The Flow of Prayer into Praise

God said . . . Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 7.57.43 AM

In order to understand Positional Christianity, you must understand that there is a flow to it. Prayer flows into praise, praise flows into hope, hope flows into healing, and healing flows into purpose. God did not think the world into existence. He spoke the world (I am using the term “the world” to speak of the universe and all that is within it) into existence. And from His words flowed forth creation (Gen 1).

So, if there is a flow to God’s words, there must also be a flow to our words. Though, before God spoke the world into existence, He had to think what He wanted. There was no world before He created one, so He had to know what He wanted, think it, and then speak it. His words were an expression of His desires and thoughts.

Intimate Communion with God

In the same way our praise is the outpouring of our intimate communion with God. That is the words we speak aloud in praise, and the good works we do, which He created for us to do (Eph 2:10), must be an outward expression of our intimate communion with God. If our words of love and honor to God, as well as our acts of service to God, do not flow forth from our intimate communion with God through prayer, then our alleged praise to God has little meaning.

Now, imagine if God told the angel Gabriel he could create a world and creatures to serve him (In other words, imagine Mormonism was true, with the Angel Gabriel in place of the demon Moroni). Imagine that we were that creation and we read a Bible given to us by Gabriel. Imagine this Bible said Gabriel created the world; though, the God who created the Angel Gabriel spoke forth and tried to create a world, but He did not have the power. What would you think of that God? You would probably think such a God who cannot see His words fulfilled through the creation of what He spoke is powerless.

Praise through Words and Works

Now, understand this is why James said, “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead (James 2:17).” If God had thought that He wanted to create a world and even tried to speak the world into existence, but that world never came into existence, we would think the faith of such a God dead. So, our praise, which is both our verbal expression of our love and honor of God and our action to glorify Him by serving Him and others, must flow forth from our prayers. The creation of the world was an expression of God’s desires and thoughts, and so also words of praise and acts of service must be an expression of the desires of our hearts that we gain through intimate communion with God. If we pray and our intimate communion with God does not flow forth into our praise through adoration and honor of God, as well as acts of service to God directly and indirectly by serving others, then our faith is dead.

If a man gave a woman whom He did not know, know anything about, or ever spent time with flowers, and then claimed that he loved her, his action and his words would have little meaning. She would think, ‘He cannot love me because He does not know me, my desires, or my needs.’ His expression of love and his act of giving her flowers would have little meaning. They would be self-serving, and could not be an expression of love or honor to her, because he would not have spent any time getting to know her, her needs, or how he could serve her.

So also our words of love and acts of service to God must flow from our times of intimate communion with God. If we do not spend time in intimate communion with God through prayer, then our attempts to adore Him and give Him honor are little more than out of “selfish ambition or vain conceit (Phil 2:3).” This is why the Apostle Paul said, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal (I Cor 13:1).”

Praise without Prayer

Now, the question is do you go to church on Sunday and sing worship songs, and do you feed the homeless or give to the poor? That is great. But do spend time in intimate communion with God? Do you pray? I am not talking about 15 minutes a morning, of which 10 of those minutes is reading a daily devotional and scriptures to go along with it. Do you enter into His presence daily?

So, from what position do you praise God? Do you praise Him from the same position as that of the Samaritan woman at the well, who was more concerned with show (John 4:19)? Or do you praise Him from the position of wanting to know Him, which flows forth from your time of intimate communion with Him (John 4:24)?

Once a person begins to praise God in spirit and truth, their praise will begin to flow into hope. Praise that does not flow out of spending time becoming intimately acquainted with God through prayer cannot flow into hope. It can exist, but it will not flow into hope. Though, that person may praise God outwardly through verbal expressions of love and honor to God, and serving God and others, they will not gain hope and will remain stale like the waters of the Dead Sea until they enter into intimate communion with God.

 

Tell me, how is your prayer life? Do you notice that the more you pray, the more your times of intimate communion with God flows into wanting to praise God? Do you think you can praise God in Spirit and in truth without a strong prayer life? Share any thoughts you have with me.

The Objectification of ‘Pretty’ and Redemptive Nature of Forgiveness

In the movie “12 years a Slave,” people are devalued and treated like objects. Throughout the movie, there are scenes in which these people stand in rooms and their captors touch, poke, and otherwise handle them much like a dress in a store.

12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

In Beyonce’s newest video, “Pretty Hurts,” which is about women preparing for and going through a beauty contest, there is a similar scene. All of the contestants are standing along a wall, and a gentleman is drawing on them, touching them, and making sure they are of good value to their judges. They won’t be bought or sold that day, but they are objectified and valued like merchandise. Just as the slaves in, “12 years a Slave” find their self-worth based on whether or not they are accepted by those that objectify them, the women in this video seem to base their self-worth on whether or not those men that objectify them find value in them.

When I saw the title, “Pretty Hurts,” I thought of ‘pretty’ as describing the ‘hurts’ inflicted upon women. In other words, that the wounds inflicted upon women in our society are somehow ‘pretty.’ Though, I think that just as our male dominated society objectifies women, and many women see ‘pretty’ as a level of acceptance to be obtained, we have objectified the word, ‘pretty.’ We consider something ‘pretty’ if it attains to a certain level of aesthetically pleasing standards. A woman, we have taught them as a society, is not ‘pretty’ unless her objectified, physical appearance is similar or better than that of another object to which she is held up in comparison.

‘Pretty’ is no longer an adjective to describe an object. Rather, ‘pretty’ is the object the subject (women) try to become, and it is the attempt to attain to that object that becomes the barometer by which many women measure their value. In that, as a society, we have moved from objectifying women to objectifying language in the form of the word ‘pretty,’ and women are held in subjugation to trying to become a certain type of object. If we understand the word, ‘pretty’ in the title as an object (a noun), we can understand how the word ‘hurts’ is used as a verb or adjective. Both uses of ‘hurts’ describe a physical or mental wound inflicted by the objectification of ‘pretty.’ The title describes the object inflicting wounds up on the subject.

Just as black men and women were subjected by the word ’slave,’ the attempt of women to become an acceptable object (‘pretty’) wounds them physically, emotionally, and psychologically. And just as, the objectification of ‘pretty’ can hold a woman in subjugation to attaining to a level of acceptance, so also the knowledge of sin holds sinners in subjugation to the full awareness of their sinfulness.

Hebrew 10:1-4

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.

Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshippers would have been cleansed once for all, and would have no longer felt guilty for their sins.

But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins.

It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

When Christ came, He came to cleanse our consciousness.

He came to free us from the guilt of sin, and all the sacrificial system did was remind people they were slaves to sin. The sacrificial system didn’t pay off the debt of our transgressions against God, rather it just reminded the people of their debt. The high priests knew they would just have to go back to the temple the next year to make another sacrifice. They were, along with all of the people of Israel, under the subjugation of sin. Christ didn’t come to make the final payment; Christ came to make the only payment that counted. God demanded the blood of a perfect lamb, so our conscious could be cleansed from the bondage of sin, but we did not have access to the perfect blood of the lamb until Christ came.

So, how do overcome that bondage of sin?

We must allow Christ to cleanse our conscious from trying to obtain to the object of ‘good.’ Jesus said, “No one is good—except God alone (Mark 10:18b).” Sin caused us to objectify ‘good,’ as if it is something we must obtain. Rom. 3:23 says, “For all sin and fall short of the glory of God.”

Just as some women only feel ‘pretty’ because of the self-value they learn from those around her, we realize ‘good’ is not something to obtain because of a certain amount or types of works we do that we call ‘good.’ Those of us bought by the blood of the lamb are ‘good’ because of Christ’s nature in us, and the realization of that nature is our salvation. Just as a woman should not measure her worth according to whether or not she is able to attain to a socially acceptable level of ‘pretty,’ we should not measure our worth in Christ by trying to obtain ‘good.’

When we take on the nature of Christ, we take on the nature of ‘good.’ ‘Good’ is no longer an acceptable character level we must strive to obtain, rather it is the value of Christ’s nature within us. The sacrificial system of the old testament, and the good works of those today who think the more good works they do the closer they will be to God, is like makeup. It may make someone appear to be something on the outside they are not on the inside, but it does not change who they are on the insude. That doesn’t mean Christian shouldn’t or don’t do good works (Read the book of James), but it means Christians should not allow themselves to become subject to trying to obtain salvation by being and doing ‘good.’

How do you overcome the objectification of trying to be ‘good enough’

1. Realize there is nothing you can do to obtain to the level of ‘good’ that will justify you before God. It is like trying to pay off a sum of money with an infinite number of zeros when you only have access to wood chips by giving your debtor IOU notices (that’s the sacrificial system) that only remind both of you that you can never pay it.

2. Admit to God that you have a debt of sin to Him so large there is nothing you can do to pay it off, and ask Christ to pay it off for you.

3. Realize that your debt is now paid, and you are redeemed by the blood of the lamb.

Too many people only have a surface level understanding of the power we as Christians have, and I want to help more people realize the depth of the power of our salvation in Christ. The main focus of my blogs will be on strengthening the body of Christ, but some will be gospel focused. I love studying God’s word, I love sharing my understanding and knowledge of what I study, and I love dialoguing with others about what I study

I welcome questions, comments, and even criticism. But please no personal attacks, attacks on my beliefs, or attacks on anyone who chooses to comment here. I want this blog to raise awareness of the redemptive power of God we have through Jesus Christ. I hope you will continue to read this blog and join me on my journey ‘On Becoming Human.’