Tri-State Local Gospel Artist Spotlight for Week #36

Entry #36 Tim Spady and Inspiration

Philadelphia native Tim Spady of Tim Spady & Inspiration had a passion for music and playing the piano since he was a teenager. He honed his craft by pulling from a variety of sources and started his career playing for a children’s church choir. Spady studied under world renowned organist Michael Stairs at the Haverford School, and took lessons from the Gibson School of Music. He has composed many songs, recorded with and played for a variety of local artist and musical functions. Spady served as Director of Voices of Praise a choir he re-founded at Franklin and Marshall College. Considering anyone who has sang or played with him as part of the group Inspiration, Tim Spady’s musical career was further launched with the release of his first full length project “Songs from the Heart.”

Tri-Ste Local Gospel Artist Spotlight for Week# 35

Entry #35 Williams Sisters

The Philadelphia based six voiced family group The Williams Sisters, began singing together during childhood. Their 1996 debut project “Live on the East Coast: Let Every Ear Hear” received great airplay on national gospel radio stations, and landed in the Top 10 on Billboard Magazine’s Top Gospel Albums chart. The William Sisters Renee, Janice, Juilette, Vanessa, Patricia and their mother Terry take gospel music back to its traditional roots. They continue to minister with power and authority both locally and abroad.

Tri-State Local Gospel Artist Spotlight for Week #34

Entry #34

The ministry of John W. Howard Jr. and The End-Time Levites were birthed on the campus of Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ on September 23, 2000 after being led by God and inspired by  II Chronicles 29. Minister Howard Jr. is a lifelong gospel singer, composer and drummer who became a minister of the gospel in 2002.  The choir consists of various young people from different walks of life and church denominations. They have traveled extensively and appeared with many gospels greats from Richard Smallwood to Shirley Caesar. The End-Time Levites goal is to spread the message of hope, deliverance, peace and salvation bringing Christ’s end time message to God’s people through the gift of song.

Tri-State Local Gospel Artist Spotlight for Week #33

Entry #32

Rev. John Alexander Thompson of the Johnny Thompson Singers began his musical studies at age 5. He has served as pastor, choir director, musician, musical instructor, and composer, and has written nine stage plays. In 1955, he founded the Sunlight Jubilee Juniors (The Blue Robe Boys) and wrote his first gospel song “The Creation”. Rev. Thompson has played for, sung with, and recorded for many great gospel artist, choirs and groups from Rosetta Tharpe to the Mighty Clouds of Joy. He is the Founder and Director of the Johnny Thompson Singers since 1965 which has toured over 50 countries around the world.

Tri-State Local Gospel Artist Spotlight for Week #32

Entry #32 Syreeta Thompson

Stellar Award nominee Syreeta Thompson, known as the “Trumpet Lady”, is a noted instrumentalist and clinicians in the musical arena.  Thompson is a skilled and educated minstrel who is in demand for speaking, teaching, writing school district curricula, and for performing musical presentations. Her extensive education began at age 12 at the Merit Music Program and Sherwood Conservatory of Music to obtaining a Masters Degree in film scoring and jazz composition and arranging. Thompson has served as one of the Instrumental Music Coordinators for Dorinda Clark Cole’s Singers and Musician Conference and at a variety of retreats, guilds, conferences, and music departments. She has shared the stage with various gospel greats lending vocals as well as smooth trumpet melodies.

 

When Praises Go Up Praise Verses for the Weeks##32-36

Praise Verse #32 I Chronicles 29:13

Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

 

Praise Verse #33 Psalms 16:7

I will praise the Lord, for he has been good to me.

 

Praise Verse #34 Revelation 19:5

Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!

 

Praise Verse #35 Psalms 22:22

I will declare your name to my brothers: in the congregation I will praise you.

 

Praise Verse #36 II Samuel 22:47

The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!

 

Praying in the Spirit Using the Word of God for Week #29

Entry# 029 Using God’s Word in Prayer

God has elevated His word above His name. He spoke and the worlds came into existence. In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jesus is the Word of Life. He sent His word and healed us all. God’s word carries power, authority, anointing, life, and grace. His word can empower us to do His will, give us authority over the kingdom of darkness, anoint us to effect positive change on the earth, provide life to dead situations, and give us the grace to live a life of purpose and destiny. God’s word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. God wants us to study His word so that we can rightly divide the word of truth. The word of God is an essential weapon of spiritual warfare. We get results when we pray in faith using God’s word. As we pray declaring what God said, His word will accomplish whatever it was sent it to do. It will come to pass if it is in God’s will. Our God is a speaking God who longs to communicate with and through His people. We are made in God’s image and likeness, and have been given the same power of speech. We can speak life or death to our situations. We can speak encouragement or despair to others.  We can speak blessings or curses over our children. The difference between our words and God’s word is that His words are irrevocable. Our words can be changed and manipulated. Someone can speak curses over us that can be reversed simply by tapping into a higher power. We can use God’s word to break generational curses, demonic strongholds, and satanic oppressions. We are operating in our God-given authority when we allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us. We may not know what to pray for, but the Holy Spirit always does. If we let Him have full reign, He can speak through us in an unknown heavenly tongue that speaks to a future and destiny we are not fully aware of. Some people may have the gift of interpreting this unknown tongue, but it is not necessary for us to understand it in order for it to be effective.  In the early church, the disciples spoke in known tongues on the day of Pentecost. People from all over the world heard their language spoken by those who could not have known it, and they we saved. If we are willing to give up complete control of out tongue for a moment, we can allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us however He sees fit. But He needs something to work with; we have to study and hide the Holy Scriptures in our hearts. Coming before God with praise invites His presence. For God inhabits the praises of His people. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous person, who is justified by grace through faith, is a prayer that uses the word of God. So instead of just giving God our complaints and our to-do list in prayer, we can allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us using the word of God, guaranteeing results.

 

Simple Sample Prayer

 

Dear Lord, we come to you with praise in our hearts and thanksgiving on our lips. We thank you for all that you have done, praise you for all you are doing now, and bless your name for what you are going to do. We thank you for life, and that more abundantly, for health, for by your stripes we are healed, and strength, for the joy of the Lord is our strength. We praise you for this day. For this is the day that you have made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. We thank you for waking us up this morning, for every morning new mercies we see. And we praise you for laying us down last night, for you give your beloved sleep. We lay down our burdens, needs, flaws and cares at your feet, for we know you care for us. We know that we are deeply loved, highly favored and greatly blessed because the Bible tells us so. Help us to walk in the grace you have provided for us, knowing that you daily make intercession for us. And as we pray in the spirit using your word, we know you will grant us our petitions. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Praying in the Spirit Using the Word of God for Week #28

Entry 028 Praying to be True to Ourselves

We often wear many masks and put on many hats. We serve various functions in different situations, and our identity can be connected to the many things we do and the people we are involved with. Our conversation is different to a co-worker than it may be to a fellow church member. Many people portray a different image of themselves on the internet than they do in person. We sometimes give ourselves to people who are not equipped to handle, value or appreciate the gravity of who we really are. Consequently, they take us for granted, or take from us, or take advantage of us. Sometimes because we have been so contorted by people and life, we do even know who we are anymore. We have forced ourselves into the boxes of other peoples’ expectations. Often times we have been mandated to do so many things we don’t want to do but have to do, that it is difficult to remember what we wanted in the first place. So much of our time can be spend helping other people, solving problems, trying to make ends meet, and trying to survive the emotional roller coaster of life that there is never time for self -evaluation.  As we are constantly switching gears, balancing activities, and managing our obligations, we can often lose aspects of ourselves. Life is constantly making withdrawals, leaving us depleted and frustrated. If don’t make time to get into God’s presence, hear, read and study His word, and spend time in prayer, we will not get the deposits we need to live a successful, triumphant life. We cannot get what we need from any one person. God created a God-sized void in all of us that only He can fill. That is why our spirituality needs to be a priority. The one thing the Devil wants us to be is too busy to do introspection. He will crowd our lives and schedules with clutter preventing us from having time to mediate on God’s word, and getting quiet enough to hear from Him. In the Garden of Eden, the first question God asked man was “where are you”? That is a question we need to ask ourselves on some regular basis to evaluate our physical, mental, emotional, social, financial and spiritual states and lives. We need to take regular inventory on what is true to us and for us today. As our lives evolve, our personal truth changes as well. Growth and development involves discovering a higher truth. What was true for us in our youth may not be applicable for us as we age. And truth is subjective; what is true to and for one person may not be for someone else. That is why we need to run our own race, not comparing ourselves to others. And we need to uses God’s word, depending on the Holy Spirit for our meter of truth. No other source, including our own conscience can be totally reliable. Our conscience is so marred by experiences, pains, hurts, grievances, failures, and flaws that we cannot depend on it to reveal to us what is really true. We must depend on Jesus, the Spirit of Truth to lead and guide us. Our identity is not dependent on what we do and who we are associated with. True identity comes from an understanding of who we belong to, and a revelation of who God is to us. And as we seek to know Him, He reveals Himself to us, consequently showing us who we are. We waste so much time and energy trying to be something we are not called to be, trying to make people accept us who are not tied to our destiny, and engaging in activities that are not central to who we are. An indication of what we should be working on is the thing that bothers us the most. Perhaps the problems we see are indicative of the solutions God wants us to be in the earth. Jesus is the only unchanging way, truth and light. But our truth here on earth is constantly changing. The only constant here is the core, the seed, and the purpose that God put in each one of us from the foundation of the world. We have to continually uncover it and allow it to manifest itself in different ways and in different seasons of our lives. Even when we fail, God can always help us get back on track if we come to Him. So praying to be true to ourselves is striving to become what God created us to be walking boldly into our personal destiny.

 

Simple Sample Prayer

 

Dear God, thank you for knowing and having the ability to perform the good plans you have in store for us. Help us to lay down our agendas, goals and dreams at your feet so that you can reveal the greater purpose you have for our lives. Show us how to live our lives focused on being true to ourselves. We know we cannot lie or hide from you; although we may try to deceive ourselves and others. Help us to stand in our truth and move toward becoming more and more like you. And as you guide us toward being true to ourselves, we can transparently help others from a pure yet guarded heart. We ask this in Jesus name, Amen.

Praying in the Spirit Using the Word of God for Week #27

Entry 027 Praying to a God who is Good, Love and Holy

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. There is none good but the Father. Yet everything He created in the beginning, including us, was good. Life is often hard, people are sometimes bad, and many of life’s situations are not good. But even the bad things of life God will cause to work out for our good when we love and trust Him. It is in those circumstances where we experience the most spiritual growth. When we are in challenging situations, it is very hard to see God as love. God does not just love us unconditionally, He is love. He gave His only begotten beloved Son to show His love toward us. We pass the test when we maintain that God loves us in the trying times, and when we trust in His love and grace to see us through them. God is holy. He wants us to be holy as He is. The only way we can truly walk in holiness is to allow God to live and work through us. Our best effort will not result in a holy life in our own strength; we must rest in the holiness of God. When we believe right we will live right because we understand that God is living inside of us. We need to always be aware of who God is, and see Him in every situation. We call Him by many names: Jehovah, Addonai, Elohim, etc., all of which denotes some special aspect of His character. But when we come to know Him as good, love and holy, it becomes easy to make Him the Lord of our lives. Satan wants us to see God as unjust, especially when tragic things happen to people we perceive to be good. He wants us to blame God for every catastrophe and tragedy. Because God is good, He is only the author of all good things. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. Yet God allows bad things to happen to us; He rains on the just and unjust alike. But if we trust Him, God will make all our wrongs right, and bring good out of every bad situation. Satan does not want us to trust in God’s love for us. He will remind us of our faults and failures, and use that to make the case that God no longer loves us. Because God is love and He made us in His image and likeness, it is not possible for Him to not love us. He loves us just as much today as He did in the beginning, and in the same way in the end. Nothing we could ever do, nowhere we could ever go can separate us from God’s love. Satan wants us to see God as so holy that we cannot have a close connection with Him. The truth is, because God is so holy, He provided a way to remove and cover our sins through Jesus Christ so that He can have an intimate relationship with us. God desires to speak to us and commune with us daily.  So praying to a God who we know to be good, love and holy, is praying to have a deeper, wider and higher relationship with God, and to become more and more like Him each day.

Simple Sample Prayer

Dear God, help us to see you as the loving Father and kind Savior that you are. While we are speaking to you in prayer Lord, help us to bear in mind your goodness, love and holiness. Open our eyes and our hearts so that we can comprehend the breadth, length and height of your grace, and not focused on our current problems, faults and issues. Help us to rely on you to work within us that which is good, lovely, and holy, and to lay all of our burdens at your feet. If there be any virtue or praise, help us to meditate on these higher things, thusly mediating on you. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.