“I Receive” by Israel Houghton

I have been trying to look for a song that I can use for our praise and worship teams’ spiritual retreat this coming October 25-26, 2011 at out church main sanctuary. I have been tyring to find a song that would fit our theme- “Experiencing God’s Power through Music”.

I could not find a song with lyrics about experiencing God’s power in You Tube but I have told myself perhaps I could find a song that would help explain what the theme says.

After several clicks and views, I have come across this song “I Receive” by Israel Houghton. I have found a video that looks like a small worship gathering and I have watched it.

The song speaks of receiving God’s love by grace at the cross and it has redeemed us from sin and has transformed us from within. Indeed, if we understand this truth by heart we can experience the power from God that saves and transforms. In that way, we too can receive the power to share that power unto others that they too might experience the power of God’s love in their lives.

I have tried to look for a lyric and chord sheet of the song in the net but there’s none so I have decided to buy a music sheet notation of the song from Musicnotes.com. I cannot share the sheet here because it’s patented but I would like to share the song here from the You Tube video that I have watched. Hope you will be blessed as well.

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Sing a New Song unto the Lord- Psalm 98- Part II

Now, we can take this command sing a new song, one figuratively. “Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, [and] his praise in the congregation of saint.” -Psalm 149:1 KJV. We sing a new song even when we sing an old familiar tune when we sing out a new fresh encounter with the Lord, when we experience a new touch of God’s faithfulness in our lives. It is a new song in our hearts, a new expression of thanksgiving, praise and worship unto the Lord. Even an old song becomes a new song when the singing is born out of a new desire to praise the Lord.

Second, we can take it literally. “Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.” -Psalm 33:3 KJV. This Psalm speaks of making beautiful songs unto the Lord. Singing the same songs over and over may become too monotonous. It would seem like there is no improvement from singers and instrumentalists. It does not necessarily mean that the song would lose its meaning but people might get bored and perceive it as lack or preparation. Therefore, we need to create new repertoire.

With the praise and worship, as far as I know we have the freedom to choose the songs that we want to sing but freedom is not absolute. We need to employ the proper songs.

Principles to Consider:

We sing to the Lord and not to people but we need to lead the people to sing with songs that they can sing because our task is to lead the people to a meaningful worship experience. Consider your congregation.

As much as possible, let us keep the arrangement simple for the congregation. There is beauty in simplicity but simplicity does not mean mediocrity. In this area, excellence might not always be visible or perceivable because it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Technical improvements will follow. Just offer your best and the Lord will increase the ability.

Sing a New Song unto the Lord- Psalm 98

Psalm 98:1 KJV says,

“Oh, sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.” (v.1)

Sing a New Song unto the Lord

Here the Psalmist calls on the people of God to sing a new song unto the Lord, their best song unto Yahweh. However what does “new song” means?

According to Matthew Henry, Psalm 98 is a prophetic psalm. It speaks of a new song of praise for Yahweh’s redeeming love. It is a new song, as such as a song that had not been sung before; for this is a mystery which was hidden from ages and generations.

It is a prophecy of the kingdom of the Messiah, the settling of it up in the world, and the bringing of the Gentiles into it. It sets forth,

  1. The glory of the Redeemer (v. 1-3)
  2. The joy of the redeemed (v. 4-9).

If the grace of God put a new heart into our breasts, it will put a new song into our mouths. In the New Jerusalem there will be new songs sung, that will be new to eternity, and never wax old. Let this new song be sung to the praise of God, in consideration of these four things:

  1. The power of God (v.1) He has done marvelous things
  2. God has won the victory (v.1) His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him the victory
  3. God’s salvation (v.2) The Lord has made known His salvation openly to all nations
  4. God’s faithfulness to His people (v.3) He has made known His salvation; his righteousness openly to the nations

“And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” – Rev 14:3 KJV

Image: http://www.justbetweenus.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=90660

The Lord is Our Shepherd- John 10.1-10- Conclusion

The Lord is my Shepherd

The good news is that the Good Shepherd never tires of taking good care of us. He aims to give us life and have it more abundantly. According to Matthew Henry, “Christ came to give life and perisson ti- something more, something better, life with advantage; that in Christ we might not only live, but live comfortably, live plentifully, live and rejoice. Life in abundance is eternal life, life without death or fear of death, life and much more.”

However, do not measure abundance only in terms of money because there are important things that money cannot buy. Do not compare yourself with other people because the Shepherd knows you by name calls you by name and leads you by name, which means personally. He takes care of you uniquely as your finger prints.

We may be weak, but the Lord, our Shepherd takes care of us. In Him we can be strong. We only need to learn how to follow His voice as we indulge in prayer so that the enemy might not be able to harm us. The Shepherd Himself is the source of life in all its abundance. Like David, let us find comfort in the knowledge that The Lord is our Shepherd.

Image above courtesy of: http://www.sodahead.com/united-states

The Evil One Aims to Destroy Us

A lamb being attacked by a coyote in the most typical method, a bite to the throat

The biggest threat to the flock of sheep is predation. We are open preys to large monstrous predators. False shepherds will try to drive us away from the flock but we can discern them. If they do not come in the name of the Master Shepherd, Jesus Christ, or they bear any other name aside from the Lord Jesus, we should not listen to them. If they preach any other savior than our Lord Jesus then we should not listen to them. The evil one seeks to steal from us, kill us and destroy us. He will attempt to steal all our blessings so that we will hate God. He will attempt to kill the slightest hope that we hold on to and destroy the faith that we so value.

Image: wikipedia

Sheep Are Meek and Obedient

One great characteristic of sheep is that they are meek and obedient. In a radio sermon, I have heard an illustration about two shepherds taking refuge inside a cave. “Two shepherds with their flocks entered in a cave. Their flocks mingled together that you can no longer distinguish which sheep belong to which shepherd. When the time has come for one of the shepherds to leave, he simply stood up and called out his sheep. Immediately, his sheep stood up from among the multitude of sheep lying down and followed his voice.”  It is surely an awesome sight. In verses 3-4, we can see the image of the Good Shepherd calling His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. Do you know the Shepherd’s voice? Do you hear His voice? Do you follow His voice?

Hands in Prayer

The Lord’s sheep knows His voice because they spend time in prayer. Sometimes, in our busy schedules we forget to spend quality time with God in prayer and meditation. Yet, we know that there is no way we can recognize the voice of our Shepherd unless we spend time to listen to Him in prayer. Of course, it is not an audible voice but a spiritual voice that we discern through our fervent prayer and study of His word.

In the book, the Lord is my Shepherd, A. W. Tozer, an American Pastor who preaches about the value of prayer writes, “Stay in that sacred place till the surrounding noises begin to fade out of your heart, till a sense of God’s presence has enveloped you. Listen for His inward voice till you learn to recognize it”. Solitude in God is a healing place where God can repair the damage by the noise and pressure of the world. Prayer is always our safe place.

Image: http://www.taneyparish.ie

Jesus is the Good Shepherd and the Gate of the sheep pen and We Are the Sheep of His Flock

An oasis in the Negev Desert of Israel created by trees planted by the Jewish National Fund

Do you still remember the image of the two kinds of sheep pen? The Lord is the Good Shepherd and at the same time He is the Gate. He is the shepherd that sits at the opening of the enclosure. We are His flock. He keeps us safe and secure; He leads us to green pastures and quiet waters. According to Psalm 23:2, “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads us beside quiet waters”. The verb in the text suggests gentle persuasion- a shepherd patiently, persistently leading his sheep to the place where their hunger and thirst will be quenched. He does not force the issue. He does not pushes us down in green pastures neither drags us beside still waters. He patiently waits for our cry. Sometimes, he allows us to get hurt so we could learn that we cannot survive life without Him. When we start to cry, he is there to carry us on His back.

In the book, “The Lord is my Shepherd” the writer writes that in David’s day, “green pastures” are oases, verdant places in the desert where shepherds lead their thirsty flock. Left to themselves, the sheep would wander off into the wilderness and die. Experienced shepherds know the terrain and urge their flocks toward familiar grasslands and streams where they could feed; lie down and rest. In the same way, God knows our needs and thirsts. He senses our weary souls and He wants to lead us to a safe place.

Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oasis

A Sheep Is One of the Weakest Animals

Sheep

Sheep have little ability to defend themselves, compared with other species kept as livestock. Even if a sheep survive an attack, they may die from their injuries, or simply from panic. When they fall on their back, they could not stand up on their own and they could die in that position. Sheep are so vulnerable. It is interesting to think why the Lord has likened humans to meek sheep.

We are so vulnerable to the things that happen to us, even Christians. One time we feel so strong yet something we do not know would come and hit us so big that we would fall flat on our backs and it seems so hard to recover from the unexpected hard knock. We are vulnerable to sin and temptation. Like sheep, the Good Shepherd knows that we need special care and so He cares for us individually.

Image: http://www.sheep101.info/breedsW-Z.html

The Lord is Our Shepherd- John 10.1-10- Part II

Sheep pen with a gate

Before we proceed, I would like to clarify the two images of a sheep pen that we can see here in John 10:1-10. The first one in verse two is an enclosure with a gate. The second one in verse nine is an enclosure without a gate. In the former, there is a gate. In the latter, the shepherd himself sits down and serves as the gate of the enclosure.

As a caveat, in the previous chapter (John 9), the Pharisees are investigating the healing of the man born blind. The man boldly tells the Pharisees that he believes that Jesus is from God. He believes that Jesus is the Messiah. The Pharisees claim that they are disciples of Moses and they do not know where Jesus has come from. The Pharisees are supporting themselves in their opposition to Christ; that they are the pastors of the Jews and Jesus has no authority from them so therefore the people should not listen to Him.

Sheep pen without a fixed gate

In response, here the Lord describes the true shepherd of the flock and the relationship that exists between the shepherd and his flock through a parable but the Pharisees have not understood. The Lord here reveals Himself as the true shepherd- the Good Shepherd.

I propose the following points for reflection, which I will discuss in the next posts:

  • A sheep is one of the weakest animals.
  • Jesus is the Good Shepherd and the Gate of the sheep pen and we are the sheep of His pasture.
  • Sheep are meek and obedient.
  • The evil one aims to destroy us.

 Allow me to invite you to follow the next posts…

 

Images:

http://leecadden.com/2011/03/20/i-am-the-gate/

http://www.oneyearbibleblog.com/2008/05/may-18th-one-ye.html

The Lord is Our Shepherd- John 10.1-10

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

This is my favorite image of the Lord, being our Good Shepherd. For me it is one of the most comforting attribute of the Lord. It gives the assurance of His personal loving care and protection.

In Matthew 18:12-14, the Lord has shown us a picture of how a good shepherd cares for each of his sheep. He would leave the ninety-nine sheep to look for the one that has wandered away. He would not let even just one sheep wander too far away. Apostle Paul has called the Lord, the great Shepherd of the sheep and He would not let anyone of us who come under his pastoral care perish.

In the book, “The Lord is my Shepherd”, F.B. Meyer has written: “The Lord has a:

  • Shepherd’s heartit beats with pure and generous love that counted not His own life-blood too dear to pay down as our ransom. He has laid down his life for the sheep. In the Old Testament image, the sheep gives up his life for his shepherd or owner as according to the law. The owner/shepherd would take the lamb to the sanctuary, lean with all his weight on the lamb’s head and confess his sin. The Lamb would be slain and its blood would flow out. The greatest irony of faith is that the Great Shepherd has laid His life down on the cross in order that the sheep might be saved.
  • Shepherd’s eye: takes in the whole flock and misses not even the poor sheep wandering away on the cold mountain.
  • Shepherd’s faithfulness: never fails or forsakes, leaves us comfortless, nor flee when He sees a wolf coming.
  • Shepherd’s strength: delivers us from the jaw of the lion or paw of the bear.
  • Shepherd’s tenderness: no lamb so tiny that He will not carry it; no saint so weak that He will not gently lead; no soul so faint that He will not give it rest”.

I invite you to follow the succeeding posts about “The Lord is our Shepherd”.

Image above courtesy of: http://www.sodahead.com/united-states

Condensed from a sermon by: Arnel Oroceo, Church Organist, The Lagro United Methodist Church, May 15, 2011