Category Archives: Worship

The true family of God

Ephesians 5:19-21 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,  giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,  submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

When God’s family comes together there’s a celebration. Because of all that the Father has done for us in Jesus Christ, there’s a lot to be thankful for, a lot of reasons to sing, so much to be thankful for.

How do you approach the weekly gathering of believers? Do you look at Sunday morning as a time to be solemn and quiet? Do you view it as a personal time of reflection? Those things have their place, but truly the gathering of the saints is a family reunion every time it happens.

The purpose of getting together with others who follow the Lord is to encourage each other, to build each other up, and to praise God in community with one another. We use our gifts to serve each other, put each other first, and honor Christ by doing so. Don’t be afraid to sing, don’t keep to yourself, don’t make it all about you. Sing, serve, encourage, and enjoy.

Living stones

1 Peter 2:5  you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Where does God dwell?  Is He confined to the walls of a church?  Limited to operating on Sunday mornings?  Or is God’s house a spiritual one, made of living stones?

In the Old Testament, the Lord had the people of Israel construct a temple, that He might dwell among them there (see Exodus).  For generations, the tradition was that the temple was God’s dwelling place.  Jesus came and turned everything upside down.  On several occasions, Jesus made reference to destroying the temple and rebuilding it.  He did this to illustrate how He would be killed and rise from the dead.

He, the stone that the builders (religious leaders) rejected, became the cornerstone (foundation) to the Church.  Now we are the living stones that make up the Church, it’s no longer about a building, but a people.  The church is alive and continuously growing and being built up.  Each Christian is part of the priesthood and through their lives offering up spiritual sacrifices.  We have direct access to God.

We are the Church, the body of Christ.  We will bring about His kingdom, regardless of building or location.

Spiritual Disciplines – Worship

John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

What is worship?  Is it simply a time of singing on Sunday morning?  Does it always involve music?Can one worship on their own, outside of church?

To be sure, God requires our worship (Matthew 4:10).  He wants our full devotion, our admiration, our time.  We all worship something.  We worship wherever we spend a significant amount of time, money, or affection.  Anything can easily become an idol, but God is clear that we are to worship Him alone (Exodus 20:3).

So how are we to worship the Lord?  We are to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength (Mark 12:30 and parallels).  In other words, we’re to love God with everything we have.  We must give Him priority in our time, our finances, our relationships, our activities, our thoughts, our affections, and so on.

Worship is required on more than just Sunday morning.  It is a full time task for the disciple.  To worship God is to focus on Him and to acknowledge His worth, to honor Him.  God is spirit, and we must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Worship in spirit takes place from the inside out. It is sincere, not done for show.  To worship in truth is to praise God for who He truly is, not as how we might like Him to be.

The mystery of God

Ecclesiastes 11:5  As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

We must be careful in this day and age where we have seemingly limitless information available to us that we don’t think we know everything.  It’s really pretty easy to get all up in our own heads, thinking that the knowledge we’ve collected over the years about God somehow makes us experts on Him.  For those who do a lot of Bible study, the danger can be even more likely to occur.

The problem with thinking that we have God all figured out is that we lose our awe of Him.  We lose sight of the fact that it’s God who created even the most intricate details of life, some we have yet to discover.  There are universes upon universes and we only know a tiny fraction about our own.  How can we think we have it all figured out?

The thing is, we finite humans will never be capable of knowing all that makes God who He is.  We’ll never be able to figure out all that He’s made.  There’s so much left for us to discover, and yet, we’ll still only be touching the surface.  God is more than we can understand.  He’s more than we can imagine.  He’s beyond our abilities.  We need to do is acknowledge that some things remain a mystery and revere God all the more because of it.

God is Always There, Are You?

I have to admit that I find it hard some days but then I really have nobody to blame but myself. I just, well, I let it slip away and honestly I don’t know why. It’s not like I have a terrifically good reason as to why or what for.

It’s no excuse but sometimes, despite our best intentions, it’s just hard, isn’t it? I mean we want to take the time out of every day to dedicate ourselves and re-dedicate ourselves to God, to study our Bible, to pray a little more fervently and to just commit ourselves to the love and the hope that our blessed Savior has to offer. The thing is though that sometimes it just doesn’t seem to work out that way and before we know it the time is short before it just disappears.

I guess, perhaps, a part of me finds it too easy. Maybe, in the back of my mind, a part of me knows that God, He’s always going to be there, waiting for me. It makes it easy to neglect Him, to put Him aside when I have other things I want to do or need to do, figuring I can always come back to him later when I have more time.

As disciples, given to Christ, we’re all a little guilty of that now and then. We step away, knowing we can always step back when we need to, like the Prodigal Son, who goes on his own way, only to return home in his hour of deepest need to find his loving father waiting there for him. (Luke 11:15-32) Even if our story or what calls us back isn’t nearly as dramatic as his, it’s still a little bit funny how often we can find it so simple to be like him, doing as we will just because we can.

Yet, the simple truth is that though God will always be waiting for us, though He will always come searching for us as a Shepherd searches for his lost sheep, (Matthew 18:12-14) the longer we let it go, the longer we let ourselves slip or the further we let ourselves wander, the harder we find it to come back to Him. After all, one of the analogies often used in the Word of God to describe our life of faith relates to trees and to crops. The problem is that, if it is not nurtured, it does not grow, if it is not cared for, it withers, eventually dying that slow death that comes from going too long without being tended to.

Our faith, our hope in Christ, it needs to grows daily, it needs to grow with the careful love and the tender affections of hearts that are given to the Lord in the wonders that it brings, remembering that it offers to us all that we need to grow and to live and to find peace. (James 1:5, 2 Timothy 3:16) It is, after all, a blessed hope to all those who trust in it, and look to the Lord as their strength in a world where our endurance is tried day by day, by and by, giving freely and wondrously to us in all God’s love. It teaches us how to love our fellow man, how to live during those deeper crisis’ to our spirit, how to abide with courage in our times of deepest need and longing.

Challenge yourself today to spend a little more time with God, even if you think you have a good relationship with Him, even if you spend some time growing with Him and in Him each day. Spend a little more time learning at the feet of Christ and meditating on the lessons of that He offers to grow in the blessings of the Spirit. Even if you take a little time out of each of your days to do that already, take a even a few minutes more, reminding yourself there is always something else to learn.

Challenge yourself today to imitate Christ a little stronger, a little more. Show a little extra love to those in need, to those who struggle and search, and be a bit more in the lives of those around you. Change the world one life at a time, one day at a time by offering that healing power of the Spirit that mends the wounded spirit and the broken heart. Draw nearer to God by drawing nearer to those around you, by being more in their lives. You’ll be amazed the good that it can and will do.

Don’t stray or wait too long, and never think to yourself you are doing enough, figuring God will always be there. He may but you may not. Take the time, and never let it slip away from you, because, unto you, rich blessings and wondrous hope waits, for every step you make in faith, for every step you make nearer to your Lord.

Salvation belongs to the Lord

Jonah 2:8  Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.

Where are you looking to find hope in this lost world?  If you’re looking for hope to come from the government, or from financial security, or even the prospect of world peace, you’re going to be disappointed.

There’s no hope to be found in the things this world has to offer.  That may sound depressing, but there is good news.  Salvation is found in God alone.  Maybe you’ll never find hope where you’re searching, but God is holding out His hand for you to grab onto, offering you hope that you could never know without Him.  He’s for you and He wants to give you that hope.

Even though we waste a lot of our time looking in all the wrong places, only to be disappointed time and time again, it’s good to know that there is hope after all. It’s good to know that we have a loving Father who cares for us and provides for us a way to forgiveness and reconciliation.  It’s good to know that the Son, who is the radiance of the glory of God (Hebrews 1:3) and who holds all things together (Colossians 1:17) stands between us and the Father to serve as our mediator.  It’s good to know that the Savior who rose from the dead will also raise us up when the time comes (1 Corinthians 15:16).

If you haven’t put your hope in Jesus, look to Him today.  He’s all you need in this life, and the next.