Posts Tagged ‘worship’

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“ACCEPTABLE WORSHIP” – Oct 18

October 18, 2013

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”  Hebrews 12:28

VinothChandar / Foter / CC BY

All of life should be worship gratefully offered to God for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.  I consider how many hours of my day that I live in a manner that will probably be determined as unacceptable.  I hate to think of the times I have stood in Church singing “How Great Thou Art” with a wandering mind.  Acceptable worship does not just happen by the action.  The motivation for worship determines whether it is acceptable to God.

We continually develop opinions regarding moral motivation.  I try to discern the motivation of people all the time.  We strive to know a person’s motivation because it deeply matters to most of us.  It matters because our response to an action is often weighed based on the actor’s moral motivation.

I respond to the disobedience of my kids differently depending upon whether they are willfully being disrespectful or just being a kid.

I will take an elbow to the head if it is an accident.  I will respond differently if it was flung with intent to hurt me.

I have different opinions regarding a person who steals to feed his family and the one who steals to buy crack.

BrittneyBush / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Most of us have experienced that our actions stem from both belief and desire.  Belief is insufficient to get us off our couch.  In addition to belief, we need a desire to open the door to action.  This is why we seek so diligently to try and understand a person’s moral motivation when their actions seem to contradict their belief.  Actions that are inconsistent with our belief stem from a failure in desire.

I believe that consistent exercise is fundamental to my health; however, my desire to relax often keeps me on the porch.

I believe that overeating will give me a pot-belly; however, my desire to have a full belly often keeps me at the table.

I believe that hell exists; however, my desire to look sensible often keeps my mouth shut.

I believe that obedience to God’s commands, living according to the Spirit, is necessary to please God; however, my desire to please my flesh often keeps me at the trough of all sorts of iniquities.

The Humean view of moral motivation holds that beliefs aim to fit the world, desires aim to change the world. (Moral Motivation)  Our beliefs reflect how we see the world.  My beliefs reflect a world view as revealed in the Bible.  I have experienced the Bible to be true and trustworthy.  Therefore, my beliefs fit the world as I understand it to be.  It is a mind-to-world direction of fit.

On the other hand, desires have a world-to-mind direction of fit.  Our desires attempt to change the world to what we want it to be.  This is where our actions often become inconsistent.

Severin Sadjina / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

My desires will vacillate from wanting the world to make much of God to wanting it to make much of me.  I still have sinful desires that effect what I want the world to be.  Those sinful desires result in acts that are inconsistent with my beliefs.

Inconsistent actions are why we will develop opinions of a person’s moral motivation.  When two people do the same action based on two completely different beliefs (worldviews) but the same desire, the result is differing moral motivations.  Two people can have the same action based on the same belief but vastly different desires.  The result is differing moral motivations.

God requires that both our beliefs and desires to be aligned with His will for our actions to be pleasing to Him. Therefore, acceptable worship only comes when both our beliefs and desires are aligned with God’s will.

A person can do many righteous actions but if they don’t believe in the God of the Bible then their works are like filthy rags.

A person can do keep all of the commandments but if their desire is for a love other than God then those works are worthless.

My worship problem is not an effort problem.  My worship problem is a moral motivation problem.  I don’t want to waste my life.  I don’t want my works to be worthless.  I want my life to be a pleasing fragrance to the King.

For those actions to happen, I need to know my problem.

I need the Spirit to help me through my unbelief in all its forms. 
I need a heart that loves God more than anything else.

Fortunately, the Spirit will complete both of those works while I am walking with Him and setting my mind on the things of the Spirit.  Then my steps will be acceptable worship to the consuming fire who is my God.

PRAYER: Lord, you know that I struggle with a worship problem.  Forgive me for all the time that I have wasted in doubt, worry, and unbelief.  Forgive me for all the time that I have wastes loving other things more than you.  Thank you for welcoming me to a kingdom that cannot be shaken.  Thank you for sending your Spirit to help with my worship problem.  Help me in my unbelief.  Help me to love you more and more.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“RENTER OR LANDLORD” – Mar. 18

March 18, 2013

“And he began to speak to them in parables.  “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased to tenants and went into another country.” Mark 12:1

For RentThe company I work for does not own its office space.  We lease the building from a most unreasonable landlord.  This landlord has no compassion or understanding for our condition.  These economic times have been difficult.  Yet, our landlord still expects a lease payment every month. 

We are the ones who take care of the building.  It is by our labor that value is created in this building.  If it wasn’t for us, this building would be a vacant shell.  We are doing him a favor by occupying this building for him.  He needs us but has never even thanked us for what we do for him.  He just expects a slice of the pie that he has never earned.  We have been in this same building for so long, most people think that we own it.  No one around here even knows this landlord.  He lives in another state and has not even been to the office in years.  He is just sitting back profiting from our hardship. 

I have had enough of this nonsense.  I have convinced the partners of the company that this oppression needs to end and we should stop making our lease payments.  We have been here long enough that this building should be ours.  Our landlord is just going to give this property to his son when we are the ones who have earned it.  We should be the ones who inherit this building.

The landlord sent us a friendly reminder when we missed our first payment.  How rich was that?  He then tried to telephone us when we missed our second payment.  There was no need to even answer that call.  He then sent one of his flunkies to come and talk to us when we missed our third payment.  We told him what was what and sent him on his way with a swift kick to the backside.  When we missed our fourth payment, our landlord sent his son.  The guy who is going to inherit our building; the one who is claiming what we have earned.  We settled things once and for all. 

Yet, here I sit in this prison cell.  I still don’t understand how the jury could not recognize our right to the inheritance of our building. 

In reality, the landlord of the office where I work is a very nice man.  The underlying motivation of a renter like the one described above is a desire to be the landlord.  It is the same issue for the tenants of the vineyard in Mark 12.  They wanted to own the land.  They wanted the inheritance.  They didn’t want to be obligated to give up anything that they had grown.

This attitude is a rebellion against the rightful owner of the property.  Property rights are not transferred even when tenants act as if they do not have a landowner.  They can go all the way to the extent of killing the heir of the rightful owner but even that does not transfer ownership.

This is what the rejection of Christ’s claim to our lives looks like at its core; it is a rejection of God as the landlord of our lives.  It is a rebellion against God.

Do you live your life as a tenant or as a landowner?  

A person who thinks they are Lord of their life will say, “It’s my body. It’s my life. It’s my money. It’s my house. These are my possessions. I don’t owe anyone anything. I worked hard for all of this.  This is my reward for being smart or clever or entrepreneurial; Its all mine.”  Landlords can make those types of decisions.  That’s not an attitude of a tenant.  That is not an attitude of gratitude.

That is the attitude a thief that is taking possession of something that is not rightfully his own.

The ownership of the fruit of our lives is a battlefield over who will be Lord of our hearts.  When we fight to keep the fruit of our life, we are declaring our lordship; landowners keep the fruit.  We are pretending that we are the owner of our own life.  There is no man who can nullify the rightful claim of his Creator.

Do you have a history of thinking that God is very far away;

Do you think that God doesn’t care about fruit;

Have you convinced yourself that God needs you;

The owner, in Mark 12, expects to get some fruit.  The premise here is that God holds accountable His servants for making fruit, spiritual fruit, based on what they have been given.  A follower of Christ fights the battle within their own flesh to live ALL- IN for God.  A follower of Christ desires to love God with everything that they are.  They love God because he did send his Son – while they were still a rebellious tenant – He sent his Son to be rejected but through that rejection he would become our salvation.  That is why we long to be good tenants.

I think that we all know that we can be better tenants.  I don’t want to be the type of renter that has to be constantly hounded because of late payments.  I don’t want to be the type of tenant that needs collection agents sent every month to make sure I am not trying to steal from God.  I do not want to be the type of tenant that has to be reminded that the things I love so much are not really mine.

I want to be the type of tenant that is producing fruit in abundance and willingly giving back to my Lord in gratitude for what He has given me.

However, it is so easy to start assuming the role of lord of my life.

 What am I doing with my body?  Am I glorifying God with my body?

What am I doing with my family?  Am I glorifying God with my family?

What am I doing with my money? Am I glorifying God with my money?

What am I doing with my time? Am I glorifying God with my time?

All of those areas are not mine; they belong to God and I am going to have to give an account.

I want to be a fruitful vine.  Here again is the good news.  I can’t be a fruitful vine on my own.  God is here to forgive us, to correct us, and to instruct us.  He has sent his Spirit to rebuild the unfruitful parts of our lives so that they might be fruitful.   That is God’s will for our life – our sanctification that we may produce fruit that is glorifying to him.

Our first step is to understand that He is Lord and we are tenants.

PRAYER: Lord, I know am prone to wander, I know that I am prone to leave the God that I love; I know that my nature is to claim all that I have.  Lord, bind me to you.  Remind me that all that I have has been given from you.  Father, make me into a grateful servant and a fruitful vine.   Amen

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“WORSHIP FOR SALE” – Mar. 17

March 17, 2013

“But they broke faith with the God of their fathers, and whored after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them.” 1 Chronicles 5:25

How do you whore after other gods?

I understand how people whore after other people.  Whoring is probably one of the more derogatory terms for the transaction where money or some other benefit is exchanged for the most intimate of physical interaction between two people.

Whoring is selling what was supposed to be a gift, freely given in a relationship of mutual love.

Whoring is being a merchant of the act that was created to bind two individuals into one.

Whoring is under-valuing the priceless by setting a market value.

The half-tribe of Manasseh broke faith with God and whored after other gods.  Consider what they did.  They worshiped other gods.  They broke faith with God and worshiped the gods of the people who were supposed to be driven out.

WorshipThey sold their worship.

Our worship is to be freely given in a response of love and gratitude that wells up from our covenant relationship with our God.  Worship binds us and brings us close

to our God. Worship was never intended to buy anything.  It is a response of love.

The half-tribe of Manasseh sold their worship to other gods for better provisions, better protection, or at least to appease other deities.  They may have sold their worship to hedge their bets, just in case there was another god out there that might be greater than the God of Jacob.  God viewed their actions as a betrayal of the intimate covenant relationship he had with the people of Israel. They cheated on God by selling their love.

I am preparing to go and worship the Lord this Sunday.  I wonder how the Lord looks at a lot of the worship that he sees.Worship Rehearsal

Do I worship so that I will feel a spiritual rush? 

Do I worship so that I will win favor from God?

Do I worship without thinking about God?

Do I worship God on Sunday and seek my provisions elsewhere throughout the week?

Do I hedge my bets by worshipping various religious beliefs?

Do I worship as a source of entertainment?

God values our worship like spouses value the marriage bed.  May we never devalue worship.  It is the believer’s gift to the Lord Most High, freely given in a relationship of mutual love.

I don’t want to be a worship whore.

Let us realize what we are doing when we worship and do it with all of our hearts in spirit and truth to the glory of the one and only God Almighty.  That is the type of worshipers who He is seeking.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”  (John 4:23-24)

PRAYER: Lord, may my worship be pure.  Father, examine my heart.  Show me any areas where I have sold my worship.  Lord, you are my all in all.  I give You all of my praise because You a worthy of it all.  I don’t want anything in return for my praise.  I love you Lord.  You are my God and I freely and whole-hearted give myself You.  All praise be to your name.  Amen

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