Entry 09 Praying to Properly View the Past
We can look at our past with endearment or disdain. Depending on the experiences we had, and the emotions tied to those experiences, we can view the past as pleasant or gloomy. Science teaches us that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And depending on whether or not we are wired to view the world optimistically or see it as the glass half empty, we tend to focus on that particular perception. Our world and the media condition us to receive and process bad news on a regular basis. But for every bad thing that occurs, good things are happening simultaneously. When someone dies, someone else is born. As someone terrorizes a community, some else is risking their life to save others. When faced with so much negativity, we can begin to feel like the prophet in the bible who felt he was the only one serving God in his community. God reminded him, however, that He had seven thousand souls who had not bowed to idol worship. Satan wants us to think that believers are the minority. But we are the salt of the earth, and salt is plentiful. The disciple John saw in a vision a number of worshippers that no man could number. Our Christian environment may be scarce where we are because God may have planted us there to evangelize that community for His kingdom. But we have no idea how many people God has all over the world functioning effectively as members of the body of Christ. There are believers in every race, and in various denominations and religious affiliations. When Jesus told us that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world, He was not only talking about power, strength and influence. He was also speaking of quantity and numbers. So when we look at all the bad things in our past, we can chose to see God’s hand of love and mercy in those situations as well. If someone mistreated us to reject us in our past, God embraced us and blessed us in spite of that situation. So properly viewing the past is seeing it in a balanced way so that we can learn from it and move on from it, understanding that God makes all things new, and causes all things to work together for our good.
Entry 08 Resolving to Declare God’s Word
The Container Store put out 15 things we can resolve to make time for in this New Year. 1. Road trip, take the scenic route. 2. Try a new food. 3. Laugh until you cry. 4. Say “no” more often. 5. Grow a garden. 6. Find a cause you love, find out how to help. 7. Nurture your friendships. 8. Have a dance party in your living room. 9. Turn off the devices at dinnertime. 10 Pursue your passions. 11. Write a letter, send it. 12. Take more naps. 13. See the obstacles as learning opportunities. 14. Take a deep breath. 15.Of course, Get help getting organized.
These are all great resolutions that can improve the quality of our lives. But to improve our spiritual lives, we can resolve to declare God’s word over every situation, and over all aspects of our existence. Simply stating the facts or being realistic about the circumstances does not change our situation. To activate change on earth, we must tap into the spirit realm. God’s word is powerful, eternal, and constant. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever; His word never changes. The promises that God gave us in His word are yes and amen. We just have to use the faith of Jesus to declare them so that they can be manifested in our lives. Satan works hard to convince us not to stand on God’s word. But he cannot tempt us with anything that we don’t already think. Therefore it is crucial for us not to entertain the idea that God doesn’t hear us or that His word is not effective and relevant for our lives today. When we believe in the power of God’s word, it will work for us. We may have to stand on it for a period of time before we see results, but it will be worth the consistent wait. So as we make resolutions to improve the quality of our natural lives, let us resolve to declare God’s word to realize benefits which are eternal.
Entry 07 Praying to a God who Foreknew us
The bible declares that God knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb; that He has a good plan for us, and a great purpose for all of our lives. In life, we often struggle with not being understood, accepted, and appreciated. We all grew up with some dysfunction that may have caused us feel alienated or even unwanted. By virtue of the fact that we are believers, we experience a degree of isolation on this earth because our faith is so contrary to the world’s system. It’s hard to find people who actually get us, who can handle our stuff, and who love us unconditionally. But God knows us all intimately, and He foreknew us before the foundation of the world. Even in the beginning, God already had a plan of redemption in place before man ever sinned. And God has a specific plan and purpose for each one of us today. Because of free will, we can choose whether or not we will walk into it. We can abort the plan of God in our lives by turning away from Him or by taking control of our own lives without God. But even that is not a surprise to Him. We could not come to God except He draws us by His Holy Spirit. God already knew who would eventually serve Him. Therefore we should consider it a blessing to be “the called” according to God’s purpose. He chose us to serve Him. God knew we would love Him, and accept His grace. However, it may seem counterproductive then, to pray to a God who already knows what we are going to ask of Him. But that is exactly what He wants us to do. God wants us to ask for what He already knows we need, and be in the position to receive what He has already provided. So when people don’t understand us, or reject us, God knows all about it. He even allowed it to happen to move us to another level in Him. Because He loves us, He will cause all things to work out for our good. So praying to a God who foreknew us is exploring the higher heights and deeper depths of God love, mercy, grace and favor.
Entry 06 Praying to a God who is With, In, and For us
One of the many tactics of Satan is try to convince us that we are all alone. Our reality may be that we are by ourselves due to loss of friendships, death of loved ones or a breakdown of relationships. But the truth is that God is always with us. He promises never to leave us nor forsake us. If we ascend into heaven God is there. If we descend to hell, He is there also. There is no place so remote or obscure where God’s presence cannot reach us. Jesus said that He would be with us always, even until the end of the world, and that He would not leave us comfortless, but have sent the Holy Spirit to be inside of us forever. Yet, because we don’t physically see God, or often sensually experience Him, it becomes easy to feel that God is not there. Sometimes He is silent, and appears so far away from us in our times of distress. But God is always just one prayer away. If we seek Him, we will find Him. If we ask for His strength, guidance and comfort, He will give it to us when we wait patiently on Him. God is always with us, caring about the finite details of our everyday life. When we make Jesus our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells within us. And when we seek to do God’s will, God is for us. For if God is for us, He is more than the whole world against us. So when Satan comes with his lies telling us that we are all alone, we can remind him that we are God’s beloved ones. And though our reality may be that we are standing by ourselves, we may feel alone but we are not lonely. God teaches us how to enjoy and embrace our aloneness, as we do introspection, and take time to heal, learn and grow. It is in those times when we figure who we are, who we were, who we are becoming, and who we want to be. And when our individual selves become more complete and whole, God will send people into our lives to further enhance us. So praying to a God who is with, for and inside of us is tapping into the spirit realm where the source of God’s presence is endless.
Entry 05 Revelations 5:12
Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb, that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.
Entry 04 Hebrews 13:15
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruit of our lips that confess his name.
Entry 03 Psalms 148:13
Praise the name of the Lord: for Hos name alone is excellent.
Entry 02 Psalms 150:6
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
Entry 01 Jonah 2:9
…But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord
Entry 05 Brian Pittman
Union Baptist Church’s Minister of Music Brian Pittman is a songwriter, producer, preacher, minstrel, mentor, clinician, musician, conductor, and worshipper. Born and raised in Chester, PA, Pittman became a strong influence and role model for many young people pursuing music and ministry. He is founder and CEO of Pittman Christian Music Group, Founder and Lead Teacher of Youth Alive Nation Church, Director of Music and Arts at the historical Union Baptist Church in Allentown, PA, and National Youth Pastor at Pentecostal Methodist Evangelical Church. Pittman has written nationally recorded songs and has accompanied many gospel greats from Wilmington Chester Mass Choir to Beverly Crawford.