Tag Archives: praise

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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Unity, Not Prejudice

In the United States of America, there are laws to tell people how to behave.  In our Declaration of Independence, which is a foundational document of this nation’s formation, we declare that all men, all people are created equal. This statement proclaiming the moral rights of all people to be free from tyranny of other people was eventually followed in the 1860’s by abolishment of slavery, and in the 1960’s by a constitutional amendment giving every citizen free and equal civil rights. These declarations and laws are not solely for persons oppressed by racial discrimination, or the exchange of money for a person’s right to life.  There is a God-given right to every person to choose his own direction.

Let us take this one step further, where the thought needs to go.  Every person has a God-given right to choose God Himself as his direction. Any man choosing less than God’s best for his life is allowing himself to be terrorized and tyrannized by other people’s expectations. Think about it. We are made to please God. If we choose to not please God; that is, if we walk apart from His fellowship and love and mercy, it is our very nature to have to please someone or something. Most of the time, without God,  we become enslaved to what people think of us. This is a lie of satan. We can never, under any circumstances, please any person who is not also trying to please God.  

The only first right relationship we can establish without prejudice is with Jesus Christ. When He is Savior and Lord of my life, I have peace with God. My heart’s desire is to obey God, pleasing Him. This is an eternal relationship. It never fails, and God never changes toward me. All other relationships that are right for me flow from this one relationship with the Lord. I do not need to seek anyone to please that person by any means than by my right relationship with God. When God has entered the connection, there will be right thinking and doing from me toward the other person, because I choose to please and obey God. He knows exactly what the other person needs, and I do not. I have to inquire of the Lord how to be genuinely His in my encounters with other people. Then He graciously keeps me honest, taking care of how I respond to people.

Being rightly related to God and seeking to present that relationship as our foundation of relationship to other people keeps us free from being tyrannized. Usually, I do not speak personally in these blog posts. However, I know from experience that choosing to please God is real protection from trying to please the wrong people. The Lord would not allow prejudiced and abusive persons to overcome me. He demonstrated fully that my “place” is with Him, and that place is above all perfect. The Lord spoke clearly that as I was having it ground into me by some people that I am a “lesser” person, that in His eyes, I am beautiful and greatly loved. I know this is true; how else would I be able to love those who hate, except from the safety of my Lord, desiring above all that they, too, realize God’s great love toward them? As a beloved child of God, I am completely free to love others as totally as He does. And that pleases God, and it pleases me, and it brings great good from great evil. Someday, I will see the prejudiced ones do one of two things. Either the hatred will continue until the prejudgers die and face the Lord and a true  judgment they don’t expect, or they will repent and become lovers of Christ, and we will be united in the fellowship and relationship of pleasing God. God shines His grace on me to desire and pray for unity.

Do you love God? Then turn away from self-righteousness, which opens doors to great evil, including prejudice. 

Say this: Father, I repent of wanting to please other people instead of you. Forgive me, and teach me how to love instead or just trying to please.  I thank You for your mercy and forgiveness.  I pray in Jesus’ Name.

Need to know God heard you? Start praising Him. Praise Him for everything you can think of for several minutes, then cease; be quiet. Ask, Lord, help me be quiet and know You are here. Then wait. No – don’t try to work up an emotional response. If tears come, leave them go where they will. Your God is with you. Try to be quiet and simply wait for His assurance of that. He is right here, and you are pleasing Him.

You have just taken a huge step toward right relationships; with the Lord, and with other people, too. Just keep taking this step as often as you have to! You will soon find that your path with friends, family, work, and ministry are all more gracious and loving. God bless you, my friend!

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Praise Is Serving the Lord

Do you serve the LORD in your local church?  In Psalm 135, there is some instruction for people who serve in the house of the Lord. People who stand in the courts are included in this instruction! So if you are just a pew sitter, stand up and do what God commands. First, we are told to PRAISE HIM, because He is good.

As a musician, the next instruction gets close to this writer’s heart – “sing praises unto His Name.” Another way to say this is to celebrate God’s wonderful Name with music. You can croak like a crow with no melody and still have music in you. Did you know that? It is there in your spirit, because God made everybody with this ablility to praise Him with music. Why do you think the masses rise to their feet when Handel’s Hallalujah Chorus is played? Or the Battle Hymn of the Republic? Because a person commands us to do so? Rather, it is because the music praises God, and man must praise God with music.

Psalm 135 goes on to describe God’s greatness and some things He has done which emphasize that.

Then  the psalmist slips in this word concerning God’s servants – God will judge His people, and repent Himself concerning His servants. He has compassion on those who serve Him.

Praise the LORD today. Worship Him. Celebrate His Name with music. Can’t sing? Sing anyway. And the next time you go to church, serve the Lord. Greet somebody in His Name. Talk about the greatness of God instead of the weather. And lift up your heart and your hands in praise and worship with the music.

Praise the Lord!

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