I have been thinking a lot recently about the story of Paul and his companion whilst they were in Prison. In Lesson 8 Psalmody International school of worship level 2, Tom Inglis draws parallels between the actions of Paul and his companion whilst in prison with what is written in the book of psalms. It made me realise how in sync their worship was to the bible and how much they had an understanding of the book of the bible to know what to do whilst in bondage and know-how and when best to praise and worship. It got me thinking of how little I know the book of Psalms let alone the Bible to be able to act upon the actions of my predecessors.
Starting with Jesus was created 9 months ago and the more I’ve written on this blog the more ill-prepared and ill-equipped I have felt regarding my relationship with God. The arrogance I once had to have believed myself to be better than where I was last year has with time dissipated and what’s left is a certain humility that makes you realise how little I know about God or the Bible.
This is my recap of lesson 8 of the course which I have decided to follow, this is not intended to be a full article or bible study but is just me picking out the key topics and themes I got from Lesson 8.
I know, I know, I know… I didn’t upload last week on my current status on this course (mostly because I didn’t open the booklet anytime last week), so I ask for forgiveness.
LESSON 8: WORSHIP IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
The Bible often speaks about the importance of worship and we can see this in the book of John 4:22-24 ‘But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him…’. When God the Father is seeking such worship you know its a valued commodity, you know that there is a purpose behind believers who worship, it is not a pointless endeavour that is done to boost our self-esteem, there is something spiritual and of value behind a believer who worships in ‘Spirit and in Truth’. ‘Jesus is presently singing in the midst of the church… he is united with us in song as we celebrate His victory’ (Tom Inglis)
11 We who have been made holy by Jesus, now have the same Father he has. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call us his brothers. 12 For he says in the book of Psalms, “I will talk to my brothers about God my Father, and together we will sing his praises.” (Hebrew 2: 11-12, TLB)
Churches are not only praying for souls but preparing the atmosphere to receive them with praise’.
I love what Tom writes in this course that ‘churches are not only praying for souls but preparing the atmosphere to receive them with praise’. The key word I picked up is ‘atmosphere’, we are not just reciting words but developing an atmosphere that welcomes and embraces people openly in the same way that it was the atmosphere of His presence that embraced us so lovingly when we gave our lives to God. In Acts 16:25-26 when Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God prison doors where open, chains were broken and the earth was shaken, this story just reminded me of how when David played his instrument the things that tormented Saul left ( 1 Samuel 16:14-23), the things that kept these men hostage where released once praise and worship was introduced. Praise and worship invite’s the Holy Spirit and prepares our hearts to accept him, when Paul and Silas were in song and worship they were not praying out of fear but praying from a position of faith, they allowed for the atmosphere of the Holy Spirit to intercede. What’s more extraordinary, is that their actions were in accordance with the word that had been written years prior, they knew exactly what to sing that was specific for their circumstance:
“I hurried not hesitating to keep Your commands. Though the ropes of the wicked were wrapped around me, I did not forget Your law. I rise at midnight to thank You for your righteous judgment”
psalm 119: 60-62
There is something called being a ‘Practical Christian’, if someone comes knocking at your door hungry it can be tempting to pray “Father, we pray that this person may go in peace and may your love surround them all the days of his life” when really we need to just give them food. This also happens in our prayer life where what we need we don’t ask and instead we pray about something else… or we ask but don’t have anything to evidence why we should receive. I loved studying English literature when at secondary school because I used to say you can make up anything just so long as you can find a quote to prove your argument… okay maybe don’t makeup but my point still stands unless you don’t have a scripture to support your case your request is somewhat void. Paul and Silus understood this for ( the following is taken from the booklet)
Both incidents found in Psalms 119:60-62 and Acts 16:25-26 were recorded as happening at midnight or the middle of the night
Both were bound by chains of iniquity
Both were determined to break free to give thanks
Both used the basis of God’s righteous judgements ( His Word) to secure freedom
Mankind is waiting to hear a new song, a song of deliverance from the redeemed that will also set them free (Psalm 40:3)
Through their praise and worship, the other prisoners were also set free.
Tuned into the frequency of heaven
In the Old Testament in Numbers 10:1-10, there are 2 trumpets which were created, now depending on the sound the trumpets made, people would be informed of whether they were going to war, to sacrifice, to move location etc … etc. If the people did not know what the sounds meant it spelt trouble. The people had to be in tune with the sounds from the trumpets, they had to be in tune, in harmony with what the Lord said. When we praise as mentioned prior, we invite the presence of the spirit, an atmosphere of heaven into our present environment where despite being on Earth we are now operating in the heavenly and we are thus more in tune and more in line with the sound of our Lord.
‘Be filled with the Spirit, converse with one another in the music of psalms, in hymns, and in sons of the spiritual life, praise the Lord heartily with words and music and rendering of thanks to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ at all times and for all things’ ( Ephesians 5: 17-19) —> What an instruction to receive , an instruction for us to live in continuous praise and worship, to be interceding in worship, living in worship, communicating in worship to the point that we are overflowing with the Spirit of God whose breath moves and has its being in us.
There are Christian songs that I hear but I often find that the ones that stick in my head the most are ones which might as well be a direct translation from the psalms… I would sing them as a child without even knowing that I am quoting the very bible I found boring. Mum and I joke quite often when she drinks a fruit juice that has been out of the fridge for a while, that it might be alcohol (since we don’t drink alcohol ) and if she starts singing merry songs then we know she is drunk. When we are drunk in the Holy Spirit, it is only natural to sing merry songs about our God like how men start singing when merry with alcohol.
The Revelation of worship
We can use the book of revelation as an indication of what the church will eventually look like. The new testament church is a singing musical church and must operate as such. Here are some scriptures found in Revelation in support of what Tom Inglis writes
Revelation 1:10-11 ( the voice of Jesus was like a trumpet)
Revelation 4:1 ( Voice like a trumpet)
Revelation 5:8-10 (4 living creature +24 elders with harps and singing)
Revelation 8: 6,13 (7 angels with 7 trumpets)
Revelation 9:14 ( angel with trumpet)
Revelation 14: 2,3 ( harpists and singing)
Revelation 15:2, 3 ( overcomes with harps singing a song of deliverance
I have a list of topics and studies that I want to write for this blog, but I often question to what extent I should write them. The problem is not that I don’t have a biblical foundation or prior knowledge of the topics, it is that I’m not practising what is in the bible. What do I mean?
Well I set up this blog in the hopes that it would at least encourage me to pick up the bible and pray more often, it has helped in the Bible department but the initial enthusiasm I had to explore the bible has somewhat faded a little but at least I’m opening it and reading it ( maybe not to study). However, I still find myself with a somewhat non-existent prayer life. I guess compared to where I was last year where the thought of getting on my knees terrified me, not because I thought God was angry with me ( disappointed maybe?) but because I was angry with him and so I felt really awkward to even speak to him. However, now I guess I don’t have the awkwardness of last year but prayer wise and I mean really sitting down to talk to God and not just a passing thought or word that I’ve said to God, but actually spending time with thy maker … that has not happened. I can not even give the excuse that I’m too busy when I know more than anyone that being an adult is about knowing your time and managing it accordingly. A few weeks ago I had taken up crocheting and was desperately trying to crochet a blanket, I would spend my evenings crotcheting and wake up early at 5am to crotchet. Yet when the alarm rings at 5am I can not muster the energy to exercise let alone pray. In the mornings I say I will give at least 10minutes to pray in tongues ( at least my spirit man will be fed something) but even that is usually spent prioritising things that don’t need prioritising so instead I say I will pray on my way to work. However, there is a difference between walking to work and walking to no particular destination… one begins planning for tomorrow and one focuses on the present.
I think the next pebble I have to overcome is that spirit of “But I don’t feel like it” because if Jesus followed his emotions when in the Garden there would be no ‘Starting With Jesus’- TRUTH!
What I am trying to say is Holy spirit, I know you’re a gentleman but I kind of need you to force me into prayer with my Father… So yeah!.
I have to admit, for the last few weeks I have been on the lazy-side, I was even contemplating on pausing this series or anything that I write on this blog for sometime. Why? Well part of me was wondering whether this was the right track to take, ( “I mean I really didn’t consult God when creating this blog” she confesses), creating this blog had been a vague idea of mine for quite a while but it wasn’t untill I felt I was in a desperate situation trying to crawl back to His Kingdom did I feel I needed something to push and encourage me in my endevours. I thought I could just pause on this Psalmody series purley because
I felt like I wasn’t being impacted in the same manner as I did when reading the book of John in the ‘Fall for Christ Series’
I wasn’t making the milestones on this blog as I would have desired so, naturally concluded I must be doing something wrong surely?
It came to mind several times that I never actually consulted God or waited to hear from Him ( like so many other things), and the thought that creating this site was a mistake was on my mind. But then I remembered that from the first post God had been revealing so many other things to me through the Bible and had even directed my studies considerably particularly about ‘The High Priest, the Tabernacle and His covenant’-> things previously learnt but never fully understood. Again ! please do not look to me as an avid reader of anything let alone the Bible or even someone who prays consistently in fact, I look to these peopel with both jealousy and apathy at the same time. I’ve mentioned this several times in other posts but this site was literally created to force me to open the bible and potentially if and when I had or have the courage ask God what to do for the next post. Although, I feel like I have made no progress; I have. Before SWJ, the thought of opening the bible just gave me a headache ( mind you I had just finished my ‘BA honours’ in a subject that requires a great deal of reading), now it doesn’t I’m actually excited to open my bible when I remember where I placed it, and in terms of prayer … well I have to get back to you on that one.
So why am I telling you all of these things when the topic for this lesson is ‘Kingdom Worship’. I realised this week that I have been thinking from an Earthly perspective of the word ‘success’ and not God’s version of success. Just being called a Daughter of the Most High is a success, my name even means Christ is with Me (TRUTH!!!!!), knowing that I am a fully fledged member of His kingdom is SUCCESS!!!. I was thinking about Abraham a lot these last 2 weeks and just thinking how much of a biblical success he was but on Earth he left his VERY comfortable life to live in a tent for the rest of his life he didn’t even see the kingdom ( both the physcial land of Canaan and the spiritual God’s kingdom) that God was talking about. If I had been Abraham and God had told me his going to build a nation from my womb I would have expected to be a Queen of a nation or something, but I appreciated Abraham because it is at that moment I realised that he was not thinking of himself he was thinking of God and His perfect Kingdom.
I don’t need to concern myself with who is seeing these posts or how many followers I have or how holy or spiritual I am in comparison to so-and-so because I know the Holy Spirit is molding me into the perfection that God sees inside of me. My focus is on revealing the glory of God to all mankind ( wow, as I wrote that sentence I think I’ve just found my purpose) the limelight is not on me it’s on God and his Kingdom, I wanted to return to that same relationship and even further which I had a year ago and I want you to also follow me not because of me but because your seeing God —> your following not because you see another sheep, but because you see the shepherd … am I making sense????
There is something which Tom wrote in the lessons and it is this:
” The church has focused so much on just getting into the kingdom through salvation, but have little understanding of how the kingdom works and what to do when we are in the kingdom”
I think this is sadly true, and I am looking at myself when I say this, living in the kingdom is seldom taught and it is not something we have to wait till we get to heaven to do, Please read the Book of John to witness Jesus living in the Kingdom whilst still on Earth or alternativley check out the ‘Fall for Christ series’.
I know I have just been rambling about a lot of things, and have commented little from the Lesson 7 Kingdom Worship, but the truth is this is my recap of what I’ve learnt from reading the series so far and I can write whatever I like.
This is my recap of lesson 6 of the course which I have decided to follow, this is not intended to be a full article or bible study but is just me picking out the key topics and themes I got from Lesson 6.
Key Scripture is take from Hebrews 8:6
But Jesus has now obtained s superior ministry, and to that degree He is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been legally enacted on better promises.
Covenants between nations or kingdoms in ancient years where there as a source of Protection and preservation particularly for weaker nations who wanted to protect themselves from potential attackers, a source of Financial security, Exchange and Love
Covenant has the idea that everything that belongs to the one covenant partner belongs respectively to the other, they become inseparably linked, almost indistinguishable from one another… [it] gives us the potential to become almost indistinguishable from God…when people meet us, they see the Christ in us
when people entered into a covenant they would do this through a blood sacrifice, often slitting their wrist and drinking one anothers blood , by doing so they would be saying “now we are one”. Through the sacrifice of Jesus we received the greatest covenant because our covenant is with the one whom we know personally. The objective of the covenant is to exchange lives… God took our life of sin and and gave us His life of righteousness.
COVENANT WORSHIP: There is something interesting that Tom mentions in this section is that worship is our response to God for the revelation of Himself in His covenant… the more you receive from God the more you respond in worship. Last year, when I was trying to understand the Bible more I ended up through the direction of the Holy Spirit studying Hebrew’s 8 and coming to understand what is meant by covenant and what is a tabernacle. Having grown-up in the church these terms wer familiar to me but stillnot fully understood and last year I had fun really learning about the covenant, you can read the article I wrote last year if you click this link.