buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Creator God”

Singing a New Song

Last Sunday, Christmas Eve, we sang a few Christmas songs during our worship time. It wasn’t the traditional carols. Yes, “Go tell it” was one of them, but it was a different version. Then there were a couple of songs that I couldn’t name for you, much less sing well because I was unfamiliar with the tune. They were different and upbeat – even had a rap song thrown in for good measure. However, I enjoyed them.

Do you get tired of singing the old songs over and over? Does your worship go routine when the old songs are sung? Do we pay attention to the words any longer when it becomes routine? Is our worship affected by routine? I can imagine God saying – “sing me something new” – “feel something different in the newness for me.”

Routine. Rut. Same ol’ same ol’. I think my own routines get the best of me at times. I can imagine that God wants something different for us as well. Routines will kill the Holy Spirit’s movement. Routine is just a mind-numbing exercise. It’s hard to get excited about routines. Yes, I do find some comfort in routines, but it’s when it wears down to a rut that it becomes the monotony of life and just going through the motions.

December 1st, I started the Draw the Circle, 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson. Yesterday’s reading (Day 29) gave me a bit of a pause. It was all about getting out of the routine. The author wrote this profound statement “sacred routines become empty rituals if we do them out of left-brain memory instead of right-brain imagination.” I am good at left-brain work. It’s the creativity that I have a problem with, but I can see that creativity is something God put in us so that we can use it to worship Him more effectively. After all, wouldn’t the Creator give us that same desire to create – we are made in His own image, right?

If you have been following my blog for any time, you may have noticed that for the last year I have been posting on Thursdays. Before that I posted on Wednesdays. Since I started a new job two months ago, I realized that I need to move the day again. I can no longer write in the mornings when I have to be at work at 8 o’clock. This work isn’t working for me! So here I sit on a Saturday morning typing away. This is my right-brain activity for the day! I might throw in another creative outlet at some point as well at some other point in the week, but for now this is what works. Change is a good thing, right?

Mark Batterson noted a response to one of his sermons about prayer from someone in the audience concerning his continual prayer out of his knowledge of the human body. The responder had a degree in biology and started to thank God for all the interactions that occur in the body. He wrote “Thank You for mitochondria, which right now are creating ATP. Thank You for ATP. Thank You for glycolysis. Thank You for pyruvate.” This may not hit you as it hit me, but these are the things I am currently learning through my interest in healthy living.

This responder had a lot more knowledge than I do and he went on to other areas of the body and in nature as well. He was thanking God for the complete work that is going on in our bodies that we have no control over but by His hands we live and breathe and function without a single thought on our own. He did it. He sustains us even when we don’t even think about it. It’s just amazing what God has done for us. It’s His breath in our lungs. It’s His handiwork in our bodies. It’s all Him.

We can get in our routines and not even think about it. But how much more we would get out of life when we contemplate every aspect of our lives are in the palm of God’s hands. How much more we would worship Him when we realize how great and majestic He is and the work that He has done in us and through us. It’s time for a little creativity in our worship and in our prayer lives too. It’s time to get out of our routines and try something new. Are you with me in this?

We are starting a new year in just a few hours. Let’s make it a goal to try something different this year. Let’s tap into our creative imagination and watch what God can do in the midst of it. You up for it? Let me know what you come up with and how God responds to you in that newness. Happy New Year!

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 96:1-4

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Proper Understanding

Question: “What is the chief end of man?” Answer: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” I read that in a book by John Piper (Let the Nations Be Glad) yesterday morning. I have heard this saying some time ago but it hit me fresh again as I began to read in chapter one. In the first chapter, John Piper gives the case of God’s glory as the foundation for our worship. Scripture after scripture, he reminds the reader that throughout the Bible it’s about God’s glory. He said that God’s goal is “to uphold and display the glory of his name.” I think we’ve forgotten how to truly be in awe of God.

In generations past, they had a different view of God. I think it’s been just a century of prosperity that we have displaced God’s glory with our own. We worship the wrong things and the wrong people. We truly don’t worship God in the manner we should. I witness the subdued attitude when we gather together to worship and notice the difference at a basketball or football game. I’m no better at worship either. There may be a time or two of hand-raising and a few tears, but are our hearts truly worshipping God in the right manner?

In our prosperity, we’ve lost something fundamental in our view of God. Most of us can get by without God. We don’t need Him as society once did. Our needs are met without much thought to how we get what we have – we’ve earned it ourselves. We’ve done it all ourselves or at least that’s the perception. That was the way I thought for many of my early career years. Everything though comes from God. We get nothing on our own. It’s all by the grace of God.

There is an identity crisis in this land. We don’t know who we are, and we have no idea who God truly is. First, if Jesus is our Lord and Savior; then we have a new identity. We have been adopted into God’s family. We are heirs with Christ. We have His righteousness. Jesus traded our filthy rags for His cloak of righteousness. We have been set free from the bondage of sin. We are secure in our knowledge of our eternal home. Jesus provided our new identity by His death and resurrection. Not because of our goodness, but because of His.

There isn’t anything that we could have done to make our place secure; it’s a gift. We have a position in God’s family based on Jesus and not our performance. There is nothing we can do to earn His favor. And in this gift of salvation, we are complete; we lack nothing. Complete but unfinished. There is work that still needs to be done in us. Every now and then, I get a thought of what I could have been if not for the fact that Jesus pursued me and changed my life. Those are the times when I truly worship God.

Every now and then, I also get a glimpse of the greatness and glory of God. Louie Giglio has a message on YouTube called Indescribable. I found it last week and watched the different pictures of the universe – the vastness, the beautiful images of the known universe – flash on the screen. He said that we should remember that God holds all of it in His hands. We are this one little speck on this one little planet in the vastness of what God has made. Pastor Louie said that he wasn’t trying to make us feel small, but to remind us that we are small. And yet, God watches over us with the love of a Father. His eye is on us.

Paul wrote out a prayer for the saints in Ephesus to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ; to know this love that surpasses knowledge and be filled with the measure of the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:18,19). I think we miss this understanding. Maybe its head knowledge, but I don’t think we have grasped the heart knowledge of how true this really is. When we finally have a proper understanding of who God is and what He has done, then I think we will truly worship Him in the proper manner. God is Creator – the known universe testifies to His glory. God has created us for a personal relationship with Him that we may glorify Him and worship Him – the one true God. We are made in His likeness so that we can glorify Him through our lives.

Do you understand who you are and your purpose? I think I am finally coming to my own revelation. I hope you do as well. Let it be said of us – we know how to worship God because of our love for Him.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. Ephesians 1:4-6 (NLT)

What’s in a Name?

How many times do we say “great” or “awesome” in any given day? “Awesome” used to roll off my tongue all the time, until I heard a comment from James MacDonald about it. A few years ago, he said that he would not use the word “awesome” unless he was talking about God or something related to Him. This past weekend, Pastor James spoke of the overuse of “great” as well. Both words used to denote a standard higher than average. They were used to describe something of significance, not average. But with overuse, the terms no longer hold much significance.

From the very beginning, Great and Awesome described our God. Back in the day (ancient days to as little as fifty years ago), God was feared. There was reverence in how we addressed Him. We understood the splendor and grandeur of our Great God. No one with a moral sense would ever take the Lord’s name in vain. Today, Jesus Christ has become a curse instead of a cry of adoration. We use the Lord’s name as a term of surprise (Oh my God! – now shortened to OMG!); or a term of exasperation (Oh Lord!). One day, every knee will bow at the name of Jesus – Lord of lords and King of kings. Do we get the significance of the greatness of His name?

This past Sunday, my pastor used the illustration of three chairs to show levels of commitment in following Jesus. One chair was still in the box. It represents one who does not have knowledge of Jesus, or has a rebellious heart toward Jesus. They are ones far from God. They are lost and have no hope.

The next chair is out of the box but not fully assembled. This chair represents those who know about Jesus, but they are not fully committed. These are the ones who are comfortable and have just enough of Jesus. They have one foot in church and one in the world. My pastor called them complacent and compromised. Revelation 3:16 calls them the “lukewarm” Christians – neither hot nor cold. Jesus was pretty harsh in His assessment of them and said He would “spit them out of His mouth” (or “vomit” as some have translated). Not a pretty picture of that type of relationship (“relationship” is loosely applied here).

The last chair is a fully assembled chair. It’s ready for use. You could trust this chair to hold your weight if you chose to sit in it. This represents the one fully committed – all in, as my pastor says – to a life devoted to following Jesus, no matter the cost. Their hearts are fully surrendered in all ways to follow Him.

Anne Graham Lotz said recently that the level of our commitment depends on our convictions. In this day and time, we suffer from a lack of conviction about who Jesus is and the message we are supposed to share. We have a “watered down” version of the Gospel message. There is no power behind the message. We have lost the “greatness” and the “awesomeness” of God.

God gave us ample evidence of His glory and majesty in His fingerprint of creation. I get a sense of wonder when I contemplate nature. Think about the earth. He holds it in the orbit that sustains life. It is tilted at just the right angle; it is placed at the right distance from the sun; it holds everything that we need in order to live and breathe. And He spoke it into existence!

What about our own body? Think about how the body works, without our conscious thought. The heart beats; the lungs expand to breath in the air we need; the digestion works (most of the time) to give us the nutrients to sustain us. And our feet are placed solidly on this earth to live a life worthy of our calling. And He formed us with His hands – in our mother’s womb. He knew us before He spoke the first word!

God placed the signs and wonders in the heavens to reflect His glory – to show the world He exists without uttering a word. Yet, He did not stay silent. He created and then engaged with us; not holding back His love for us. He gave voice to His Word so that we could hear and understand the Truth of who He is. That is pretty awesome!

He is the Maker of the Heavens. We have an awesome and great God. We need to discover Him again and be in awe of His glory and majesty. We need the respected “fear of the Lord” once again. Jesus Christ is the Name above all names. He is worthy of all our adoration. The Great I AM! The One who was, who is and who is to come! AWESOME!

But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (NLT)

The Blue Dot

Has your mind ever been blown about the creativity of God? Have you witnessed something so marvelous that it can only be from God? I get those moments every now and then. When I contemplate how my body works, I am just blown away by the complexity and the creativity of it all. There is no way under my limited abilities to comprehend that I can come from any other way but by the way of a miracle of God. From the millions of sperm that swam in the ocean of my mother’s womb, one little sperm found the one place in the egg that can be fertilized and grew to become me. From a tiny heartbeat that began in the womb, God gave me life. I was actually God’s secret until He decided to let my Mom know about me. He decided everything about me before I was formed. He had me in mind from the very beginning. You too! We are all just the miraculous creation from God!

Then when I contemplate life in general, how did we end up here on this earth? I was flipping channels one Sunday night many months ago; I came across the science program Cosmos. I am not that much into science, but I stopped to listen to what the speaker was saying. There was a picture on the screen of the earth in all its glory from space. The speaker was saying that the space craft that was launched a few years ago was exiting our galaxy turned the camera to get a last glimpse of earth. The picture was a mass of dots of light across the screen. However, there was one blue dot in the mass of white dots. Earth is the blue dot. When I contemplate that we are living on that one blue dot in the mass of white dots, how can that be? How can we have just one place in the entire universe that supports our lives? It’s impossible to think of the vastness that is not inhabitable. Yet, God made this place possible! He had us in mind when He designed creation. It’s just one of His miracles so that we could recognize His glory!

When I contemplate my life and its complexities, I am quick to believe in a small God. The things that go on in my little world are too big for my small god. I have the wrong view. I need a picture of the blue dot to remind me nothing is impossible for God. God spoke and it came to be. The Spirit moved upon the waters – the heavens were separated. Darkness was separated by His spoken word of light. God speaks and creates something out of nothing! The blue dot from His vantage point amazes me. How does the God of the universe, who created all that we see, look down on this little dot and find me here in my little space on this little dot? How do we stay in this orbit, hurling around a sun without being flung into the nothingness of space? Only through God’s presence!

I sit here in amazement considering these things. My perspective is all wrong. My view of God is way too small. The word says that He knows the very hairs on my head. The Word says that He loves me and you with a depth that we cannot imagine. He put all this into place so that we could glorify Him. The One who created everything wants us to glorify Him. How in the world can we do anything that would bring Him glory? It’s impossible in our own effort. But with Him, everything is possible. When my viewpoint gets hindered by my smallness, I need to consider God’s bigness. The blue dot is enough to remind me that there is more than I see in my every day world. God’s perspective is much bigger. Once we get the right perspective, nothing can stop us from glorifying God!

For this perspective, I am very thankful today!

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. Genesis 1:31-2:1

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