When You Don’t Feel Like Worshipping

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So here I am, my bent knees pressed to the cold wet ground;

The skin of my face glistening with the tears of unending despair and hopelessness.

North, South, East, West, I search earnestly for answers;

Nothing but thick, gray, soupy fog!

Where is He who laid the foundations of the earth?

Where is He whose breath gives ice and freezes the broad waters?

Has Heaven shut its eyes and ears to my pain?

Has the Immortal King perhaps fallen into a deep sleep?

Is anybody even listening? Does anybody even hear me?

Oh my! I feel my soul no more. Can I even offer worship?

Pretense it may be, for I will go through the motion;

What do I do now? What do I do?

Oh no! The pressure is building up, I can’t contain it anymore.

Argh! Lord, please quiet the noise

[I pause for a few moment. I feel total silence within now.]

Be still. Be still. Be still and know that I am.

I AM THAT I AM, AND ALL THAT I COULD EVER BE.

I AM He who commands the morning to appear and cause the dawn to rise in the East

I AM He who gives strength to the horse and adorns his neck with a shimmering mane

Look at the birds of the air;

Not tied down to a job description, yet I feed them

Forgotten so soon?

You are on Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem

You are in the presence of thousands and thousands of angels,

Ready to be dispatched on your behalf.

How close you are to me!

Now spread your case before Me and let Me handle the rest.

Lies and a change of mind? Not my game

Just the thought of it desecrates my Name

If I did it before, I will do it again

My promises never fail

So my child, I say, wait in faith

It’s just a matter of time before the wind of the Spirit starts to blow

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The Great Physician’s Report: ‘Anorexic or Obese in the Spirit’?

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Excessive weight gain or weight loss has never been a healthy cause to champion in life. The frustration that comes with knowing that you’ve gained/lost extra pounds—your ‘cosmetic makeup’— isn’t the major concern. The real danger is you stand the risk of developing health-related diseases that have the propensity to cause long-term health complications later in life—disability and death. This is why it stands as one of the world’s major public health concern because of its rising incidence and high death rate among individuals worldwide. Moreover, it may interest Christians to know that not only does the physical human body experience these conditions, the spirit man is also highly susceptible to them—and it’s also life-threatening! Kindly join me as we read the Great Physician’s report on this sensitive subject.

 DESCRIPTION

What does it mean to be ‘anorexic or obese in the spirit’? An ‘anorexic spirit’ is one that has undergone deliberate starvation of God’s Word resulting in a ‘spiritual weight loss’. An ‘obese spirit’ on the other hand piles up lots of ‘spiritual calories’ and fails to burn them, leading to weight gain. The interesting thing is both do not necessarily plan to lose or gain ‘spiritual weight’ in an unhealthy way but their choice of action unfortunately leads them to unhealthy outcomes.

 CAUSES

How does it come about? Let’s start with the ‘anorexic Christian’. The problem here isn’t laziness. Rather, it stems from mere misconception about studying God’s Word.

Misconception #1: Following biblical instructions is pure legalism. Such people perceive the reading and studying of God’s Word as adhering to some strict rules of ‘what to do’ and ‘what not to do’ in order to be in right standing with God. It feels like ‘checking the box’ as one will say.

Misconception #2: You don’t have to know so much of the Bible to be effective in your output. The ideology states that once a person trusts the Holy Spirit to the letter, he (she) doesn’t necessarily have to be head over heels about studying the Bible into details as the Spirit can equally equip him (her) to fight daily battles, not forgetting the promise that ‘He will teach you all things and remind you of everything…’.

And because of that, the passion to consume the Word of God—the food for the soul and spirit—is lost. End result: Excessive weight loss.

The ‘obese christian’ delights in spending time to read and study God’s Word into detail. As if that isn’t enough, he (she) consumes numerous Christian tapes and sermons from other preachers in addition to reading Christian articles, blog-posts, novels and other Christian-related write-ups. In other words, there’s a lot of packing and packing and packing and…yeah, lots of packing BUT ZERO PROCESSING. And this marks the dawn of excessive weight gain—more ‘spiritual calories’ are taken in than the spirit man burns, and the excess is stored as ‘spiritual fat’. End result: Excessive weight gain.

 TREATMENT AND PREVENTION

Lifestyle Modification. The solution to these conditions rests upon life-long behavioral changes.

Diet. Watch what and how you eat. Not everything you come across on the internet or the bookshop is safe for ‘consumption’. Just as you make time to visit the ‘customer review’ section to check the integrity of a product when making an order online, develop that same habit to test the integrity of every Christian material you come across because some are meant to build you up while others will show no mercy in tearing you apart.

How do you eat at home? You make every effort to eat properly, to eat a balanced diet that meets your body’s requirement for healthy growth and development. In a balanced diet, you find the body-builders, the energy-boosters and the immune boosters. In the same way, don’t be too one-sided with your Bible study. Learn to explore other areas of God’s Word. Build a solid foundation (body-builders) by reading the Historical Books of both the Old and New Testaments to learn the story of Israel and Jesus Christ (and the Church) respectively. Boost your spiritual energy with revelations and encouragement from the Prophetical Books of the Bible. Make an appointment with the Poetical Books. These are ‘high-fiber diets’ (rich in wisdom) required to loosen up your ‘spiritual bowels’ so that your spirit man can empty any junk that isn’t profitable from its system. Don’t skip the Epistles, visit them too. While they carefully instruct you on Christian doctrine, they also offer protection by teaching you how to fight against similar attacks that hit the Early Church (immune boosters). And as you do that, spend ample time to research more into your findings by using reliable Bible tools, not forgetting the power of prayer and meditation. This way you’re less likely to develop stunted growth in any area of your life.

Exercise. Make every effort to live out what you learn from the scriptures. Don’t just stockpile biblical teachings into your spirit. The weightlifter doesn’t build muscles by watching them self-inflate miraculously. No. He puts his knowledge about bodybuilding into practice. He works out tirelessly (despite the many failures that may come his/her way) until the desired outcome is seen. The same applies to the Christian. Once you receive the Word, step out of your comfort zone and live it out. Better to always try and even fail at something than to fail to try because belief without corresponding actions is dead. Someone once said that ‘those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.’ A similar lesson to take home; if you have no time to build up your spirit man now, prepare then to find time to deal with the avalanche of trouble that is ready to come your way soon.

Develop the right mindset. Concerning Misconception #1, living according to God’s Word isn’t a legalistic practice UNLESS your motive behind your actions are ‘I have to do this and that in order to make the man upstairs happy and probably get to heaven’. That’s a wrong mindset. Your total obedience to God’s Word—an act of the will to align our lives with His commands—must be driven by a genuine love to live an honorable life that is so much pleasing to the One who gave His life as a ransom for you. Once you set your motive right, you come to know and understand that you delight to study God’s Word because of an inexplicable love that has captured your soul.

Concerning Misconception #2, one example for illustration. You hear people say that one doesn’t have to be so knowledgeable in the scriptures when going out to evangelize as it’s the Holy Spirit who does the conviction and not us. That is very true. The work of a Christian is not to do the conviction because no man draws ANY soul to Christ; it is the work of the Spirit of God to draw men unto Himself. But don’t forget that we are the ones called to go out and announce this good news. Yes, we are not alone because we have the Holy Spirit to direct our paths so we act in line with God’s word to be efficient and effective. But how can we effectively reach out to someone if we don’t even know how to blend into the culture of our surroundings as per what the Bible teaches? How can we be useful out there, if we are ignorant of how the apostles went about soul winning? How can we even tell when and when not to visit a particular vicinity to spread the good news? The Bible was documented for a purpose: to teach us what is right, what is not right, how to get right and how to stay right. The only way to become complete and efficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for the tasks God has for us is if we make a conscious effort to study what the Bible teaches. This is the reason why we can’t lazy about by clasping our hands together and offering prayers wrapped around the mindset that the Holy Spirit is going out there to do our work for us while we sit in our small corners looking out for the miracle of people trooping into the church in their numbers. Be reminded that you also have the responsibility to study to know how to approach your hearers. As for the Holy Spirit, the ‘paraclete’ (Greek word which is translated as ‘Comforter’ which means ‘One called alongside to help’), He was not sent to come do our job for us. He was sent to come HELP us carry out OUR responsibility. All He does is to lead, guide and push us gently. We are expected to yield to all these promptings, step out there and proclaim the glad tidings. Develop a wrong mindset concerning this or any other portion of scripture in the Bible and the whole purpose of what it desires to communicate becomes defeated.

The ‘anorexic christian’ shouldn’t be the only one advised to develop a right mindset. The ‘obese christian’ must pay heed to this caution too. And once you begin to feed on God’s Word, remember to eat a balanced diet and don’t forget to work out your ‘spiritual calories’.

 Physician’s remarks: Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God — the free life! —even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. (James 1:22-25 MSG)

 

Lose It With Quickness!

10574To be under constant vigilance is no play. The issue here is we are being watched because we Christians are noted for making some pretty outrageous claims. We’ve said a lot of things concerning our Faith. Some are intimidating. Some just don’t fit into the category of human reasoning. The world wants to know if we are jokers, lunatics or kingdom-carriers like we confess to be. The work is already a heavy one and some of us have succeeded in adding extra weight to it. I want us to look at some interesting Christian phrases. Before we begin, please note that some nerves might be pricked in the process (mine has already been pricked though). Okay, let’s get to business now!

“Let’s put Christianity aside and [fill in the blank space]”. Christianity is a way of LIFE. A life aimed at elevating one from a state of deadness to a state of fruitfulness—in Christ Jesus. The Christian will readily agree to that. Quick question, if you put Christianity (life) aside, what do you have left? Common sense is telling me right now that all the times I chose to put Christianity aside, my thoughts, actions and everything else was bound to dead works. Just dead. Unfruitful. Unproductive. Valueless. Do you see where this is going? Maybe we never saw it that way but that’s the truth. Don’t expect to be productive to your family or your friends or your workplace if you decide to put Christianity aside. And wait a minute! Christianity isn’t a heavyweight belt we can lay aside and pick up anytime we want to. It doesn’t work that way. Christianity is the only dress we never take off. Once worn, it is forever attached to your body. The temptation to do something uncalled for will come alright. But it’s definitely not the time to undress yourself to handle the situation in your nakedness. You definitely need God’s muscle here. Keep your spiritual dress on and page your maker for more details on how to handle what’s before you. Don’t make the mistake of casting your dress aside. Keep Christianity onside always. Because it wont leave you helpless when it acknowledges the obstacle before you. It will provide you with the strength and wisdom to come out victorious. NEVER PUT CHRISTIANITY ASIDE!

Unnecessary “Amen”. I believe you know what that means. LET IT BE SO. Sometimes, I wonder if people really pay attention to what the preacher man is saying or not. “Your family is blessed”. “Amen” “Your marriage is blessed.” “Amen”. “I don’t know about you bu—” “Amen”. There you go. You didn’t even wait for the speaker to land with his message but you’ve already ‘made it so’ in the spiritual realms sealed by the precious and matchless name of Jesus. What if the preacher was about to say “I don’t know about you but the enemy has stolen so many times from me…” then maybe he begins to narrate a story about his claim. Do you realize how your ‘Amen’ goes out of sync with the message? Don’t get stuck on an ‘Amen’ replay. Your spoken word carries power. You don’t want to go about establishing some unwanted decrees in life.

“…And God laid it on my heart”. I understand that we want to make every effort to deliver ‘fresh word’ from God to the people around us. It’s not bad. But please don’t be in the habit of telling people that God laid a message on your heart if you know deep down that He didn’t do so. Don’t commit yourself to making absurd claims if you’re unsure. You may see it as a benign statement but it’s actually a subtle lie. Just be yourself. If it’s your own message, let them know it’s from within your spirit. If it’s a direct revelation from God, tell them it’s from God. But don’t go about appending God’s signature to your self-declared messages without His authority. It’s a No-No.

“When the Holy Spirit takes over you can’t worry about clocks”. I’m not really sure where this idea comes from but God is not the author of confusion. The believer’s life must reflect the very character and nature of God. That’s why we have the Holy Spirit to empower us with the ability to produce good fruit (of which self-control is part). Another thing is God’s Spirit does not possess men. God’s spirit is a gentle spirit. He leads. He guides. He doesn’t manipulate us to do anything. In short, He PROMPTS we YIELD. If he did possess us in the process of our singing or praying or preaching, then our case would have been valid. Do you think we would be listening to any sermon from the pulpit if the intercessor or the chorister decided not to worry about clocks because the Holy Spirit took over? They won’t struggle at all to go on and on and on. But no, that will create confusion and imbalance in the church, which is contrary to God’s nature. Wherever God is, there must be peace and order. We have to understand the times we live in and discipline ourselves accordingly so the church of God can grow. If we’re indiscipline in life, let’s recognize that fact and make a conscious effort to break the bad habit instead of blaming it on the Holy Spirit. I say it once again, The Holy Spirit doesn’t possess men. He leads. He guides. He PROMPTS. We YIELD.

“You are in the SPIRIT”. And if you’re a Ghanaian like me, ‘You’re in the SHHPIRIT-Ha!’ is more like it. As if we have the ability to enter in and out of the spirit whenever we feel like doing so. That’s right! Powerful men and women of the Most High! The moment a brother or sister in Christ says/does something ‘extraordinary’ with a touch of spirituality to it, then it means that fellow is ‘in the spirit’. But if you’re in the spirit, you’ll have to be more specific because there are 3 different kinds of spirits out there: the human spirit, the Holy Spirit and evil spirits. Do you remember the story about the girl in the Bible who kept telling everyone that Paul and his cohorts were people of God who had come to declare the way of the Lord? She was ‘in the spirit’ too just that it was a demonic spirit manipulating her in this case (Refer to Acts 16:16-18). I beseech you by the mercies of God that the next time you say you or someone is ‘in the spirit’, just be more specific so we know what we’re dealing with. It will help a lot. But all jokes aside, have you ever asked yourself the kind of thought you entertain in the minds of non-Christians anytime we crack this kind of jokes? Remember that they don’t share the same views as you when it comes to certain matters in life. Or you aren’t responsible for how they interpret or understand your words/actions? Well, once you’re a Christian your neighbor is your greatest concern and biggest responsibility. You might want to note that down. We are like the practical version of the Bible on Earth so we have to be very careful.

“Mikada Zimini Ozi Rikava Brankaba Zata!” Were you trying to understand that? Oh, I’m sorry I was only trying to greet you in tongues. So I’m guessing you haven’t reached that ‘level’ yet that’s why. Aha! Go ahead. Just feel free and say it. LIKE SERIOUSLY? My sentiments exactly. So now, tongues speaking isn’t only for spiritual edification or for strengthening one’s faith, a new inclusion has been added to the list: greeting one another on a ‘higher level’. You see, tongues speaking is an unknown language that only edifies another person as long as it’s interpreted by either the speaker himself or an interpreter standing by. Please if there’s no one to interpret your ‘spirit-filled’ greetings, kindly keep it to yourself and greet in a known language. No need to misuse the sacred prayer language of the Holy Spirit.