What Worship Does To The Mind

This blog is moving to mrdavenport.info

There’s something amazing that happens when we are in worship to God. First we realize that God is a Spirit. Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) So there is a process as we “truly” worship.

So we must worship in truth. Meaning, our worship must be real. Legit. From our actual desire to worship Him. That’s what it means to worship in truth, the second part of what Jesus said. When we are putting on a show, the true worshiper is not present. We must become true worshipers. (vs 23) We can discuss that another time.

We worship in “spirit.” Why do we worship in spirit? What does that mean?

Well, we worship in spirit because God is a Spirit. THE Spirit. To truly worship Him we have to get beyond the flesh part and worship Him from within. Many struggle with this and the mind constantly fights it because in the flesh it “just don’t make no sense.” But within the Realm of the Kingdom of God, it makes perfect sense.

As we seek to do this, worship in spirit, the guy/gal inside us begins to communicate with God. In ways the brain/flesh cannot totally understand. But as it happens, there are a number of things that “shift” within us. One of those things is that the spirit (small case “s” = our spirit) becomes engaged with God’s Spirit (AKA, His Presence, AKA, the Holy Spirit). As this happens, the mortal part of us (AKA our flesh, AKA our brain), takes a back seat. It literally becomes subject to the spirit. Our spirit. The thinking part gets out of the way and the spirit begins to commune with God and this affects every part of the body. Not just the spirit.

When you are in a classroom or training, you sit and learn. You make yourself submissive to the one teaching you or you simply do not learn. One of the struggles we all have in our lives as Christians is becoming fully submissive to God. Even when we want to learn from Him. By worshipping in the spirit, the part of us that tends to get in the way acquiesces, and the part that desperately wants God takes control, allowing the Spirit to begin to teach.

The greatest part is that while this is happening, the brain, the part most often in the way, becomes trained and refreshed. It learns things as the spirit makes it sit down by handing everything over to God during worship.

Have you ever seen a person kind of “losing it” while they worship God? Maybe they shake? Maybe they are jerking a little bit? Maybe they can’t even remain standing. During worship many time, the Holy Spirit “invades” the natural. Meaning He works from the Spiritual Realm to effect the natural realm. His presence becomes so strong that it seems to physically touch the human body. We must grasp the fact that God is the most powerful “Thing” in the Universe. Understanding that to be true, it’s much easier to understand why a person’s body can be affected by His Presence. He is a power that the physical must reckon with. Put your finger in a light socket and the whole body, toe to head, is affected. Keep in mind, God’s Presence is much more powerful than electricity. Naturally, as He touches us, we will react.

Now, back to the brain. Much of what we learn about our encounter with God happens to the spirit but the mind retains that understanding. That is what I mean when I say that the brain learns or is taught. But it’s not just understanding what God is doing that the brain begins to see. Much of what can happen in worship is intended for the brain.

As the spirit opens the door of communication with God, He begins talking to us. Sometimes, it’s subtle. Sometimes it’s with a mega horn. These messages can be about anything. It might be directed at our giftings. Maybe it’s an answer to prayer. Maybe it’s a new direction He wants you to go. It could be a sudden inspiration for a new invention. A new work of art. Or, in my own case, the outline to a new book (twice).

So it stands to reason that we want to hear from God all the time, right? The Word of God says, “Pray without ceasing.” In fact, it says:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice? Pray? Give thanks? Be in God’s will? Kind of sounds like worship to me. How do we hear from God all the time? Be in worship all the time. I know, easier said than done. But maybe if we could just get started in that direction???

Matt

Suckers

We all have suckers in our lives!

Note: This blog is moving to mrdavenport.info

If you have ever grown tomatoes, you know you have to deal with suckers. Essentially, a sucker is an extra stem that grows up from the crook a limb and the main trunk. It has a tendency to grow fast. To maintain your plant properly, you have to watch for them and keep them cut back.

If you watch for them on a regular basis, you can “pinch” them off when they are just a small sprout. If you miss them a few days, they grow thick enough to require a cutter of some kind.

The main reason you want to remove these is implied by their name: suckers. They will take the nutrients from the other branches around them and the fruit will suffer. It will require more from the soil and produce smaller and less healthy tomatoes. As well as a fewer crops. In time, the sucker will grow to mimic its surroundings and even produce fruit of its own. This may seem good except that it does so by sacrificing all those around it.

Our tomato plants have grown quite large. They are beautiful and full of fruit. As I was looking them over this morning, I noticed several new shoots coming up from the interior of the plants. They were young and beautiful. But out of place. Too young to fit into the visual of what was already there. I couldn’t see their source; where they had come up from. The growth is just too thick. So I traced the shoots by hand. Sure enough, my suspicions were right. I found them to be suckers. But they had grown to nearly two feet in length. I worked my cutters into their origins and snipped them.

My first impression is a kind of sadness. They had grown so big and beautiful. Of the three or four I cut out, two of them had fruit growing on them. But the reason I removed them was for the better of the whole plant.

Does this sound familiar? We all have suckers in our lives! And just like a tomato plant, they are there for themselves and couldn’t truly care less if they damage their surroundings. Yes, we do.

Maybe it’s someone obvious and we have enough sense to remove them before they get too deep into us. Or maybe it’s someone who has been a part of us for a while and they are so integrated we don’t even see it.

There are several references in scripture about this kind of problem. Jesus once said “Do not cast your pearls before swine.” (Matthew 7:6) Literally, do not allow people to use you. Don’t give of yourself to someone who will just take from you, move on to the next person to do the same thing, and never caring about the value of what has been given to them.

Sometimes we need to look at the people in our lives and take stock of not just who they are, but what they are. Often as not, there is at least a few who need to be weaned from us. Does that mean we walk up to a person who has been a friend for 20 years and tell them to get lost? No. Clearly we must use common sense.

Don’t allow yourself to be used. God’s love must extend from us in all directions. That must never be compromised. But the love of God in us to others does not mean we are the trunk for some sucker to get everything they can. Truth be told, allowing them to feel that their treatment of us and others in this manner is okay, is not showing love anyway.

Matt

(photo – epicgardening.com)

A Safe Place

Your Struggles Are Real!

Note: This blog is moving to www.mrdavenport.info

I was next to the kitchen door this morning as I was cooking breakfast. Just out the door a few feet is our garden. Jutting up from the tomato box is a fir 2×2 with a large bird feeder on its top. There sitting upon it, dividing out his breakfast, was a blue bird/scrub jay. He looked at me several times, trying to nibble in between his ganders at me and thoughts racing through his head about personal safety. He finally flew off. But not before I said a quick hello and an assurance that he was in a safe place.

Then I thought about that statement. “A safe place.”

What does that mean? To quantify such a request one must know the circumstances. The scrub jay was in a safe place for his life was not in danger around here. We love the birds and enjoy their company. The barn cats might not feel the same towards them. But they are always safe with us.

But a safe place does not always involve a life threatening situation. Maybe it’s a therapy group or psychologist. A place where you can talk freely and openly about your difficulties.

A safe place could be your home. In the presence of your parents. Your spouse. Your pastor. Your best friend. How about God?

Life throws a varied amount of hardballs our way. And they are seldom pointed at a place where we are swinging a bat. Most often, those hardballs are pointed at our heads. “Stuff” that will hurt us.

We combat much of this by “sucking it up.” Taking it in stride. Moving on. So those things build up.

Maybe we are smart and have learned to let those blisters empty before they consume us. Because, after all, that is exactly what happens. They build up and then “pop”. And all the world is the victim as we vent beyond the amount our loved ones can withstand.

The safest place I know is in the Presence of God. There I can be honest. Because He knows my deepest secrets anyway. I can express my heart’s cry. I can tell Him my ambitions. I can explain how I’m so lost in some areas. I can tell Him my frustrations with other people. I can talk about any subject I want to. What I watched on TV the night before. The things that I want in my life. I can even tell Him how much I want something that has little long term reasoning. Just “things.” There is nothing not safe to discuss with God.

Your struggles are real. What you are dealing with may never be public. Whether you are trying to move on from something as terrible as rape or molestation. Or as tough as being over looked in a promotion. Or as simple as a scrape or splinter. And, believe it or not, a bad grade on a test you thought you were going to ace can be a life “slamming” incident. He loves to take us to a safe place and listen to our deepest, most intimate, hardest, craziest thoughts.

His Presence is always a safe place!

Matt

The Spirit of Herod & The Truth About Abortion

Until I fully switch to the new site and this WP site is shut off, I will continue to duplicate the blogs here and there. Again the new site is mrdavenport.info.

Spiritual truths are sometimes hard to understand. And just because it is spiritual doesn’t make it “good” spiritual. The devil is very spiritual. Paul reminded us of this simple truth in Ephesians 6:12.
 
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
 
We fight principalities, powers, the rulers of darkness, and spiritual hosts of wickedness. In a word, satan. He and all those angels that chose to follow him over God.
 
I say that to remind the reader that as I unload all this that I am not trying to condemn anyone who has committed an abortion or works in an abortion clinic. I write this to explain what God has shown me; through various ways, the truth about abortion. And what/who the spirit of Herod is. It’s just important at this point to remind people not to think of the “spiritual” as something that is always about God or goodness.
 
The night Jesus was born, a star began shining in the sky. There are many theories of this star and how it worked, but that is not the issue here. The Wise Men saw the star and realized it was low enough in the sky to be in a specific place. Whether it was because of their intelligence or a revelation of God, it is not clear. Nonetheless, they took off and began following it.
 
It took them two years to get to where they were going. When they arrived in the region where they knew they were close, word got out that they had come to worship the New King. Herod, the local king (not a real king, more of a governor) had them come visit and asked where the Child was. It’s interesting that the priests and scribes knew that Jesus would be born in that time and that it would happen in Bethlehem. That information was not enough. So when he called the Wise Men to him, this is what he said to them:
“Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” Matthew 2:8
 
They left to find the King and were warned by God in a dream not to go back. That Herod lied and wished to come kill the Baby. Herod, realizing the Wise Men were in fact wise enough to not come tell him the location of Jesus, sent his men out to kill all the male children two years old and under, born in Bethlehem. According to the time that the star had appeared. This was done because of the fear that the Baby would somehow become Herod’s replacement. For, ultimately, selfish reasons. It would disrupt his way of life.
 
Keep in mind, folks, the devil was aware of Who Jesus was from early on. Whether it was he who induced Herod to murder the young boys or whether Herod came up with it on his own is not known. But it has little relevance here. That same idea remains. And it has spiritual hindsight.
 
Jump forward 2,000 years to America. Now, abortion has a long history. It happened all down through mankind’s plight for various and often, horrifying reasons. It was actually a common practice in ancient times for various types of sacrifices. But now-a-days, it cannot be done (legally) for sacrifices. However, it is allowed for personal reasons. Just as Herod did, the life of a child can be exchanged for a need to remain where a person is. Surprisingly enough, the history of abortion is a main argument for abortion. “It’s been going on for hundreds, thousands of years.” So has murder, rape, theft and many other things people consider terrible. It’s history does not make it right.
A childless relationship. The “Ah, I just don’t have time for this in my life yet,” reason. “I’m too young.” “I was raped.” “The mother’s life is in danger.” “The father will not take responsibility.” Truth is, most reasons have to do with the personal situation of the mother. But this is not an argument against abortion. This is the spiritual facts behind it.
 
The “spirit of Herod” came upon the scene some years ago. An actual demon. He resumed this push for a “safer” way to abort children. And millions have paid the cost by never having a chance to even breath one breath of air. Some have argued, abortion is a good thing because the poor child will never have to fight to survive in a terrible world. And, after all, they go straight to Heaven. They have never sinned and are considered an “innocent” by the Word of God.
 
I read a short booklet by Shawn Bolz, a prophet of God. It helped to enlighten me on abortion and the spirit of Herod. Just as king Herod had a specific purpose when he killed all the male children two and under, the spirit of Herod has a specific purpose behind abortion. He cannot kill them himself, he entices women and men to become selfish and self serving in the matter. And it works. They choose to abort rather than the responsibility of child rearing.
 
We are in a time that is “CLEARLY” the last days. Yes, those days may last another 50 years. I doubt it, but it could be even longer. But we are near a time that Jesus will return for His people. Now, the devil wants as few people to go as possible. In the last days, God will raise up a multitude of people to lead the world towards revival. They shall work in the supernatural (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17) and God will, Himself, pour out upon all flesh. This is a world wide revival. ALL FLESH! So, knowing that the time is coming, how do we stop them? The devil asked his minions. The spirit of Herod raised his hand. “We kill them in the womb. Taking what has been done for thousands of years and making it sophisticated. And “safer.” We call it safer.” Satan promoted the demon and abortion became a thing.
 
He is the demon/spirit of abortion/Herod. He has tried to destroy the generation that would help to usher in the last great revival. Millions have died. But, even in this mega effort, like Herod did with Jesus, he has failed. God is still bringing His Presence down and changing the world. The prophecy of Joel is happening now. And will continue until the end. Praise God!
Matt

“Hutch” Release Announcement

Hey,

So I’m not too good at promoting myself. But, let’s face it, no one else is going to! So here it goes!

I have just completed my 3rd book. It is called “Hutch.” No it is not about the adventures of an old China Cabinet and the places it goes. Which might be a rather odd, but possibly, great concept. Either way, here is the synopsis from the back of the book:

“Malcolm “Hutch” Hutchford is a tough LA Police Detective. He’s fought every kind of criminal imagined. From thieves and murderers to gangs and drug pushers. Creeps of every kind and background. But nothing fully prepared him for his vacation.

“By a series of both false and jumped conclusions, he finds himself dropped on a mountain, deep into the wilderness of Springtime Alaska. Left to die. With the most ferocious that the wild country has to throw at him, he is determined to live. But the cost will be more than just wanting to live. He will need some help from an unexpected Source.

“Death waits at every turn, but Hutch refuses to give up. He learns the way of survival. He learns about wolves and bears. He learns how to endure the greatest of pain. But the hardest lesson he has to learn will be about his past.

This book is dedicated to the American Soldier for all they do. Our main character has endured war and it has left a scar on him. He goes through life not fully realizing just how big that scar is. In the wasteland of the frozen mountains, he discovers that he needs God. He needs saving inside more than he does on the outside.

Hutch comes to grips with his need, but still has a long way to go. Maybe that sounds familiar?

This is the first announcement of this book’s publishing. It will be available to purchase from Amazon (or directly from me) on or before July 25th. If you have more questions, please contact me. Anything purchased directly from me will be signed as the customer wishes.

Thank you!
Matt

Gracious Grace

Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself.

Grace has been highlighted in my life of late. Maybe you’ve noticed it too. Maybe you have not and need to. Either way, I wanted to touch on it because it seems so many times it is misunderstood. I know I have took it wrong a great deal in my life.

Grace, by it’s very nature, is free. It cannot be bought or earned. If there is payment in any way, it is no longer Grace.

Do not mistake the fact that Grace being free was free. It was paid for in some fashion. It always is. But never by the one receiving it.

Grace can be stubbed. For it to truly do it’s greatest work (whether from a fellow human or from God) it must flow through us unto others. “Paying It Forward” is not a new concept.

Grace will cost the giver. God paid for it with His Son. What will your cost be to give it to others?

You cannot give Salvation to others. That comes from God alone. But you can give Grace.

You should always buckle up with a seat belt and Grace when driving.

Once you have children, you will experience the joy of giving Grace.

Many will tell you that Grace has been cheapened by those who purport “hyper-grace.” Putting Grace to every part of their life. God’s Grace was given at the beginning. Before you sinned. Before I sinned. It existed already. A level offered to all who needed it. There is no such thing as hyper-grace. Man cannot attain the level of Grace God gives. But he will complain because the “workers” who came late in the day received that which he’d spent the day trying to earn. (Matthew 20:1-6)

Grace says “I love you anyway,” to the murderer. The rapist. The thief. The liar. The bully. The homosexual. The average Joe. The Muslim. The devil worshiper. The taxi driver. The dock worker. The actor. The superstar. The lazy son-in-law. The brilliant CEO. The greatest of sinners and the righteous preacher.

Grace does not judge. It does not lie or feign a happy outlook, but it does not judge. First, and above all, it loves. It extends the good which was given it. It does not pay evil for evil. Grace is a decision of leniency despite the guilt.

Grace does not cause shame, but will hide the one shamed. Grace will take the blame to keep another from suffering. Grace sees the guilty through eyes of understanding and tenderness.

Grace is a man experiencing the results of his own decisions, yet being able to smile. A long time captive, hugging and praying with their captor. Grace is a mother forgiving the one who took her own away from her.

Grace is one of the greatest gifts God ever gave to mankind. And it was given thousands of years ago in a garden where disobedience and sin first came to be. Since that time, it has grown through man, but the level that God gave then is still the same. Far beyond what we can imagine.

Romans 3: 21-24 via The Message:
“But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.”

The Word of God. This is Grace!

Matt