Call to Worship

November 16, 2015

Psalms 95:1-11
1O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
3For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
5The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
7For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
8Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
10Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
11Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

Call to Worship

Do you want to be blessed today? If so come with me before the King of Kings, let us sing unto the Lord our God and Maker. Let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation! Let us exalt Him, praise and magnify His Holy Name. If you want to experience joy then get glad about Jesus. Think upon all His wondrous works throughout the ages and then think upon all the things that He has personally done in your life. We are the products of His loving grace and mercy. No one should know the joy of the Lord like we do. “Oh come let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our God and Maker. For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His Hand.” Can we truly comprehend what that means and how privileged we are to be His? Could we ever acknowledge and thank Him enough for the riches of His love toward us? When we come into His presence with joy and thanksgiving how can we be anything but happy and blessed. The deeper we enter into worship the richer His presence and joy becomes. Let us not neglect so great a privilege as we have to be His worshippers and the magnifiers of His great and Holy Name. For all things are through Him, by Him and for Him. We are created for Him, to be His children, to delight in our Papa God. He delights in you and so greatly loves you. When we honor Him in our praise, our worship and our thanksgiving, then we have the privilege of blessing His heart, for He delights in our love for Him.
It is somewhat strange that this Psalm would end on such a somber note, but it is a warning to us of how quickly our hearts can become hardened and we can lose sight of our great and illustrious King. Even though we know Him for who He is, we can, and still do, err in our hearts. It says “and they have not known His ways.” Let us walk carefully lest we also forget our God, tempt Him, grieve Him and provoke His wrath.
When we acknowledge Him day by day. When we spend the time to be with Him in the Word, prayer, praise and worship. When we center our world and lives on Him, then we come to know Him, delight in Him and know the peace that passes understanding. In this place we enter into the place of His rest, for we cease from our works and all that we are about. Our purpose is to be about the Father’s business, expressing that through our everyday lives and duties. Let every expression that we are be an act of worship and praise unto Him. We are a privileged generation of kings and priest that our God has ordained to magnify His Holiness. Unto Him be all praise forever and ever! Amen

Blessings,
#kent

Love Your self

October 27, 2014

Galatians 5:14
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love Your self

It is interesting sometimes as a photographer to see how people view themselves. Often, when viewing family or individual photographs people can be very critical of themselves. Most often it is the women. They can see and magnify weaknesses or faults that most everyone else considers normal and a part of them. It is not uncommon that great family portraits will fail because mom doesn’t like the way she looks.
In today’s age of technology we have the skills and abilities to actually go in and alter the way someone looks. We can lift and tuck some of the sagging parts, hide the blemishes and soften the wrinkles, but the real issue may not be how we look to ourselves outwardly, but how we perceive ourselves inwardly.
On the other hand I have photographed attractive ladies who may have had a scar that could have easily been removed. I find it is often best to ask people what they do and do not want taken away, because assumptions can get you into trouble. These women that I refer too wanted their scars to remain, because to them they were a reminder of what they had been through and the gift of life that they still had. In today’s world many of us feel the pressure to live this façade of a perfect life, have a perfect body, beautiful looks, a perfect home, children and husband or wife. The truth is that that is not the real world. We all have scars, wrinkles, handicaps and weaknesses whether they are outwardly evident or not. Brushing or photoshoping over them isn’t going to take the reality of them away, nor should it. These blemishes upon our lives are the evidence that we have lived and experienced what life had to offer and that it wasn’t always nice or kind.
The Lord tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, but some of us don’t really love ourselves, so how can we love our neighbor properly? Understand that all real people have weaknesses, faults and frailties. That is a trait of our humanity. Don’t be ashamed of yourself and don’t boast in yourself, but rather see the completeness of yourself in Christ. Christ is not a crutch; He is the fulfillment and the completion of our humanity. The scars, the wrinkles and experiences that we share all testify that by the grace of God we survived them and we are still taking hold of life. The wonderful thing about our relationship with Christ is that where we end, He begins and where we are weak, He is strong.
Don’t be so harsh and judgmental of yourself. I know that sometimes I think, “God, why am I stuck with being me?” It is because in my weakness He is made strong and His grace is sufficient for all of my needs, my infirmities and my weaknesses. If you are down on yourself today it is because you don’t have your eyes on Jesus. Take courage, take heart and know that you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you. Love yourself as Christ loves you.

Blessings,
#kent

Thankfulness

October 21, 2014

Thankfulness

Psalms 100:4
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.

Why is there power in the words, “Thank You,” or in the words that express thankfulness and thanksgiving? If these are words from the heart then they convey the attitude of deep appreciation and gratitude. We have discussed in the past about praise and worship, but where do these come from if it is not from an attitude of thanksgiving. Thankfulness is a gate, it is an entrance, and it is a condition of heart that makes us ready to really appreciate and express that appreciation to our Lord. It is like the precursor to praise and worship as well as being a part of it. Are we going to praise and worship what we don’t appreciate and aren’t thankful for?
It is important that thankfulness is a constant attitude of our heart. Psalms 30:4 says, “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” Psalms 18:49 reiterates with, ” Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” The Psalms are alive with scripture that exhorts us to be thankful:
Psalms 75:1 Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, [unto thee] do we give thanks: for [that] thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
Psalms 79:13 So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.
Psalms 92:1 [[A Psalm [or] Song for the sabbath day.]] [It is a] good [thing] to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:
Psalms 97:12 Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
Psalms 105:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
Psalms 106:1 Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
Psalms 106:47 Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, [and] to triumph in thy praise.
Psalms 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
These are among a few of so many that extol thankfulness to the Lord.
Jesus even demonstrates the importance and attitude of thankfulness, when He broke bread when feeding the multitude. Even at the Last Supper He gave thanks as He broke the bread that represented His body that was soon to be broken and offered in the sacrifice of His life at Calvary.
Our giving thanks at meal times is a constant reminder to us of where our blessings and supply comes from and who we depend upon to provide our needs, as well as the expression of appreciation to Him who has so graciously provided it.
The New Testament exhorts us as well in the area of Thanksgiving:
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
1 Thessalonians 5:13 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
When we give thanks in all things aren’t we acknowledging that God is sovereign upon His throne and in control of all that touches our lives? Aren’t we declaring His faithfulness regardless of circumstances and conditions? Isn’t our thankfulness an acclamation of His Lordship?
Hebrews 23:15 continues this thought, “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.” 1 Timothy 2:1 continues the theme of how our thankfulness ties into our praise, worship, ministry and intercession before the Lord, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;”
The relevance, significance and importance of thanksgiving is not just an earthly principle, it is a heavenly one as well that continues on through eternity, precious to the heart of God. Revelations 11:16-17 speaks, “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.”
On the other side Romans 1:21-25 speaks of the ungodly and unrighteous who knowing about God fail to have a thankful heart, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Ungratefulness leads to a hardened and perverse heart. It is the fools gate and entrance to wrath and judgement. That lack of thanksgiving can take us out of the right perception and acknowledgement of who and what our God is in relationship with our lives.
As we acknowledge our God today and each day let us do it with a heart that is thankful and appreciative of the matchless grace and abundance He has worked in us. Sometimes we get focused so much on the adversity and the negative in our lives we loose sight of who still sits on the throne and is in charge of all that affects us. While we are not thankful for the evil that befalls us we are forever thankful for our God that brings us through our adversities and is perfecting us in the process. Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Blessings,
#kent

A Day with the Lord

October 10, 2014

1 Corinthians 1:9
God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Day with the Lord

The sun strikes the peaks with pinkish hue,
As I rise to start my day with You.
Soft, back lit clouds streak across the eastern sky,
As the day dawns and You are nigh.

With sleepy eyes I step out into the newborn day,
With praise and worship, I begin to pray.
Lord you are faithful, good and so kind,
You are the treasure I seek and the wisdom I find.

In the fresh clean morning air,
I step out and sense You are there.
A dove coos nearby as Holy Spirit says I’m here.
A fragrant breeze passes saying God is near.

Outward signs remind me of our inward chat,
A dialogue where we can talk about this and that,
Where God listens intently as I pray,
And I so want to hear what He has to say.

Often it is quiet when I listen for Him
With patience in prayer, I seek Him again.
He doesn’t always respond like I think He should
But often He speaks differently than people would.

Sometimes during the day that He is speaking to me,
Even through my wife, a friend or someone I meet.
I must learn to listen and see with spiritual ears and eyes,
Or I’ll miss what He is saying as my life goes whizzing by.

God often speaks when we’ve ceased to pray,
He talks to us often in such little ways.
He gives us opportunities to respond in His love,
Allowing those little tests for us to rise above.

No, He doesn’t speak audibly to me,
But He is speaking in ways that are setting me free.
He is not constantly condemning my sin,
But He is teaching me the liberty of the righteousness in Him.

Let us always start our day with prayer and praise,
Let us bask in His love, rising above the earthly haze.
Let us learn to carefully listen and look for Him.
Walking in the Spirit, is knowing our dearest Friend.

Blessings,
#kent

A New Song

March 4, 2014

Isaiah 42:13

The Lord will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;

with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.


A New Song


What is it that causes the Lord to perform this scripture in Isaiah?  What is it that brings forth the warrior and mighty man in our Lord?  What is it that causes us to triumph over our enemies, because the Lord does battle for us?  

Isaiah 42:9-12 prefaces this scripture by saying, “Sing to the Lord a new song,

his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,

you islands, and all who live in them.  11Let the desert and its towns raise their voices;

let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice.  Let the people of Sela sing for joy;

let them shout from the mountaintops.  12Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim his praise in the islands.”  It is the “new song” that the body of Christ raises unto the Lord.  It is the song of praise that declares His glory and honor and majesty.  It is the united voice of the bride as she sings praise to her Bridegroom who is her protector and defender.  Perhaps one of the greatest weapons and instruments of spiritual warfare we can weld is the instrument of true praise and worship birthed out of our spirit by the Holy Spirit.  It is the Spirit of God moving through our spirits as we offer them as these instruments of praise and worship that stirs up the Lord on our behalf.  It is our praise and confidence in Him that stirs up His zeal and causes Him to be jealous over His people.  Then will the Lord come forth to do battle for us as we enter by the Spirit, as one body, into the “new song” of the Lord.  

Is this not what Jehosaphat experienced in 2 Chronicles 20 when “Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunitesa came to make war on Jehoshaphat”?  He is the example of what the Lord can do for us if we cry out to Him and trust Him with all of our hearts.  

The Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel, son of Zechariah. “He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’”

 18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

 20 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 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. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.


 24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. 26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the LORD. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah to this day.

 27 Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. 28 They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the LORD with harps and lyres and trumpets.

 29 The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side. (2 Chronicles 20:15-30)”  

Here we see the power of that “new song”  that is based in praise and worship.  It is the power of praise that sets the spiritual armies of God in motion and destroys our enemies.  

Add this weaponry to your spiritual arsenal.  For through the praises of His people the Lord is mighty to battle on our behalf.  This “new song” is a spiritual song of praise and power.  Let us unite our voices in one accord to lift up the praises of our God and by the Spirit sing to Him a “new song” that brings about the destruction of our enemies.  We never lift a finger to fight.  It is the Lord that goes before to battle for us.  How great is our God!  Praise His awesome name!

 

Blessings,

kent

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