Entry #014 Praying to Die Daily.
In the physical world, every day that we live is another day closer to the day we die. In our society, people fight aging while trying to live longer. People are born and die each day. Death is just as a significant and real part of life as life itself. There is a time to be born, and a time to die. There is a time to kill and a time to heal. There is time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. The Ten Commandments instructs us not to kill, but the actual translation is, do not commit murder. God condones killing in the bible when war was necessary to take over land or protect territory, and in self- defense. But the first murderer Caine was condemned to a life of a vagabond, while still being under God’s protection as God still valued his life. Murder is when a person of sound mind, memory and discretion unlawfully takes of a life of another creature with malice aforethought. Laws concerning murder vary in degrees and mitigating and aggravating circumstances. Manslaughter is an unlawful killing that does not involve malice aforethought-intent to seriously harm or kill, or extreme reckless disregard for life. The two main variations include voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. When someone is provoked and commits a crime of passion killing in the heat of the moment, that is voluntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter often refers to unintentional homicide from criminally negligent or reckless conduct. When Adam and Eve sinned in the beginning, they brought death into the world. God never intended for man to die. But God causes bad things to work out for our good; for to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Jesus died so that we can have eternal life. Yet, here on earth we have to die daily to our sinful nature. Our flesh and bodies may want to do wrong, but our redeemed souls and converted spirits want to do what is righteous. Therefore it is a constant battle between good and evil. The good news is, we already know how the story is going to end. We are more than conquerors because Jesus has already won the victory for us. We just have to walk in that victory each day until He comes again for us to take us home with Him. So when we die daily to sin, sin no longer has control over us. We are no more captive to our lusts, addictions, and circumstances. So praying to die daily is asking God for the freedom to reach our destiny and live out our purpose without regrets.
Tri-State Local Gospel Artist Spotlight #014
Musical Director for the stage play The First Lady, Rev. Robert Preston has served as Composer, Pastor, Minister of Music and Youth Director. Preston was the Musical Director and Arranger for the Phila. Mass Choir, and founded the group “Wondrous”. As a gifted song writer, he composed and recorded songs with many gospel artists including his group Wondrous, Wilmington-Chester Mass Choir, the GMWA and many more.
Tri-State Local Gospel Artist Spotlight #013
Native Philadelphian Kefia Rollerson began singing at a very young age. As a pk (preacher’s kid), she traveled with her father all over the US singing at banquets, churches and conventions. Rollerson started the group KeSharee comprising of her childhood best friend and her sister. The group sang for secular artists and won various competitions, talent shows, trophies and cash prizes. She did a live recording with her Philadelphia high school music teacher Gregory Allen, and sang with her family Lady Rollerson and Passion. Kefia was featured artist at many venues from Deliverance Evang. Church to local stage plays. She has won a variety of accolades and awards, and her music continues to be in rotation on gospel radio.
Tri-State Local Gospel Artist Spotlight #012
Former lead singer of the New Jersey Mass Choir, Donald Malloy has been a pillar of vocal gospel traditions since the early nineties. Malloy made guest appearances on local, regional and national television tapings, and recorded a few solo projects. He toured the country to perform and lecture at many events including the GMWA Excellence Awards, and the Bobby Jones Gospel Explosion. Donald Malloy continues to minister locally and abroad offering quality musical contributions.
Tri-State Local Gospel Artist Spotlight # 011
The family group The Heaven Dee-Etts was formed by their mother, Mrs. Ora Mae Rushing in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Now residing in Trenton, NJ, the anointed group sings of true life experiences, tragedies, hope, healing, faith and eternal life. They have released many great recordings with the ultimate goal of bringing souls to Christ all over the world. The Heaven Dee-Etts received numerous awards and honors including the 1999 First Place Luther Barnes Full Gospel Classic award. Their motto is “A family that prays together stays together”.
Tri-State Local Gospel Artist Spotlight #010
Headed by the producer, musician, and vocalist John Murray, and the group called Worship took the gospel music world by storm. John Murray has been playing and singing since he was 8 years old. His career started at a small church in his hometown of Freehold, New Jersey where he sang on the choir and learned to play various instruments. Upon later moving to Philadelphia in 1988, Murray performed with many gospel music ministries, and founded the Philly group Christlike. He served as Director of Praise and Worship, and has performed in many prestigious arenas. The group John Murray and Worship were grand prize winners of the 6th Annual Pitchathon contest presented by the Philadelphia Chapter of the Recording Academy.
Entry #013 Praying to Deal with Shame
Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved, healed, blessed and delivered. God wants us to be whole in our bodies, souls, minds, spirits, and emotions. Because Jesus sacrificed His life for us, He provided us with the grace that covers all of our sins. Once we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, God sees our transgressions as shielded under the blood of Jesus. He no longer needs to punish us for sin; the wages of sin is death. But God’s gift of grace through Jesus affords us with eternal life. The law of sowing and reaping no longer applies to our sins, but to a lifestyle of giving and receiving. For when we sow sparingly, we reap sparingly. That is not to say that sin and wrong doings does not have consequences. Making bad choices will cause things to be unnecessarily difficult for us in the future. When bad things happen to a believer, it is not God punishing them. That would be double jeopardy, as Jesus has already taken all of our punishment from God on the cross. The unfortunate occurrences could be the result of bad decisions, or simple the effect of living life in a fallen, sinful world. When a believer does the wrong thing, however, we have an Advocate in the person of Jesus, who stands in the gap for us daily. A believer should be convicted by the Holy Spirit when they sin, but never be condemned by himself, others, or the Devil. Satan wants us to feel shame for doing wrong and therefore hide from God. God wants us to feel sorry for our sins, repent, and come boldly to His throne expecting forgiveness and restoration. Satan knows that if he can get us to carry guilt and shame, we will live a defeated and unproductive life. While a defeated Christian will still make it to heaven, their quality of life is greatly diminished here on earth. Satan knows that we cannot walk in the power and authority Jesus died to provide for us if we are consistently oppressed by his accusations. He will tell us that God no longer loves us when we sin, that He is too disappointed in us for us to come to Him, or the Accuser of the Brethren, the Devil, will tell us that because of our sin God no longer can use us for His glory. We can respond to Satan’s foolishness by reminding him of his eminent end; that he, the Father of Lies, is a defeated foe. God is not surprised by anything we have done, is doing, or will do. He has already provided a solution for every problem. We cannot ignore the Devil and the shame he try to bring into our lives. Ignoring and avoiding problems do not make the go away. We have to face them head-on with courage, knowing that God is always with us. So we can prayerfully deal with shame by rebuking Satan with the Word of God, resist him with the power of the Holy Spirit, and believe the promises of God not the lies of the Devil.
Entry 012 Praying to Be Okay Without
God promises to supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory. He owns the cattle on ten thousand hills, so as His children we are entitled to the blessings and provisions that Jesus died to provide for us. Yet, sometimes we suffer lack. Sometimes we have to go without having what we need, let alone what we want. As human beings, there are some things we all must have to stay alive. We all need food, water, sunshine, clothing, shelter, currency, companionship and love .And we can survive a period of time without these basic human needs. Since we are living in a sinful, fallen world, we may go without all or any one of these at any given time, or during any particular season. God never intended for us to live in lack in any way; in the beginning everything man wanted and needed was provided for him in Paradise. When man gave the Devil the keys to the earth by ignoring God’s command, sin, deprivation, trauma, and catastrophe was released upon mankind. Jesus’s death on the cross redeemed us back to God. He snatched the keys of death, hell and the grave from Satan, and He gave us back the power and authority to live abundantly on earth through Him. But there are many reasons why we still may enter into a period of lack. Sometimes it is just the season for it. Other times it is the result of bad or rash decisions. We may be experiencing lack as a consequence of the seeds we have sown. Yet other times it can simply be a test or a trying of our faith. Most of the time, Satan interferes with the manifestation of our provision so that we stop trusting in God. Unfortunately, it may be God’s will for us to be devoid of certain things for a time, but it is never His desire for us to develop a lifestyle of poverty and a mindset of degradation. He may use it to build character or to draw us closer to Him. When sin entered the world in the beginning; lack became a part of man’s reality. Although God never intended for man to go without for any period of time, He can still make that bad situation work it out for our good. He can use the time of deficiency as an opportunity to develop our character and our prayer life. Our society creates desires for us through advertisement and propaganda. If we are not careful, that urge inside of us to consume or achieve can become so strong that we do whatever it takes to get what we want. This is dangerous because we can become so driven by the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, that we lose all morality, humanity, and sobriety in the process. When we have to have anything more than God, we have made it an idol, and have created an addiction. Unless it is the Holy Spirit, whatever controls us will generally destroy us. So we don’t have to have anything but Jesus; it is okay to go without sometimes. Because in the season of lack, we get down to what is really important, we learn to not sweat the small stuff, and we learn to make the main, the main thing. Then in God’s own time, He will give us what we need and want as we continue trust in Him.
Entry 011 Praying to Perceive a Shift in the Atmosphere
Sometimes we can get so used to being downtrodden, broken and disillusioned, that we can’t see the forest for the trees. We haven’t necessarily given up on our dreams, and the promises of God; we just resolved to live without them. If we are not in tuned to the spirit world we can miss the move of God in our lives. Like Peter who sank in the water when he took his eyes off of Jesus, we can sink into of life of mere existence, routine and rituals. Life however, is not always dramatic and adventurous. Sometimes the majority of things we do are things we have to do. Sometimes we have to see the same old people, in the same old places, doing the same old things. But we cannot get so caught up in our situations that we fail to expect God’s best each day. God’s mercies are new each morning, and He wants us to have a spirit of expectation. Routine and rituals does offer benefits like stability, and they frees up our brains up for more creative processes. But when our duties and responsibilities become burdens, they can cause us to lose hope or our passion for life. Knowing this, Satan comes to tempt us with something that will destroy us, promising that it would bring excitement back into the mundane. And when we yield to that temptation, we are left more downtrodden, broken, and disillusioned than what we were before. Having experienced the negative effects of our decisions, we can still run to a gracious God who will love, help and heal us. While in the desert of our situation, God will cause us to hear the sound of the abundance of rain. He will drop a word of hope into our spirit so that we can see the shift in the atmosphere that He has created. When we believe that things are going to get better, and that this too will pass, we will begin to see the sunshine of God love removing the cloud of despair. He will give us beauty for ashes when we come to Him in prayer and supplication. And as we mediate on His word and not our issues, we will begin to see the manifestation of his promises in our lives. One word from the Lord will turn everything around for us. The sacrifice of praise and worship, and the meditative waiting in His presence creates an environment where God can effectively work things out in our lives. The problem can be that we have been so bound for so long, that we cannot recognize freedom when it is made available to us .We may not even feel happy once God answers our prayers because we have dealt with the pain of the problem for so long. We may be saved, healed, delivered and blessed without realizing it because we are still reminiscing on the scars of the past. So praying to perceive the shift in the atmosphere is being sensitive to the still small voice of God’s love, and remaining open in our spirit enough to receive His blessings.
Entry # 010 The Jesus Prayers
There are many versions of Jesus Prayers that seek immediate deliverance from our Savior. The most common simple prayers include, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner”, or just plain “Jesus help!” When Peter sank after being distracted while walking on water towards Jesus he cried, “Lord, Save Me!” And when the father wanted Jesus to deliver his son vexed with an evil spirit he exclaimed, “Lord I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.”
Jesus is a very present help in the time of trouble. He is always ready and willing to turn our mess into a miracle, our troubles into triumphs, and our tests into testimonies. So when we have an immediate need, we don’t have to pray with flowery words or religious jargon. We can simple ask Him for help. The Holy Spirit interprets what type of deliverance we require, and God extends His loving hand to save us. We don’t even have to rely on our own faith; we can use the faith of Jesus which is pure and not polluted by our life’s circumstances. It is possible to have faith and doubt present at the same time. We may believe that Jesus can answer our prayers, but doubt that He will actually do it for us. If we are entertaining doubt and disbelief we cannot expect to apprehend what we ask for in prayer. The problem may seem so unsurmountable that we allow unbelief to short-circuit the manifestation of what we are seeking God for. When we received salvation, God gave us the mustard seed, mountain- moving faith that we need to live a victorious life on earth. God expected us to exercised that faith until it becomes like a tree planted by the rivers of water bringing forth much fruit in our own season. Yet our faith can lie dormant inside of us if we fail to use it. But Jesus hears all the cries of His children, and He knows all of our struggles. And when we pray the Jesus prayers we can use His faith to guarantee results and answers to our supplications.