Tag Archives: joy

Worshiping God Together

Nehemiah 8:10 “This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

May I recommend that you read the entire book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament of the Bible, and especially chew on chapter 8. The context of the verse quoted above is instructive! The people of Israel had been hearing the Law of God read aloud to them and a group of them called the Levites also explained what they were hearing. These people had been reunited in Jerusalem and the surrounding area after long years of captivity away and were only re-discovering God’s Word. They were astounded and awed. His Word resonated in their hearts and minds and later in the book you will read that they vowed to follow the law and be blessed by God.

Chapter 8 gives us a nice pattern for meeting together to meet with God and give Him our complete attention.  There are five specific steps included, whcih we can easily follow in our church meetings today. The guidelines are simple! God always makes things simple to understand, even how we can have unity and worship Him!

1. A time of praise. The people stood, with their hands lifted, offering praise to God. The book doesn’t say that they sang, but as singers were an integral segment of Temple staff, singing and music could certainly be included.

2. There was a time of worship. The people bowed low to the ground and offered their complete selves to God in worship. There was no lolling around in easy chairs presuming equality living room time with God for this kind of serious worship. Purposeful reverence required involvement of body, mind and spirit all reverently bowed before the Lord their God.  More than likely, the people were also dressed in their very best garments. God deserves our first and best of everything.

3. Next came a time of preaching. The Levites, God’s appointed priests to the people explained the Word of God.

4. Following the preaching came a time of repenting. The Word of God entered into the hearts of the people and revealed what they needed to do to be right with God and they did this immediately.

5. Finally, a time of celebration. The people were told to feast and share what they had with people who did not have anything prepared. This precedent deserves much meditation by all believers!  Today, as Christ commanded we remember Him,  we would most certainly include the Lord’s supper, or communion following the time of repentance. Many millions of people in the world come to communion unprepared. They do not understand any of the Lord’s commandments regarding the bread and the cup, and so they take it unworthily, thus sinning against the Lord.  All you who do know what the Lord has said and follow Him in truth have the right and the obligation to prepare others.  Recommended reading further on this:

I John 5:13-21, 2 John

Being prepared to celebrate Christ and being forgiven of sin means that you must know and receive the truth that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, that he came to earth to die for the sins of all, and that he rose from the dead.  Review the pattern given to us in Nehemiah, practice it for yourself, and you will find that the Lord will raise you up to bring others in!

God bless you with His mighty joy as you worship God today.

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Shout With Joy!

For anyone who attended a Sunday School as a child,  you probably memorized Psalm 100:1-2; “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”  Your teacher explained that this meant worshiping God singing out loud cheerfully. Then you went upstairs out of your damp basement classroom and whispered to each other during the church service about so-and-so singing off key, and was that “making a joyful noise,” then giggle, giggle, giggle. Somebody glared at you for making noise in church, so you became quiet. Now you were wondering how anyone could make a joyful noise to worship God when you had to be quiet in church!

Another word for “serve” in verse 2 of the Psalm is “worship.” When we worship Almighty God, we are serving him. This is not to be a secret.  Verse 3 says “Know ye that the LORD, he is God, ” which means everyone knows that God is your LORD, because you aren’t quiet about it. You acknowledge him with your glad worship.

When you are glad, do you keep quiet about it? Doesn’t even your face show that you are full of joy and gladness? Your personal joy in the LORD is a very, very important component in leading others to know him, too. They will not be afraid to come to a God who so obviously makes people glad.

The rest of Psalm 100 gives reasons why we are so joyful in our worship:  1) God made us, and we didn’t make ourselves. 2) We are his people and the sheep of his pasture, i.e., he takes responsibility for us in every way. 3) God is good. 4) God’s mercy and truth last forever.

As you meet with God alone this morning, or go with others to praise and worship him, enter in to worship with thanking the LORD your God for everything, and praise him, blessing his name.  Let the joy of the LORD shine in your voice and on your face, and you will see the glory of the LORD rise upon you.

Don’t “feel” glad, or don’t “feel” in the mood for praise and worship to God? Well, read Psalm 100 for yourself and you will realize that if you just do these things from obedience, whether you feel it or not, you will be serving the living God in the way he wants you to. And he will honor your gift to him by bringing your emotions in line with your spirit. God bless you today as you worship him.

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Poetry and Worship – Communion

My home is at your table, Lord,

     Where I shall surrender with joy

         in remembrance of your love for me.

I turn away, yes, I turn away

     From all sin and destruction to my soul

        To be your worshiper in spirit and in truth.

 

Renew my mind, Lord.

     I surrender every thought to you

        in obedience to your living Word.

Come, Holy Spirit; come and fill me now.

     I will open my mouth to sing praise to God,

        To be your worshiper in spirit and in truth.

 

     Worthy is the Lamb of God, 

     For my sickness beaten; for my sin crucified;

     His body broken; His blood poured out:

                                     Remember . . . . Remember.

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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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Get Some Peace

One of the most outstanding, recognizeable ways I know to understand I am walking in God’s will is the presence of His peace. This peace is an absence of doubt, fear, stress, and even sadness. It is just about impossible to worry about anything when God’s peace rules in your heart. 

Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God living on the inside of everyone who has received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. You can ask God for greater filling and presence and power from the Holy Spirit, and be prepared to pick and eat all the fruits that Galations 5:22-23 in the Bible tells us He gives. “When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. ”

Sometimes the fruit takes a long time to grow because there are past bad things in our lives to be rooted out and the soil made right for good things to grow. This is something everyone should work in concert with the Lord to discover and get in order. God’s peace, though, and often joy as well, are intimate, immediate reminders of His presence. The key to growing God’s fruits is SURRENDER. Have something in the way between you and God? Give it to him – like a small child playing with a knife, and the parent asks the child to surrender the knife up. Whatever is hurting you or can hurt you, give it to Jesus. He’s the grownup. He knows what to do with it.

Father, today I pray specifically for each person who will read this post to understand your peace and get some rest in You. In Jesus’ Name.

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Being A Christian

You are a Christian . . . you have given Jesus Christ your heart . . . you understand that you have a whole new life . . .  but the “first love” of trusting the Lord has waned. Now what?

It is like falling in love with a person whom you marry and then have to work out that marriage in every day circumstances. There’s no doubt in your mind that you love your husband or wife and that your husband or wife loves you. You made a commitment and that’s that. However, it’s hard, hard work to be married and carry out that commitment to each other. Part of the problem seems to be that you are always trying to recapture those first days of overwhelming sky-high affection when you KNEW this person was THE ONE. But you can’t. What you see now is what you get, and it’s boring. There is nothing new there to grab your interest any more.

Boredom is a sign of pride. You are looking for something for yourself!

The key to unlock passion in love is to be a giver. You love someone; give yourself away to that person. Do what honors the person you love. What do you need for yourself, anyway? Think about it. In those early days, if your love was genuine, all you wanted to do was what served the other person best. We are created to be givers, not takers. Our fulfillment is in giving and serving. How this works is that by giving, we receive what we truly need!

What did Jesus do? He gave his life for you. As soon as you knew that, you gave your life to him. He is your greatest love, and the first Person whom you honor and serve. As long as you are seeking to honor and serve Christ, all the passion and joy and overflowing presence of your love keeps welling up new. Trying to recapture old stuff is irrelevant, because what you know now is greater and far better than the feelings with which you began. This love has purpose and deep meaning.  YOU KNOW that because the door to Christ’s love for you is wide open, his love flowing toward you is unhindered. Can you rest a moment and just feel his passion for you; his joy in you?

Christ is the Bridegroom, and we, the church, are his bride. When we first come to Christ, we are excited. We want everyone to know him. Our hearts have changed, and our priorities have changed. Then the daily grind interferes with our romance. We have to start digging deep into God’s Word and praying deep prayers and work at keeping the romance alive by serving the Lord. And many Christians give up, right there. It’s too hard, and too much, and they start thinking Christ doesn’t deliver what they expect, so never mind. But Jesus does deliver! You still know that, buried under the self-pity.

Christ does not let you go. There comes a point when you desperately want your relationship with him to be restored. What can you do? Communicate.  Give him yourself. Pour everything you have been holding back out to him. Give, give, give. Tell him what is good. tell him what is bad and rotten. Feel his tender, forgiving arms come around you. You love each other; now go on from here.

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Joy In Doing Right

Psalm 97:11 says that the Light shines on the godly and joy on those who do right. The Light is Jesus Christ: He is the Light of the world.

In this world, we always have trouble, and we can easily forget the joy of the Lord. Things that we hope for don’t happen, and we wonder if God is ever going to answer our prayers on certain matters. Doubt drags on us when we know we should have faith in God, and that makes us struggle with guilty feelings.

In 2 Timothy, chapter 4, there is a formula for experiencing your joy and gladness in following Christ. In Galations, we are told that joy is fruit from the Holy Spirit, so when you are open to him, you can receive his fruit. Being human, we also need practical wisdom for living out daily life in this manner. 2 Timothy 4:5 has wisdom for this:

“But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

1. “Watch thou in all things” can be paraphrased, “Keep a clear head.” Romans 12:2 tells us to have our minds renewed. Clear thinking is a must for godly activity. Minds and thinking are renewed by READING GOD’S WORD.

2. “Endure afflictions” is just what it says, and more; we have no reason to be afraid of suffering for Christ. Did he not suffer first and most?

3. “Do the work of an evangelist” simply means to WORK at bringing other people to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We can’t do that by sitting in a corner. You don’t have to stand on street corners and proclaim the Gospel unless God calls you to do that. Everyday life and how you live it speaks for God – or not. So work at living so that you are PRO GOD.

4. “Make full proof of thy ministry” sounds difficult, doesn’t it? Actually, it just means to complete what you know God wants you to do. Never give up. He is never going to leave you alone in your ministry. He is with you every moment to lead and strengthen and help you accomplish this.

These four actions are positive for knowing the Light shines on you, and you will receive joy in the process. To obey God is always the way to success. When you have joy, you have assurance that you are doing well.

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