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Archive for the tag “Worship”

The Stories

Over the last few days, I have been listening to several speakers tell their stories. I tuned into Daystar on my Roku and found Joni Lamb’s Table Talk. She was in Australia for the Plantshakers conference. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t heard of this conference before; but apparently this conference has been going on for years. One of the stories was a young man who started a bottled water company because he saw the plight of the poor with no clean water. He saw the statistics of the poor without water, and the statistics of how much bottled water is sold throughout the world. That gave him an idea. He had no experience in bottling water. He had no experience in business. But he had an idea – a God-sized idea. According to their website, they have given over $5.5 million to people in need. That’s pretty amazing! Check out https://thankyou.co/ for their amazing story.

I moved on to another speaker who talked about work that he and his wife are doing in the Middle East. Tom Doyle and his wife had a ministry that helps Christians in the Middle East. Their journey started when he was delivering a message to his church. During the message, the Lord impressed upon him that this was the last message he would preach to his church. His wife got the call as well. They both believed God was calling them to Gaza. Since that time, they have been ministering to the Christians in Syria and throughout the Middle East.

On Joni’s program, Tom spoke about some amazing conversion stories from the local believers in Syria. These men have chosen to stay in their country to win the lost. They all know that they will probably die for Jesus in that place. Tom mentioned that these men and women have such joy. Tom has a book out called Standing in the Fire that covers some of these stories. Check this out http://standinginthefirebook.com/ – the stories he told on Joni’s program are so inspirational.

On Joni’s program, she spoke to a couple who have a church in Manchester, England. They have been there for nine years and really making a difference in that place. The taping of this show was done long before the suicide bombing at the concert in Manchester a couple of weeks ago. So when I saw this program, I was intrigued by the fact there is a thriving church in this city where Satan chose to disrupt people’s lives by this tragedy. How much more can this church minister to this city now! Before this church, there were many churches in the city; but only a handful of churchgoers in each building. The church has been dying in England for years. But there is new life happening, and hopefully the church will have a greater impact in the midst of this tragedy.

I have heard there are pockets of rival going on in the western world. David Jeremiah said in one of his telecasts that all the great rivals have started by young people. They are the life blood of the church. Old men and women may have dreams, but the young can fulfill the dreams with their visions. It takes both in the church body. It takes us all to do our part. We all have stories to tell. Mine doesn’t have the thrill of the conversion stories in Syria. We all choose the path we will travel. I am praying my story has a better ending than the beginning. I want to make an impact on this world – I guess we all do. However, I will have to make some sacrifice to do it; we all do.

I guess that’s the kicker. We have to be willing to die to our self in order to move on with God. God can do amazing things through a willing heart. All we have to do is say Yes! As I consider this, I am reminded of the message at my church gathering on Sunday. The pastor said that desire informs behavior. Sin corrupts our desires and brings our destruction. The pastor mentioned that the intersection between desire and what we do is our idol. We will worship the desire of our hearts.

There is a war going on and the battle plays out for our hearts. We are told in Scripture to guard our hearts. Paul wrote in Ephesians about the armor we are to put on such as the breastplate to protect our vital organs. The heart is at stake here. In order to do the things God wants to do through us, we have to commit our hearts to him fully. There is no other way to have an amazing story to tell. When we get to heaven, I can imagine us telling our stories to each other. I pray for all of us to go out of this life with a blaze of God’s glory! Wahoo – what a ride! That’s my dream. What’s yours?

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you. Psalm 37:4-5 (NLT)

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The Gathering

Last week, I wrote about having unity in the body for prayer. This week, I was reminded that we are to be in unity as a community. I have heard it said that as Christians we don’t have to gather together to worship. We can do it as individuals: anytime, anyplace. True. But there is something about being together that makes a difference. We are told in Scripture that angels are gathered together before the throne in worship. Revelation 5:11 says there are many angels – thousands upon thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand. They are gathered around the throne singing “worthy of the Lamb.” It reminds me of a Beth Moore conference at the end of the gathering when Travis Cottrell sings a song based on that verse. It’s powerful. There are several songs he sings that is that powerful. It’s worth the price of admission!

Have you ever been to one of Beth’s conferences or another big gathering of believers (besides church gatherings on Sundays)? I have been to several Beth Moore conferences and simulcast. I have been to a Billy Graham conference back in the day. When we stand up and sing certain songs together, I will get cold chills running down my arms. It’s powerful to hear all the voices together singing in unity. I love going to those conferences. I get encouraged by the Word spoken and sometimes I get a word directly spoken about a prayer request. It’s great when that happens.

However, gathering together isn’t really about the Word being spoken – although it’s good to gather to hear God’s Word; but the real power is gathering together to worship our Lord. There’s nothing more glorious because it replicates what will take place when we all gather in heaven. We will join with the angels in their praise of our Lord and King. This down here is just a dress rehearsal. We’re trying to get it right down here. But up there, everything will be right! There will be no one singing off-key or off the beat. It will be perfect!

So I get that we can do it on our own and we should. But as the writer of Hebrews says we shouldn’t neglect gathering together (Hebrews 10:25). The writer says especially in this day and time at the nearness of Jesus’ return. It’s important to encourage one another. It’s important to live as a community, helping each other through these tough times – especially as persecution breaks against us. And it will eventually. Actually, it has already started in some regards.

When I was growing up, it was the norm to gather together on Sundays. Not so much now. It is very rare for all the neighbors in the neighborhood meeting at the intersections in a rush to get to a gathering. Matter of fact, when I walk around the neighborhood on Sunday mornings, it’s downright peaceful. There is no traffic at all. No one is out walking either.

Contrast that with a Saturday afternoon college football game where the home team is playing. There is a rush to get to the game. Thousands upon thousands gather to watch men clash on the turf. There are lots of cheers going on and lots of singing of the fight song. Encouragement to the team members are shouted from the stands. The fans have no place on the field. There is nothing significant about the event. Sure some team will be victorious at the end of the game. Fans will leave and go about their own business. Their lives were not changed by the outcome of the event. Sure, someone will be a little down because their team lost. But they still go about their business.

The gathering of the church is much different. It should be as enthusiastic as the football game. However, we’re not fans. We are on the field playing! We all have a part to play, and it’s not being on the sidelines cheering. We should be encouraging our teammates just as zealously as those who gather for the football game. The gathering changes us. It inspires us. The glory of the Lord is revealed through us, and helps us shine brighter in our neighborhoods. We are to go out and be the light we are meant to be when this dark world knocks on our door. Gathering together is good for our benefit and for others.

The gathering though is more than a cheering session. It’s about community. It’s about sharing our lives with one another. The people who gathered together in the first century shared everything. No one was in need. The people were persecuted for their faith and were cast out of society with nothing. The ones who still had resources shared with those who have nothing because of their faith. That’s the picture of the true church.

In these last days, we need to come back to that picture of unity; of community. Scripture tells us we are to be known for our love for one another. That’s what gathering is all about. We can worship on our own, but we can’t love one another well without gathering together. Do not forsake it. Our neighbors are counting on us whether they realize it or not. We have the hope that will change their lives. Let’s be the church we’re called to be, and do good to all as we’re called to do.

Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Philippians 1:27; 2:1-2 (NLT)

David’s Heart

A couple of weeks ago, someone posted a video on Facebook of a four-year old worship leader. He was quite cute. The boy was on Steve Harvey’s show Little Big Shots (I think that’s the name). Soon after that I heard a couple of messages about worship. All this has me thinking about worship, and my effort to honor and glorify God through my worship time. God created us to worship. It’s naturally in us to worship.

One pastor mentioned that our worship is not about us but about God. We get it all wrong when we think we’re supposed to “get something” out of our Sunday morning “service” – it’s all about what we feel as we listen to the music or hear the word preached – did it move us? Instead, we should be more concerned with how we are worshiping – is our heart in it? Is our focus on God? Is the heart moved by the presence of the Holy Spirit? Do we feel an overflow coming from our hearts?

Another message focused on worship as a lifestyle. Worship is more than just singing. Worship is really living our lives in response to who God is and what He has done. Everything that we do can be a way of worshipping God. When we live our lives, fulfilling our God-designed destiny with the gifts and talents He has given us; we worship Him through our surrender lives. Worship is so much more than a Sunday morning experience. We glorify and honor God because of who He is and what He’s done. Having a life of worship makes me think of King David. He modeled the life of worship.

Whenever David poured out his heart to God, David either started the Psalm with praise or ended the Psalm with praise or both. He never let the opportunity pass without offering praise to God. He was after all the man after God’s own heart. But David was not perfect – far from it. Yet, God was pleased with David because of David’s heart. David pursued God with all his heart (as we all should). We are told in Deuteronomy 6:5, to love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. This is the heart of worship. When Jesus was questioned, which is the greatest commandment? He replied with the passage from Deuteronomy 6:5.

Our desire is to worship. Sometimes though, we get it wrong. Our hearts chase after the wrong thing. It’s so easy to do in this day and age. We put too much emphasis on people or things. Sports teams, sports stars, movie stars, husbands, wives, children, etc. We fail to understand people and things will always let us down. Worship is said to come from the term “worth ship” – there is only One who is worth worshipping.

I remember a time in my childhood when my grandparents took me to a church conference. While everyone was singing, men and women were running around the room praising God. It’s a very vivid memory; and at the time, scared me a bit. I remember asking my Grandmother “what’s wrong with that man?” as an older man dressed in white clothes ran down the aisle beside us. She reassured me with a pat on the leg and everything was alright.

My time of worship is nothing like that. Sometimes I think of that demonstration and wonder why I can’t be as enthusiastic as that man? Not that I would get up and run around a room. But I should in my heart! I should have a heart that would chase God around the room! What would our lives look like if we had that kind of passion for God?

It reminds me of the passage in 1 Chronicles 15 where David is escorting the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. As the procession enters the City of David (Jerusalem), David skipped about and was full of joy. His wife Michal, looked on him with contempt for his undignified demonstration. David replied to Michal (found in 2 Samuel 6:21) that he was dancing before the Lord because of what the Lord had done for him. The Lord had given David a promise. The Lord had promised that a forever king would come through his line. And David believed God’s promise. And it was eventually fulfilled through Jesus Christ – the promised heir in the forever Kingdom.

We might not have a promise as great as the promise given to David, but God is faithful in all His promises – great and small. We can count on God. He is worthy of our praise. He is worthy of our worship. He will never fail us. He is trustworthy. Our lives are a reflection of what we believe about God. What we do with those promises, how we live in reference to our beliefs; this is truly our worship as we respond to who God is and what He has done. Worship is an overflow of the heart. Just like David, we can be men and women after God’s heart. Chase Him down!

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.

Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
Exult in his holy name;

rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him. 1 Chronicles 16:8-11 (NLT)

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)

God’s Gift

Christmas is here. Wow – how did it come so fast? Are you prepared? In Galatians we are told in 4:4 that when the time had fully come Jesus was born. God gave us the greatest gift we could ever ask for. He gave us His Son in human flesh so that we could come to know the Father. Revelation of Jesus changes the way we view our image of God. I must admit I have a rather small view of God sometimes. I don’t normally worry, but there are times when worry creeps up on me. In that case I am not trusting God. I must not believe God can handle my problems. In truth, I have a heart problem. The thing about our hearts is that we follow the thing that has our hearts. I have recently heard several sermons on the matter of worship. We are made to worship something. Worship is a response to revelation. Worship is the overflow of our hearts. The Christmas story is full of responding to the message with worship.

Mary responded to the angel in humility (Luke 1:38). She responded to Elizabeth with a song of praise, rejoicing and glorifying God (Luke 1:46-47).

Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, heard Mary’s voice and responded in a loud voice of praise for the one who was carrying her Lord (Luke 1:42). The baby John leapt for joy in Elizabeth’s womb at the sound of Mary’s voice (Luke 1:44).

The shepherds who were given the announcement of Jesus’ birth went to see Jesus and returned glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen (Luke 2:20).

Simeon who had been waiting on God’s promise to be fulfilled, took Jesus in his arms and praised God for the salvation of Israel and the light for the Gentiles had been kept true to the promise (Luke 2:28).

The wise men traveled great distances to find Jesus. They were overjoyed to find the exact location of Jesus and bowed down to worship Him (Matthew 2:11). They brought their best for Him and presented their treasures to Him.

God gave us such a wonderful gift in Jesus. What could we possible give Him in return? What does He want for His birthday gift? I can only imagine it would be our praise and worship of Him. It would be our heart full of joy and gratitude for the wonderful things we have seen and heard. After all, what else could we possibly give to the One who created everything? All our works are nothing in comparison to what He has already done. Nothing has been accomplished that magnifies God’s glory like the life of Jesus. But is worship enough for God? Shouldn’t we be doing something for Him too? I think it all begins with the proper respect for a glorious God who loved us enough to send His one and only Son to save us from our sins (John 3:16). When we get the right perspective, everything flows from that response to what God has revealed to us.

Pastor Jimmy Carroll (Journey Church) said about worship “the greater our perception of God, the greater our worship.” We cannot in our own natural response worship God the way we should. It is a supernatural response. He is the source of our worship. Louie Giglio (Passion City) said that the cross is the epicenter of worship. When we get the perspective that Jesus came to die for our sins – to bear our cross – then we will understand true worship comes at the point of the cross. When our hearts fully understand the sacrifice Jesus made for us so that we could have eternal life with the Father, we will finally be able to worship God. God’s gift of Jesus should be received with great joy – our hearts leap within us for our salvation has come!

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

I Wonder

As I was contemplating some matters on Monday, I began to think about the comedienne Joan Rivers. She recently died. She was known for her bawdy jokes mostly directed on her own looks or events in her life. She also had a reputation for judging celebrities’ fashion choices at big “red carpet” events. It wasn’t so surprising to hear that the funeral held over the weekend gave the comedienne a grand sendoff. What I do find surprising that the family chose to do this in a synagogue – which is supposed to be a holy meeting place. While I was pondering this thought, I hoped that the speakers did not offend God while they were in this holy place. I wondered if God laughed at the jokes offered in this setting. Do we really take God seriously as the Lord God Almighty? This God who made the universe with a word; this God who takes seriously His love for us and the sin in our lives that He sent His Son to redeem our souls from the very gates of hell.

I wonder also, when God’s patience runs out on us as a nation, will we ask “why are these things happening to our nation?” In a year or two, or ten, when everything comes to a head and disaster is upon us, will we run to God and ask Him why has He allowed us to suffer? I ponder these things and realize I too have laughed at the bawdy jokes before. I have judged unjustly. I have mocked God. I am just as guilty as anyone. I too have come running to God when my world was turned upside down wondering why such things have happened. I understand now, that God allows things to happen to turn us back to Him. Right now, I can see things spiraling out of control for this nation. I see things moving in the wrong direction. Will events that will happen or is already happening turn us back to God or will it push our society further away? Will we allow the correction or turn our fists against Him? These are the things I wonder.

My heart hurts to think about God being mocked and scorned. But it’s happened before. God sent prophets to warn His people, but they didn’t listen. He ended up sending His only Son, but they crucified Him. John the Baptist warned the people before Jesus came that the people of God needed to repent. Some did; others mocked John as a crazy man eating locusts in the wilderness. Jesus claimed to be God’s Son, and the religious people were offended. He was just another crazy man, speaking crazy things to warn God’s people about God’s wrath being stored up for a time. God’s patience will run out. We are getting away with the mocking for now, but there will come a day when the patience of God will end.

How will we as a society react? Let’s get real personal. How will you react? How will I react? I understand from my own perspective that at times I have lack of respect for an Almighty God. God isn’t looking at people who are far from Him to respect Him and glorify Him; He is looking at those who claim to be His. Do we as followers of Jesus respect and honor and glorify Him? This is our purpose. Every one of us has a responsibility to repent of our own actions and cry out to Him for forgiveness. Yes, God loves us, but He hates sin. In that tension is where we find ourselves today.

I wonder if anyone else feels the tension that is swelling up even now. Time is growing very short. Jesus came so that we would have forgiveness. Jesus came for the lost of the world. Jesus came to take the wrath of sin away. We have a part to play in this story. We have to ask for forgiveness for ourselves and for our nation. We have to be a part of the solution to the lostness of this world. We have to cry out for God’s patience for just a while longer while we reach our family and friends. It’s not too late, but one day it will be. I wonder if anyone is listening to the clock ticking besides me.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:7-9

Table Turner

How did it go so wrong? The week started out with a triumphant entry into Jerusalem. People were lined up along the road shouting praise – shouting save us (Hosanna). In order for Jesus to save them, He had to die for them. Their expectations were different from God’s way. God says His ways are higher than ours. On the way into the city, Jesus saw the walls of the city and knew the walls would not protect the people from the destruction that was coming. Jesus wept for the people who were inside those walls. The people were shouting praises with their mouths but their hearts were not turned toward Him. What they wanted was a physical savior and a physical protector. They wanted a king. But they had no idea that Jesus was (is) The Savior; He was (is) The Protector; He was (is) the King of Kings.

The week started with praise but ended in crucifixion. Jesus didn’t meet the expectations of the people. He wasn’t there to save them from the government. He didn’t come to make their lives better physically. Yes, they were oppressed. But it was not God’s way. He didn’t take the people out of their circumstances. He walked with them through it. Jesus walked along roads encountering many along the way. Some recognized Jesus and asked for what they needed. Many didn’t know what they needed, but Jesus did. He looked into their hearts and gave them exactly what they needed – grace. In the end, Jesus knew what people need.

The week had a few last teachings. The fig tree was not producing fruit. The money changers were affecting worship and prayers. Jesus came to shake things up. He turned the tables on the religious people. The people’s hearts were not turned over to God. So Jesus turned the tables on them. The fig tree was cursed because there was no fruit. The disciples’ feet needed washing and no one was willing to do it. Jesus bent low to teach the disciples this is what it means to follow me. Bend low and I will raise you up. Jesus bent low once more on a deadly cross so that ultimately we would be lifted up. The cross was the ultimate table turner. Those who turn their hearts toward Jesus are no longer lost in sin, but given a new life through Jesus’ death. No, it’s not our way. We would never have chosen a cross to save someone.

Did the week really go wrong or did it really go right? Jesus knew when He walked into the city that He would be walking out of it to die a gruesome death for everyone who shouted praise and for those who shouted to crucify Him. He also washed the feet of Judas, the one who betrayed Him. God’s ways are not our ways for sure. It’s a good thing too. I needed to be saved. I needed the body broken and bruised. I needed the blood spilled because I too am a sinner who shouts praise one minute and crucifies my brothers and sisters the next. As I contemplate all Jesus did during His last week, I want to walk differently. I want to bend low. And I want the tables turned so that my heart is truly changed for good.

Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:24-37

Worthy of Worship

I am studying Revelation in the Community Bible Study group. We are finishing up chapter 5 as I am writing this blog posting. The chapter is all about worshiping God. I have come to realize I don’t know how to properly worship God. In my past, I have found I have worshiped many idols – oh I didn’t think they were idols at the time – but they were idols nonetheless. Anything that is worshiped instead of God is an idol. Revelation describes the worship going on in Heaven as the angels, the elders, the living creatures and everyone falls down in worship before the One who sits on the throne. They are singing songs of praise and lifting their voices to the One worthy of worship. One of the study questions asked, in essence, about the quality of my worship.

I don’t know why I am so reserved when it comes to worship. Is it fear of showing that kind of “falling down on my face” worship to others? It might be done in heaven, but it surely isn’t done here on earth (or at least in my country/my community of believers). But why is it not done on earth? Why am I so reserved? I know what God and Jesus have done in my life to turn me from my darkness into the light of Christ. I know the forgiveness of my sins and the washing of my heart from its effects. Yet, I can’t seem to gather the courage to really express my devotion to the one true God. I see other people of different faiths fall on their face with passion expressed for their God. I believe I am serving the one true God worthy of all my worship. And I fail to live up to the standards of the living God. I am sure He is not excited to see me worship Him. Revelation chapter 3 tells about the lukewarm church. God spits (translated as vomit) out the ones who come to Him lukewarm. This should be enough to change my way of worship and praise.

Let my heart truly be turned to worship and praise to the One worthy. There is no one else or nothing else that deserves worship other than the Living God. Everything I do should be a reflection of my true heart turned to God in love and passion to serve only Him. Let it be as He says! Amen!

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. Revelation 5:13-14

It’s Official

I love watching people. When I go to the gym, while I am resting between sets, I watch the people around me. One day, I was stretching out in a room that was surrounded by mirrors. A guy came walking in. I didn’t notice anything at first, but then I turned my attention to him. He was flexing his muscles. Looking in the front, the side and the back mirrors to see how he was looking (I’m assuming). He did this for a couple of minutes then walked out.

I also noticed there are quite a few people who are very angry. I came in the other day with a fellow who was a bit irate at the gym for charging his credit card after he quit coming. He was beyond livid. I noticed a guy not too long ago throwing a mini tantrum when the machine he wanted was already occupied. Were these really issues to do with the circumstances at the gym or was it about something else totally? As I was observing people’s behavior, I realized this is all pretty normal stuff for the average population.

I came in one Sunday after church. I hadn’t exercised all week due to lack of facilities on my vacation (and lack of desire!), and I wanted to get back into it. It was relatively early since my church has an early service. There were more people there than I would have thought, but less than the average number when I usually go. The crowd was definitely more men than women. Actually, I probably could have counted the women on one hand. As I was looking around, I realized we all worship something.

I also realized I am no longer normal. Its official, I’m weird. I don’t worship the same things others do, I worship only God. My heart experiences joy and hopefully my face (and body language) reflects it. My attitude has changed, and I don’t get upset like I used to. I am much more patient than I have ever been. I am not in a rush to get anywhere. I may still get discouraged and have a bad day with some loneliness or grief or something. But my life is no longer normal compared to the average population. I used to want to be like everyone else, but now I want to stand out and be different. It’s weird how things have changed. It’s official. I am different but in the “weird for Jesus” way. And I’m okay with that!

When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:6-7 (NLT)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

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