Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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A Meditation on Emergent Spirituality

Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center….” Emergent leader Leonard Sweet (Quantum Spirituality)

prayer labThis post follows on from Mysteries and MysticismUnfortunately the Emergent Church has now not only fully embraced ancient pagan spirituality, or mysticism, as part of their worship, but is also promoting it.  This isn’t just a fad or phase, nor is it a minor side-issue within Christendom! Rather it is a cleverly planned strategy by Satan himself to infiltrate Evangelical Christianity with his greater purpose in mind – to synthesize it with the other world religions in order to make way for a One-World Religion, and ultimately the Anti-Christ.

The Synthesis

New Age Philosophy has conquered the West intellectually and Western culture is currently experiencing a phenomenal shift – sociological, spiritual & ideological.  It’s a secular, multi-cultural, multi-religious synthesis, of the Oriental  mystical philosophies, mainly Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism & Western Occultism, emphasising Holism, the doctrine that Reality is organically One” From New Age website : http://eastrovedica.com/html/newage.htm

Let’s re-visit the Hegelian/Kant principle, which we saw briefly in Satan’s Tool in the Emergent ChurchI think it is important to consider this principle at work because the distinctions between Christianity and other religions are being corroded within the Emergent church right now, making for a religious-fusion.

Hegelian dialectic philosophy, is “usually presented in a threefold manner, (and) was stated by Heinrich Moritz Chalybäus as comprising three dialectical stages of development: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction, an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis, and the tension between the two being resolved by means of a synthesis.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical_method).

It looks like this:

Thesis                                                   Synthesis                                                             Antithesis

Christianity                 arrow         Emergent Church                LeftArrow                Post-Modernism

Christianity                 arrow         Emergent Church                LeftArrow               Eastern mysticism

Christianity/Judaism   arrow        One World Religion            LeftArrow               Mystery Religions

The Corrosion of the Thesis (Christianity)

How are the contradictions and opposing doctrines between Christianity and other religions being corroded by the Hegelian principle?

1.    By the re-definition of language, particularly in the area of Christian doctrine

Previously we have seen that Satan, using the tool of the Emergent Church, has been breaking down Absolute Truth through “deconstructionism” (Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church). 

It is the old lie: “Has God really said…?” (Genesis 3).  For Satan to cast doubt on the truth of God’s Word is imperative to the advancement of his plan because he knows that :

“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him,” (Proverbs 30:5).  Should a Christian relinquish the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit Satan knows that his defenses are removed and that he becomes like a “broken down city without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).

2.      By finding “common ground” in mystical spiritualitylabryringh prayer path

“…if we are looking for common ground, can we find it in mystical spirituality, even if we cannot theologically agree, can we pray together in such a way that we connect with a God that transcends our theological differences?” Tony Campolo

The primary mystical practice being used to bring “synthesis” between religions within the Emergent Church is that of meditation*, or contemplative prayer.

Western Christianity has (for the last few centuries anyway) said relatively little about mindfulness and meditative practices, about which Zen Buddhism has said much. To talk about different things is not to contradict one another; it is, rather, to have much to offer one another, on occasion at least.” Brian Mclaren

labyrinthAlthough different methods are employed ie, multi-sensory worship, prayer stones, labyrinths or “centering prayer’, each is designed to lead to an altered state of consciousness.   Repetitive music, mantra-chanting, darkness, smells, sounds and pictures of Jesus all aid in this process.

A couple of years ago I visited a Protestant church and was handed a box containing a colourful stone.  The pastor encouraged us to hold the stone as we prayed, as an aid to bring us into God’s presence.  This is paganism and is unfortunately becoming more and more common. (See where prayer stones originated : http://dharma-beads.net/pagan-prayer-beads-rosary

It is interesting to note that an altered state of consciousness through meditation, in some form or other, is common to all of the Mystery Babylon religions – Buddhism, Taoism, Kabbalah, Freemasonry, Occultism, New Age etc, you name it.  This is the primary means the serpent uses to communicate his secret knowledge.

For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5

The Emergent Church & Meditation

Meditation or “contemplative prayer” was also the practice of the ancient Catholic/Jesuit monastic desert fathers.  One such desert father, Ignatius of Loyola, practiced mystical prayer, culminating in visions of a serpent, who lead to him gain “secret knowledge” (sound familiar?) from which he wrote the “Spiritual Exercises”. Ignatius of Loyola became the founder of the order of the “Jesuits”.  (View the evil-ness of the Jesuit oath here: http://www.reformation.org/jesuit-oath.html )

Disturbingly these desert fathers are being promoted by the Emergent Church as inspirational and worthy of emulation in their prayer and “spiritual discipline” practices:

Brian McLaren: http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/from-st-ignatius.html

Rob Bell: http://marshill.org/teaching-resources/spiritual-practices/

(Notice on Bell’s website in particular Catholic monastic “lectio divina” and “prayer of examen”.)

Tony Campolo: “…during times of reflection I sensed that believing in Jesus and living out His teachings just wasn’t enough. There was a yearning for something more, and I found that I was increasingly spiritually gratified as I adopted older ways of praying–ways that have largely been ignored by those of us in the Protestant tradition. Counter-Reformation saints like Ignatius of Loyola have become important sources of help as I have begun to learn from them modes of contemplative prayer. I practice what is known as “centering prayer,” in which a sacred word (a mantra) is repeated as a way to be in God’s presence.”

Here you can listen to Rob Bell actually leading his congregation through meditative breathing techniques that have no place in scripture:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDcAt35IQ5o

emergent yogaFrom Emergent founder Doug Pagitt’s “Body Prayer” book: “As you begin to pray, close your eyes. Then inhale and exhale with deep breaths. Put your hands in a comfortable position, consider turning both hands palms up. Notice the tension in your head – and let it go as you take in a deep breath – and then exhale. Notice the tension in your shoulders and let it go, again by breathing in and then out. Notice the tension in your stomach and let it go. Move down your body doing the same.”

I did yoga when I was a teenager and this is the exact process.  But then, “Christian” yoga is now being promoted too! Whilst it may be wrapped in Christian terminology, while it may be “Christian” words that are chanted as a mantra, don’t be fooled – it is still the same old Mystery pagan techniques cloaked in “Christianity”.

Jesus said, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” (Matthew 6:7).

Why Meditation?mystery

Of course the emphasis on meditation is no accident – it is part of a definite strategy. The process is this:

  1. Detachment – empty your mind by repeating a mantra (one word) over and over
  2. Illumination – knowledge or “enlightenment”
  3. Union – a mystical experience with “God”

No 1. – a glimpse of emptiness or a state of emptiness is aimed for by the practitioner.

No 2. – “illumination” or knowledge.  Remember that the Mystery religions always promise esoteric knowledge – the triangle or hierarchy of illumination,tri the higher you go, the more you know.

Then the serpent said to the woman, “….God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3)

No 3 – “Union” is the ultimate in meditation/contemplative prayer.  Mystics also call it “Truth”, “the ‘Godhead’”, “Reality”, “Ultimate Realization” or “The Ultimate Experience”.

ken wilberThese are direct apprehensions or illuminations – in a word, direct spiritual experiences (satori, kensho, shaktipat, nada, shabd, etc.).” Ken Wilber (writer, mystic, New-ager/occultist who could stop his brain waves through meditation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFFMtq5g8N4)

This is where the practitioner has reached such a state of altered consciousness that they are open to the spirit world.  They become “One” with the “Supreme Being” and the “ancient wisdom” is then bestowed on them. Thus they are “enlightened”, they know the “Truth”, they’ve reached “nirvana”.

Unfortunately the “One” whom they are being united with is not God, who is “Light and in Him there is no darkness atangle of light all”, nor the Holy Spirit whom is the “Spirit of truth”, but rather a deceptive spirit who now has access to an unprotected mind and soul. We know that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) in order to deceive.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Timothy 4:1)

The “Truth” of the “ancient wisdom” they receive is now being promoted in the Emergent church, even running courses on this subject. But the “truth” is a lie and is always the same old thing:

  • That there is a single, universal truth on which all the world’s religions have been based.  That there is a common thread throughout them all which is “experiential union with the “supreme being” which can only be achieved by undertaking a programme of physical and mental purification.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perennial_philosophy)
  • That there is Cosmic consciousness or “we are all One”, “in which the universe is perceived as an interconnected network of individual consciousnesses, each one of which is connected to every other one…It may also be conceived of as an Absolute or Godhead from which all conscious beings emanate.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_consciousness)

It is designed to “usher.. the devotee into “oneness” with cosmic consciousnesses, the eastern understanding of god or divinity, often referred to as the “divine spark”, believed to be synonymous with all nature. The idea of god/divinity IN all is known as pantheism, that god is IN all that is material, but panentheism says the divine permeates everything including all eternity, concluding that all spirituality and all spirits are divine and acceptable.” (http://caryltv.com/36-breath-prayer/278-q-and-a-practising-the-presence)

Thus it comes as no surprise that the Emergents, whom are delving into the Mystery religions, are now using the same language of the New Agers/occultists – and are spouting the same old stuff that they’ve been saying for years!oneness

We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity.”  Emergent leader Leonard Sweet.

Next post…The Emergent Church/New Age Connection

  • The connection between the Emergent Church and the New Age/occult
  • The shift from the de-constructionism of post-modernism to post-post-modernism integral theory

*Meditation – in this context the meditation I am speaking of is distinctly pagan in origin, using techniques in order to bring one into an altered state of consciousness.  I am not dis-crediting the Biblical practice of meditation which is used to study, contemplate and think on the Word of God.  I believe true godly meditation encourages the use of the mind, rather than the emptying of it.


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Bible Prophecy – Warning to Nations

Beginning last year we have seen enormous efforts being made by a number of players to get Israel and the israelPalestinians to come up with a solution to their differences in order to stop the ongoing violence. The United States of America, assisted by Great Britain and the European Union, has been in the forefront of that drive. Simplistically put, their solution is for a Palestinian state to be created alongside the state of Israel, with Jerusalem designated an “international city”.

Over the years the Palestinians have made it clear that they do not and will not recognize the state of Israel. Furthermore, they have made it clear that, amongst their many demands, they want the “Old City” and East Jerusalem as their capital and want the Israeli settlements in the so called West Bank to be vacated by Israelis living there and handed over to them.

For their part the Israelis consider an undivided Jerusalem to be their eternal capital. They also consider that they have a right to keep their settlements in the West Bank; the biblical area of Judea and Samaria.

As a result of these differences (not all of them) the international community has been putting enormous pressure on both sides to reach an agreement to settle those differences. However, the pressure appears to be rather one-sided, in effect requiring the Israelis to submit to Palestinian demands. We constantly hear of Israel being berated for building new homes in the West Bank, that it will not give up any land nor go back to pre-1967 borders and that it is being intransigent over Jerusalem. Even as we write, British PM Cameron is in Israel putting pressure upon Israel to agree to the proposals by the International community; not to forget that the US, led by Secretary of State, Kerry, is constantly putting similar pressure on Israel, often using veiled threats to try to get them to comply.

This pressure is likely to intensify over the next month, especially as Kerry has declared that he wants a final agreement by 15th April.

We believe that those involved in trying to force Israel to give up land and to give up control over Jerusalem are playing a very dangerous game! We are therefore led to ask: “What does God’s Word have to say about the land of Israel and Jerusalem? Who owns the land of Israel?  And, who has the “right” to look after the city of Jerusalem?”

There are many scriptures concerning these questions which, unsurprisingly, all point to the same answer but, here in our short article, we will only briefly consider a few of them.

Let us begin with the land. In Chapters 13, 26 and 35 of Genesis we learn that God first gives the land to Abram, later to be renamed Abraham, then reconfirms his oath with Isaac and finally with Jacob who, at that time, is also renamed Israel by God. In each case the land is given to them and their descendants:-

– To Abram in 12:15: “All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.”

– To Isaac in 26:3: “. . . . for to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.  . . . “

– To Jacob in 35:12: “The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.”

(All above are extracts from the NIV.)

Surely there can be no doubt as to the identity of the rightful custodians of the land? And yet the international community refuses to acknowledge it.

What about Jerusalem? In 1 Kings Chapter 14 God’s word tells us that He Himself chose Jerusalem as the city in which to put His Holy Name. In Matthew Chapters 4 and 27 there are references to the “holy city”. Jerusalem is also frequently referred to in the Bible as “the city of God”. The Lord refers to it as “My city” – Isaiah 45. More often He speaks about it as “My holy mountain”. And because the very name of the city means Peace, we know that in this place God Himself will give peace – Haggai 2.  Psalm 76 informs us that God’s tent is in Salem and his dwelling place in Zion; references to Jerusalem. And finally one day it will become the city of righteousness – Isaiah 1. Jesus Himself will one day rule from Jerusalem in righteousness.

israel 2Presently the Dome of the Rock of Islam, controlled by the Jordanians, stands on this site which is so holy to God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To Islam this site is much less important than the Ka,aba in Mecca, but Islam will fiercely resist any attempts by the Jews to reclaim it for God. God has already rebuked Satan about it and in Zechariah Chapter 3 He makes it quite clear that He, the Lord, chose Jerusalem. Satan will not prevail there forever!

There can be no doubt that Jerusalem belongs to God.

Finally we need to be reminded that Jerusalem was bought by King David over 3.000 years ago. It has never been legally sold so logically it still belongs to the House of David. God will reclaim it for His purposes at the time of His choosing.

What Warnings does the Lord give to nations and individuals? Again there are many warnings in scripture and here we will consider only a few of them. In Genesis 12:3 God said to Abram 3I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” NIV. Here God makes it clear that those who do not treat Abram and his descendants properly will in turn be severely dealt with by Him.

About Jerusalem the Lord says in Zechariah 12:3: 3On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. (NIV) God is simply telling the nations not to tamper with His holy city. “All the nations” surely refers to the United Nations, a world body which is essentially anti-Israel and ready to approve a settlement along the lines noted above.

And the last scripture we will consider here surely concerns what is presently being proposed by the US, Britain and the EU. It is found in Joel 3:2. “I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.” (NIV)

Are we about to see God’s land divided? If so there will be consequences for those dividing it.

The final arrogance to consider is the date which has been set by which the peace talks are to be wrapped up; that date being 15 April, 2014. For the Jews it is a very important day, having been declared an “appointed time” by the Lord.

Firstly it is the first day of the Jewish religious New Year and, secondly, it is the first day of the Passover celebrations. Passover is a day specifically set aside by the Lord. This is what the Lord says about it in Leviticus 23:4-5.  4 “These are the Lord’s appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: 5 The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. (NIV) (Remember the Jewish day begins at sunset, here the 14th, and goes through to sunset the next day, here the 15th.)

We do not know how God will react to the deliberations going on at present but, we can be sure that in his own way and own time, He will deal with those who so blatantly disregard His warnings.

It would be wise for all involved in these negotiations to heed Gods Word.

Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and how they relate to prophecy in this new series “Bible Prophecy”.


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A Jewish Girl and a Kingdom

Picture it – a young orphan girl, brought up by her uncle in a foreign land where her jewish girlpeople had been carried away as captives years before….She had known the sorrow of the loss of her parents, of poverty and hardship. But now she found purpose in looking after her uncle and hope in looking forward to a future as one day becoming a Jewish wife and mother, even in the foreign land of Persia.

But one day, the King of the land of Susa, where she was dwelling, issued a decree and this young lady, as well as some others, was brought into the custody of a eunuch in the King’s palace.

For the King was seeking a bride.

Imagine this young Jewess, Hadassah, in the King’s palace, gazing at the splendor surrounding her.  The fierce might of the palace’s guards, the opulence of the furnishings.  Everything so beautiful, so different than she had ever known.  And what of her future hopes now?  Would she ever become a wife and mother?  Would this Gentile king cause her to have to relinquish her future and remain with him in his palace?

anointing oilFor one whole year this young lady remained in the eunuch’s care, and eventually Hegai, as he was called, became her friend, her helper, her adviser.  Each day for twelve months she was prepared and beautified for her first meeting with the King.  Each day she wondered what that one night with the King would mean for her and what her future held.  And as she soaked in the oil of myrrh, tears as bitter as that herb flowed down mingling with the oil and softening the harsh callous places of her skin.

After six months of the oil of myrrh preparation, Esther, as she was now known, was led by Hegai to begin the beautifying preparation with perfumes.  Soft and supple now, her skin had been made tender by the bitter treatment of myrrh.

But that wasn’t the only thing that had changed.  Soaking in the myrrh Esther’s heart and character had also been softened by the bitterness of her own “death”.  Death to her future, death to her own plans, to what she had desired for her own life.  But even further, the tender treatment and counsel of her constant companion Hegai had taken her through that bitterness of death and brought her into something new, something fresh, even…exciting.  Now she was filled with a different hope, a different expectancy for the future that was laid on the foundation of a humble yet mature character wrought through endurance.

The perfume preparation complete, Esther was now ready to enter the King’s presence.  Having come through this next stage of preparation Esther had become even more dependent on her friend Hegai and sought his counsel as to what she should take with her to the King.  He, after all, knew the King and the King’s taste.

jewish-wedding-giftIt was Esther’s turn.  Hegai took her to the King and “the king loved Esther more than all the other women and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen….” Esther 2:17

Esther, now as the King’s bride, settles into life as a Queen.  She of humble origins, an orphan, now the Queen of 127 provinces, from India to Ethiopia.

One day Esther receives some troubling news from her uncle.  Haman the Agagite has decreed to exterminate all of the Jews, her people, and her husband the King has authorized this decree!  Her uncle tells her to make a plea to the King for her people.

Deeply distressed, Esther hesitates.  She knows, as does her uncle, that to enter the king’s presence unbidden brings the immediate sentence of death.  Yet she loves her people, her heart yearns for her people with every day that goes by.  Her uncle’s heart breaks, he loves her and knows her dilemma – yet he must utter these words:

““Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews.  For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13, 14)

Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai:  “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:15, 16)

If I perish, I perish

As her tears had rolled into the waters of myrrh long ago Hadassah had known that her life was no longer her own.  It was then that she had perished.  Long ago she had been prepared for this.

And it was because she had perished then, that she could intercede now for those who were perishing.

cropped-girl-praying1.jpgOH Lord, make us into a people like Esther, who would die to ourselves, our plans and our own lives.  Make us into a prepared and beautified Bride, who will come boldly before the throne of grace in Your presence and plead for the lives of those around us who are perishing. Father we thank you for Your Son, Yeshua, the ultimate intercessor, who did give up His life for us, who stood in the gap for us, so that we should not perish but have everlasting life.  OH Lord, help us to be led by Your Spirit only, to seek You only and Your will.  May we be brave and stand in the gap, even in the midnight hour.  In the Name of Yeshua Hamashiach, Amen.

Happy Purim everybody!


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The Power of Praise

thIt was 3am. My three year-old son, Tom, had been coughing without reprieve for 8 solid hours.  The cough was deep and contained a strange rattling sound.  With each cough my heart was torn.  He had double pneumonia, croup, bronchitis and asthma all at once.

I had been praying, weeping, crying out to God for those 8 hours “Have mercy on my son Lord!”  At 3am I left my husband at Tom’s bedside and went to “get serious” with God.  I knelt down and prayed.

Immediately He said to me “No.  Praise Me.”

That was the last thing I felt like doing!  I was exhausted, heart-broken, anxious.  But it was a definite and clear command from the Lord, so I stood up and sang :

“Oh Lamb of God, sweet Lamb of God

I love the Holy Lamb of God

Oh wash me in His precious blood,

My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God!”

As I sang I saw the outline of a Man in front of me in the darkness and Tom’s coughing immediately stopped.  We slept soundly the rest of the night.

One thing I have learnt is that there is power in praise.

“Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens!

Praise Him in the heights!

Praise Him all His angels;

Praise Him all His hosts!” Psalm 148:1, 2

 

Praise brings victoryjoyful4.jpg

Powerful enemies were coming against Israel (2 Chronicles 20).  Jehosophat and the people didn’t know what to do.  He proclaimed a fast and they cried out to God.  God told them not to fear, that they would not have to even fight – the battle was His not theirs.  By faith in God’s Word they sang and praised the Lord and the enemy was defeated:

“Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his[c] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,     for his love endures forever.”

22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”

This morning I was feeling discouraged and defeated myself in some of the areas my husband and I have been called to minister in.  But we decided to sing.  We sang that old chorus :

“Be strong and of good courage

Be not afraid neither be dismayed…

For the Lord thy God is with thee

Whereever you go…”

This afternoon I got a phone call – there has been victory in the very area I had felt discouraged over this morning!  Praise the Lord!

 

Praise is a powerful weapon in the Christian’s arsenal.

“Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.  Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;….To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;” Psalm 149

The Holy Spirit has given me two dreams lately about the power of praise.  In both dreams I have come face to face with the devil and found that they only way to stand and to defeat him is through worshipping and praising the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve sung and asked others to sing with me, anointed songs of the blood of the Lamb and the cross – and the enemy has been bound and defeated.

I saw this actually happen a couple of weeks ago in our women’s prayer group.  As we praised the Lord the anointing of the Spirit fell down upon us.  His power came so strongly upon us that we could not do much at all but shake and cry.  From that moment in each of the lives of those whom were present there has been victory in our lives in different areas.

 

Praise magnifies the Lord

“O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:3

When we exalt the Lord in praise He is magnified.  We see Him for who He truly is – He is great, He is mighty, He is powerful.  He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.  He is not some dumb idol made with man’s hands! God cannot remain small in our eyes when we praise Him.  Suddenly our faith increases as we see the Lord for who He truly is and we know that NOTHING Is impossible.

 

Praise lifts our eyes from ourselves up to Him

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-3

When we praise the Lord we stop focusing on ourselves and our problems and focus on Him.  We “set our minds on things above, not on things below” and we are lifted in faith.  Truly the atmosphere of heaven is brought down to earth in praise of our Lord, we enter His presence and that is when our prayers are answered and our help comes.

 

Praise is a sacrifice

Praise is something we can offer to the Lord Jesus for all that He has done for us.  We can never praise Him enough for Who He is and for what He has done but we can offer Him the fruit of our lips.  Praise is a sacrifice of our time, of our pride, of even our own feelings and emotions.

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name….for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Hebrews 13:15, 16

 

Praise breaks bondages

Paul and Silas were in prison, bound and chained for the sake of the gospel.  Sometimes we are too, persecuted, hurt by man’s words, bound by rejection and fear.

“Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.   And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.” Acts 16:24-26

The thing about praise is that it sets captives free.  When we praise we are set free from bondage.  And the amazing thing is, those who are around us are also set free.

 

“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.” Psalm 34:1-3


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The God Who Watches Over Israel

Interesting times we live in.  As I was watching the news this afternoon the absurdity of the following scenario struck me….

Victoria boat in ashdod port  16-3-11As a large weapons cache is discovered on board a ship headed for Gaza, in the Red Sea, allegedly sent by Iran in order to arm Gaza militants, Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief and former vice-chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), as well as other leaders, shake hands and smile with Iranian leaders in Tehran.  She was there to hold talks with President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif about their nuclear program.iran ashton

The international community has so far been rather quiet on the subject of this weapons cache….Food for thought.

Indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:4

Read more here….

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26516704


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33 Christians Sentenced to Death in North Korea

 

North Korea B

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/6/kim-jong-un-calls-execution-33-christians/

33 of our brothers and sisters will be executed within the next few hours in North Korea.

Because they are Christians.  Like us.

“When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.” Revelation 6:9-11

OH LORD, save us from our complacency and luke-warmness.  Save us from our idols of comfort and convenience.  Save us from our obsession with self.  Save us from our Western mindset.  Save us from our dullness of heart.  Wake us up from our comfortable bed of luxury.  OH LORD save us!

Here we are – so wealthy in the West.  We have food, money, cars, houses, freedom, church buildings, light and sounds systems and, of course, smoke machines, and yet – we are spiritually bankrupt.

They are the rich ones in North Korea.  They are the ones for whom a crown of life awaits.  They are the ones whose underground churches are flourishing and the Holy Spirit is moving upon.  They are the ones who are awake. They are the ones who know Jesus and the “fellowship of His suffering”.  They are the ones who are watching for His return.

hebrews-13-3We are not separate from them.  We are all a part of Christ’s Body.  Let us pray from them and their families.  Let us pray for the persecuted Church.

In Christ’s Name, Amen

 

 

 

 

 


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Comforting Quotations: Corrie Ten Boom

From Corrie Ten Boom’s book “Tramp for the Lord” when she and her sister Betsie were incarcerated in Ravensbruck concentration camp by the Nazi’s:

“Betsie and I walked to the square where roll call was being held in the concentration camp.  It was still early, before dawn.  The head of our barracks was so cruel that she had sent us out into the very cold outdoors a full hour too early.

Betsie’s hand was in mine.  We went to the square by a different way from the rest of our barracks-mates.  We were three as we walked with the Lord and talked with Him.  Betsie spoke.  Then I talked.  Then the Lord spoke.  How?  I don’t know.  But both of us understood.  It was the same Presence I had felt years before in the old cathedral in Haarlem.

The brilliant early morning stars were our only light.  The cold winter air was so clear.  We could faintly see the outlines of the barracks, the crematorium, the gas chamber, and the towers where the guards were standing with loaded machine guns.

“Isn’t this a bit of heaven!” Betsie had said. “And Lord, this is a small foretaste.  One day we will see You face-to-face, but thank You that even now You are giving us the joy of walking and talking with You.”

Heaven in the midst of hell.  Light in the midst of darkness.  What a security! “