Category Archives: Church Life
Saturday morning I had an interesting talk with one of my best girlfriends, Stephanie, about the Praise factor. We are living in an age where Praise is no longer a sacrifice offering but an art. It almost appears that there are the dos and donts of Praise. You will lift up your hands (though you don’t know why), you will say Hallelujah (though you are texting while saying it), you will recite the same “talk” that every one else says (because it shows that you have the gift of tongues when you actually don’t ). Praise has become an art show and not a personal gift to God for his goodness.
I have had the privilege to attend services at numerous churches across many denominations. I have seen Praise in all formats. Yet, there is one thing that I realize that we, the people of God, have not yet perfected or even understand. WORSHIP. As a special breed of people set aside by God, we have failed to give Him the worship He deserves.
Our fast-paced, I-need-everything-to-happen-now attitude has filtered into our Worship. Everything else gets our very close attention, but God gets what’s left over. Some of us may set time apart in the morning as we should, but how rushed is it? When we meet someone that we truly want to befriend, we take the time to get to know everything about them (well, as much as we can..). Why is this not the same with God?
As our Father and friend, we should devote the time necessary to get to know Him. We CAN’T truly WORSHIP God if we don’t KNOW who he is. We all have an idea who he is but KNOWING him is a whole other ball game. It is when we know Him that we will be able to worship him. It is when we worship him in spirit and in truth that we will be able to offer him a true sacrifice of praise.
True worship doesn’t wait till Sunday/Saturday, it goes on all week. If you worship him daily, the praise team won’t have to coax you into worshipping him in service. If you have set apart time for him on a daily basis, you won’t have to be ramped up to bring forth your praise. As children of God who have been created in his image and redeemed from sin through Jesus Christ, we have a lot to worship him for. When I think about where I would have been if not for God’s grace, I can’t help but to bow down and worship him.
God is a good God. As a matter of fact, he is the ONLY God and he knows every grain of hair on your head. He watches over you and gives us the air we breathe. Let us worship him! Not only for what He has done, is doing or will do, but because of WHO HE IS. Remember, anyone can praise, but can you WORSHIP?
Think about it!
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his [a] ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. -Psalm 100
Thank you for being who you are which is everything to me. I apologize for my form of Godliness. Teach me to worship you in spirit and in truth….
It is now 10:24am and I am now writing this mornings devotional. Ughhhh! Unbelieveable! I walked into the office and was met with 100 fire alarm emails (meaning need this done as early as yesterday). I immediately started working and could barely find a moment to breathe. I began to stress and fuss and you name it. I just wanted to SCREAAAAMMMMMM! Then it hit me. That scoundrel is trying to keep me from my appointment with God. You see I am a strong believer that if you begin your day with God, your day will continue to be led by Him.
The enemy can’t stand seeing us devote time to our Heavenly Father because he knows that this will cause us to be in constant communion with Him. I enjoy my quiet moments with God and Annointed Beauty Devotions is a product of my times with Him. Sometimes we get soo caught up living life that we forget to take the time out to praise the One who gives life. As I commute into the city daily, I see our rat-packed trains filled with people on their Blackberries and reading the New York Times. However, the one thing that brings a smile to my face is when I see someone whip out the Bible and spend that little time out with God.
I know that as I am pleased, God is even happier. It pleases Him when we acknowledge Him as our sustainer. I am still swamped with a 100 things to do while also answering 1000 questions from our New Hires. But, I refuse to let anything come between my Jesus and I. Sorry fire alarms, you’re just gonna have to wait because Jesus and I have a date.
Have you stopped to speak to Jesus today? If not, I think it is time for a “Bathroom Break”, don’t you?
If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me., – Psalm 139:9-10
Teach me to take a little time out for you on a daily basis. Remind me that I can do nothing without you. I place my life in your hands. May I always be in constant communion with you…
Hey Rach, Can I shadow you today? Sure, I said as I mumbled to myself oh great, now he’ll be watching every move I make. This is how my day started yesterday when I walked into the office. You see “D” is a new hire and part of their transition to the floor requires that they shadow someone in their position. This allows them to become familiar with what the job entails. As I worked on my projects, I highlighted the points that he needed to know and also gave him a synopsis of what the daily work flow would consist of.
Today is day #2 of shadowing and as I prepare to bring him over, I can’t help but to wonder how powerful our churches would be if we all committed to perfecting our Christianity. If we perfected our Christian Walk, others would want to shadow us in order to learn how to walk with the Lord. I am not at all saying that you must be sinless to be perfect, but if we committed our lives to Christ and made a daily effort to walk with Him, how many souls would be won for the Kingdom?
Many times new hires (souls) come into the church and are in need of a mentor or friend that will help them learn the Christian Walk. However, when they come into the church family, they are greeted with Hypocrisy, backbiting, jealousy and rudeness. These new Christian “babes” are left to fend for themselves and sometimes get so frustrated that they decide to abandon the journey. Unfortunately, the church doesn’t notice their disappearance until it’s way to late.
The reason the new hire has been assigned to shadow me, is because management feels that I am completing my task according to the requirements that they have set into place and they trust me to teach someone else how to replicate what I am doing. This is also what God expects of us. He desires that we complete the task that he has given us according to the requirements (laws) that he has set into place. Once we have perfected this, He has called us to help others to replicate what we do.
Christianity is requires replication (Discipleship!). As professed “Christians”, we are committing to walk the walk and live the life that Jesus Christ lived. We are replicating how he lived on Earth. I dont know how long you have been a Christian but I am inviting you to take a good look at the way you live your life. If I were a new Christian and I watched how you live, would I be led in the right direction? Can I shadow you?
I pray that we will daily seek to walk, talk and live like Jesus did on Earth. It is not going to be easy nor will you develop it overnight. However, if you commit to atleast making an effort to shadow Jesus on a daily basis, you will one day realize that you have become like Him.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. – Romans 8:29
Help me to live like you. Teach me to live a life that is worthy of replication. I want to win souls for your Kingsdom and I do not want to cause anyone to be lost because of my bad example. Please give me the strength and wisdom to help others walk you.
On Tuesday, I attended prayer meeting at Brooklyn Tabernacle. Pastor Cymbala delivered an unusual sermon for a prayer meeting but it is one that we the people need to hear. He mentioned that the body of Christ have become spectators and no longer play an active part in the mission of the church. We attend church and spend most of the time criticizing the way things are done but we do nothing.
The praise team ain’t singing the right songs, the preacher ain’t preaching the right message, the soloists could be better, etc. Yet, if we were asked to contribute to the service, we’d quickly pull away. When Jesus gave the great commission before ascending to heaven, he didn’t bestow it upon pastors, bishops and elders alone. It was bestowed upon his disciples – his followers.
As Christians, we are disciples of Christ and we have been given this same commission. We are called to Go and Teach ALL nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. We aren’t called to warm up the benches of our churches and form an exclusive club of believers. We are to teach ALL nations. This is the purpose of man. This is the call of a Christian. Unfortunately, many will go through life never fulfilling this mission.
This commission doesn’t call for everyone to go into the seminary and become pastors. Although to pastor a church is a great field of work, not everyone has been given this gift. As Pastor Cymbala powerfully stated on Tuesday, the hardest ministry to have is the one God has not called you to do. We have all been designated individual gifts that can be used to the glory of God. Whether you sing, dance, write or preach, use what you have to serve God to the best of your ability. Don’t try to achieve someone else’s mission. Afterall, we are not all singers.
When you do identify your gift, don’t worry about the outcome. Just dedicate your gift to God and he will do the rest. When we no longer allow our comfort zones and fears to keep us from accomplishing what God has called us to do, we begin to change our way of the thinking and are able to do great things in His name.
The church is not a social club where we gather to catch up and watch a show. It is suppose to be a training ground and soul saving station. There are many souls that need to know Jesus out there. Its time to get off our seats and take the message out to the world. I pray that today’s devotional will inspire you to conduct a self analysis and find your real reason for going to church. Have you identified your purpose? If not, have you sought God’s guidance in the matter? If you have identified your purpose, are you taking steps toward achieving it? It not, why?
It is time to stop spectating and start serving the Lord with all of their heart. Today, make a decision to become a field worker and hasten the coming of Jesus Christ.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31
Thank you for reminding me that I have a purpose on this Earth. Help me to fulfill my mission by strengthening me to share the Gospel by using the gift(s) you have given to me. Forgive me for being a spectator and move me into a life of service…
While reading my new book – A Leader in the Making by Joyce Meyer – she spoke about Paul’s message to young Timothy who began to get discouraged with the ministry. She then made a statement that inspired today’s meditation.
If you are frustrated right now because of an unfulfilled call of God upon your life, I can tell you where you are: You are in the testing ground.
Sometimes you won’t feel like dealing with God’s people. They frustrate you. They annoy you. They are just ughhh…but you must remember that God is the reason you aren’t just like them. If it weren’t for God, you’d still be in your mess. We musn’t forget where we have been pulled from. Don’t forget that you are called to love everyone and bring them to the throne of God.
Don’t let your emotions, sentiments keep you from delivering the life changing message of Jesus Christ with anyone. How you feel shouldn’t affect how you serve God. How you minister to others. How you worship, etc. God doesn’t bless us based on how we feel or we would never be blessed.
Take an example from David who after God took the fruit of his adulterous relationship with Uriah’s wife, took of his clothes annointed himself and went into the temple and worshipped God. He didn’t dwell on the fact that his baby boy died. He praised and worshipped God even in his loss. This is why God calls him the man after His own heart.
So if you are feeling down, worthless, hurt, get up and praise God through the pain. Worship God because He is God and He will bring you through in His time.
God bless you!
Today is Day #1 of my Daniel Fast and I must say that it has been pretty good so far. I started my day in prayer and read my devotional which is focusing on the fruits of the spirit this quarter. Today’s topic was “Love”. We delved into the different types of love and how this fruit of the spirit has been misrepresented in today’s fast-paced all about me society. 1 Corinthians 13 “The Love Chapter” was utilized to display the characteristics of true love. As I focus on some of the things it points out, I can’t help but wonder if I will ever know how to truly love somone.
I love the man in my life to death. However, when I read things like “It is not easily angered” I must say I AM NOT THERE YET! Sometimes they just do things that make you wanna scream. SEE! Told you I am not there yet! Anyway, one thing that was mentioned in the devotional that I truly agree with is that TRUE Love can only be mastered through God because He is Love. Furthermore, as stated in the great commandment, “Love thy neighbor as yourself” is another key factor to understanding love.
We must learn to care for others with as much love, concern, dedication and compassion as we would extend towards ourselves. This is key. If you do not know how to love yourself, you will have a very difficult time knowing how to love others and an even more difficult time knowing how to love God. Why? Well, as the Good Word puts it,
“If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” 1 John 4:20
It is downright impossible to say you Love the Lord whom you’ve never seen a day in your life and yet hate your brother and sister in Christ who you see everyday. Today, Love has become an off and on notion that is just thrown around like a fad. We have television shows depicting love as an instantaneous emotion that can be turned on and off at ones whim. Because of this, we have youngsters running into marriages with no thought as to whether or not this person is what God had in mind for them. Afterall, “if it doesnt work, I’ll just get a divorce.” This is the mentality that has now become the norm.
This is a clear depiction of what the world has become now that God has been pushed out of marriage unions, relationships and our lives. Unfortuntely this will continue to be the case until God is restored back to His rightful place.
Love, Perfect True Love can only be experienced with a heart that knows God. Do you know Him?
Meditate on this:
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7, 8
Off to get some falafels …No meat for 21 days! Want to try the Daniel Fast? www.breakfreeweekend.com
So service this past weekend was a special one as it was also the last communion service of the year 2009. The Pastor’s sermon called for unity amongst the people and also pleaded with us to forgive one another before partaking of this solemn service. I got a sense that he was talking from the recesses of his heart and truly has been bothered by the spirit of “divide and conquer” which is prevalent in our church. (Sometimes I would question whether we are in church or some dictatorship regime in a third world country.)
At the end of his sermon we proceeded to the “washing of feet” ceremony which commemorates when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. By doing so, we are reminded that we are meant to serve one another and that no one is more superior to anyone else. On my way back to the main sanctuary, a young lady walks out of the sanctuary annoyed and irritated. I stand there and quickly wonder what could possibly be wrong on this blessed day, she then says “ are they seriously showing scenes from The Passion of the Christ in the sanctuary?” Then, a close friend of mine asks her why are they showing that? I stood there in total disbelief that they were actually bothered by having scenes from the movie shown in the sanctuary.
I mean if communion is in remembrance of the sufferings endured by our Savior, what is wrong with actually seeing what it could have potentially been like? The traditionalist fanatics were so bothered by this that they completely forgot that they were in the sanctuary and started to murmur until it sounded like loud rumblings. One person actually walked in and said “Anybody have popcorn? This is ridiculous!” Did I mention that he said this out loud in the sanctuary?
In a time where the world has downright forgotten that there is a God, it is sad to see God’s elect few acting a fool and debating over menial issues. If we can not show scenes of what Jesus endured in the sanctuary where we lift His name, worship Him and call on Him, WHERE ARE WE SUPPOSE TO SHOW IT? It truly saddened my heart to see that in these last days, there are those who will cause souls to be lost because of their personal cultural beliefs that are not at all scripturally-based.
Too many religions are becoming so doctinally-based, that Jesus is just one step away from being pushed right out of the picture all together. I have nothing against doctrine. As a matter of fact, it is a crucial part of any religion. However, any doctrine that does not embrace all of the teachings of Jesus right down to His teachings of compassion and love- is a doctrine that I would question and hesitate to take on. When one claims to be a “Christian” we profess to be living like Christ. Therefore, we must be loving, compassionate, have a servant’s spirit, have an attitude of Gratitude and be clear on the teachings of the Most High.
The world is looking at the way we live and if we do not live up to what we profess we are, then we are doing a disservice to the Kingdom of God. As you enter into the new year, give yourself a self-analysis and determine whether you are representing God the way He ought to be represented? Are you a Bible believer or a doctrine expert? Are you looking to unify others or to divide and conquer them? Are you in the church ministry to win souls or to criticize how things are done?
Where are you in your walk with Christ?