Tag Archives: worship

Choosing for Change

Psalm 123:1-2 “I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven. We look to the LORD our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master; as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.”

How do we look to the Lord? As the slave girl looks to her mistress for the slightest signal. Maybe you aren’t sure exactly what your relationship is with God. Maybe you don’t like who you are. By looking to the Lord you will know him better, and you will change for the better.

How we see God depends on him. Unless God looked at us first, we would not be able to know him. We were born slaves to sin and all kinds of righteousness. God the Father sent Jesus his Son to die for us and take away our sin. Through Jesus Christ, we can see God. We can look upon him without looking away!

When we have agreed with God that we have sinned and accept Jesus Christ as the one sent to take away the sin, God gives us his own Holy Spirit to live inside us. The Holy Spirit teaches us to see and hear the Lord clearly. We grow in grace and truth, able to look more and more steadily at perfect God. The Holy Spirit is sent to seal us to God for eternity, and he is also sent to help us. Whatever we need, we reach for him and he is as close as he can get, inside us. Always right here, always ready to help.

Romans 6 tells us that whatever we obey is what we are slaves to. Think about it. Whatever or whomever you follow has your attention, and your full cooperation. We can choose whom to follow, right? Or what to follow. When we belong to Jesus, lover of our souls, who will never let us down, and keeps us unto eternal life, it makes sense to stop following the world and follow him.

John 8:12 “Jesus said to the people, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’ ”

Have you ever tried to walk through a field at night? It is easy to get disoriented by the dark and walk in circles. However, if there is a light at the point of your destination, you can look at the light and find your way. Jesus is a bright, close up light before you and all around you and in you. He puts the darkness right out so you can see clearly.

To obey the Lord, to keep our eyes focused on him, we need to know what his will is; what is right to do. What pleases him. God’s will is not a mystery! He has given us plain instruction, but we have to obey it or it becomes obscure to us.

An example of God’s will made plain to us is Romans 12:1-2. “Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.”

Another example is Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all you ways, acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.”

Our human bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. We can walk in love and worship, or we can walk like the world. When you are at church, lifting your hands and voices in praise and worship to God, you probably have a better attitude toward God than when you are running to work and someone in the street asks you for money. When your life focus is on the Lord, however, you will be tuned in to the Holy Spirit and have the wisdom to respond appropriately to people, according to God’s will for them and for you.

We can keep looking intently at Christ by studying the scriptures. Jesus is the Word. When you read your Bible, you are looking at him. The longer you look, the better you will be able to see him. In the scriptures, your mind is renewed by God.

When we get focused on Jesus, he becomes the highlight of who we are, and distractions fall away. He is our treasure. We know him, because we see him and follow him. Everyone who comes into contact with us will have his light shed around them, too.

Choose to follow Jesus Christ. Say it out loud now, “I choose to follow Jesus. I will never turn back. The world is not what I want. Jesus is what I want. Now matter what, I am a follower of Jesus Christ.” Now you have verbalized your decision. It’s out there. It’s in the air. The reward of knowing God will last forever, and your life will be surrendered to Christ to have all the fullness you desire. Now follow him.

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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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In the Heavenlies

The power of God raised Jesus Christ from death back to life and now Jesus is with His Father in heaven. Ephesians 2 says very specifically that believers, followers of Jesus Christ, children of God, are also seated with Christ in the heavenlies. This is the new life that no one has apart from Christ.

New life is not the pay for what your’ve done,

It comes to you through faith in God the Son.

The grace of Him who caused you to believe

Has made new life a gift that you receive.

Today,  be still for a time and comtemplate the power of God. He can accomplish in you more than you would ever dare to ask or hope for. When you experience the love of Christ, and you will experience it if you take the time to be still and wait on Him, then God can fill you to the uttermost with His love and power. This is fullness of life in God.

How can you know when God has filled you? Some people experience emotion or physical sensation or neither of those. The one thing you can absolutely know is God’s filling is an impact of desire to give His love away to other people. It’s that simple. Your heart turned to God turns to His desires, and His desire is that everyone should receive and know His love.

God bless you today as you seek God’s fullness.

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Performance-Based Christianity?

Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” He also told us that because he was going to the Father, we would do even greater works than he did.

Are you trying to work without seeing Jesus? Without the blessing and grace of the Father?

Good things we do, like starting food banks and wrestling to get money from the government to stock them may have an impact on needs in society. How much greater would this help to people be if we relied on God alone to plan and stock the food bank, and to give the increase because we do it in his Name?

What keeps us from waiting upon God and doing things his way? The “risk” involved from bringing the seen out of the unseen? What if we fail? Pride opens up a can of ifs, ands, and buts, and what could be a beautiful project never comes to life. However, we feel if we can micro-manage a project enough, it will succeed and there is no risk.

We say, well, we are going to fix the worship time at church so it isn’t so boring. Get some new tunes and jazz up the old ones. Bless the socks off those people whether they get it or not. We are such good musicians, God will accept this music as worship and be proud of us.We will practice and practice until our arrangements are perfect and then offer it up as a sacrifice of worship and praise.

But God says a broken and contrite heart is what he wants offered to him. He wants us to be still and know that he is God. When we know who he is and know what we are in relationship with him, then the music is not a performance. It flows from the heart of God in unity with his children. Each gives to the other in perfect harmony.

All that we do in love for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit does not fail because God never fails. May he bless you today with creative thoughts and the wisdom to seek him first to know how to act on those righteous thoughts. In Jesus’ Name.

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The Voice of God

Psalm 29 describes what can happen when God’s voice sounds over creation.  His voice echoes thunderously over the sea. His voice splits trees and mountains skip out of the way, His voice strikes with lightning bolts and makes the desert shake and quake. His voice twists mighty trees and strips entire forests bare.

You can see that King David, as he wrote this Psalm, is comparing hearing the voice of God to the power in lightning, raging seas, earthquakes,  and tornadoes. The voice of God is filled with power and majesty and greater than all these events put together. Think of the power of a tsunami. Everything in its path is washed out in the moment of its arrival, and nothing escapes. God’s voice is even greater.

Because God can speak and everything he made by his word can also be unmade,  consider his awesome mercy to us. Jesus Christ the only begotten son of God  is the word of God come to live with us and save us from the wrath of God. Jesus paid for out sin that separated us from God with his own body, giving himself up to death in the ultimate sacrifice. Then he rose from the dead even defeating death itself and to all who believe he offers his eternal life with him.

He puts his own spirit in us so that we can hear God right inside us and there is as much power in his still, small voice as there is in the sound that makes mountains leap aside.

He chooses us and teaches us to hear his voice and speak what we hear to the dying world so that all might be saved.

Do you desire the power and majesty of almighty God in your life? Begin to seek him in his written word, trust him to teach you, and signs and wonders shall follow. Give him honor for his glory and strength.

God rules over the floodwaters, and he rules over you. He is king forever. He gives his people strength, and he blesses them with peace. (Ps. 29:10-11)

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Everyday Activity

Psalm 91:6-7 “Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the sheep under his care. Oh, that you would listen to his voice today!”

Before  we move from the bed in the morning, we can bow our hearts before our God and worship him. Before we take food, we can bow our hearts and worship him. Before we get in the car or board a bus or walk on a busy path, we can bow our hearts before him and worship him. Before we smile at the fussed lady in line at the grocery store, we can bow our hearts and worship him. Before we call a friend or enemy to complain about some injustice, we can bow our hearts and worship him.

Do you see, beloved in Christ, that every footstep and every spoken word and even every thought is under the care of our great Shepherd.  We do not ever need to take a wrong step or speak a wrong word.  We are fully protected.

Let us always listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit and go with what he says, for he speaks truth. As we practice listening, his voice will come closer and closer to the surface of our thoughts, until we hear him first . . .

A blessed relief to have worship and obedience the normal daily walk with God.

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