A Life of Worship

I go to church on Sunday and I raise my hands to the music as it moves me, sometimes I sway a little bit, and once in a while I may even shed a tear. But…it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard I try I cannot get into it and then the message comes. Sometimes the message is powerful and it really makes me think and yet others I really cannot relate. I go to church because it is what Christians do, but sometimes I wonder if I really need to go. After all, I don’t really need to be at church to be a Christian or to experience God right…

Most of us at some point in time or another in our life have felt this way and if you haven’t then you have truly been blessed. Sometimes this even happens to us in the middle of our walk, things have been going really well and then all of a sudden….BAM…we are in a “dry spell.” I have personally experienced this and know that it is no fun, but is it me or is it God? I would submit to you that it might be both, there are times when God becomes silent and causes us to go through a time of testing; however, I would say that more than likely it is us.

So if it is us then how do we change it? Where did we go wrong? The answer is probably simpler than we think, yet more challenging than we think. The answer lies within our worship of God. Joshua knew what it meant to worship God. He met with God on a regular basis when he was Moses’ assistant. When the pillar of cloud would descend on the tent of meeting he would go in with Moses and even when Moses would leave to give the people a message from God Joshua would stay there as long as the pillar of cloud was present (Exo. 33:7). Joshua met with God regularly and knew what it meant to worship Him; he had learned from Moses to trust God and to give Him all the glory.

Joshua was so familiar with worshipping God that it became a priority in his life. When God had instructed him to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River one of the first things that he told them was to “consecrate ourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you” (Josh. 3:5). He was making sure that they were prepared for God to be in their presence. Then as they began to cross the Jordan which had been overflowing from its banks the river stopped and created a wall of water that stood up and made way for them to pass through on dry ground (Josh. 3:17). In the midst of this occurring, once everyone had safely passed through the river, Joshua commanded that one man from each of the twelve tribes go back to the dried up bottom and get a boulder and bring it back to where the priests stood with the ark of the Lord as God had commanded. When they returned Joshua built a memorial in which all of the future generations would be reminded of how God had stopped up the waters of the Jordan and had provided safe passage for them (Josh. 4:1-24).

Joshua was more than familiar with the importance of worshipping God. It took priority in his life and as a result God continued to bless him. He also understood the importance of consecrating himself by repenting of his sins and seeking forgiveness. For Joshua worship was a lifestyle. God desires his people to worship Him and when they do He responds, but He wants more than for us to simply feel moved to worship on Sunday morning at church. He wants for our entire lives to be an act of worship. As Paul stated we are to offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice that is hoy and pleasing to God for that is our spiritual act of worship. He followed that up by saying that we must not be conformed to the world, but must test and discern what is the will of God (Rom. 12:1-2).

Photo by Nicolas Raymond
Photo by Nicolas Raymond
So how do we begin to worship God and offer our bodies up as a living sacrifice? The answer will be different for each of us, but it starts with meeting with God regularly and learning to discern His voice. It starts with the heart. Just as Moses and Joshua would meet with God in the same place every time it is helpful to create a private place to worship God; a place in which we can go to everyday and put aside the distractions of our day and truly worship God. The more that we do this the easier it will become and soon a habit will form, just as it had with Joshua. We must learn to consecrate ourselves to God daily and to seek forgiveness for where we have not met His standard. By doing this we begin to actively see what God desires for us and as our lives begin aligning with His plan we will begin to see more of His hand in our lives, but it takes practice, it takes honesty, and it takes commitment. We all have a choice as to how we will respond just as Joshua had given the Israelites a chance to choose for themselves who they would serve, God or the gods of the world. Joshua stood and proclaimed that he and his house would serve the Lord (Josh. 24).

How will you respond? Will you and your household serve the Lord?

If this was helpful or encouraging to you please feel free to share it with others. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to make a comment. We all have a purpose and can be used to help others draw closer to God. God bless you in your journey to knowing Him deeper than before and accepting yourself with all of the qualities that God desires for you to have.

A Heart of Worship

Do you ever feel like you are simply going through the motions at church especially while singing praises to the Lord? Do you ever feel like you just don’t seem to have what other people around you have? If so I must ask, have you checked your heart lately? Worship is about the heart, not about the words. This day and age we tend to attribute worship with a certain type of music and certainly music can bring us closer to God, but worship is all about the heart. You can sing worship songs all day long and still not worship the Lord with your heart. Where is your heart at? It is from within your heart that everything you do comes from (Prov. 4:23). If your heart is not set on singing praises to God then the words that come from your mouth will not be either.

David Mathis says that “the heart of worship is our heart” it is from within that we worship. Imagine for a moment that the all that could be heard and seen from heaven was worship; worship in work, worship in helping others, worship in loving your neighbors, worship in song, etc… What would the world look like and sound like? Would you be seen or heard? Now let’s come back down to earth and apply this to life. The vision of yourself that you just had is the same way that non-Christians see you. They know when we are faking it, when our heart really isn’t in it, and they know whether or not we are being real.

Do you want to be seen as someone who is faking it, who doesn’t really have something that sets you apart from the world or do you want to be seen as having something that someone else wants… NO …needs? Growing up I remember singing a song called “This Little Light of Mine” and the joy that it placed in my heart. Below is a video of the good that we can do by simply expressing our love for God.

Love is contagious and love is expressed through the light of Christ. Are you sharing the light from within your heart or are you hiding it under a basket? When we live our lives on purpose for God it shows. It shows in how we respond to people, how we treat them, it shows in how we approach every situation. Your actions are contagious whether they are good or bad. The message that you spread through your words and actions is up to you. Do you want to bring darkness into the world or light? For me personally I know that I want to bring light and it isn’t always easy. I mess up and I hurt people, especially when I have been hurt, but we are called to repent when we mess up and to turn towards the Father. We are called to be worshipers, to praise God and be “grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:28-29). It is so easy to allow darkness to settle back in when we are not in worship, so fight! Do not be overcome by darkness, but let your light shine and spread like a fire to all of those around for our God is a consuming fire.

We worship you Father, you are mighty to save, wonderful creator! Hear our hearts cry out Lord as we share the flame that you have given us. Let us not be overcome by the things of this world, but let us be filled with joy and compassion, let us be filled with an all consuming fire and never forget how blessed we are to be loved by you. You are so righteous and loving Father. We want to learn from you, teach us your ways, help us to hear your voice and to follow you with our whole heart. Help us to be a light to all of those around us. We have so much to be thankful for and only you to thank for that. We love, love, love you Father. Thank you for seeing more in us than we can see ourselves. Thank you for redeeming us so that we can one day be in heaven with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Love your Neighbor as Yourself

“Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk. 12:31). . . such a simple command and yet so difficult to actually live out.  From birth we learn how to get what we want; if we want to eat then we cry, if we want to be held then we cry, if we want to be changed then we cry, if our bellies hurt then we cry.  We learn immediately how to get what we want typically through an undesired result.  When we grow up you would expect for these things to change, but often times they don’t .  We have a tendency to go through life worried about our own wants, desires, and needs and we forget about those around us who also have wants, desires, and needs.  We forget and we neglect by focusing on ourselves.

I am reminded of the story of the woman at the well (Jn. 4:1-42) whom Jesus took the time to minister to and to love.  Cultural barriers aside Jesus was talking with someone that was in need.  She had a need that she had been searching to fill but had never succeeded.  When she went to the well to fetch water that day she received so much more than she could have ever imagined.  She received life instead of death all because Jesus took the time to listen, not only to what she was saying but also to what the Father was saying.  He listened and He acted accordingly in love, as a result she received the living water that she had been searching for.  As followers of Jesus Christ we have the same abilities if we allow ourselves to press into them.  Learning to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit takes time, but with practice it becomes easier.

Showing love can often be lived out through a giving of our time and through actively listening to those we are in conversation with.  When was the last time that you really felt loved and cared for?  Was it when someone was listening to how your day went?  Was it during a conversation with a friend who was actually willing to listen and put aside their own desires to be heard at the moment so that they could hear you?  Our busy lives often times leave us feeling rushed and distracted.  They can keep us from really connecting with others.  We often ask how people are doing in passing all the while knowing that we will probably just get a “I’m doing fine” and be able to continue on our way without much of a burden, but what happens when we notice something that tells us they are not doing fine?  Do we stop and engage in conversation and try to listen or do we just pass on by?

Jesus didn’t just pass by the woman at the well, He took the time to listen to her and care for her.  There is a lot of talk about love right now with Valentine’s day right around the corner, but we should be talking about love all the time.  We are told that the greatest commandment is to love God with the entirety of our being and that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves.  I know I need to spend more time loving my neighbors and I definitely need to have a heart of worship towards the Father in all that I do.  Love is more than a feeling, it is action with intent.  What is your intent today?  Could you bring someone to Christ by loving them?  Do you need to start by reconnecting with our Father?  Where ever you are today in your walk with the Lord it is your choice to love and be obedient or to ignore and possibly miss being someone’s last chance at finding their way home.  Life is short, how will you be remembered for living it?

Father we praise you for loving us even when we are unlovable, when we hurt those around us, and when we don’t take the time to see your children as you see them.  Holy Spirit guide us in our conversations and in our daily routines.  We ask you to give us the courage to break routines that need to be broken and to open our eyes to those around us.  Lord, without you we are nothing.  Fill us with your love and compassion for you and for others.  Show us what you see in us and help us to see what you see in others.  Let us be your hands and feet.  Thank you Father for the sacrifice of your Son so that we may have life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.