Continued from here.
The final component of quiet time that Lysa TerKeurst mentioned in a video for her Bible study, Finding I AM: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart, is engaging in praise & worship. While there are other ways to do this, I am a musical person and thoroughly enjoy using music to help with this. I have a library of over 600 Contemporary Christian songs on my iPod, and I choose a few each morning to guide me through my praise & worship time.
Not every Contemporary Christian song focuses on praise (thanking God for what He has done) or worship (admiring God for who He is). Many focus on the Christian walk or experience. While they have their place, I don’t use those during my praise & worship time because I want my mind focused on who God is and what He has done. As I shift my focus onto God, He grows larger in my mind while my problems grow smaller. It’s not that my problems become smaller. Instead, my perspective shifts as I recognition how the size of my God dwarfs the size of my problems.
Left to our natural tendencies, we are all woefully self-focused. As we focus on ourselves, our problems grow larger in our own heads, like the lens of a camera zooming in so that our problems fill the entire frame. Praise & worship shifts the focus of the camera outward so that God fills more of the frame than the problem. That is the correct perspective of life, but we won’t get there without shifting our focus to God, which is why praise & worship are such an important part of our daily quiet time with God.
Even focused praise & worship time for one song (3-4 minutes) can help shift your perspective, shining hope and life into your life, regardless of how large your problems are. This was an important part of surviving my son’s major back surgery in 2015. I could have easily become self-focused because that was a very difficult season in my life. Choosing to set aside lots of time for praise & worship helped me keep God in the frame and believe that He was in control during a time when everything felt out of control.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace singing and playing a guitar. Courtesy Bitmoji.]
Continued from here.
I have found that I am much more successful into holding my ground – and even advancing – when under heavy spiritual attack if studying God’s Word, prayer, and worshiping God are regular parts of my daily life. This is what Jesus modeled to us a well. He clearly knew God’s Word well when he fought off the enemy in the wilderness. He regularly prayed to God and was taught even in boyhood to worship God regularly. Studying God’s Word, praying, and worshiping God were all regular parts of Jesus’ life. If he needed these spiritual disciplines to remain obedient to God, how much more important is it for you and I do to the same?
I incorporate all three of these practices into my morning quiet time. I spend several minutes in prayer, not only for myself but for many others. I work through the next lesson in my Bible study or study a passage of scripture when I am between studies. I also memorize books of the Bible (one book every other year) to help ensure I have those scriptures available when I need them, even if I don’t have a Bible handy. And I spend time in praise and worship, using Contemporary Christian music to focus my thoughts on what God has done and who He is.
When I am under heavy spiritual attack, my temptation is to cease these practices, so I instead double up on them. Whenever I feel the temptation to push God away, I know I need Him even more, so I double up on all of these offensive weapons, spending an extra 30 minutes to an hour with God, even if it means getting less sleep to do so. Sometimes, I am under such heavy spiritual attack that I cannot stop crying long enough to do them, so that becomes part of my quiet time as well – sobbing at the foot of the cross as I pray for God to strengthen me. I then meditate on scriptures about God renewing my strength and being my strength in my weakness. I have a playlist on my iPod for specific songs to help guide me back to worshiping God. This advance preparation has helped me endure numerous spiritual attacks. I might not be victorious in all of them, but I certainly land at least a few punches as I go down. I remind myself that whether or not I lose this battle, the war is already won.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace hitting a baseball under the words, “Home Run.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]
Continued from here.
While the armor of God passage only includes two offensive weapons – the Bible and prayer – God has shown me a third offensive weapon I can use, which is worship. This was a weapon that Gideon used before leading the Israelites into battle against the Mideanites:
When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, ‘Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands.’” ~ Judges 7:15
When we worship God, we take our eyes off our enemies/problems and focus them onto God. Rather than seeing the size of our problems, we become aware of the enormity of our God, who is much bigger than anything we face. We stop comparing our limited resources to the mountain of problems and, instead, recognize that our God is so much bigger than the mountain. It’s not our job to move the mountain: it’s our job to worship the God who moves the mountain.
Gideon was not a brave person. In fact, the Angel of the Lord appear to him while he was trying to thresh wheat indoors in a winepress because he was hiding from the Midianites. When the angel told him that God planned to use him to deliver Israel from the Midianites, he pointed out that he was the least member of the weakest clan of Israel. He asked not for one test, but two opposing tests, to ensure he really, really, really heard God correctly. Gideon was not a brave guy. And yet, after worshiping God, he spoke decisively and led his men into battle armed with nothing but trumpets, empty jars, and torches. Worship is a powerful way to prepare yourself for spiritual attack.
If you don’t worship God regularly, you are going to have a difficult time doing so when the lion pounces. Praising and worshiping God while you are being pummeled by flaming arrows is going to feel counterintuitive unless doing so has become a natural part of your day-to-day life. Set aside time daily to praise and worship God so you will have this offensive weapon available to you when you are under spiritual attack.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace playing a guitar with musical notes and hearts floating out of it. Courtesy Bitmoji.]