Why is that?
Advent begins November 30. Wow, how time flies! I’m delighted to share songs from my new album JOYFUL that are appropriate for Advent as well as Christmas. Read more about the 11 songs and arrangements on the project here.
The important relationship principles are simple. The Master taught Peter what he’s teaching all followers of Christ.
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude (NLT)
I love how Peterson translates 1 Peter 3:3-12 in the Message:
8-12 Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
That’s your job – to bless. Worship is about healthy relationships.
Be a blessing my friends!
Humility is job one for the people of God. The practices of worship teach us to humble ourselves. This is not natural, but going low is the only proper attitude in the presence of El Elyon, The Almighty, Most High God.
9 [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins].
10 Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant]. James 4:9-10 (Amplified)
10 Lay yourself bare, facedown to the ground, in humility before the Lord; and He will lift your head so you can stand tall. The Voice
As Don Finto would say, “If you humble yourself, God will exalt you. If you exalt yourself, God will humble you.”
Go low my friends!
Words are so powerful. “The tongue is a small part of the body, but it is capable of marvelous undertakings.” (James 3;5)
7-10 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
10-12 My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you? James 3:7-12, The Message
The application is simply to be aware of the immense power of the words we speak over ourselves and the impact they have on others. Let us use our words to build up, not tear down.
Speak life. That’s what Jesus would do.
God, who is completely holy, has all authority and wisdom to render perfect judgement. And everyone one of us would be found lacking due to our sin condition. We are all unworthy of His favor.
However, God also embodies mercy, defined as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm”.
Love, expressed as compassionate mercy, is a virtue greater than righteousness.
10 For if a person could keep all of the laws and yet break just one; it would be like breaking them all. 11 The same God who said, “Do not commit adultery,”[also says, “Do not murder.” If you break either of these commands, you’re a lawbreaker,no matter how you look at it. 12 So live your life in such a way that acknowledges that one day you will be judged. But the law that judges also gives freedom, 13 although you can’t expect to be shown mercy if you refuse to show mercy. But hear this: mercy always wins against judgment! Thank God! James 2:10-13 The Voice
So believe and receive the heavenly reward of mercy from God, then extend that same gift to others.
Wisdom, defined as skill for living and the ability to make good decisions, begins and ends with God. This is a simple truth, but how often do we make plans and choices without truly seeking God’s counsel?
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
But ask in faith, boldly believing, without a second thought, never doubting – for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, can not expect to receive anything from the Lord. James 1:5-8
Just ask Him, and He will give you what you need.
This verse declares that at all times, in every season – “from sunrise to sunset” - God is worthy of praise.
The NIV Study Bible commentary describes Psalm 113 as “a hymn to the Lord celebrating his high majesty and mercies to the lowly” .
This is a good perspective, to laud His transcendent power and adore Him for his tender, compassionate character.
“Both now and forever more” (Psalm 113:2). God does not change. This is good.
The worshipers mentality is to see worship as both a worldview – a way of understanding the world, and a lifestyle – a way of living.
So, praise Him today!
Frequently when leading worship I recall the reality of this verse. There is a massive, heavenly gathering of saints who have gone before us. Now, they are cheering us on. This is an awe inspiring and heart-warming thought.
You are part of something epic and eternal. The struggles you face, others have faced as well.
We all have our own unique assignment, our mission from God, our race to run.
All of heaven is rooting for you to finish well.
The Lord be with you today!
Faith, hope and love is the DNA that God created us with. “Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Many times, often times, yea – most of the time – we do not “see” God. When He seems absent (which can be frequently and for a long time!) we can get confused, disoriented and lose our way.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. We have a resource called “faith”.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
The remainder of Hebrews 11 bears witness to the lives of those who have gone before us and believed God, even when His ways did not make sense to them.
Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them. Hebrews 11:13-16 Message
Our hope is in the identity and character of God Almighty, whose wisdom and leadership in our lives is perfect. Let faith rise up in you today!
Don’t let shame and guilt feelings rob you of the intimacy God longs to have with you. Just come as you are, Jesus will do the rest.
“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22