciplines because it brings us into direct communion with our heavenly Father. Prayer is a foundational discipline and in some way involves the other disciplines especially solitude, study, worship, and fasting.

Prayer is a deeply personal experience. Each of us have our own idea of spending time with God. There is no right or wrong way to pray. While our prayer time is often shaped by external and internal circumstances out of our control, we mustn’t allow life to keep us from spending time alone with God.

How, when, or where we pray is between us and God. Whether we pray out loud, silently; with music or without; kneeling, sitting or standing; in a group or alone… The most important thing is that we take time to pray and are sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in our communication with our Father.

Three points to consider about Prayer:

      • Expect and answer. 

Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. ~ Mark 11:24

      • Listen.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. ~ John 10:27

      • Keep an attitude of prayer.  

Pray without ceasing. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Prayer is simply talking to God. It’s something we can do all day long. In-between different activities take a minute to check in with God. Or when you think of someone just lift up a little prayer for them.

God uses prayer to change us. And through prayer God allows us to partner with Him to change the future.

Pray boldly believing you will change things.

Maybe even God’s mind!

“Units of prayer combined, like drops of water make an ocean which defies resistance.” ~ E. M. Bounds

Take a few minutes and enjoy this uplifting song by Tauren Wells!

THE LORD’S PRAYER :: KINGDOM, POWER and GLORY

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DIFFERENT FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In The Lord’s Prayer Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray, giving them not just a prayer to recite, but also a model prayer for us all. On the first Friday of each month in 2020 we will study this beloved prayer phrase by phrase and bring fresh application to our lives for today.

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 those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. ~ Matthew 6: 9-13

This portion of the Lord’s Prayer, often referred to as the doxology, isn’t present in the early manuscripts of the New Testament. However, it was found in the ancient liturgies used during the time of the apostles. The doxology beautifully completes what we’ve been praying thus far and affirms foundational truths of the Christian faith.

Thine is the Kingdom

God’s Kingdom is present here on earth through the Holy Spirit in the body of His church. As we pray for God’s kingdom to come, we are manifesting that presence through the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through the lives of all believer walking the earth today.

Thine is the Power

God’s power is available to us as we connect to Him. As we humbly pray for God’s will to be done in our life and our world, God will show us His power and might in ways we can’t imagine.

Thine is the Glory

As we pray and honor God’s holy name we are giving him glory. By this act of connecting through the Spirit we become participants in His kingdom, exhibiting His power working in our daily lives and bringing glory to His name.

A Heavenly Focused Journey

Along our journey with the Lord, if we focus on the dirt beneath our feet we will be overly sensitive to every rock and bump in the road–distracting us from the purpose God has for us. But by praying the Lord’s Prayer our focus will be on heaven and God’s presence.

...live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory. ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:12

Let’s stay inspired, to represent God’s kingdom here on earth, filled with the Spirit of power, bringing glory to His name among the peoples of the earth.

Join me as we pray and worship with this great song by Worship Central.

MUSIC REVIEW :: STILL by MICHAEL W. SMITH

FOR MY 2020 REVIEWS I’M CHOOSING CHRISTIAN ALBUM PROJECTS THAT HAVE TOUCHED MY SPIRIT DEEPLY. THIS IS THE LAST REVIEW IN THE SERIES.

One of the most prolific, talented and award-winning artists of all time, singer and songwriter, Michael W. Smith truly needs no introduction. If you’ve been listening to Christian music over the last 40 years, there’s no doubt you’ve heard much of his incredible music. Along with a handful of other amazing artists, Michael W. Smith, helped pioneer what we know today as Contemporary Christian music.

STILL Vol. 1  by Michael W. Smith

Release Date: October 9, 2020

Album Length: 10 tracks: 55 minutes 

Since 1985 Michael W. Smith’s projects have spanned across the Christian music genre from pop to gospel, patriotic orchestral instrumental, live and studio worship albums. Then just when you think he can’t top those Michael releases what I consider one of his best works to date.

STILL is an exquisitely orchestrated, etherial expression of sight and sound. The touching improvisational music with random hints of familiar hymns is paired with the everlasting hope of God’s Word so beautifully read by Michael.

A healing balm for these troubled times in which we live.

For those of us who’ve been unable to be outdoors or travel these last few months, the magnificent visuals offered to us from STILL are life-giving. These breathtaking visuals have you soaring like an eagle high above lush forests, flowing rivers and blue ocean waves… rich farmlands and what looks like could be the smokey mountains in Michael’s own backyard of Tennessee.

A stunning synthesis of scripture and scenery that will soothe your soul.

The applications of this album are many. What a wonderful way to end your day. The perfect music to play in a child’s bedroom at night. Or just as background for your personal meditation time with God.

From the album cover…

My prayer is that this work helps you find some moments of STILLNESS, whether in the meditations and scriptures that I read in the first five tracks or in the moments of prayer that you have over the last five.  May it wash over you!”

– Michael W. Smith 

I highly recommend this amazingly anointed album! I’ve had it on repeat for days while preparing this review. My heart is full and my spirit is inspired. STILL by Michael W. Smith is a must have for any Christian music collection.

Be still.

Be inspired.

Be blessed.

Below is the full album playlist from YouTube. I pray you will set aside time to soak in, watch or pray this incredibly anointed work of art by Michael W. Smith.

THE RED SEA RULES STUDY :: VIEW YOUR CURRENT CRISIS AS A FAITH BUILDER FOR THE FUTURE

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DESIGNATED FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In THE RED SEA RULES series we’re using the wonderful book by Robert J. Morgan as our guideline for a deep study of Exodus 14. Join me on the fourth Friday of each month in 2020 as we apply Morgan’s “10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times” to our lives today.

RED SEA RULE 9: View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future. 

The LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses.   ~ Exodus 14:30-31

The children of Israel benefited greatly from their experiences at the Red Sea. It strengthened their faith in God which would help them in the challenges ahead.

The unknowability of the future can be a fearful thing. However, it’s important that  we remember God allows everything we experience to grow and build our faith as we trust in Him.

Faith is much like a muscle. It grows in layers as we go through various trials and struggles.  When we want to strengthen our physical muscles we must push them to a limit with some form of exercise. Our faith grows much the same way. It must be tested by the exercises of life challenges.

Faith is simply finding and claiming the promises of God in every situation, and based on those promises, making logical assumptions, being fully persuaded that God has the power to do what He has promised. ~ Robert J. Morgan

As we surrender our life, God will soften our heart and shape our future to be the best that He has designed for us. Let God take over your life and your soul. With Him in control everything will work in your favor when it’s all said and done.

I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Build your faith with these words. You can trust God. He is good and His love for you is great!

Take a few minutes to build your faith with this Elevation Worship video.

THE NEW LIFE :: PUT ON LOVE

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DESIGNATED WEEK OF THE MONTH.

In THE NEW LIFE series we’re studying one of my favorite chapters in the Bible: Colossians 3:1-17. As you will see this is a rich chapter full of valuable life transforming lessons. Join me on the third Friday of each month in 2020 for this in-depth Bible study with real world applications.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. ~ Colossians 3:14

For us to put on love and continually walk in love we must stay close to the only true source of love, God. As we do, the love we receive from God will be extended to those around us.

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” ~ Mark 12:29-31

We are unable to love ourselves or others unless we first love God. And that love for God must be full and complete. Scripture calls for us to love God with ALL our heart, all our mind and all our strength. Unless we surrender our whole self to God as a sacrifice of love we cannot love anyone else.

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. ~ 1 John 4:7-8

Now more than ever people need to know they are loved, cared for, valued and accepted. And the world can’t give us this. In fact when we look around we see the exact opposite every day. Many are completely unaware of God’s love. They imagine God as vague being who wants to punish the world. But God loves the world so much that He sent Jesus to show us that love in human form.

Love is kind and patient,
never jealous, boastful,
proud, or rude.
Love isn’t selfish
or quick tempered.
It doesn’t keep a record
of wrongs that others do.
Love rejoices in the truth,
but not in evil.
Love is always supportive,
loyal, hopeful,
and trusting.

                            1 Corinthians 13:4-7

As we continue to walk with God we will exhibit all the characteristics listed above–the characteristics of God that are shown to us in the life of Christ. Shake off our old worldly habits of thinking and reacting. Renew your mind with God’s word… Walk in forgiveness. Live as a person who has put on love!

Put on Love with this beautiful song by Brandon and Rebekah Fox.

THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: SILENCE

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DIFFERENT FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’re learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties but rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

SILENCE: Closing off our souls from sounds, whether noise, music, or words, so that we may better still the inner chatter of our noisy hearts and be increasingly attentive to God.~ Life With God Bible

The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him!  ~ Habakkuk 2:20

While all the Spiritual Disciplines are important, to me Silence is one of the most critical. Without our times of silence and solitude we will rarely have the opportunity to grow individually or in our relationship with God.

Most of us today, especially those under the age of 30, have never had a serious period of complete silence. Some avoid silence at all cost. When I was younger I would do anything to keep from being alone with my thoughts. It took going through addiction recovery for me to learn that silence can help me. It is my friend, not my enemy.

As much as I thought others would dislike the “real” me if they knew me, I also disliked myself. I didn’t want to be alone with me. I didn’t want to hear the negative thoughts from the childhood programming that would invariably surface in times of silence and solitude.

Now after recovery and learning the wonderful spiritual practice of contemplation, I have learned the value of just sitting with the trees and clouds, while listening for the still small voice of God to speak to my heart and soul.

If we are too busy to find some quiet time with God, we will soon be too busy for ourselves or anyone  else for that matter.

I encourage you to carve out some time to be alone not only with God, but with yourself. Take advantage of the opportunity to be outside during the beautiful fall weather and sit with God under a tree and just… be.

                                                            BE

                                                     BE STILL

                                          BE STILL AND KNOW

                              BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM

                       BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

                                               ~ Psalm 46:10 ~

 

Take a few minutes and be encouraged to find some quiet time with God as you watch/listen to this beautiful song by Elevation Rhythm.

THE LORD’S PRAYER :: DELIVER US FROM EVIL

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DESIGNATED WEEK OF THE MONTH.

In The Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray. He’s not just giving them a prayer to recite, but a model prayer for everyone of us. Join me on the first Friday of each month in 2020 as we study this beloved prayer phrase by phrase and bring fresh application to our lives today.

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 those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. ~ Matthew 6: 9-13

In The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is teaching His disciples that prayer is their (and our) main defense against the evil one.  As we pray the Our Father we’re acknowledging that God is sovereign over all things including Satan and any of his wicked schemes.

Take Satan Seriously

Below the surface of our daily life an invisible battle is being waged against good and evil. Some people think the devil is a joke. But as believers we must take Satan and his threats seriously. The Bible tells us clearly that Satan is roaming the earth like a roaring lion looking for those he can devour.

Stay Armored

Because our enemy is always looking to harm us, it’s vital that we not attempt to go through any day spiritually unprotected. In the section of Scripture below, the Apostle Paul teaches us exactly how to protect ourselves with God’s special battle armor.

” Let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.

Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor. Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.

Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.” ~ Ephesians 6:10-18 CEV

Study Scripture

We must study Scripture so we will be able to recognize Satan’s evil tactics when they arise. And most importantly, we must memorize Scripture verses so that no matter where we are we can protect ourselves when the enemy attacks.

Keep Godly Influences

And finally, we must keep our influences pure and godly. We must associate with people who love the Lord and will speak truth in our life. We must make sure that we are being taught by sound spiritual teachers that will impart godly wisdom and counsel.

As you start each day find a verse that you can carry with you to keep your heart, mind and soul strong in the Lord. I like to write verses on 3×5 cards to keep with me through the day. I pray you are blessed and encouraged with these words today.

Take a few minutes to soak up a gospel rendition of The Lord’s Prayer to help fight your battle against evil today!

THE RED SEA RULES STUDY :: TRUST GOD TO DELIVER IN HIS OWN UNIQUE WAY

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DESIGNATED FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In THE RED SEA RULES series we’re using the wonderful book by Robert J. Morgan as our guideline for a deep study of Exodus 14. Join me on the fourth Friday of each month in 2020 as we apply Morgan’s “10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times” to our lives today.

RED SEA RULE 8: Trust God to deliver in His own unique way. 

Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. ~ Exodus 14:21-22

God’s Ways Are Miraculous

God doesn’t see things like we do. Just like we need to see all of life from God’s perspective, we must try to see our deliverance from His perspective. God treats every trial individually. Each deliverance is as unique as we are. God designs each deliverance to each individual trial or trouble.

The Lord says: “My thoughts and my ways
are not like yours. ~ Isaiah 55:8

God’s Ways Are Providential

God’s ways have a higher purpose and His ways of providing for us are higher that anything we could understand. God watches over us and His unseen hand guides and arranges our life situations in a far greater way than we could ever hope or imagine.

In the unfolding of His providence, burdens become blessings, tears lead to triumph, and the redemptive grace of God overcomes the undercurrents of life in the experiences of His children. ~ Robert J Morgan

God’s Ways Are Mysterious

There will be times we don’t understand why things are happening the way they are. Whether God delivers us in a miraculous way or not, every intervention He makes in our lives will make us better to serve in His kingdom now or for eternity. Although God’s ways are mysterious one day we will understand. Today we need to trust His plan for us and know it’s going to be for our good and for His glory!

The Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever. ~ 2 Timothy 4:18

Take a few moments and read a portion of the lyrics from the classic hymn below. Contemplate the mysterious and miraculous way God is working out your unique, providential deliverance today…

” Take courage now you fearful saints

The clouds you so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break

In blessings on your head “ ~ William Cowper

 

THE NEW LIFE :: BELOVED OF GOD

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DESIGNATED WEEK OF THE MONTH.

In THE NEW LIFE series we’re studying one of my favorite chapters in the Bible: Colossians 3:1-17. As you will see this is a rich chapter full of valuable life transforming lessons. Join me on the third Friday of each month in 2020 for this in-depth Bible study with real world applications.

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. ~ Colossians 3:12-13

As God’s chosen and beloved people we must live in a way that honors our individual value and what Christ has done for us. After all this new life wouldn’t be possible without Christ’s death and resurrection.

Loving Virtues

With our new life wardrobe we are clothed with the virtues of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, given to us through Jesus Christ. Wearing these virtues ables us to bear other’s burdens and forgive their flaws. This allows opportunities to truly show the love of Christ in our everyday life.

Our lives are called to be a response to God’s self-giving love. Every good thing we do in this life — love, forgive, serve — is merely an echo of the love of God. ~ James Bryan Smith

Forgiven to Forgive

When we accept God’s forgiveness we too must be willing to forgive others.  With those who are difficult to forgive we may need to meditate on the fact that because Christ has forgiven me completely, I must in turn forgive.

It’s important to stress here forgiveness doesn’t require continuing a relationship with someone who is toxic to be around. At this point we must forgive them, pray for and love them through Christ from a distance.

Beloved Chosen

Sometimes it’s easy to love and forgive others but somehow we can’t do the same for ourselves. For whatever reason we feel unworthy or not good enough to be called God’s beloved. No matter what we believe about ourselves God’s love for us is unstoppable!

YOU ARE THE BELOVED OF GOD!

 

There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! ~ Romans 8:38-39

Take a few minutes and listen to this beautiful song by Jordan Feliz. Let the lyrics soak deep in your soul and realize how much God loves you!

THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: SERVICE

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DIFFERENT FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’re learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties but rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

SERVICE: Loving, thoughtful, active promotion of the good of others and the causes of God in our world, as we experience the many little deaths of going beyond ourselves.

God remembers the love you demonstrate as you continually serve his beloved ones for the glory of his name. ~ Hebrews 6:10

Some of us are gifted with service. But gifted or not, as Christians, we are all called to service as His followers. The Spiritual Discipline of service is a radical self-denial in humble service to others for Christ.

Relationship vs. Results

Service is more about our relationship with God than the results of the particular action we are performing. It’s not about working for God but rather working with God, allowing Him to work in and through us. Our service for God may not come packaged in some beautifully wrapped ideal of success. It may come as something as simple as helping an elderly neighbor with their groceries or trash.

Bloom Where You Are Planted

This is most important in the Spiritual Discipline of Service. We can serve God wherever He has put us. Instead of waiting for the next grand opportunity, serve God today with your whole heart, even in the simplest of tasks.

Much Is Given And Required

God uses our reaction to our life circumstances to fulfill His purposes. We will never be able to fully measure or know how God uses us because it’s His power not ours at work. We can’t measure our usefulness for God by what we’ve done for Him.  Rather He will measure us by how we’ve shown Christ’s love by humbly allowing Him to work through us for the benefit of others.

Spiritually, we cannot measure our life by success, but only by what God pours through us, and we cannot measure that at all.  Oswald Chambers

The Spiritual Discipline of Service is a lifestyle reflected often in hidden, modest tasks unseen by many. As we take our eyes off our selves and put them fully on Christ in service to others we will experience a full and meaningful life we’ve not known before.

Take a few minutes to reflect on your service to others for Christ with this lovely classic song by the Maranatha Singers.