Praising Through the Passion
Typically, when we think about the Passion of Christ we don’t associate it with praise. We meditate on it as onlookers thinking about how awful it was for Him and we fail to relate it to our personal lives. During this Holy Week I encourage us to go beyond being an onlooker and to make the Passion personal by praising Him through it.
In the short video below I explain why it important to praise God, even during this solemn time of the year.
Below are some examples as to how we can praise Jesus through His passion along with some scriptures for reflection.
Inflicted wounds by verbal chaos.
This poem represents wounds that were inflicted on us by our well-meaning parents. Wounds that we carry into adulthood if forgiveness and healing don’t take place. Shame, guilt and fear cause us to hide who we really are making us a shadow of our true self. This causes problems in our marriages, friendships and every relationship. We are afraid to be vulnerable and expose our hearts because we dread that it will get trampled on. The lie that we must hide is so cunning and convincing that many don’t know that they are bowing down to it’s command. The soul is completely unaware.
This Lent I believe that Jesus is inviting us to discover the hidden places within us. The places where the door has been locked and the key seems to have been thrown away. The dark places that are filled with cobwebs and dust and seem too scary to walk into. If we’re willing, He even wants to show us the dark places that we don’t know exist. By allowing the Holy Spirit to search us, He will find those places, breathe His Spirit Wind through the cobb webs and blow the closed doors down so that Jesus can step in with His light. Together they will prepare the space for the Father to come and speak His truth saying, “You are my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.” Beloved Freedom Child will become your new name and you will begin to experience the abundant life that Jesus spoke about in John 10:10.
How about it?
Will you trust Jesus with the hidden areas?
"A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."
Then I saw heaven opened, and suddenly a white horse appeared. The name of the one riding it was Faithful and True…”
Vision during prayer.
Jesus rode towards me and swooped me up onto His white horse. Startled, I took His hand as He helped me up on the horse. I wrapped my arms around His chest tightly and asked Him, “where are we going?” He answered, “it doesn’t matter because the journey is the destination.”
My reflection on the vision.
Every moment is a “now” moment that has been given to us as a gift. When we intentionally live that moment to its fullest potential, we have arrived at the destination. Each moment provides us with the opportunity to practice holiness through love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). It has the ability to transform us into a bearer of light that shines forth restoring hope to the hopeless. With every moment comes the privilege to birth the creative power of life that raises the dead. If the “journey is the destination” then we have a choice as to how to make that journey and with whom. I choose the Rider on the white horse whose name is Faithful and True. I know that with Him the path will always be lit, there will always be an abundance of hope, and His creative power will make the impossible, possible.
If you want to join me, ask the Rider to come and get you. Take His hand and then wrap your arms tightly around His chest for the ride of your life.
Experiencing the destination through the journey,
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Scriptures to ponder.
Did you know that fasting is connected to answered prayer? Have you wondered why some people's prayers get answered and others don’t. There is a scripture in James 4:3 that says,
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (New Living Translation)
This scripture has caused me to search my motives many times and left me wondering “what exactly is the right way to ask?” Last night a couple of friends and I were discussing Isaiah 58 and I believe it revealed the answer to that question. Watch the YouTube teaching I recorded on this and follow along with the notes that I have added throughout the scripture below.
I chose the New Living Translation because I felt that it made it easier to understand, but you can choose another if you prefer. I’ve also added emphasis to some words.
Isaiah 58:1-9 New Living Translation (NLT)
True and False Worship
58 “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.
Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.
Tell my people Israel[a] of their sins!
2 Yet they act so pious!
They come to the Temple every day
and seem delighted to learn all about me.
They act like a righteous nation
that would never abandon the laws of its God.
(The Lord knows when our faith is superficial. We must be careful not to act pious on the outside and be corrupt on the inside.)
They ask me to take action on their behalf,
pretending they want to be near me.
3 ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.
‘Why aren’t you impressed?
We have been very hard on ourselves,
and you don’t even notice it!’
(We only deceive ourselves in believing that we can manipulate God.)
“I will tell you why!” I respond.
“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.
Even while you fast,
you keep oppressing your workers.
(Our fast means nothing if we are unkind and uncharitable towards those that work for us or alongside us.)
4 What good is fasting
when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting
will never get you anywhere with me.
(Peace, kindness, respect, forgiveness and love are more important to God than depriving ourselves of food. He wound rather us fast from chaos, anger, disrespect, gossip, holding grudges, unforgiveness, and hate.)
5 You humble yourselves
by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads
like reeds bending in the wind.
You dress in burlap
and cover yourselves with ashes.
Is this what you call fasting?
Do you really think this will please the Lord?
(A humble soul that worships with a pure heart is what pleases the Lord. Someone who does penance out of true love and with a sincere desire to detach themselves from the pleasures of the world that hinder holiness.)
6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
(We may not know someone in an actual prison but we do know those that are imprisoned by fear, neglect, wrong thinking, overwhelming situations, grief, pain, etc. The Lord wants us to help free them by walking alongside them, encouraging them, building them up, offering them a hand to grasp and loving them.)
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
(We must be careful and attentive to how we treat those who work for us and with us. We must not over burden them. We must be kind, fair and respectful.)
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
(Help those that are abused, persecuted, and unjustly accused by not only praying for them but by some form of action to help them get free.)
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
(This doesn’t only mean physically but also spiritually. We are to feed the hungry with food for their bellies but also feed them with the spiritual food of God’s Word and the Bread of Life.
We can help shelter the homeless literally but we are also to give those that do not have a church community, one.
We are called to clothe those that are naked physically but also clothe the spiritually naked with righteousness.)
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
(Whoa! Don’t hide from those that need you.)
8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
9 Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
The Lord now leans towards us and says, "Here I am. What do you need, child." Our love has caught His attention and He wants nothing more than to please us.
Now, I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. Fasting from physical food is good when it's done with the right motives. Our physical hunger is supposed to remind us of our spiritual hunger and lead us to call on God for help, and that 's beautiful. So before we proclaim a fast let's search our hearts and be honest with ourselves and God as to why we're doing it.
I pray this has broadened your understanding of fasting.
Let us pray.
Feasting on His goodness,
We all have struggles in our lives that at times can be overwhelming. In our humanity, we tend to feed into the anxiety, making the situation worse. We get frustrated, complain, and get stuck in the muck of the pity party which only leads to annoying everyone around us. Other than God, no one knows our struggles better than the devil, even though he and his minions can’t hear our thoughts. How does he know? We tell him every time we complain, share our fears out loud, and through our body language. We do this partly because it is a part of our fallen nature, and because it is what we have become accustomed to. The good news is that we can choose this very day to stop the pattern. We don’t have to look very far to discover a better way, but just like everything else, it will require an effort and practice.
In Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus shows us how to handle temptation when we are weak. The scriptures tell us that he prepared himself for the tempting by fasting for 40 days and 40 nights. When the tempter came to tempt Jesus, he was weak in the body but strong in the Spirit. This indicates to me that fasting is of primary importance. It is a spiritual practice that we Christians have all but abandoned. Fasting for 40 days and 40 nights might seem a bit extreme, but it begs the question of, “How bad do we want our situation to change? Are we willing to endure a little self-sacrifice, so that we will become strong enough to win?”
I often say that we are a bunch of wimps when it comes to prayer and sacrifice. When trouble came across the Israelites lives, they would put on sackcloth, put ashes on their heads and prostrate themselves before the Lord in prayer and fasting until the trouble passed, or the Lord gave them a clear directive (2 Sam 21:10, 1 Kings 21:27, 1 Chronicles 21:16, Nehemiah 9:1, Judith 4:11, Judith 9:1, Esther 4:3, 1 Maccabees 3:47). Once again, how bad do we want freedom? We can all fast from something. It doesn’t always have to be food. It can be anything that would require a sacrifice such as T.V., social media, gossip, a dessert that we’re especially fond of, etc. I encourage us not to fast from things that will benefit the health of our body, soul and spirit. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit what to fast, and make this a regular practice in our lives.
When the tempter came, Jesus was ready. He had been fasting for 40 days and although the scripture doesn’t mention prayer, I’m sure that he praised his Father with every breath as he walked, danced in the joy of his presence, and worshiped in adoration. He prayed for his mission to be accomplished and for us to receive salvation. This models the perfect prayer time for us – praise, worship, adoration, and prayers of petition for our mission and for our loved ones needs.
As the devil taunted him with temptations that addressed his physical hunger, challenged his identity, and poked at the human desire for power, Jesus stood his ground and simply spoke the truth of scripture right back to him. This reveals the absolute need to be grounded in the Word of God. If we don’t know what it says, we will not be able to disarm the devil with it when he comes to manipulate and lie to us. Get into the Word, Christian! Read it, study it, pray it, and use it as your weapon against the accuser. When you do, he will flee and the holy angels will come and minister to you (I love that!).
Get to practicing child of God. Practice makes us strong and less likely to fall prey to the enemy’s tactics. Let's not get stuck in the muck of his trap.
The Temptation of Jesus
Praising, worshiping, and adoring,
In the last few days those of us in South Florida have experienced a range of emotions. We have slipped in and out of faith, fear and trust, as we've prepared our homes for the worst and hoped for the best. In the midst of the chaos, I found my faith rising to a new level as the Holy Spirit within me continually renounced the negative thought patterns that spoke destruction over our area. His voice kept telling me to gather those with faith at the beach and to speak directly to the storm as Jesus did in Matthew 8:23-27.
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”
As I pondered the scripture the verse that struck me was when the disciples woke him and said, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm." They cried out in fear and he challenged their faith, got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. He was teaching them that there was no need to fear because with faith all things are possible. He "got up and rebuked the wind and the sea" teaching them what to do. You see Christian, when destruction comes our way we do not need to bow to the spirit of fear and hand over our power and we don't need to beg Jesus to "save us" because he already has. What we need to do is "get up and rebuked the storm in the name of Jesus" because the same power that raised him from the dead is alive in us (Romans 8:11). Looking closer into the scripture we also see that there is an action that took place before the rebuke. Jesus "got up," he could have stayed curled up, rebuked it and then kept sleeping but he didn't. When the eye of the storm is facing us dead on maybe we need to take action and couple it with our prayer. For me in this instance, it was asking others to gather at the beach and pray. I could have simply asked them to pray like Jesus did in Matthew and we could have all prayed from home but this enormous storm required action and prayer. We gathered at the Juno Beach Pier, praised God, and rebuked the storm together as one two days in a row. This built our faith, and stretched us out of our comfort zones. The people around us might have thought we were crazy, but hey, the storm obeyed and we were spared destruction. We must grow up in our faith and begin to act like the Apostles did. If we are hungry to see a harvest of souls come into the Kingdom then we must begin to demonstrate the Kingdom of God in power and yes, in public.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:20,
"For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power."
and again in 2 Corinthians 2:4
"My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power"
I am thankful today that we were spared and praying for those that have been hurt. Will you join me in a time of worship with the song below in praise, thanksgiving and hope?
To God be the glory forever and ever,
Picture by Rachel Sherman ~ https://soulshinecreativeblog.com/
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Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
WHOA! Did you read that?! Death and life are in the power of the tongue. WOW! How can this be, you might ask? Everything around us produces a frequency. Frequency is the rate per second of a vibration (sound waves and/or radio waves and light). When you speak, your tongue vibrates, creating a frequency with the release of your words. The video below, How Words, Frequency Can Change Water & Human Behavior - Dr. Masaru Emoto illustrates the effect that beautiful and ugly words have on water. It is the same for humans.
Our words either create beauty or destroys it. Many of us have become careless with our choice of words. More and more, curse words are being used as common everyday language. This seems to have become “the norm” for men, women, teens and even children. The ominous culture of mainstream music, movies and today’s popular literature has shaped our verbal expressions. We have allowed the unfavorable speech of the ill-educated to dictate our vocabulary.
Dishonorable language is not the way of the Lord. He is the God of Majesty, Radiance, Wonder and Beauty. He is continuously calling us to a superior way of life that is filled with goodness, grace and joy. Will we respond to his voice with a “yes”? Will we choose to birth life with our words? I for one, want to honor God. While I am aware that this will take practice, I desire for my language to inspire and captivate the listener. I want it to be clean, beautiful, and meaningful, so that every soul that walks away from me leaves with a sense of hope. What about you?
Pray with me.
Holy Spirit, help me to honor you with my words. Inspire me to use language that will be gracious and will bring sweetness and healing to every soul I speak to. This includes myself. Amen
Let your conversation be always full of grace,
Once we change our choice of words, we can begin hearing and understanding the language of the supernatural and speaking the language of His Spirit.
Watch the video below. Kim Engel and I explore ideas on how to change your language. We close the whole thing up with a prayer. I hope you join us.
Coloring the world with beautiful language,
If this blog or video inspired you please click the "Like" button on both and leave a comment.
God is saying, “Wake up, Sleeping Beauty, wake up!” Like Sleeping Beauty, we have been poisoned by the lies of the “ugly one” and we have fallen asleep. The Prince of Beauty and Wonder is approaching us and desires to kiss us, in hope that we will “wake up.” Being that he is in love with us, he desires for us to wake up to “beauty.” Most importantly, to the beauty of who He is, the beauty that surrounds us, and to the beauty that we have the capacity to create. There is a longing within him to captivate us with beauty so that it will delight us and fill us with wonder. Beauty leads to wonder and wonder leads to glory. Glory leads to wisdom, revelation, understanding, and awe. All of it leads to the praise and worship of the Majestic One. The One seated on the Throne. The One who is Fierce Radiance, and Dazzling Glory. The One True God.
Colossians 1:16-17 says:
The Master Creator started with a blank palette. First, he had to see what this masterpiece would look like within himself. As the creative thought exploded in his mind, he saw exactly what he wanted to produce. That’s why all things were created “in him.” He then spoke it all into existence, as he released his breath through the sound of his voice. Everything came into being “through him.” God spoke and through his breath and the sound of his voice the formless wasteland took form. The more beauty he created, the more his excitement grew in the hope that all of it would delight his children and keep them in a constant state of wonder that would always draw them back to himself. This is why the scripture tells us that it was “for him.” In fact, he even planted the ache for beauty deep within our souls. We all, whether we know it or not, have an insatiable longing for our true home, Heaven, which is the fulfillment of all beauty and wonder. Everything on earth is merely a shadow of what is already perfect in heaven. Our mortal bodies cannot withstand the splendor and radiance of it all, so God in his goodness, gave us a taste here on earth. He encourages us in Philippians 4:8 to think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, excellent and worthy of praise. The Merriam-Webster defines “think” as - to have in mind, to reflect on, to call to mind, center one’s thoughts on, etc. We must have an active and enthusiastic participation in the process of seeking beauty and wonder. The good news is, that we don’t have to go very far to find it because it’s all around us. What is required is a desire and willingness to “wake up” to it. In order to become fully awake, we must allow the Prince to kiss us and to kiss him back. With this kiss, a love affair beings and a relationship develops. From this union, we become co-creators with the living God.
I will break this down in the next few posts. I have also invited Kim Engel to bring her delicious insights into this series. For now, I invite you to make an intentional choice to “wake up” to the beauty around you and to set out to create beauty in your home and your work space. Kim and I share some insights and different ways that you can do that in the video below.
Become intentional about seeking and creating beauty.
First, notice one beautiful thing a day and point it out to someone or comment to yourself about it.
Second, create beauty in your home or work space.
Intentionally seeking beauty,
Hi everyone! I pray that you've begun your journey in going from "glory to glory." If you haven't, read the previous blogs and start your journey today. I am going to side step and begin a series on "wonder." In my opinion, glory and wonder go hand in hand. Ready? Let's go!
God is highlighting the word “Wonder” in this season. If you take notice, it is everywhere- movies, songs, sermons, books, etc. As a society, we have lost our sense of wonder, and I believe He is trying to awaken us to this beautiful gift that is all around us and in us. It’s as if our eyes have become veiled and our senses numbed to the essence of creation and to the magnificence of who we are as God’s children. We have slipped down the slope of ugly and have mistaken mediocrity for greatness. Everything in our culture has gone from seeking out beauty and inspiration, to accepting and being okay with grunge and filth. Our language, fashions, music, movies, books, art, and even the way we treat each other. BUT, no more! God is raising up a multitude of creatives that are stepping out and pouring color back into the world. The pendulum is beginning to swing the other way. He is making all things new (Is. 43:19). If you don’t have the eyes to see it yet, ask for them: “Lord, give me the eyes to see what I am not seeing. Give me the eyes to see Your glory moving here on earth”.
We all have the creative power of God within us because we were created to co-create with Him (1 Cor. 3:9, John 14:12-14). He is the ultimate Creative and His Spirit is alive in us. We tend to put the word “creative” in a box limiting it to those who are artistic. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines creative as "having or showing an ability to make things new or think of new ideas." Clearly this definition is not just for those in the arts. It is for everyone. Creativity fosters wonder and wonder fosters creativity. With all of that said, I encourage you to accept God’s invitation and to step into “wonder”. Embrace it by allowing Him to unlock the creative power within you.
I will be breaking this down in the next few posts. I pray that Holy Spirit revelation will enlighten us all as to how to live a life of “wonder”.
Ponder and reflect on Isaiah 43:19, 1 Cor. 3:9 and John 14:12-14
Click the video below and experience some “wonder” in prayer.
I'd love to hear what you experienced during this prayer time in the comments below. In sharing, we help one another grow in faith. Please don't be shy.
When we were young, we memorized and learn rote prayers. Our parents or grandparents taught us to say a prayer at mealtimes and at bedtime. As we got older, we uttered short prayers if someone we loved was sick or sad. We prayed for someone other than ourselves. When we stepped out of ourselves and prayed for another, we entered another degree of glory.
At some point in our lives, we started saying a morning prayer. This usually took place while getting ourselves ready for the day or while we were driving. The prayer probably consisted of asking for help during the day. ~ Another degree of glory.
When we notice that these prayers got answered, we began to say little prayers throughout the day. ~ Another degree of glory.
Our prayers became longer and more faith filled. ~ Another degree of glory.
As our faith grew, we began feeling the need for community, so we joined a prayer group. ~ Another degree of glory.
Witnessing the power of prayer, we began setting time aside daily to commune with God. ~ Another degree of glory.
Our prayer took a shift and went from asking, to praising and worshipping. ~ A big jump into another degree of glory.
A hunger to hear from God stirred within us and we began to talk less and listen more. A conversation developed between you and God. ~ Another degree of glory.
In the past, 10 minutes felt like forever. Then an hour was not long enough. ~ Another degree of glory.
When we are satisfied with very little talking and just sitting in His presence. When we simply long for His company. ~ A magnanimous degree of glory as been achieved.
Read and ponder the following quotes. If they spark an interest read up on these saints.
'Prayer is nothing else than union with God. When the heart is pure and united with God it is consoled and filled with sweetness; it is dazzled by a marvelous light.' St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney
Scriptures to implement. NASB Translation
"Pray at all times" (Eph. 6:18
Worship with me with the song below.