Worship as though you are Saved!

When is the last time that you thought about how you worship God? For me I guess I had never really thought about how I worshiped God, instead I tended to focus more on whether or not I was getting something out of my worship experience instead of worshiping to praise God. Over the past few months I have really been taking a look at my worship and what I found was that a lot of the time I was not really worshiping God, instead I was actually seeking an emotion or response.

Matthew 15:7-9 (ESV)

You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me: in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

When we are approaching God with a wrong heart, with a self-seeking heart, we are being hypocrites. We do not honor God, though we may say we are praising and worshiping Him. Instead we dishonor God by thinking of ourselves more than Him.

Matthew 15:18-20

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.

Worship is a heart issue, not an emotion issue even though worshiping does elicit emotion, after all can we really approach the Most High God and not be overwhelmed by all that He is? When we are initially saved, if we truly give ourselves to God, it is an act of worship and submission. It is a time when we realize that we need God and that He is worthy of giving Him our lives, even if we do not fully understand what that means at the time. But we must not stay as infants who rely solely upon milk and must be fed by others in order to survive.

1 Corinthians 3:1-3

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh.

Hebrews 5:13-14

For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

We who call ourselves Christians have been saved by God’s grace and because of this we have taken on a new identity. We are no longer the world’s and we must change our ways. If our conversion does not transform us then how can we say that we have been saved? Furthermore can we even say that we have been saved? If we have truly been saved then we have died to our old selves and have been given a new life. No longer do we belong to the world, to Satan, but we belong to God and have been given a new identity in Him.

1 Peter 2:9-12

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deed and glorify God on the day of visitation.

God’s grace and love are not something to take for granted. When we are saved we become priests of God, a holy nation, a people for his own possession. We become these things so that we may proclaim to the world how excellent God is who by his grace has shone is face upon us and called us out of darkness. Take that in for a moment…we are priests of a holy nation of God’s possession. When I think about this the words of Amazing Grace come to mind. “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”

If you have been found then proclaim it, it you can see then let the whole world know and give God all of the glory, and honor, and praise that He deserves. Do not be content with living the same way that you did before you were saved lest you turn away from God and fall back into your old ways. When we truly understand all that God has done for us and approach His throne and worship Him with a right heart we cannot help but to praise Him.

Worship is not about us…it is about God. Do not think that you are truly worshiping God if you are not filled with joy. Do not think that you are honoring God if you just go through the motions. Do not think that your praises will be heard by God if they come from an evil and selfish heart. Instead let us humble ourselves and remember all that God has done. Remember His creation, how He led His people out of captivity and the crippling rule of Pharaoh. Remember how God fed us manna from heaven as He guided us daily to the Promised Land. Remember that Jesus died for us so that we could have life. Remember that when Jesus ascended He gave us the Holy Spirit and through Him the power to do even greater things than He did. Remember all that He has done in your own lives, how He has provided, how He has sustained, how He has taken care of you.

If a friend saved your life would you forget it, would you talk stop talking to him or talk to him as though he did not matter? No. If someone gave you a million dollars would you honor them by be ecstatic to see them by thanking them for all that they did or would you simply go about living life as you had before? In Christ we have been given everything, we have been given life everlasting, we have been given a royal priesthood, we have been given the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us, to comfort us, and to help us to do the things that Jesus did and even more.

My friends, we must not take God for granted, we must not take worship for granted. Let us worship Him with all of our hearts and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If we sense God telling us to do something and it does not go against Scripture then pray about it and follow if you believe it is from God. God is not silent! God is not dead! And God deserves our whole lives, the lives that we said we gave Him in the beginning.

When you sing to God, sing to Him alone as if no one else is around. If you are struck with reverence and feel the need to kneel before God then kneel before Him and show Him honor. If you are excited to see Him, then show Him. Do not be conformed to the ways of the world or hindered by what others might think. Instead think about what God might think. Do you want God to know that you love Him and cannot live without Him or do you want Him to think that you are more worried about your self-image, what others might think, or about getting what you want rather than honoring Him?

How we worship God directly reflects how we think about God and vice-a-versa. Somewhere along the line I forgot about this and put my worship life on auto-pilot and diminish, but NO MORE! God is alive! God is the Creator and the Sustainer! I have been given new life and I am thankful and will praise God with all of my heart. I do not want to dishonor God by having Him think that I do not care that He pulled me out of the grave and gave me life. NO! I love my Father and by his grace and power I will do my best to honor Him in all that I do.

I have made my choice, have you? Will you honor God or will you turn your back on Him and approach his throne with an evil and unrepentant heart? God knows, we cannot fake it. If you have fallen away then get back up and run back to God. If you have not given God your all then start today. And if you are already doing this then raise others up around you, teach them about God and show them how to love God with all of their heart. Our life in these earthly vessels is short and thus we only have a short time to make a difference in this world and because life is short I do not want to have to worry about whether or not I have truly accepted God and have been saved. I want to know and to stand strong knowing that I serve an awesome and powerful God.

All or Nothing at all

As I lie in bed for the night after watching the movie What Would Jesus Do I cannot help but to think about how I would respond if I lost everything. I’m not talking about losing stuff, though I’m sure that would be trying, but what if I lost EVERYTHING: my family, friends, possessions. How would I respond? Would I worship God and praise his name as Job did or would I curse God and deny him?

Though my faith and resolve have been greatly deepened I still wonder how I would respond and whether I would feel alone in it or if I would sense God working? Just today I was presented with the opportunity to pray for a Muslim man who had injured his neck just prior to me stopping to give assistance and wouldn’t you know that not once did I think about praying for him in the moment? I didn’t even think of it until now.

I would say that I am not seeking God enough in my life if I failed to see an obvious opportunity. So could I still trust him and worship him even if I lost everything?  Do I have enough faith? 

Would I give him my all or nothing at all?  

What Would Jesus Do?

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichthys

Fish cannot be cleaned until they are caught

Why is it that we think that evangelism is so hard? Isn’t it really just telling our story? How hard could that really be? It’s our story and it actually happened to us. The reason evangelism is so hard is because we get too wrapped up in people’s stuff that they bring with them. Evangelism is not easy, it’s not a dry cut thing, it’s messy, and it’s difficult because we don’t want to get involved in their lives. Maybe it’s because we just don’t remember what it feels like to be lost.

So how do we reach these people that live such messy lives that we feel are not fit to be Christians because they don’t have things together? Well first off need to quit judging and we need to just talk to them right where they are and STOP trying to make them change there ways before they even accept Jesus. We just talk to them and really listen to them. We learn to see them as God does and realize that the cleaning part is not ours to do.

I was listening to a Joyce Meyer broadcast the other day and she was talking about having gone into a store with a friend and how they had struck up a conversation with the cashier about God. The cashier was talking about how she cusses once in a while but that it was okay because she knew God understood because He cussed once in a while too. Immediately Joyce started to tell the cashier that God does not cuss; she was trying to clean a fish that hadn’t even been caught yet. It was at that time that her friend came in and said but He really loves people people who do.

Photo by @Chruch4U2
Photo by @Chruch4U2
We are called to be fishers of men but more often than not we would much rather do God’s job and try to clean the fish rather than catch them. It’s not our job to clean the fish it is simply our job to share our story, to love them, to care for them, and not to judge them because we wouldn’t want to be judged. Knowing that we do not have to worry about cleaning the fish really makes telling our story so much easier because there is no pressure. In our own power we will not get people to accept Jesus, no matter how hard we try. It is the Holy Spirit working within them and through us that brings people to Christ; we just have an awesome God who wants to involve us in the process.

We can look to Jesus for examples of how to bring people to a understanding of God’s love for them. Take for instance the woman at the well. Jesus knew exactly who she was and what she had done, but instead of sending her away or trying to get her to change her ways He loved her. He showed her that He cared. It wasn’t until after she had asked Him what she needed to do in order to get the living water that Jesus told her to go and sin no more. So what did she do? She ran off into the town and told her story and the Bible says that many came to believe because of her story. It was because of the story from a woman who was looked down upon in society, who had done many things that were not acceptable that others came to Christ. Her story had power and so does yours.

So what does it really look like to evangelize and to share God’s Word? Well how about we just start with our story. God has given each of us a story to tell. Often times we tend to call this our testimony but when we think of our testimony we tend to think of one concrete thing that led us to Christ. In reality there are way more things that Christ has given us to share of His grace, and love, and power. God doesn’t just bring us in to leave us to fend for ourselves. God has cared for us and has shown us over and over again how He does and all of these things are tools to help us show God’s love to others.

When we are with others we need to remember that God was working in our lives before we accepted Him and we need to start listening on different levels. We need to learn to start paying full attention to what the other person is saying by truly listening to how they feel and to what it is that they’re actually saying. At the same time we need to be seeking out God while we’re listening to them and learn to hear what He’s saying and feeling about them, because God knows more about this person than they even know about themselves and He wants them to know something, He wants them to know that He is really there for them and sometimes He will even give us special messages or words for the person we are talking to that will help them know that He is who He is.

Lastly we need to realize that bringing people to accept Jesus is not about us, it is an act of worship that God allows us to partake in. Because it is an act of worship we must also realize that no matter what the outcome with the individual is that we can and should praise God for using us to help bring that person closer to Him. Worship is about the Father, not us, so when we approach evangelism as worship it completely takes the focus off of us and what we are doing and places it directly where it needs to be, on God. The thing that I am beginning to realize though is that worship is not easy; it’s not just something that we can do half-heartedly. It requires opening up completely to God and showing Him how much of an honor it is to be His child, how much He deserves our praise, and this takes time and practice.

Everything we do must come out of the overflow from what the Father has done for us. It must come from a realization that we are utterly lost without Him and destined for death. For me this is difficult; I am a doer. I see something that needs to be done and I do, but God doesn’t want me to do things, He wants me to be a conduit through which He can show His love. He cannot do this when my heart is in the wrong place. I need to learn to worship Him in all that I do. I need to learn to give worship a higher place in my life because it is what gives God the most power and glory. For Joshua worship became first and foremost in all that He did. When Joshua was to lead Israel across the Jordan river he told them they must make themselves holy because God was going to do something amazing tomorrow (Josh. 3:5). While marching Joshua across the Jordan River that God had stopped immediately as their feet touched the water (Josh. 3:15-16) Joshua instructed the priests to gather up twelve boulders from the middle of the river to build a memorial on shore to commemorate the place where God had cut off the waters for them to pass through (Josh. 4:4-9).

Joshua knew how important worshiping God was that he went through great lengths to let God know how much He honored him. Worship is our direct connection to God and it is through which that God reveals more of who He is to us. Our story is a part of our worship and as such it is to be used to worship God, it is to be used to bring glory and honor to His name to a hurting people who do not know who God is. Our story is our tool to help others see what Jesus has done for us. There is no greater tool for us because we know that our story is real and we should be passionate about it. We don’t have to share it perfectly, we just need to share the part of it that God is leading us to share in any given moment and when people come to know Him through it we must praise Him, and when we only bring people a little closer we must praise Him, and even if we don’t see any change at all we must praise Him. To God be all glory and honor and praise forever and ever.

Have a blessed day!

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.

Good Morning my Beautiful Child

Good Morning my Beautiful Child

Good morning my beautiful child,
I have missed you this week.
Will you come spend time with me today?
Will you let me know that you love me?

I really miss the way we used to talk,
The way you would look at me and tell me about your day.
I miss the conversations that we used to have,
When you would lay out all of your fears and sorrows.

Good morning my beautiful child,
I have missed you so much.
I know that it hasn’t been long since we last met,
But I felt like you didn’t even want to be with me.

Last time you came to see me you were too busy.
Too busy worrying about your week.
Too busy checking your email.
Too busy playing on Facebook.

Good morning my beautiful child,
I have missed you so much.
You do know that I will always be here for you right?
Waiting and loving you, missing you?

I will always be here for you my child,
I will always be here for you.
I love you so much and I miss you.
Please come be with me today.

Please let me know that you care for me still.
I love you so much, will you love me back?
I miss the way you used to love me,
The same way I still love you.

Good morning my beautiful child!
I will always be here for you.
I will always love you.
I’ll never forget you my child.

Love,
Daddy

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.