All heaven declares
The glory of the risen Lord
Who can compare with
The beauty of the Lord?
Forever He will be
The Lamb upon the throne
I gladly bow the knee
And worship Him alone.
I will proclaim
The glory of the risen Lord
Who once was slain
To reconcile man to God.
Forever You will be
The Lamb upon the throne
I gladly bow the knee
And worship You alone
A Song of Ascents
126 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.
4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the Negeb!
5 Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
6 He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
Beware of the “Just in Case” philosophy when conducting church services. It’s human wisdom at its best and I see it creeping into churches. This philosophy says, “Prepare every detail of the service in advance, prepare the worship music exactly the way you want it. Prepare and rehearse the introduction of the sermon and songs, so you don’t stumble over your words. Get the closing prayer written down and ready. Then, Just in Case the Lord doesn’t show up, you can still put on a great show!” Church service should NOT be like a Broadway production. (Robert Brownell)
113 Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!
2 Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore!
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised!
4 The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
6 who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!
Praise the name of the Lord God. Everyone who works for God be encouraged to praise his Holy name.
Don’t praise Him only now but instead praise him now and forever.
From your time of getting up to the time of resting praise the Lord.
God is not like anything common. For he is exalted above all nations and the glory of heaven. No one can compare to our Lord God who created the heavens and the earth.
Merciful is the Lord for he uplifts the poor and needy. He places them with the princes of his people.
Bountiful are the Lord God’s blessings. He lifts up the barren woman in her affliction so that she receives children bringing much joy to her.
Praise God because he is worthy to be praised!
Fasting is a time when you put a stop on eating food so that you can spend that time in prayer. It’s not the same as dieting therefore where the purpose is to lose weight instead of doing worship.
In other religions fasting is seen as a way to appease their gods to grant them a wish so that they make their life better. Due to this they have specific times in the year dedicated to fasting. Now even in the Christian faith we do fast at times, though we are free to fast whenever the Holy Spirit leads us. Here the emphasis on fasting is not gain favors from the Lord. Instead here we are to fast so as to concentrate on the things of the Spirit and pay little (or no) attention to things of the earth. This doesn’t mean we neglect our earthly responsibilities.
What happens in the course of eating too much? People sometimes get too engrossed in worldly things that they miss out on discipline. We are called to hear the voice of Jesus the good shepherd. At times others voices too call out to us which must be rejected if they try to lead us away from God. These are the voices of fame, fortune, pleasure, food and drink etc.
If one is too engrossed in satisfying his physical needs alone, it gives the Devil a chance to tempt him. Not that you can’t resist him even then but when you are balanced and sober you can really fight back really hard against the Evil one.
Though the below verse doesn’t relate directly to fasting, it shows us that the word of God is supersedes our physical needs.
Matthew 4:4 But Jesus answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Keep away from worldly pleasures if you are to walk closely with God. Remember the story of Esau in Genesis 25:29-34 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
Due to his over indulgence to the needs of the flesh, Esau lost out on his heritage both in the physical and supernatural. Now his behavior is an extreme case, though the lesson we are to learn from this is never to value things of the flesh no matter how legal they seem, more than the things of the Lord God.
In the same way at certain times in your life one must keep away from things that could distract you from seeking God even if they seem sincere. This could even mean keeping away from food (temporarily) so that you can worship God and hear his voice.
Now a word of caution, fasting or not fasting is not a trick to manipulate God into blessing you. Nor is fasting with foolish intentions or wicked living ever encouraged in the Bible.
1 Corinthians 8:8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.
Isaiah 58:3-7 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
When you fast take some time to seek to the Lord in prayer. If you are working then adjust your timings or even take a leave so that you can fast and pray together. The reason for this is that you don’t gain notice of others who may praise you for fasting. Matthew 6:18 says that, That your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Worship God out of respect for him. Fast because you want to show you value the Lord over your physical need to have food. No need to go on fasting forever nor to injure yourself due to self neglect. Fasting of a day or two is fine, maybe more if your body permits. If you are on medication or have come out of surgery then do consult your doctor before going on a fast.
It’s highly advisable that during such times of fasting and prayer that you read the Bible and meditate on it. Try to find out what the Holy Spirit wants to you read in the Bible. Do it all well because its your special time with the Lord Jesus.
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8
Training oneself physically helps you stay fit and agile. Regular exercise prevent excess weight gain. To climb mountains, a person undergoes a lot of conditioning both physically and mentally. This helps one climb up and down the mountain safely and effectively.
Athletes and soldiers exercise almost everyday, so that they can be in prime fitness whenever needed. Even animals such as dogs and monkey do some form of excercise, which looks very amusing to me. Astronauts in space are needed to excercise to maintain optimum muscle function.
So I surely can say that physical training is good for you. What physical training you need to follow is up to you. You would need to a bit of personal research, though speaking to a professional can help too. If you are on medication take your doctor into confidence about what training program you intend to do.
Now, 1 Timothy 4:8 doesn’t say not to excercise physically. It rather shows that spiritual training or training for godliness is much more beneficial than physical training. Physical training helps us in this life. Spiritual training helps us in this life and the after life as well.
Now what does training for godliness include. It includes reminding yourself of your new nature in Christ. It includes honoring the sacrifice of Jesus in partaking of the Lord’s Supper. It includes reading the Bible with the intent to grow. It includes hearing the Gospel regularly. It includes
remembering the prophecies in the Bible. It includes using the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It includes avoiding being a ‘solo’ player in Church but instead helping others in it. It includes training yourself to pray in all forms, such a silent and vocal prayer, praying in tongues etc. It includes training yourself to worship Jesus with all your mind and strength.
So by now you may notice that spiritual training includes a lot of things. You need to train yourself against all attacks of the devil to steal your faith. You need to carry your cross daily. With mass media you can also read or hear and watch a lot of sermons on various spiritual topics.
I used to train myself a lot in casting out evil spirits. I didn’t bother to listen to any critic but decided to only use a bibical approach and avoid any foolish mystical stuff. This benefited me. On a few occasions that came up suddenly I found myself casting out demons though I was not an excorcist. This gave me a chance to preach the gospel even more to the affilicted person.
A point in spiritual training is that you must never overdo stuff and instead be balanced. I mean it’s really extreme to read books only on healing others most of the time but neglecting the overall training in godliness. With all due respect, you might become a good healer from God but you could miss on fellowship with other church members due to being constantly busy.
Too much emphasis on excorcism will make you concentrate on trying to detect spirits even in normal people. It can really annoy people in the business world if you are constantly talking about demons instead of work. You need to therefore take all spiritual training which will also teaches when and how to behave in a particular social setting.
With that said you must train for godliness in all areas adequately. If you are weak in a particular area like counselling a terminally ill person then do take help from people who are known to be proficient in that area. You can even ask the Lord to give you wisdom in that area and he will give it to you abundantly and without adding reproaches.
Take up training for godliness not in fear but with a desire to glorify God. Happy training!