Posts Tagged ‘Worship

24
Apr
18

Worship God Alone

The first commandment God gave to His people stressed the fact that He alone is God. There is no other god besides Him. The second commandment is about the worship of the one true God. God said:

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. – Exodus 20:4-6 (NIV)

Only God is God. He alone is worthy of worship. People, money, power or anything else cannot possibly satisfy the longing we have that only God can fulfill. When we misplace our worship, we are left empty because only God can satisfy. When we love Him by obeying Him, we discover that He is all we need.
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23
Apr
18

No Other Gods

In the 10 Commandments, God begins by identifying Himself as the One who brought the Israelites up out of the land of Egypt where they were slaves. The very first commandment is this:

You shall have no other gods before me. – Exodus 20:3 (NIV)

This commandment is both backward looking and forward looking. The people of God were not to look back to Egypt and worship their gods. The gods of Egypt were powerless to stop the plagues brought about by the one true God. God brought judgment upon Pharaoh and the people of Egypt for their harsh mistreatment of His people.
The Israelites were also to look ahead to their future home in the promised land. The God who delivered His people was the same God who was taking them to a land that would be their own. This was the land promised to Abraham. The people of Canaan worshiped false gods and the temptation to worship these gods would be strong. They were to have no other gods than the one true God who had delivered them.
When we are tempted to worship gods such as power or wealth, we must remember that there is only one God who has delivered us from slavery to sin and its consequences. He is the one true God and we must make Him first in our lives.
14
Nov
17

American Idols

Under the old covenant, the children of Israel were told not to worship idols of precious metal, wood and stone. In the New Testament, John closes out his first letter with a similar admonition. He writes:

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. – 1 John 5:21 (NIV)

The Apostle Paul said that greed is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). We may not have American idols of gold, stone and wood, but we definitely have idols that we worship. We have idols of green paper that we worship. We have idols of celebrity, entertainment and sports that we worship. We worship idols of pleasure and leisure. We worship our families and our children. We worship our jobs. We worship our country and our planet. Anything or anyone that you put before Jesus is an idol. As followers of Jesus, we believe that God is God and everything else is a potential idol. Every day we must fight the battle against idolatry in our lives. Every idol will disappoint you because you were made for a relationship with your Creator, not His creation.
08
Sep
16

In Spirit And In Truth

John 4:19-24 (NIV)

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

 
It appears that the worship wars started many years ago. The Jews and Samaritans were at odds over the proper place of worship. Jesus says that it isn’t the place of worship that counts. It’s something else entirely. He says that true worshipers must worship in Spirit and in truth. Spirit-filled worship of God does not take happen in just one place, such as a mountain or a temple. True worship of God takes place in the heart of every born-again believer in Jesus. True worship is more than just words on a page or a screen. Spirit-filled worship emanates from our souls as we express our gratitude for what God has done and our admiration of who He is.
I think that fighting about worship, whether styles or locations, is about the dumbest thing we do as followers of Jesus. How foolish is it that we think that God is contained in our little worship box? As though there is only one kind of music God likes? As though God can be limited to being worshiped on a Sunday morning at 10:30 (in your particular time zone) in a church building? When we gather for worship, the important thing is not the songs we sing nor the place where we gather with brothers and sisters. It is the attitude in which we enter into worship. Are we there to express our thanksgiving to and admiration of Almighty God? It’s an honor and a privilege to come before Him! We’re beggars and paupers coming before the King in our filthy rags of self-righteousness and we’re going to fight with each other about how we’re dressed or the proper way to sing His praises? Ludicrous! Let us seek to honor and worship Jesus in Spirit and in truth that we may be unified in awe and wonder as to who He is and what He’s done.
PRAYER: Forgive me, Father, for my wrong attitudes regarding worship. I want to worship You in Spirit and in truth. Help me to know the truth and to be filled with the Spirit so that my worship may be pleasing to You. You are good and kind. You have provided all that I need. You are most worthy of praise! Accept my offering of worship and praise today in the name of Jesus, amen.
02
Aug
16

Zeal For Worship

John 2:13-17 (NIV)

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

 
Was Jesus upset about the fact that people were selling cattle, sheep and doves for sacrifices? No, this was done out of convenience for pilgrims who came from a long way off. Was He upset that people were exchanging currency? Again, this was done so that people could pay their temple taxes and offer their gifts. Jesus was upset because people were being taken advantage of. They had to give a gift and make their sacrifices. So the priests and money changers were getting rich by overcharging. Not only that, but all of this commerce was taking place in the court of the Gentiles and was making it difficult for the Gentile converts to worship God. They were being distracted by the county fair kind of atmosphere that was taking place in their courts.
Jesus was passionate about honoring His Father in worship. He was zealous for the house of the Lord. We should be zealous, not for our church buildings, but for true worship of God. The little girl scout selling cookies after church or the young boy selling candy bars are fine as long as they are not overcharging to make a profit (is it even possible to overcharge for Thin Mints? Those things are amazing!) and as long as they are not distracting people from worshiping God. If they’re walking around selling cookies and candy bars during the service, they need to wait until a more appropriate time. The New Testament teaches us that true worshipers worship in Spirit and in Truth. Worship is not about a building, but rather it is about our hearts. So let’s focus on what really matters when it comes to worship – focusing on honoring Jesus.
PRAYER: Thank You, Father God, for the gift of worship. I want to honor You and Your Son with my life and with my heart. I want to be pure in my motives and devoted to You in my heart. Forgive me my many sins so that I may stand before You in worship as You see me, forgiven and clean. In Jesus’ name, amen.
26
Jul
16

Recapturing The Holy Awe

John 1:19-28 (NIV)

19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”
21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John knew about Jesus, but others did not. John knew that Jesus was the Son of God, the Savior of the world. He knew where Jesus was from and what He had come to do. John also knew his own purpose. He quoted the prophet Isaiah when asked about his own ministry. He was preparing the path for the Messiah. He understood Jesus’ exalted place and his own humble position. He was sent, not to be the Messiah, but to point to Jesus as the Messiah.

We get so flippant with Jesus sometimes. We don’t understand who He really is. He is the Son of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords. We treat Him like our teddy bear, our buddy or our high school sweetheart, but rarely do we see Him as the One whose sandals we are unworthy to untie. We need to recapture that holy awe of Jesus. Yes, He is a Friend to sinners. Yes, He loves us deeply. Yes, He gives us security when we are afraid. But He is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is the conquering King. He is sitting at the right hand of the Father reigning in majesty and glory. Every knee will bow before Him. Every tongue will confess His lordship. When we see Him coming on the clouds one day, we will understand so much better just how awesome He is. 

Let us dedicate ourselves today to living like Jesus is who He said He is. He is the Lion and the Lamb and He is the King. He is God.

PRAYER: O Father, I am sorry when I treat Jesus as anything less than who He really is. Help me to be in awe of His awesome position and amazing power. Help me to make Him the Lord of my life that I may serve Him as my King. In His name, amen.

15
Jun
16

The Beginning Of Wisdom

Psalm 111 (NLT)

Praise the Lord!

I will thank the Lord with all my heart
as I meet with his godly people.
How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!
All who delight in him should ponder them.
Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.
His righteousness never fails.
He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
How gracious and merciful is our Lord!
He gives food to those who fear him;
he always remembers his covenant.
He has shown his great power to his people
by giving them the lands of other nations.
All he does is just and good,
and all his commandments are trustworthy.
They are forever true,
to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.
He has paid a full ransom for his people.
He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.
What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.
All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.

Praise him forever! – Psalm 111 (NLT)

Psalm 111 is a psalm of praise to the Lord that ends with a familiar verse telling us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  So many people think that they’re so smart and so wise, but they have no fear or respect for God.  The Hebrew word for “fear” means terror, respect or worship.  Reverence/respect is what is in mind here in Psalm 111.  There are two key aspects to respecting God that are found in this psalm.  First, the psalmist describes the deeds and works of the Lord.  Verses 2-7 speaks of the wonderful works of the Lord.  The second aspect of respect refers to the commandments of the Lord (verses 7-8).  If we are going to respect God, we must respect His commands and His Word.  Jesus said that if His followers love Him, they will obey His commandments (John 14:15).  Respect and obedience are intertwined.  If I do not fear the Lord, I will not obey Him.  I will not care what He says in His Word.  I will not do what He says.  But that is foolishness!  That is like buying a new yet unfamiliar smartphone.  If I get a new phone, but I don’t read the instruction manual and do what it says, I am a fool!  I will not be able to enjoy and use the features of the phone without reading the instruction manual.  Or if I go on vacation to an unfamiliar part of the country and I don’t read or follow the map, I will get lost and I am a fool!  So it goes with life.  God has given us a wonderful instruction manual and map in His Word to get to where we really want to be, our Heavenly home.  If I do not read and obey the manual or read and follow the map, I am a fool.  The wise man is the one who reads and follows the instructions that God has given in the Bible.  May we have a reverent fear and respect of the Lord today to read His Word and do what it says.
PRAYER: Lord God, I need more fear of You in my life. I sometimes take You for granted. Help me to honor You with my life today in the things that I say, think and do. Amen.



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