Monthly Archives: January 2009

The Service of Worship

Scriptures pertaining to this blog: Psalms 2 and 3, and epistle of I John, 1 and 2.

When we worship, we bow before God and serve Him. Reverence and trembling are the position of our souls. To worship like this means we are before God and focused on Him. We anticipate His every gesture and nuance so that we can obey Him. Picture in your mind a king who has servants gathered around him. These servants have no duty other than to anticipate and fulfill every gesture and nuance the king makes, and every word he utters expressing a desire or command. In doing this , the servants become so tuned in to the king that most of the time they do not even need to wait for him to say, “Bring me my cup.” The cup is already prepared, and when the king lifts his head to speak for it, the servant has it ready and waiting at his elbow.

A worshiper studies the One he worhsips, bows before Him, and serves Him intimately so that he is ready to obey the slightest signal. Many commands and precepts are learned so that the worshiper does not even need to be told what to do.  He trembles to think he might miss doing what his Lord wants him to do.

Yet in the context of worshiping God, in Christ Jesus, we are nots slaves from fear. We are beloved children, serving for love of the Master. This is the same love that God gave us when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins.  Christ served us! He showed us how to worship. 

Since our bodies cannot always remain bowed, the reverence we have for God moves in our spirits, then we submit our bodies to Christ which is our service of worship (see Romans 12:1-2). Our hearts and minds are cast to see and hear Jesus Christ first, before anyone else, including ourselves. How can we get to this place? PRACTICE. Yes, it really is that simple. Just like learning to play guitar. You read the book, you apply what the book says to do, and you learn to do it. To worship God and do whatever He desires for you to do, read His Book, study how He does things, apply this to your own life, and you will get better and better at being like Christ.

Also take refuge in the Lord, so you may accomplish all that you see and hear is His desire for you. Yes! God protects His children an worshipers! Jesus Christ protected us from death and hell by going to the cross for us. He literally put His life ahead of ours to lead us to safety.

When we serve Him, our adversaries increase. This makes life very hard. However, Christ sustains us through these experiences. The adversaries stalk and prowl, serving satan because they do not serve God. However, we can rest in the assured protection of the Lord. He manages our enemies, and they can go so far and no further. Even if we are called to make the ultimate sacrifice of human death, our victory over our enemies is already complete. We are going to heaven, friends, to the very throne room of God Almighty, where we can wait upon Him face to face! God smites and shatters His enemies, and blesses His own people.

In serving Christ, I John 1:1-4 says that our joy is made complete in telling other about Him. We tell others about worsiping Him, but also about having fellowship with Him. Fellowship and worship do go completely together.  A king’s best friend is his closest servant. One is not complete without the other. Worshiping God and fellowshiping with Him means we are in the Light. We can see. The cleansing blood of Christ is in the Light. To sin is to step away from the Light and be blinded by darkness. We are cleansed by the blood so that we can stay and walk in Christ, in love, and worhsip and serve Him and have joy because we are obvious servants of His. 

Today let us worship God by learning about Him in His Word and in being still before Him, listening and praying. Let us submit our bodies and our minds and hearts to him and see that we are standing in the Light of His countenance. Be aware of His presence. The Holy Spirit is anointing us continuously to know and do these things.

God bless you.

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Dependency Issues

Have you ever been the caregiver for either a young child or an elderly adult? Take a moment and remember how much time this responsibility required. Did you become a slave of this person’s need for attention? Yes, you are remembering how hard it was sometimes to even leave the room! Your entire personal schedule, including meals and hygiene, got wrapped around this other person’s life. More than this, you were constantly barraged with questions and comments. You might try to sit down and read a book, for example, and you were immediately discerned to be “not busy.”  In the other person’s eyes, that meant you were at their disposal completely. You begin to feel like commanding your time and attention is an obsession, and you can’t escape it.

People are made to be with other people. Because our earth-born nature is totally selfish, the people who look to us for help can go way overboard. 

When we are born from above, believing Jesus Christ to be our Savior and following Him, we look to Him for everything instead of to other people. Think about this: there is no “too much” in going to God for everything. We can never go overboard in looking to Him for every need. His time and attention is totally ours. Our Lord is focused on us! He knows how many hairs are on our heads – consider that our hair is always falling out and changing, so He must really be paying attention. 

Right now, God is watching us and enjoying His job! He longs for us to seek Him out, and He is never off trying to catch a break. He never needs to leave us alone to go take a shower. He has all the time He made to listen, give, help. The Lord is my shepherd, says Psalm 23:1 – our 24-hour caregiver. He is filled with light and truth and will likewise fill us. His gaze is always on us. If we get confused or wander away,  He can see all things and lead us back to Himself, and we do not fear being alone. Our amazing God!

Praise the Lord!

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By Your Fruit Shall You Be Known

Matthew 7: 15  “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.  16  You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  17  A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.  18  A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.  19  So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.  20  Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

This short passage of scripture is words that Jesus Christ spoke to His disciples while teaching them. A great crowd was also there, listening. 

Now, a couple of thousand years later, we are still a great crowd, listening. Isn’t that awesome?

Today, we also have great need to discern good people from bad people, and right teaching from wrong teaching. We need to examine ourselves, also.  To do this, we need a foundation source of truth on which to base our determination.  That source is God’s Word, the Bible, the leading of the Holy Spirit, and our submission to God in prayer. First, before we can discern what kind of fruit a person or group of people bears, we need to know what to look for.  For example, read Galations 5:19-22 –

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

The old sinful nature produces bad fruit, and the new nature we receive from Christ produces good fruit; the fruit that grows in the Holy Spirit.

By carefully examining where someone’s thoughts and actions lead them, you can know whether or not that person is of God. It is important to remember that God never changes, which means He doesn’t have opinions that change, like we do. He is who He is, and Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  So if someone asks you to believe, for example, that God has changed his mind about what He said in Romans chapter one about some things people do that are wicked in His sight, then you can know that those teachers are false and anything they do will produce bad fruit. You might not see it immediately, but you will see it. You can even ask God to reveal it, so you know right away.

The only real prophets are fully surrendered to God in Christ Jesus and do not lean on any other understanding, including their own intellect.

Do you want to rightly understand God’s Word of truth? Do you want to always produce good fruit? Good fruit is your legacy to others who come after you. When all else is swept away, your spiritual fruit remains.

Here is wisdom from the Lord, then, to set you on the path to bearing good fruit:

Proverbs 3: 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
      do not depend on your own understanding.
 
6 Seek his will in all you do,
      and he will show you which path to take.

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A Life of Decisions

In the Body of Christ, every believer and follower of Christ has the right and privilege of knowing His perfect will in every circumstance and situation. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ living inside us, will guide us into ALL TRUTH. 

Have you ever wanted to know either the history or the outcome of a particular situation? God knows these things, and he is willing to share information. Often we make our choices based on pre-judging (prejudice) or assumption because of what we see. God wants us to make choices based on faith, or what we can’t see, which is believing He knows everything, and what He knows is perfect and best. 

Nearly all the time, special knowledge from God is not needed to make a right decision. We have His written Word, the Bible, where every life issue can be weighed with the principles and commands spelled out clearly for us. The Spirit of God will always use the Word of God to teach us and make God’s perfect will clear to us. 

Here is one example of how God leads and teaches us.  We begin with some scriptures.

Genesis 2:23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.

   “This one is bone from my bone,
      and flesh from my flesh!
   She will be called ‘woman,’
      because she was taken from ‘man.’”

 24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

Ephesians 5:31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”

These two passages reveal the heart of God how marriage is ordained to work. God does not give anyone a pass on this. If you will read all of Ephesians 5, you will learn that marriage is a representation of Christ’s relationship to His Body, which is all believers. In order for Christ to be properly and truthfully demonstrated in marriage, a man must leave his parents and become one with his wife. When we became Christians, we became mysteriously joined to Christ in a relationship that the world we leave behind for that cannot understand. So it is that only the husband and wife can understand their own relationship with each other. Parents are not to be initmately involved inthat relationship, because that is not God’s plan. The book of Ephesians is greatly descriptive of how the Holy Spirit creates intimacy with believers and reveals truth. Marriage is a Spirit-led union. Any influence apart from God is impurity. Missing the mark. Sin.

Only the Hoy Spirit can bring about complete intimacy between Christ and man; between Christ and the church while we remain on this earth. When we get to heaven, then we shall know even as we are already known by God. I Corinthians 13 11-12 says, When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Here are questions for you to ponder today: do you want to know God intimately or partially? Do you want to live in truth? 

There is a way you can begin to unravel how your life has gone so far, and set the order for a right future. Make three columns on paper. In the first column, wirte down every major decision you have every made in a list. Leave lots of room between. In the second column, next to each listed decision, write down how that decision turned out. Good, bad, indifferent, or maybe you have never figured it out totally.  In the third column, write what God says about your decision. At the right of this blog, there is a link to Bible Gateway where you can research many Bible translations, topics, and commentaries. This third column will take some time. You are encouraged to completely finish this task.

Decisions based on truth will shine like heavenly lights. Praise and thank God for those! 

Decisions based on personal prejudice or wrong teaching from your past require cleansing. Seek the Lord for forgiveness and surrender yourself to His leading for what to do about these things. He will lead you into real truth that you can believe wholeheartedly. He will lead you into a right future.

Sometimes we have based new decisions on old bad decisions. We think the new choices will fix the old ones, or make them better. This can make getting at the truth involved and tricky. However, if you will rely on God, surrendering to the teaching and power of the Holy Spirit, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32) Then you can finish up the good work God has begun in you! 

Philippians 1:6 (New Living Translation) ” And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Have a great day in the Lord!

 

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A Shaft of Light

Has your relationship with God ever resulted in a good event or change that you know for certain could not have taken place without being in   relationship with Him? The outcome causes you to be thankful and comforted and thinking, “Isn’t that just like God!”

Need an example to clarify? How about Philippians 4:6 & 7 -‘ Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.’  This is a promise from the Bible, which is God’s book written to us so we can know what He thinks about everything. The promise says that if you give whatever you could worry about to Him, and your heart is thankful toward God that you know He’s in control of everything, then there is a result you can expect from God. He will make sure you have His peace. It will keep you safely tied to Christ. Your problem won’t be able to overwhelm you. Jesus Christ has already taken care of it.

Knowing God from studying the Bible builds our relationship with Him. When we are clear about what the Lord thinks, and we grow close to Him, and we begin to think like Him, also. This is where we start to see great results of this relationship.  We can think of our vertical closeness to Christ as walking in a perfect beam of Light.  Our horizontal experiences here on the surface of planet Earth begin to absorb into the light. We can see where we are going, and get there without stumbling around. Psalm 119:105 says,  ‘Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path. ‘ It is not a dim flashlight beam in our human hands, wandering back and forth across a dark path. God’s Word is a mighty shaft of invincible Light coming directly from Himself to us. His Spirit brings His meaning to life in us. Everything God says and does works together for our good.

Good things happen when we rely totally on the Lord. We do not put our trust in people, because they fail us and we fail them. And God NEVER fails. His lovingkindness is everlasting. His results are sure.

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