Sunday, August 30, 2009
commitment- a pledge or promise (vow)
faithful- to be loyal; reliable; dependable
diligent- persevering and careful in work; hardworking; to be consistent and steady
2. When a person is committed to something or someone, he/she usually does not have feelings to back them up....therefore, we see that commitment is a decision and not a feeling.
3. In order to get anything else from God, we must first be faithful and committed to what we have [Luke 13:10 NASB] says: He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.
4. Every man or woman of God who ever achieved anything in life always understood the value and importance of being committed to do what God called them to do even when it caused them to be uncomfortable for a season. [Hebrews 11:25] says: Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
5. Commitment is something that is easy to say or start, but not so easy to finish and see it through til the end. In [Eccl 5:4-5] God says that it is better not to vow or commit than to vow and not follow through.
6. God can only radically and dramatically bless those who are diligently faithful and committed to his will and to his way.
7. God usually allows us to be put or kept in divers situations to prove how loyal and devoted we are to him. [Joshua 22:5 Amplified Bible] says: But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you: to love the Lord your God and to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and to cling to and unite with Him and to serve Him with all your heart and soul [your very life]. It's easy to love God and be faithful over what he gives you as long as you feel good and things look good, but will we continue to be committed and faithful to God when:
(a). we're not getting our way
(b). we don't see or feel our way
(c). we aren't being treated fairly
(d). no one else is encouraging you to be faithful
8. Usually when things get hard, weak Christians tend to faint and give up, but what separates the true Christians from the fake ones is the fact that no matter what happens, comes or goes, we never give up on God. True Christians make a life-long vow or promise to God that only death will keep them from fulfilling. [see 2 Timothy 2:2-3 KJV and 1 Peter 4:19 Amplified version]
9. In [Job 13:15 KJV] Job refuses to give up on God in spite of all he was going through. In [Acts 14:19-22 Amplified version] Paul is stoned and left for dead but yet he did not quit preaching God's word, he got up and continued to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are reasons why we aren't instantly made leaders because steadfastness, diligence, patience, and faithfulness only comes or is demonstrated during our tests and trials. [see Romans 5:3-4 Amplified version]
10. According to [2 Corinthians 12:9-10 KJV] God's strength is made perfect in our weakest points. Therefore, even when we want to give up and quit...God will stand up inside of us and pick up where we left off. We can only feel the overwhelming presence of God when our backs are against the wall and no one else can help us but him. When you are down to nothing, God is up to something. But if we don't have a close personal relationship with God, how can he step in for us.
11. People who abandon their commitments are those who really don't know God. Because to know God is to know his Word and to know his Word is to be committed to doing it whether we feel like it or not.
12. Truly committed Christians are usually lone rangers, they stand on God's word alone, they are often rejected and misunderstood because of their uncompromising commitment to God and because they absolutely refuse to be like everyone else.
********************to be continued********************
Saturday, August 29, 2009
1 WHAT LEADS to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members?
2 You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask. [I John 3:15.]
Chances are if we would really take time to pray about our problems, God will tell us that most of our problems are due to the fact that we got out of line somewhere. Why is there so many divorces among Christians? Because we stop looking in the mirror and begin to point the finger at everyone but ourselves. We would be much happier in life if we kept our eyes on Jesus. Our daily prayer should not be: Lord remove this or remove that. We should pray, "Lord if you don't change the situation, change me". This will take away any disappointment one may have if God doesn't remove the situation. God is always trying to set us up for success, we just have to get in the word and stay there.
You may have heard other Christians say things such as: "the devil is a liar" or "the devil is just trying to stop me" or "the devil meant it for my bad but God meant it for my good". Those things would be absolutely true if we didn't create our own problems and try to get God to bail us out of them. You may also hear people say, "I've been talked about, mistreated, buked, scorned, and talked about sho as you born". But again a lot of those things are happening to us because we sowed that bad seed and forgot about it. If you're going to go through hard times, don't let it be because you brought it on yourself. Galatians 6:7 [KJV] says: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Is it the devil or is it you?
We must learn to spend quality time in God's presence so that we will know the difference between a storm of life and a self-inflicted storm. A storm of life is something that we can not control, a self-inflicted storm is something that we can help. Many times we try to keep up with what others have and we go out and create a burden that God never intended for us to carry. The Bible says: for his yoke is easy and his burden is light. God will never put more on us than we can bare, but God's blessings require spiritual maturity on our part. You're not going to give a 5 year old child the keys to a Mercedes Benz so why do we expect God to give us something that we aren't mature enough to handle.
God is ready and willing to bless each and every one of us but we must be willing to grow up in him. How do you grow in God? By feeding on his Word and doing it. If you've ever been around babies, you'll notice how quickly they grow. Why? Because we are feeding them the proper nurishment so that they can grow. Our nurishment is God's word.
Hebrews 5:12 [Amplified Bible] says:
12. For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God's Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food. Spiritual babies are always fault-finding and complaining which is why they never get anywhere. Spiritually mature saints get more because they can handle more. Don't sow seeds of foolishness and expect to reap rewards of wisdom. Let us close the door on selfishness and self inflicted problems and begin to get in line with God's word. The sooner we acknowledge the true cause of our issues, the sooner we can get past them and move on to bigger and better things.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Proverbs 4: 20-23 [Amplified version] says:
20 My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.
23 Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
These scriptures give us the steps to gaining and maintaining both physical and spiritual health. 1. Attend to my words- Give you undivided attention to God's word and take heed to what he says. In order to avoid the snares of the devil it is important that we spend time daily in the word of God. Understand that we all are born and shaped into iniquity. We have to meditate on God's word in order to undue what the devil has programed into us from birth. (Isaiah 26:3) says: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee.
2. Incline thine ear- Open your heart and your ears to take in God's sayings. Desire and go after the knowledge of God's Word. (Proverbs 4:5) says: Get wisdom, get understanding... God is not going to force feed us his word, it is our jobs to seek his word for ourselves. We have to make a conscience decision to hear God's word and do it. Remember that the time you give to digesting the word that you hear will measure the return of the virtue (power) and knowledge that will come back to you through the Word.
3. Let them not depart from your eyes- Keep your eyes trained on the Word of God. Do not look at circumstances or feelings that appear contrary to your healing. Look at God's word. Give attention to what he says. Circumstances will ALWAYS be the opposite of what God wants us to say or do, which is why we must re-program our minds daily to believe what God says no matter what. There's no telling what impossibilities we could achieve if we just keep our eyes on Jesus. Remember the story of Peter walking on water? Everyone knows that walking on water is not possible but with God all things are possible. Peter would have still been walking on water today had he not taken his eyes off Jesus. (see Matthew 14:28-30).
4. Keep them in the midst of thine heart- Psalm 119:105 says: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. The word of God gives us inside information that the devil can't touch. The portion of the word that you act on is the portion of God's word that is living in you. Continually feed yourself with God's word in order to keep the word producing the force of faith. Psalm 119:11 says: Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. We are going to make mistakes, as human beings, but we can limit those mistakes by putting God's word in our hearts.
5. For they are health to all their flesh- God's saying are life. Jesus said, "My words are spirit and they are life". The word is God's medicine. Continually attending to the word with your ears, eyes, and your heart will cause you to live in divine heath. The more (word) you take in, the more powerful you become.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Complaining comes from people who don't really trust God. If you really trust in the Lord you rest in him knowing that he's going to do just what he says. Proverbs 3: 5-6 [Amplified version] says:
5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.
People have forgotten how to live as a Christian. Everywhere you look in God's word, you'll find scripture where Jesus talks about being grateful. Instead of whining about all that's negative, Jesus preaches about looking for the positive. The selfishness that seems to engulf everyone at times colors your view so badly you can't see all the good things around you. Our insight or understanding of things is very shallow. This is why God says that his ways are not our ways nor his thoughts our thoughts. Unless we learn to trust God, we will find ourselves on the outside looking in.
God impregnates each and everyone of us with a dream and a vision of a bright future. But we often abort those dreams by speaking the opposite of what God says. Many of us don't realize that our blessings or curses don't come from what we say or do in public, they come from what we do under pressure and what we do secretly. Matthew 6:18 [KJV] That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. If we really understood this we would be busier working more on what is hidden and not what is seen.
What can we do to stop complaining?
-Becoming aware of how much you complain is the first step to stopping. For the next 24 hours, keep track of every complaint that comes out of your mouth. When you look back, you will be absolutely amazed. You also want to keep track of the negative thoughts that continually run through your mind. Your mouth follows whatever is going on in your thoughts, so go directly to the source.
-Start saying positive, life affirming stuff on purpose. The only way to replace all that negative stuff is to deliberately program the right stuff in to replace it. It's going to take some practice, but pretty soon it will become habit for you to find the positive, to avoid the negative, and to eliminate your urge to complain.
-Distance yourself from people who live to complain. It's too easy to fall back into old habits, so it's absolutely necessary to surround yourself with people who don't live for the negative. They might not like it, and they probably won't understand. But your life will start to get better the sooner you eliminate complaining people from your life.
-Lastly, ask God to show you what you can do to help someone else in this area. Sometimes helping someone else helps you more than trying to help yourself. Who knew? As you build a network of friends and family who want to eliminate complaints from their world too, pretty soon you'll be able to look back and see just how much better your life has become.
Monday, August 17, 2009
The blessing of strength from the Lord is a provision every one of God's people needs. And God wants to give us His strength, in an abundant supply. But God's ways are higher than man's ways, and God's thoughts are higher than man's thoughts (Isaiah 55:8,9). This is undoubtedly true, when it comes to the strength of the Lord. God's ways of strengthening us are different than man's ways.
God's purpose is to make us strong. "The God of Israel is He that giveth strength and power unto His people." (Ps.68:35 KJV). God's will is to strengthen us, and to give us power in His ways. We are commanded, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might." (Eph.6:10). God wants us to be strong. Strong in Him, strong in love, strong because we are filled with the Holy Spirit. We must have an unshakable confidence, that God's purpose is to make us strong in Him. When we face situations which we don't understand, or when we encounter obstacles, difficulties, or painful situations which we were not expecting, it is easy to lose sight of God's purposes. God's thoughts are not like our thoughts. Our thoughts can become thoughts of fear or discouragement, anger or frustration. Thoughts like: "I'll never be able to get through this," or, "God must be punishing me for something I've done," or, "The Lord is against me," can become a part of our thinking.
But God's thought is to make us strong! His will is to make us stronger, not to tear us down. We must become strong in the ways of the Lord. "The way of the Lord is strength to the upright." (Prov.10:29 KJV) God says to you, "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10, NASB). The strength of the Lord is more than enough, to meet every obstacle.
God's Word says, "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim.2: 1 KJV). The Word says, "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." (Rom.8:37 KJV). The Word says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil.4:13 KJV), and, "The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Ps.27: I KJV). God's promise is, "In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." (Isaiah 30:15 KJV). Yes, God wants us to be strong!
David was a man who knew the ways of the Lord. He was a man after God's own heart. Yet he encountered a situation that from all appearances looked like a complete tragedy. He and his men were away from their camp, when the Amalekites came and raided the camp. They took all of the women and children, all of their belongings, and burned the town with fire (I Sam.30: 1,2). When David and his men came back to their camp and found it completely destroyed, "then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep." (I Sam.30:4 NASB). To make things worse, David became distressed because the people spoke of stoning him. They were embittered because of the loss of their loved ones in this terrible tragedy (I Sam.30:6).
David could easily have turned his back on the Lord in such a perilous situation. He could easily have thought that God was against him, or that God had forgotten him. He could have become bitter, like some of the people did. But David knew the Lord. He knew that the Lord was for him, not against him. He knew that God's purpose was to strengthen him in this situation. So, "David strengthened himself in the Lord his God." (I Sam.30:6 NASB). He received strength from the Lord; power to overcome and to conquer.
David inquired of the Lord, and received word from the Lord, to pursue the Amalekites. He found them, eating and drinking and partying, spread over the countryside. They were celebrating over their plunder. David and his men completely conquered the Amalekites, and recaptured all of their wives and children. They recovered all that had been taken from them; they also recovered all of the plunder of the Amalekites. They not only recaptured what was lost, but received over and above it. God was in control.
Not long after this incident, David was made king over Judah. The Amalekite raid was one of the greatest testings David faced, and it happened shortly before he was made king. David could have walked away from God's plan, in the time of testing. But he knew God's purposes, and that his God wanted him to be strong. Do we realize that it is true, for us as well?
David strengthened himself in the Lord his God (I Sam.30:6). How can we receive more of the strengthening power of the Lord into our hearts and lives? Here are some of the ways we can receive strength from the Lord:
1. Those who WAIT ON THE LORD shall renew their strength (Is.40:3 I). We must spend time waiting before the Lord; we must spend much time with Him.
2. CALL ON THE LORD, in earnest entreaty. "On the day I called, Thou didst answer me; Thou didst make me bold with strength in my soul." (Psalm 138:3 NASB).
3. BELIEVE that it is undoubtedly God's purpose to impart strength to you, and to make you strong, no matter what the situation may look like. God's promises are clear, that the will of the Lord is to strengthen you (Ps.105:411s.30:15/ Psalm 68:35/Psalm 27: 14 / Eph.6: 10,11/ 2 Tim.2: l / Is.41: 10).
4. We must TURN FROM SIN, to be strengthened by the Lord. Sin is what can make us weak. The Psalmist said, "My strength has failed because of my iniquity." (Psalm 31:10 NASB). We must turn from sin, and receive cleansing and forgiveness through the blood of Christ.
5. DRAW NEAR TO THE LORD. It is the Lord Himself who is our strength. Drawing near to Him insures that His strength will dwell in us, because His presence will be near us and in us. We are told to "seek the Lord, and His strength." (Psalm 105:4).
6. BE OF GOOD COURAGE. The Word of God says, "Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart." (Ps.27:14 KJV). If we have courage, God is able to strengthen us. We must have courage and faith when we draw near to God, knowing that it is His will to strengthen us, and make us more than conquerors. David was of good courage, when he went out to face Goliath. We must also be of good courage, when we face our battles.
7. The WORD OF GOD strengthens our faith, and builds us up. The Word of God can be relied upon, with confidence. "Strengthen me, according to Thy Word." (Psalm 119:28 NASB). Meditate on, and rely upon, the Word of God. Saturate your mind and your spirit with the Word, and the promises of the Word, for your strengthening. As we do these things, God will impart His strength to us. We will be strengthened to walk in victory, and walk in faith. God will show himself strong on our behalf.
At times God's people can begin to drift, and begin to coast along on their own strength. We can gradually begin to do things in our own strength, and not even realize that we are no longer walking in the strength of the Lord. That is why we must seek fresh strength from the Lord day by day and week by week. We must seek fresh strength in prayer, the Word, and waiting upon the Lord. The Israelites in the wilderness so often missed God's purposes. God wanted to make them strong - strong in faith, strong in trust, strong in the Lord. But when food and water began to run low, they didn't feel strong; they felt weaker. They missed God's purpose - He wanted to strengthen them, and provide for all of their needs. But they often doubted, or grumbled and complained. God's ways were higher than their ways.
But throughout the wanderings of the Israelites, Caleb had learned of God's strength. After forty years in the wilderness, he could say, "I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out. I am just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day." (Joshua 14:11,12 NIV). Caleb knew that God's purpose was to make him strong. The blessing of the Lord was powerfully manifested in his life. He received the full measure of the blessing of the Lord.
As we are strengthened by the Lord, part of God's purpose is that we help others to find that same strength. We should be like Jonathan: during a difficult time he went to David, and helped him to find strength in God (I Sam.23: 16). When brothers or sisters in Christ, or others we love are passing through a difficult time, they need someone who can help them find strength from the Lord. We are to pray for one another, and bear one another's burdens. Then God will use us as His channels, to bring the blessing of strength from the Lord, to those who need it.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Jermaine Griggs, the President of HearandPlay, just let me knowthat his site had recently been updated with a few new pianoresources... When I finally checked it out (because I was very busy lastweek), I noticed one particular article that discusses thedifferences between musicians who play piano from sheet musicand others who play by ear --- some of the advantages anddisadvantages of both.
The article focuses more on the advantages of playing by ear--- obviously because that's their specialty. Here are just afew of the many examples of what they said (you'll have to checkout the article for yourself to get the full story):
Advantages of Playing Piano By Ear
1) "Being able to instantly recognize chords that are played insongs even without being at a piano."
*****************How does this help you?*****************
"You are able to learn songs faster and easier because youunderstand why chords are played at certain points in songs."
2) "Not required to memorize chord progressions (pattern of chords played one after the other) because understanding themwill automatically incline you to know what chord to play next."
*****************How does this help you?*****************
"Allows you to improvise and add your own "flavor" to the song.This is especially advantageous when playing in a church as youcan never predict how long a song will be sung or what key thesinger might resolve to. In a band, this might be helpful if theleader simply instructs everyone to surprisingly repeat a partof the song or change the key in which the song is currentlybeing played in."
3) "Will allow you to use the same methods to play virtually anysong you want (most songs; don't quote me if you're referring toMozart as this might take more practice than most other songs)."
*****************How does this help you?****************
"Saves you the money and time of having to go out and buy the sheet music to a song that you've already learned how to play byusing the ability of your ear to recognize melodies, chords, andprogressions. However, buying the sheet music isn't a bad ideaif you want to learn specific parts to songs that have highlevels of complexity."
You know... I could really go on and on about this article,but dueto the lack of space, I'm going to have to send you to thearticle so you can check it out for yourself:
Go to: http://www.hearandplay.com/at.cgi/480396/course
(...and if you're really serious about taking your piano playingto the next level, you might want to consider taking them up ontheir 300-pg course, "The Secrets to Playing Piano by Ear"). Meanwhile, let me know if you have any questions and I'll answer or pass them to the right folks at HearandPlay.com. Again, go to:http://www.hearandplay.com/at.cgi/480396/course
All the best,
P.S. - There's also a little section in the article that talksabout major and minor scales, chords, and progressions. Checkout that section too.
Other helpful links
Free newsletter- http://www.hearandplay.com/480396/newsletters
Gospelkeys 101 dvd (for beginners)- http://www.hearandplay.com/480396/gospel101
Gospelkeys 202 dvd (Worship chords)- http://www.hearandplay.com/480396/gospel202
Jason White (for church musicians)-http://www.hearandplay.com/480396/gkministry.html
Gospelkeys 300 (praise songs) http://www.hearandplay.com/480396/gospel300