Sleeping is a natural state of the mind that is altered by the conscience. After a long day of activities the body is in need of rest, and sleep is that whine down state. But, too much sleep can be hazardous to ones health the National Sleep Foundation states that more than 9 hours of sleep can lead to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder that leads to too much sleep, Parkinson’s, anxiety, infections and gastrointestinal disorders. Quality sleep is good for a person, because the bible states that God gives rest to his beloveds (ps127:2). In fact, the bible teaches us that we can rest assured, because God sustains us (ps3:5-6). For some falling asleep is difficult and in order for them to alter their conscience they may need to trick their mind in order to fall asleep. For example, they might need to drink a sleepy time tea or play a soft music in order to fall asleep. Sleep is associated with idleness, because movement of the muscles and being active deters it. In the context of the family of God we cannot be idle or asleep (2tes3:7), and we learn this from our active people in church.
“To the angel[a] of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits[b] of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
This letter that was sent to the angel of the church in Sardis was written to the pastor of the church. This church was known for its activities and programs and what seemed God seeking people. It was the first church in Asia and the biggest for the Sardian people. The church was dying without being conscience of it. During this inclination to death of this church, there were those that had maintained their livelihood. And, so the Lord Jesus admonishes them to wake up! and strengthen that which remains. Within the process before one dies the alter of ones conscience becomes evident. Luke mentions a young man who while he was in a room well lit with candles fell into a deep sleep and fell through a window after Paul was teaching for hours (Acts20:8-10). The young man died, but Paul brought him back to life. One of the evidence found in one who is falling into a sleep mode in a church is their unfinished deeds, and maybe this young man who fell through the window was board and had stopped working for Christ. Just having faith is not enough, that is unfinished deeds, there needs to be other steps that one must take in order to finish what he started. Paul tells the church that we need to finish what we have started in Christ (2Cor8:11). The Lord Jesus tells this church at Sardis that unless they wake up he would come to them like a thief; that is take what they had away from the. So, the little knowledge or experiences you have with God have to increase, else they will die.
The dead cannot praise him. Praising God is unique with every individual. No one can copy your worship style, it is a trait that is uniquely embedded into ones DNA. We were created to give him praise (Is43:7). We are his most precious creation. Genesis says that God was please after he created man and all creation (ge1:31). Each time God looks down from heaven and sees man; you, it uplifts him and turns him from his wrath. In fact, when God was about to obliterate man in the times of Noah, the bible records God looked and saw one man Noah which changed his mind from what he was about to do (ge6:7-8). Whether we open our mouths to worship God or in silence pray, he is magnified and is fanned with glory. But, if one was dead that is the end of fanning glory to the everlasting King.
For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise;
those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today;
parents tell their children about your faithfulness. 20 The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the Lord.
Hezekiah was a young king, but was terminally ill and was sentenced to die. God had sent Isaiah to inform Hezekiah of his departure and that he was to put in order his house. And, the bible states that once Hezekiah heard the news from the prophet he turned to the wall where he was laying and bitterly wept. Hezekiah understood this concept that God is in need of worshipers as mentioned by Jesus when he spoke to the Samaritan women (Jh4:23), when he said that the Father is in need of worshipers to worship him in spirit and in truth. If Hezekiah died he felt that God was going to miss out on his worship. David shared this idea of the importance of praise from the living, he said ” What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?”(ps30:9). Nothing should hold you of from praising God, and in fact Peter tells us that we need to show of his praise, because we are a holy nations (1Pt2:9). Your peculiar form of worship brings a smile to God’s face, don’t stop!
Anger is one of our defense mechanism in us that sometimes benefits us and at times not. We can get angry and do something about an injustice or something that needs to get done, and it works on our behalf. But, we can get angry and really blow things out of proportion, we can even sin with anger. The bible teaches us that we could get angry but we should not sin (eph.4:26). God told Cain that if did not master anger it would enslave him and become his master (Ge4:5-7). It also tells us that we should be slow to anger (Jm1:19), and the reason in part is because when we are angry we can become careless and become vulnerable to the enemies attacks. We all display anger differently, some scream off the top of their lungs, while some will shut down and not talk at all. Some will eat furiously, while others will drink like if there is no tomorrow when they are angry. But, the question that comes to mind is, when do we stop being angry? When do I just decide I am not going to be angry anymore.
4 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
4 But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Jonah was living a happy life with is family and friends until God knocked on his door and sent him to preach to Nineveh. It was then that he decided to not do what the Lord had asked him to do and run away. We understand that Jonah was angry with the people of Nineveh for whatever the reason. One thing we learn that Jonah understood was that God is a merciful God and a loving God willing to forgive anyone, and that anger him even the more. The Psalmist says that God’s mercies are from everlasting to everlastings (ps103:17). We don’t know what happened between the people of Nineveh and Jonah, but he must have been really bothered by them to not want God to forgive them. I can’t imagine someone being so angry with someone that they would not want God’s loving kindness and forgiveness upon that person; although there are probably a good handful out there. Being angry with someone can destroy one’s life take for instance Jonah, that he did not consider the men on the ship he was riding on when the big storm hit them, he just simply slept inside the ship while they toggled and twirled.
Worship! What is it? Why is is important, or is it? Can we live without it? When do we worship? Worship is an act we do either with intent, out of fear or as a devotion, and we all do it to some thing or some one. It is something that we were all created to do, worship is within our human instinct. Vine’s Expository dictionary defines it as “to make obeisance, do reverence to” (from pros, “towards,” and kuneo, “to kiss”), is the most frequent word rendered “to worship.” It is used of an act of homage or reverence. Miriam Webster’s 3rd definition says : extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem. Worship is a responsibility as well as a duty of all man kind and that to God alone. Throughout the bible God specifically tells us that worship needs to be a part of our every day life. Jesus said that God is looking for people who worship him in Spirit and in Truth (Jn4:24). There are elements that come together when we worship; such as, singing(Ep5:19), giving, praying, reading scripture and having communion. Because of worship wars have taken place, marriages broken, and people have died.
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Worshiping God, the God of the bible comes with a price. Each and every one of us must be willing to pay whatever the cost to not be forced to cease from worshiping the Lord. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were willing to suffer ridicule, rejection, hate acts even death for the mere act of worshiping God. Out of 20 Christian women who were martyred for their faith two stand out Felicita and Cecilia. These two women suffered the most grueling event anyone could suffer for the act worshiping God. Like the three young men these two ladies had the option to recant their faith, but they did not (Lk9:26-27). The act of worship entails of one giving of one self without the thought of recant Paul tells that church that the true act of worship is just that giving of one self (Ro12:1). Worship requires complete attention. It is not something that we can multi-task on, because it is an intentional act, therefore, requiring that we focus. Luke tells us in the book of Hebrews that we need to be at awe when we worship (He12:28).
God’s word is full of wise sayings and counsel. If anyone needs a word that is tailored to their needs the word of God is that tool. It is the only timeless scriptures that has endured the tightest scrutiny know towards any scriptures. History declares that the bible; God’s word, was persecuted severely. For example, The King James Bible came out of a period of intense persecution and spiritual revival. The Wycliffe Bible was persecuted and was a product of spiritual revival; it was the Bible of the Lollards. Laws were passed against it and its translator’s bones were dug up and burned. The Tyndale Bible was persecuted; thousands of copies were burned and otherwise destroyed by ecclesiastical authorities; laws were passed against it; and its translator was burned at the stake.The translator of the Matthew’s Bible, John Rogers, was put to death for his faith. The Bishops Bible was translated by men who were persecuted for their faith. The Geneva Bible was also a product of persecution and spiritual revival, having been produced by men who were in exile for their faith (Way of Literature). God’s word came in stones fashioned with Moses from the mountain with the ten commandments of which was known as God’s testimony written by God’s finger and it became the laws of the land enforced by judges(ex24:12). These stones with the writing of God which were in the ark of the covenant had power. The walls of Jericho came down after the people carried the ark around the city seven times (Jos6:6-7). Imagine God’s word when it came in human flesh and no longer on stone, the impact it created.
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.
Jesus came to his own town and as usual he spoke with great wisdom to the point that the people were greatly astonished. They could not believe what they were hearing. And, though the people became intrigued with the power of the word in Jesus, their unbelief kept them from Jesus doing greater things. Even his own family rejected Jesus’ word and sided with the unbelievers making the statement that a prophet is with out honor in his own house(Mt13:57). Through the spoken word Jesus healed this centurions servant (Mt.8:13). Now, God’s word that once was stones became flesh (Jh1:14) and dwelt with men and healed and brought back from the dead many. But, then it became spirit; the word that is, Jesus said my words are spirit (Jh6:63). Now this word of God came to his people but they rejected it so God lifted up people like Paul and Barnabas to spread the gospel to the rest of the world (Acts13:48-48). These words are written in the black and white text of the bible and anyone who reads them their lives will be changed.
Death is an over powering topic that no matter how interesting another topic might be, it has the influence to remain on top. Topics such as riches, health, relationships, and other are not compared to death. Death has this sting that will over weigh any other feeling or sensation from anything that else. Thanatophobia or fear of death is when the idea of dying affects your daily life. When the doctor mentions a time line to death in a person’s life, that person’s life has a 360 degree change and nothing else matters. For instance, when the prophet Isaiah mentions to king Hezekiah, who was sick, that he was going to die and that he should set his house in order, the king turned to the wall and prayed(Is38:1-3); sadness and fear took over. Life’s rule that man must die is not an easy one to handle, that is why we visit the doctor, watch what we eat, visit the gym; because we do not want to die. There are two types of death that we have to deal with; at least one more then the other. We die physically and spiritually, but most of us are more concern with the first; physical.
10 And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.
Jesus’ inner circle disciples, Peter, John and James experienced a glimpse of the eternal Jesus in earth at the transfiguration event at the mountain. They saw Moses and Elijah and heard the audible voice of God and saw Jesus with his eternal attire at the mount. Yet, when they were coming down from the mountain the impact that was most in their mind was the words of Jesus about his death. Death has a ring that catches our attention the most. Now, Satan has the power of death and he instills that fear in our hearts, which captures our attention in an instance (Heb2:14-16). Forasmuch, Jesus had to come down to earth to deliver us from that fear of death. So, Paul wrote to the church of Corinthians “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1Cor.15:55). The fear of death has been conquered, we now do not need to fear death because Jesus overcame. Jacob was dying and the bible tells us that instead of him worrying he just worshipped the Lord and blessed his children (Heb11:21).
Praying is vital. Through it we can communicate with our creator. We can find comfort, healing and strength via prayer. Prayer is practiced throughout the world by many people to various gods. And, prayer is done in many and in any place at any time, but certain places have been established to practice it such as temples and worship places. Now, there something has to happen in ones life that motivates him/her to continue to pray even if he/she is praying to something. The Jews have a wall of which they continually go to pray and insert prayers in, it is in Jerusalem at the temple mount. The temple mount is the second temple erected by king Herod and the first was done by Solomon. The wall is known as the weeping wall. Throughout the ages wherever the Jews were they direct themselves towards Jerusalem to the temple to pray. Like Daniel when he found out the mandate for everyone to worship his statue or be thrown into the lions den, went to his house and knelt in the direction of Jerusalem and prayed (Dan6:16).
2 Chronicles 6:21
21 Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.
Now, Solomon after he built the temple made a dedication service and initiated the pray too Jerusalem idea. In this dedication service he prayed and in that prayer he asked God that if anyone would pray towards Jerusalem that he should heal, prosper and forgive them(2Chro7:17). Jerusalem became a focal point in prayer until Jesus established that a place was no longer needed to engage in prayer when he spoke to the Samaritan women in John 4:21. He told this Samaritan women that worship would no longer take place in Jerusalem but in the spirit. Prayer is a spiritual connection with God where healing, prosperity and freedom takes place. When you are overwhelm with life’s ordeal prayer can be done (ps.61:1-3). Peter and John were threatened by the religious sect because of the preaching of the gospel in Acts 4:31, but after the church prayed the earth shook and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. These days we need the prayer of Habakkuk who prayed for revival (Hab3:1-2).
With much bad or evil happening nowadays it is easy to become engaged in faulting someone or passing the blame. In fact, most of the time evil or bad comes our way we try to search out why or by whom. The feeling of sorrow can push us to think certain way and behave another way. Dealing with sorrow is difficult especially when it escalate to heavily grieved. The feeling of sorrow can escalate and become a problem if we do not deal with it; it can break our spirit (Prv15:12). It can become like a mountain of sorrow piling up, and it will become a sickness like it happened to the Paul and the church at Phillipians with Epaphroditus (Phil2:25-27). There is a sorrow that leads us to repentance, but there is one that takes us to death and that is dangerous (2Cor.7:10). One of the characteristics of grief is that of LOWERED TOLERANCE LEVEL, and with that we find ourselves to offending others by the things we say. God has given us with the fruit of self control(Ga5:23), and we can refrain ourselves from saying things that can affect someone else; especially when we are feeling sorrowful. God is not in the business of adding sorrow to our lives (Prv10:22), unless is for repentance.
2 Corinthians 2:1-4 But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. 2 For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? 3 And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. 4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
The church of Corinthians were having contentions with the Apostle Paul. They were having problems obeying his letter, and, so Paul along with the church were feeling heavy hearted. Now, Paul had all the rights to write a letter that would have turned their bellies inside out. With how Paul felt; the grief, and anger, he could have sent a letter that would pierce their souls. Instead, Paul determined within himself to be restrained from sharing a bit of sorrow and share a reconciling message with them. He understood that if he came shooting like a cowboy he could only make matters worst, so Paul wrote to this church sharing love and hope no matter how he felt. Like Paul, Jeremiah who while he was in his country with the poor and his people were taken captives because of the false prophets, shared a message of love and hope (Jer.29:11). It did not matter how hopeless or sorrow filled Jeremiah and the people felt, seeing his friends and family taken his message did not change. The circumstance does not change the message within us. It is easy to air out and let out everything in our hearts, but it is not always the best thing. Salomon tells us that if we release what our hearts tell us to say especially when we are hurting it will be cut out; that is the tongue (Pro10:31). He tells us that we need to remove sorrow from our hearts it is becomes an evil in our flesh (Ecc11:10).