LESSON 12 : Psalmody international School of Worship Level 2

Key scripture: John 8: 32

“And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”

When I first read the introduction for lesson 12 where Tom Inglis writes that God was“on a mission … to set the captives free”,I could not Help but to be reminded of Isaiah 61:1-2, especially knowing that this was the scripture that Jesus Christ used to officially open his ministry.

Luke 4:18-21

The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour… Today, as you listen, this scripture has been fulfilled.

What a declaration! I love that Jesus emphasises how He has fulfilled these scriptures that He has already completed the objectives of Isaiah 61:1-2. The Old Testament says “I will come and do”, Jesus who is the fulfilment of the Old Testament says “I came and I did”.He came and He preached the gospel to the poor, He proclaimed freedom to the captives, He opened the eyes of those spiritually and physically blind, He set free the oppressed  and He declared his unmerited favour for all of us. The assignment was to set the captives free, those in Christ have been made free and free indeed.

At the cross Jesus “stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority and marched them naked through the streets” (Colossians 2:15 MSG).Jesus’ victory was a public display of his strength and might and Tom Inglis likens this to the victorious emperor of ancient times who would ‘display the enemy to his people, arousing his people to celebrate in his victory with him’.We celebrate because our champion has lifted us up from the ashes and has opened our eyes to the hideous nature of our enemy which previously, because we were spiritually blind  were unaware of but now that we know the truth we can step away from the shadow and into the light.

THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE

John 8:32

Inglis stresses the importance of what is written in John 8:32, that it is TRUTH that shall set us free. 

  • John 14:6‘I [Jesus] am the way, the truth, and the life’, 
  • Revelations 19:11 Jesus  is called ‘faithful and true’

What I took from the passages in John and revelation is that ‘The Truth’is not just a word but a title, the title of Jesus.  A person receives a title based on who they are, who they are in relation to you and their profession and out of the respect we have for them, we refer to them by title, in the same manner that a student at school would call “teacher!” to the person who is responsible for educating him.

‘We’re living in a time of a knowledge revolution when the knowledge of God’s Word is freely available like never before. Knowledge alone however, can be frustrating because it doesn’t set you free, truth does. Revelation is God revealing something in His Word previously unknown to you. He has a way of revealing things to you that you need at the right time for a particular situation, such is the nature of revelation.’ (Tom Inglis’)

how would you describe snow?

Take for example somebody who has always lived within a hot climate and has never experienced snow nor will ever see it in person. Explain to this individual what snow is, show them the dictionary definition, give them the scientific knowledge regarding snow, send photographic images of snow and videos of ski resorts covered in snow, they will now know what is snow but will lack the revelation. This time show this same person the  ice in a freezer and their understanding of snow would reach a new level that goes beyond knowledge. This is the same revelation that I presume led you to Christ, I, having been raised in a Christian home had knowledge of Christ but it wasn’t until I was 15 that I had the revelation of Christ which drastically altered my perception of Christianity from religion to relationship. It is through this revelation that I understood that I had been made free, that I no longer needed to carry by my burdens.

CONCLUSION

It seemed like a dream too good to be true, when God returned Zion’s exiles [captives]. We laughed , we sang, we couldn’t believe our good fortune. We were the talk of the nations- God was wonderful to them!” God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people’. Psalm 126: 1-3

We shout with gladness in our hearts, and praise the almighty for He has freed us from the bondages  of our enemy, our thanks and praises must be loud so that other nations and people will know how good our God is, for he set the captives free. ‘The spirit of joy and celebration should identify and exemplify Christianity more than anything else.

LESSON 11 : Psalmody international School of Worship Level 2

Wow, it has been a long time since I did the Psalmody International School of worship recap, but I am someone who likes to finish what they start even if it is months later. So today we will be recapping on lesson 11 from the psalmody booklet, and for this lesson we will be looking at  'Confession and Worship'. Please note that this is not a full bible study,it is mostly just a recap on what I had gathered from the booklet

CONFESSION AND WORSHIP

Hebrews 3:1, Therefore, Holy brothers and companions in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and High Preist of our confession. 

Jesus, now as the High Priest through the line of Judah (please refer back to a previous post to understand the significance of Jesus the High Priest) stands as our witness and reason for our faith and confession. Confession in this context is not the reluctant retelling of an individual’s sins but is our declaration of our faith in God and within that declaration, we verbally recount how the Lord triumphed over evil and made us whole. 

There is something powerful that takes place when we confess our faith that Jesus is Lord with our lips and believe in our hearts the miracle of Jesus being raised from the dead, we too become resurrected and made a new creation saved from our former ways, please read Romans 10:9-13 for reference. The words we speak over ourselves, circumstances and the people around us can direct our footsteps when we make confessions we are aligning our steps in God’s direction because the focus of our words, our confession is directed to God. It is difficult to walk towards God when our attention is diverted, I always think of when I am driving, just a split second of looking away from the road to change the temperature in the car, I begin to steer in the wrong direction. Through confession, we maintain our attention and not lose sight of the destination. Through confession we are speaking what is written in the scriptures, we are speaking and talking about Jesus, the word of God ( John 1:1).

Just like what is written in Jeremiah 15:16, we find joy in our hearts and rejoicing because it is through the word that our spirits are nourished, these words are food to our spirit man, the more we confess the more we nourish our spiritual bodies.

Confessions of a Christian III

There is this scripture found in Matthew 17:20 where Jesus is explaining to the disciples that because of their lack of faith they could not cast out the demons… he says :

“For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you”

Now, here is the thing I am certain I have greater faith then that of a mustard seed. No man can put me under the label of a doubter or question my lack of faith, for faith I have ( maybe not to the same degree as Abraham did who is the Father of our faith Romans 4:16), but I know I have more than a mustard seed. So now with Matthew 17:20 I brought my petition to the Lord and argued that He should heal me, then when it came to mind that I was already healed at Calvary 2000 years ago my petition then became a declaration in order that I should receive the healing that had been granted to me through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and I had scripture to back up every statement I made in my petition……………………………….BUT………………………….nothing.

Instead of seeing some sort of miraculous healing , there was more evidence to show I was getting sicker and sicker. So what had happened? Did my faith waiver? Did I not believe? Even in such a situation no man or creature could ever have accused me of not having faith, I concluded that there must be something not right with my petition but what was it. I took back my petition and took the most medically sound judgment regarding my health, but I did not forget what had happened during that period of spiritual campaigning.

My faith alone could not move the mountain

Today, as I decided to write this blog and confess of my inability to become healed and my failed campaign I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before…. verse 21

“However, this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting”

I know that this scripture was in reference to the casting out of demons, but I couldn’t help think about my earlier campaigning. Yes, I had biblical evidence and knowledge about the crucifixion to know that the healing was mine and that it had already been given to me, but I was struggling to receive that healing. I’ve explained in a previous post about how when we make a prayer request it is like ordering from Amazon, we have paid for the produce, the receipt we receive online is further evidence that the item is ours however, this item must be moved from a warehouse to our house before we have full ownership of it and within that process we have a tracking number to ensure it arrives well. Our prayer requests are similar, the receipt ie. The Bible is evidence that we own the product requested, however it must be shipped from heavens warehouse to our physicial/ spiritual house. However, here is the thing, I didn’t follow up with prayer or fasting, I knew my healing was somewhere in heaven’s warehouse but I didn’t know who made that healing I didn’t have access to his phone number, I barley looked over His company website nor read the fine prints. Here I was thinking I could walk up to the manufacturers office without an advisor, someone who knows about the protocols of the company and knows the best way to reach the manufacturer, someone who has the manufactures number on speed dial.

I was intending to walk on water without the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26 says ‘The spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us…’. I had faith to know the battle had already been won but I had forgotten to bring my lawyer with me to court. Prayer is much more than communication to the Father, it is a reminder that without him the impossible remain impossible and it realigns our position to His so that we may be reminded that it is not by our own strength or might that mountains move, it is our remembrance of His awesomeness, a reverance of His majesty and glory , not ours , that makes the moutain move.

me trying to tell the mountain to move

Did I ask you to grow tomatoes?

Some years back I was listening to a sermon by Joyce Meyer, within that sermon she began to talk about how lovely her neighbours garden was, and how perfectly manicured her lawn was and how whatever plant her neighbour grew would just look so astonishing, whilst hers was a mess. So one day she decided that she (Meyer), was going to grow beautiful tomatos comparable to her neighbour’s, she brought manure , studied how to properly seed the tomatoes and prayed for these seeds night and day but sadly nothing. Whilst her neighbours plants continued to flourish her’s looked diseased ( adding my own interpretation to the story for entertainment value). She became incredibly fustrated

“Why can’t I grow these bloody things!” she exclaimed

It didn’t take long til she turned her frustrations onto God, wasn’t she a minster, wasn’t she more spiritual than her neighbour, had she not prayed for her tomatoes to grow well ?

“God why can’t I grow nice tomatoes like my neighbour?” she asked, not long after she spoke a voice dropped into her heart

“Did I ask you to grow tomatoes?”

All this time she had been getting frustrated by something she didn’t even need to do.

In Zimbabwe ( where I am from), when you buy new furniture you buy it pre-made all you have to do is move it in, however, in England ( where I live), when you buy furniture it arrives in components that you have to assemble to get the desired product. A lot of the times, these do-it-yourself furnitures come with instructions that IF ( and that is a BIG ‘IF’) we choose to follow can get the furntiure assembled quickly but I’m sure many of us have by-passed the instruction manual or have missed a step and found ourselves trying to wedge two seperate components together that shouldn’t even be touching one another, we become fustrated at the manufacurer deeply regretting the day you thought it a nice idea to buy that piece of furntiure, or in the case of Joyce Meyer getting fustrated at our inability to do something we didn’t need to do particulaly when the instuction manual aka God never told you to piece those compnents together . I’m sure that all of you are smart and can understand the moral of the story, that we should really let God lead.

Wisdom is letting God lead you not vice versa. People tend to say that knowledge is power but I say knowledge is a key to wisdom, because no matter how much we know that if God leads all is well, no matter how much we know that the manufacturers provided us with a detailed correct instruction manual or that God never told us to plant tomatoes we still do the opposite. We are told countless times in the Bible to pursue biblical wisdom, ‘to get wisdom, get understanding… for she will watch over you’ (Proverbs 4:5-6), an entire book is dedicated to wisdom and her ways. A fool is not a fool because he has no knowlegde ,he is a fool because he chooses to not apply wisdom. The level of wisdom one has determines how they use their knowledge let me give an example:

We know we must study to pass our exams, we also know that we must give time to study long before the exam so that the learned information is retained. Yet a fool chooses to do all their studying the night before despite knowing that it’s not the best option.

I love a particular song by a Jesus culture, called ‘where you go I go’ because of the lyrics:

“Jesus only did what he saw you do, He would only say what He heard You Speak, He would only move when He felt you lead”

This was the wisdom Jesus had when he was on Earth, He knew nothing could happen unless he was totally dependent on God. Unless God tells you to there is no point to do it… it’s not that planting tomatoes is a bad activity it’s rather enjoyable in my opinion, but should the activity take you away from the glory or remove you from His presence then it is not great and we then need to re-adjust our reasoning for starting the activity.

Humility & Pride

I apologise if there is no particular structure in the following post…

To tell you the honest truth, I have been procrastinating particularly in regards to this topic, the number of times I have written, deleted and re-written this article within the last months is honestly a bit embarrassing. It has been such a struggle to write ( but then again what post of mine hasn’t), I mean… I have so many topics listed that I want to share with you all but I am honestly struggling to start. Which brings me back to the difficulty I have found starting this post. At first when I thought to write on the topic of humility I thought to explore people in the Bible who showed great humility like Moses or Joseph ( Jesus’ step-father) or to explore how God humbled Joseph in preparation for his position as the Prime Minister of Egypt but then I realised that perhaps Joseph was a far humbler man than I. So instead I thought to divert my attention and look at pride instead – the opposite of humility.

A few years ago as I was praying, God told me that I needed to address the pride that was in me, I was slightly taken aback,

“Pride! What Pride?”

Considering that I really didn’t think of myself of any high status or of any value, I didn’t understand what God was telling me but I prayed nonetheless that there would be no trace of pride in me. There was a desire to be closer to God and I knew that being ‘humble’ is what God wants us to be but I didn’t quite understand its definition. When we look at the dictionary definition of the word Humble it says:

‘the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance’

To me being humble meant admitting you have no worth, my distorted definition of the word was literally this ” God formed me from dust and that is what I am dust”. We may have been formed from dust but that is not what we are now, we don’t look at a bowl or vase as say it is mud so we can not look at ourselves and say we are dust when we are now children of God. As I am writing this I am laughing to myself as I think I now understand Matthew 25: 14-21 a bit better in terms of pride. In the passage found in Matthew, Jesus gives a parable of a master who gave talents/ money to his slaves, to one he gave 5 talents another 3 and the third 1. Whilst the first 2 made great returns with their talents the third buried his in the ground, so when the master came back it is hardly surprising to know that he wasn’t impressed by the third guy, but one thing which I didn’t quite understand is why he would call the slave ‘EVIL’. The slave’s sin was not that he didn’t make a profit but that he had pride, the pride to assume that he knew His masters intent:

“Then the man with the $1,000 came and said, ‘Sir, I knew you were a hard man, and I was afraid you would rob me of what I earned, so I hid your money in the earth and here it is!’

Matthew 25: 24-25 (TLB)

“There is no point in me doing anything because your just going to take all the glory for it whilst I did all the hard work”

In many ways my attitude was and probably is still like that: ” there is no point to doing anything as I am only dust, if God had wanted to make me great he would have made me from gold and not dust, therefore, God cannot do anything of significance on me, (do you hear the attitude!!). Though I have never said it like that I have gone to God many times saying:

“God I can not do this because… I can’t talk to them because I am… I know myself God and I can not do ….. I can’t tell you about this small thing because why on Earth would you care… God deal with the more important stuff whilst I deal with this”. I never quite fully let go of any burdens within me and allowed him to do what only he could do, my attitude was that God is going to take-away or just not respond to anything I have so with that mindset how could I submit to him wholeheartedly if I am holding back. I think I understand why it has taken me so long to write this post as this is an area of my life that God is still working on me (excuse the pun).

LESSON 10 : Psalmody international School of Worship Level 2

I was just reading Lesson 10 from the Psalmody international school of worship in preparation for this weeks blog, but I really wanted to write this. I knew that King David was a man who reverenced the Lord and worshiped Him wholeheartedly and that we as Christians are called to follow after his example of praise and worship. But, what I didn’t know (something which I have taken from Lesson 10) that King David instituted a revolutionary change of worship by replacing animal sacrifices for spiritual ones of thanksgiving and praise and ministering before the presence of God. Prior only High Priests had access to the Ark of the Covenant (please take a look at this post for more information) , but now David appointed Levites to bring to remeberance through their acts of thanksgiving of the works God had done for his people. So here is the Psalm of thanksgiving that transformed worship in the tabernacle and it is one we can all proclaim in our lives:

1 Chronicles 16: 8-36 (HCSB)

Give thanks to Yahweh; call on His name;
proclaim His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him; sing praise to Him;
tell about all His wonderful works!
10 Honor His holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice.
11 Search for the Lord and for His strength;
seek His face always.
12 Remember the wonderful works He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments He has pronounced,[a]
13 you offspring of Israel His servant,
Jacob’s descendants—His chosen ones.

14 He is the Lord our God;
His judgments govern the whole earth.
15 Remember His covenant forever—
the promise He ordained for a thousand generations,
16 the covenant He made with Abraham,
swore[b] to Isaac,
17 and confirmed to Jacob as a decree,
and to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
18 “I will give the land of Canaan to you
as your inherited portion.”

19 When they[c] were few in number,
very few indeed, and temporary residents in Canaan
20 wandering from nation to nation
and from one kingdom to another,
21 He allowed no one to oppress them;
He rebuked kings on their behalf:
22 “Do not touch My anointed ones
or harm My prophets.”

23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Proclaim His salvation from day to day.
24 Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonderful works among all peoples.

25 For the Lord is great and highly praised;
He is feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Splendor and majesty are before Him;
strength and joy are in His place.
28 Ascribe to the Lord, families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
29 Ascribe to Yahweh the glory of His name;
bring an offering and come before Him.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness;
30 tremble before Him, all the earth.

The world is firmly established;
it cannot be shaken.
31 Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The Lord is King!”
32 Let the sea and everything in it resound;
let the fields and all that is in them exult.
33 Then the trees of the forest will shout for joy before the Lord,
for He is coming to judge the earth.

34 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His faithful love endures forever.
35 And say: “Save us, God of our salvation;
gather us and rescue us from the nations
so that we may give thanks to Your holy name
and rejoice in Your praise.
36 May Yahweh, the God of Israel, be praised
from everlasting to everlasting.”

Then all the people said, “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.”