Well, well, well! Another week has passed and its Sunday, a new week is upon us. How will we approach it? I most likely will approach mines with discipline and organization; that's just who I am. Firstly, I have always been a person who loves "The Process." What is the The Process, you say? I thought you would never ask! I am patience to accomplish my goals, I never take short cuts because I have to know all the steps to be able to explain and recreate it, if necessary. The true test to yourself and others is to be able to explain and recreate it or in elementary terms: become the teacher of that process or more importantly, the subject matter expert (SME). Becoming a teacher or SME of a task or field; it takes discipline, organization and obedience to follow another as a student before becoming the teacher.
I remember great teachers in school who taught subjects that required me to be disciplined, organized and obedient. Now, I was disciplined to arrive to school on time, sit down in my assigned seat and raise my hand to ask a question. However, I was NOT disciplined to be silent while my teacher was teaching; my name was frequently called to not answer a question but to please stop talking. Organization came easy to me and I was the only one in my house who focused on this trait and wanted everyone to join me in this endeavor; I still find myself trying, lol. I was always obedient as a child especially when it came in line with my desires, but mostly toward my elders; my generation was raised that way(that was simple unless you wanted chastisement!) Obedience takes discipline and organization; it depended and depends on my priorities. I believe if we search ourselves completely, our obedience is driven from our desires, disdain and deliverance.
COVID-19 was traveling internationally the latter part of 2019 and decided to become domestic in the U.S. January 2020. Some were unaware until March 2020 but the first digital article concerning China and the U.S. deaths and the rush to find a vaccine was published 24 Jan and in print 27 Jan 2020; the same day Kolbe Bryant's death was front page news. COVID-19, also known as the "virions are spherical or variable in shape and composed of an outer layer of lipid covered with a crown of club-shaped peplomers or spikes. Within each spike is a helical single-stranded RNA-containing structural protein...it was borrowed directly from the Latin word for “crown.” Corona is derived from the Ancient Greek κορώνη (korōnè), meaning “garland” or “wreath,” coming from a proto-Indo-European root, sker-orker-, meaning “to turn” or “to bend. Our modern-day corona conceptualization of club-shaped spikes on the coronavirus surface comes from traditional representations of crowns as radiate headbands, worn as symbols of sovereign power, to liken that power to that of the sun."
Although COVID-19 has become a pandemic, numerous people including 45 (SMH) have downplayed it's effects to the point that some refuse to wear masks, listen to SME's, gallivant around traveling and visiting friends; some with pre-existing conditions all in the name of desire. There are many symptoms of COVID-19 but these same symptoms are evolving along and different to each host sometimes. I believe in God and science because He created science, however, underneath it all; COVID-19 is about obedience, something Americans especially have a difficult time embracing. I know some of you will stop reading my blog from that statement but if it strikes a cord; still love you and I know the truth hurts sometimes when we are not ready for change in our own lives.
I know there is no such thing as a stupid question but I'm still going to ask one: Do you desire to come out of COVID-19 healthy and strong? My answer is a Triumphant Yes! Then, we have to listen to wisdom! Wisdom tells us everything we need to do and not do concerning our wants (desires), what we should hate (disdain) and how we can escape from our enemies (deliverance). Wisdom is above our intelligence and in most situations, illogical. Let's look at some illogical examples of wisdom. But first, lets return to the previous blog concerning Leah, who relied on wisdom to overcome wanting to be desired, married in disdain and unloved, yet was obedient to her husband and the laws of the land and was blessed because of it; through legacy. Now, let's move on to others who relied on wisdom.
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom. Yea, with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown in the fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to the King Nebuchabnezzar II, King of Babylon's image. The three used wisdom by not engaging in an argument or debate with but instead put all their faith and fate in God. Daniel 3
Daniel was a prophet of God and a well respected in the kingdom while living in Persia. Darius, the King, was fond of Daniel; the king's administration became envious of him and plotted to have him killed. However, Daniel sought wisdom through prayer and put his trust in God. In the end, the same people who plotted against him received the same fate they imagined for him. Daniel 6
Gideon, descendant of Abiezer and the tribe of Manassaeh, was called by God to save Israel. However, His family did not serve God, they were the least of the tribe and he felt he was not even good enough. Therefore, using wisdom he honors the angel of the Lord with a offering, and asks for a sign to ensure it was, in fact, God who was calling him to destiny. Judges 6-7
Each one of these chosen vessels did what is required to to have wisdom. Communicate with the ONE who is all wise. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. - James 1:5 Another way to ensure you hear from God is through prayer, which is also communication to God.
"Our modern-day corona conceptualization of club-shaped spikes on the coronavirus surface comes from traditional representations of crowns as radiate headbands, worn as symbols of sovereign power, to liken that power to that of the sun." A crown is worn by a king or queen who rules a monarchy, one who has won a contest for a certain period of time or endearing terms of loved ones. In early times, Kings and Queens fought to extend or save their kingdoms to remain in power. The coronvirius is fighting to remain in power over, not only the U.S. but the earth and trying to diminish certain countries (kingdoms). I know there is no such thing as a stupid question but I'm still going to ask one: Do you desire to come out of COVID-19 healthy and strong? My answer is a Triumphant Yes! Then, we have to listen to wisdom! No matter what we think of monarchies, contests or endearing terms of of kings and queens who wear a real or imaginary crown; the only thing who can dethrone one crown over another is another crown. We have a KING that is THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS who's name is above every name, including coronavirus! HE is the ONE we MUST look to for WISDOM to conquer this virus and pandemic. We need a DESIRE to be taught from the SME of all teachers, DISDAIN to hear from any who do not follow or consider this teacher of all teachers to be our DELIVERER from any and all "high things that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” and it will begin with prayer, lets pray like Jabez, use wisdom like Gideon, Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach and Abendego to the ONLY ONE who can save, heal and deliver us from this crooked crown called corona. As a matter of fact, I'm beginning a devotional study called Prayer and Confession - Spiritual Practices for Everyday and I wrote the following as orientation. You may begin reading, if interested, if not, this is the ending of this week's blog.
There are Spiritual Disciplines for every believer to become closer to God and grow in spiritual maturity. Richard Foster says Spiritual Disciplines are inward and spiritual reality, and the inner attitude of the heart is far more crucial than the mechanics for coming into the reality of the spiritual life and God intends the Disciplines of the spiritual life to be for ordinary human beings: people who have jobs, who care for children, who wash dishes and mow lawns. In fact, the Disciplines are best exercised in the midst of our relationships with our husband or wife, our brothers and sisters, our friends and neighbors. There are three types of Spiritual Disciplines, each having four categories:
1) The Inward Disciplines
2) The Outward Disciplines
3) The Corporate Disciplines
Based on our devotion and study over the next eight (8) weeks, Prayer and Devotion are categories that fall under Inward and Corporate Disciplines. Prayer is an Inward Discipline and Confession is a Corporate Discipline. Inward Spiritual Discipline, in addition to prayer, include meditation, fasting and study. Inward spiritual disciplines produce outward signs of private and corporate dedication of spending time with God. All are necessary but prayer is vital, it is communication to God and without it we lose any revelation from meditation and study. In addition, fasting requires prayer; without it you’re just simply on a diet. Actually, before Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, he set the example for them.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mk 1:35
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Lk 5:16
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Lk 11:1-4
In fact, after The Sermon on the Mount also known as the Beattitudes, Jesus says in Matt 5:47-48 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
In Matt Chapter 6, Jesus goes into further detail about before, during and after actions of prayer. Strangely, after reading these passages numerous times; not until now did I realize the breakdown that Jesus was instructing us to enter into the sacredness of prayer. Its amazing how prayer can be formal yet informal. Why is that? Because, its not the external position, its our internal position towards God and our fellow man as we approach God, the Father in prayer.
Before Prayer - We say on earth that the world is a stage but in the kingdom, The World is NOT a Stage, especially when it comes to prayer. Matt 6:1-4
“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.
2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.
During Prayer – Its about submission, silence and solitude to focus on what matters, hearing from God. Matt 6:5-13
“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are.
Set the world right; Do what’s best— as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge! You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.
What Happens During Prayer and What God considers totally unnecessary during fasting and prayer. Matt 6:14-18
“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. “When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. He won’t overlook what you are doing; he’ll reward you well.
Before we cover the after prayer phase, lets be clear: There is no such thing as after prayer for us when trying to grow in God. Jesus is telling us to Live a Life of God-Worship through prayer
“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have! “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both. “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
I wanted to go over God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s requirements to a Life of God Worship which includes the most vital of all spiritual disciplines, prayer, to enter into our devotion and study of prayer of confession.