The “in” in “Sin”


The “in” in “sin“.

Yes, it’s part of the word sin.  What we struggle with most seems to be inwardly focused.

  • What’s in it for me?
  • Adultery starts on the inside, in our hearts and minds.
  • Murder also starts on the inside.
  • Jealousy, inside
  • Pride, inside
  • Idolatry inside
  • Hate, inside
  • Lust, inside
  • Prejudice, inside
  • Anger, inside
  • Greed, inside
  • Worrying, inside
  • Revenge, inside

In our hearts, in our heads, in our mouths, in our deeds; sin starts in us.

We need help on the inside, we need to let the Holy Spirit work on us from the inside.  For us believers, He’s already in there anyway.  This is the reason why we pray in church that the Holy Spirit transforms and renews our hearts and our minds.  This is such an important prayer because it leads us to repentance.

You can spot people who have an outward focus can’t you?  They are kind, compassionate, considerate, generous, caring, loving, forgiving, patient – as a matter of fact they tend to act like Jesus and they use their gifts of the Spirit in so doing.  Incredible how this all comes together isn’t it?

Let me share this prayer with you which is a gem of traditional worship:

Lord God, grant us your Holy Spirit that we may hear and believe your Word.  Cleanse our minds and renew our hearts that we may live for you here and hereafter; through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen. (Christian Worship, Evening Prayer, page 56)

The Recipe to Build Your Faith


The Recipe to Build Your Faith

Ingredients:
Goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love. 

Directions:
Add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  Stir gently.

The Result:
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Source of this Delicious Recipe:
2 Peter 1:5-8

The Guardian of My Heart


I have a guardian who watches over my heart and my mind.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7

Why does our Pastor say this to us every single Sunday?

Here’s why….

He will guard your heart and your mind against:
Anxiety
Doubt
Worry
Fear
Distress
Lust
Jealousy
Angst
Anger
Sorrow
Shame
Depression
Temptation
Hate
Confusion
Obsession
Addiction
Brokenness
Desperation
Guilt
Unworthiness

Think about that if you’ve heard Php 4:7 one too many times!

Love in Action


Love in Action – Merging Romans 12:9-21 & 1 Cor 13:4-8
M: Love must be sincere. 
C: It is not self seeking
M: Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 
C: Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
M: Be devoted to one another in love. 
C: Love always trusts
M: Honor one another above yourselves. 
C: Love does not dishonor others.
M: Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 
C: Love always perseveres
M: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 
C: Love is patient
M: Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. 
C: Love is kind.
M: Practice hospitality. 
C: Love always hopes.
M: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 
C: Love is not easily angered
M: Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 
C: Love rejoices with the truth
M: Live in harmony with one another. 
C: Love always trusts
M: Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. 
C: Love is not proud
M: Do not be conceited. 
C: Love is not self-seeking
M: Do not repay anyone evil for evil. 
C Love keeps no record of wrongs
M: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 
C: Love never fails.

Remember


Life is getting complicated. So I use a tablet to jot down notes and thoughts. I also use a calendar on my phone with alerts to remind me of important dates and times. I keep calendars for work, home, church and gardening. My desk is covered with yellow post it notes. And still, I forget things.

But the Lord encourages us to remember…

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. – Deuteronomy 8:2

Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. – Revelation 3:3

Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. – Numbers 15:40

Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, 1 Chronicles 16:12

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. – Psalm 63:6-8

Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. – Isaiah 46:9

There is comfort in remembering our Lord and His words. Actually, I remember my Lord better than my daily routine. I credit this to the Holy Spirit inside me. He prods and guides me. He knows that I need it. I don’t thank Him enough for this, but it is important. I thank Him now.

God remembers:
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” – Jeremiah 31:34

By the way, as we age, we tend to forget more, but don’t resent growing old because many are denied the privilege.

Silence is Golden


The invitation:
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – Mark 6:31, the words of Jesus

Take a moment and sit in silence. And read…
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. – Psalm 62:1

The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him. – Habakkuk 2:20

God says,
“Be still, and know that I am God; 
I will be exalted among the nations, 
I will be exalted in the earth.” 
– Psalm 46:10

How precious, His whispers…
After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. – 1 Kings 19:12

How Jesus starts His glorious day:
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. – Mark 1:35

Maybe it’s true – Silence is Golden!

Open My Heart


Open My Heart Lord

 

One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.  – Acts 16:14

 

There you have it.  The Lord opens hearts.  In this case he opened Lydia’s heart to respond to a certain message.

 

God, won’t you open our hearts?
Open my heart to respond.
To respond to your peace.
To respond to your teaching.
To respond to your grace.

 

How about opening our hearts to be more generous?
To give to the church.
To give to the needy.
To give of my time and talents.

 

How about opening our hearts to love on a deeper level?
To love you more.
To love my family more.
To love money less.

 

How about opening our hearts to me more patient?
More patient at work.
More patient while waiting in line.
More patient while on the phone, on hold.

 

How about opening our hearts to worship?
To worship God in truth.
To worship God in Spirit.
To worship God as a lifestyle.
To worship God like Lydia did.
To use the gifts God has given to me to praise Him.

 

God can open your heart.  It doesn’t matter if your heart aches or if it’s as frozen as a tombstone, in a field, in Fargo, in February.  The Lord can crack it open and fill it with His warmth, His presence and His love.

 

God
Opens
Hearts!
❤️
Amazing! 
❤️
It
Says
So
In
His
Infallible
Word!
❤️

To My Fellow String Players


To my fellow string players who might be forbidden to accompany the music in your church, I write,

“This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10b

IF
The joy of the Lord is our strength,
THEN
We need to ask “what brings God joy?”

IF
Joy is expressed with a smile
THEN
The sound of the strings is one thing that brings Him joy

 the music of the strings makes you glad – Psalm 45:8b

So you, in particular, have a unique strength from the Lord!  I want you to harness this strength.  You can’t force your gifts onto the church, if they don’t want them.  In this case, stop casting your beautifully translucent pearls to the swine.  This strength that you have from the Lord will still manifest itself but through you in some unexpected way.  Sometimes we just need to go in a different direction.  Give this some prayerful thought, won’t you?

A Toolbox for Worship Leaders, Pastors and Musicians

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