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Posts Tagged ‘worship’

It’s always better when the only thing we worship isn’t a thing at all but instead the God of creation.

Our lives will be far more likely to avoid the minefields of sin.

I want to be a parent who worships God, not stuff.

I want to be a husband who embraces my wife with spiritual and emotional integrity.

I want to be a pastor who never sends mixed signals to my flock regarding my priorities.

I want to be child who honors my father and who encourages my siblings in wholesome ways.

As I live out Christ’s words in Matthew 6:33, I will be more successful in all of the above.

For as I seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, I will follow the path that more frequently intersects with the blessings from above.

It’s a terrible shame that many leaders in Jerusalem didn’t have this same philosophy in the years before that city’s 586 B.C. destruction. It wasn’t from the lack of warning, that’s for sure.

Many prophets were sent over many years to guide the people back to the path of faith.

But the national leaders didn’t want to hear it.

So they didn’t listen.

Here is a diagnosis given by God to the prophet Ezekial before Jerusalem’s destruction:

Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts. They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin.” (Ezekial 14:3)

Our call as believers is to keep our hearts free of idols. I’m not talking about the stone figurines or metal castings or crystal pyramids.

Instead, I’m talking about anything that gets in the way of our church attendance, of our generosity to someone in need, of our dedication to DAILY devotions, of our tithing, of our being willing to forgive those who offend us, etc..

The list could go on, of course, but you get the point.

When the Holy Spirit is stirring us to act of speak in a way that serves God, yet we increasingly choose to invest time or money into something else, aren’t we trying to slide an idol onto the throne of our hearts?

God wants us to fall at His feet in worship, not fall on our faces in sin.

Let’s make sure that the throne of our hearts only has room for God.

We’ll be better off in all of our relationships that way.

As always, I love you
Martin

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The patience of God is amazing.

With Adam and Eve.

With Noah and his family.

With Abram who was renamed to Abraham.

With Isaac, with Jacob, with his sons, with Joshua and the Exodus Hebrews…

The list goes on and on.

That list includes you and me, of course.

If God were not patient with us, we would have no hope for eternal life.

For we certainly don’t have enough spiritual merit to qualify for heaven.

But God IS patient. And that’s because God is purposeful.

You see, God has a plan for you and for me and has had such since before Creation.

Ephesians 1:4 tells us so.

His patience is rooted in His desire for us to spend forever with Him, according 2 Peter 3:9.

His patience is able to endure His disappointment with our decisions along the way toward the repentance and submission to the Gospel that He desires for every soul.

Why is He so patient? Check out this passage from Isaiah 43 and you’ll get a clearer picture of why:

I have made Israel for myself,
 and they will someday honor me before the whole world.” (Isaiah 43:21)

God knew that Israel was a work in progress, that all of the Hebrews should have been wearing T-shirts that said “He’s still working on me.”

God had the supernatural ability to see people for what they could be, not simply for what they were.

His hope was for their surrendering to His will for His glory and their eternal good.

Someday.

Wow.

We are given physical life so that we might give God our spiritual lives that are committed to honoring God in the eyes of the world.

Let’s do all we can to make “someday” start happening today.

It’s the least we can do for the Father who did the most He could do for us.

As always, I love you
Martin

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The greatest hope I have for the future is the blessing of seeing the faces in heaven of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and telling them how much I appreciate the Father’s gracious choice to allow me into their presence.

The second greatest hope is being delivered from the grave into the throneroom in order experience my first-order blessing.

It is SO good to know that my earthly body — in whatever condition it is post-mortem — will be transformed in some as-yet unrevealed way and it will rise up to join heaven’s choir.

I’m not talking about what Paul promised in I Thessalonians 4:16. Instead, I’m talking about the prophet Isaiah’s words more than 700 years earlier in chapter 26 of his book:

But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead!” (verse 19)

I’m looking forward to that day when I’m flying high…. even though I have no idea of when it will happen.

The fact that it WILL is good enough for me to keep my life airworthy in a spiritual sense.

I pray that you’ll do the same.

As always, I love you
Martin

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How will you praise the Lord today?

Here’s some cues from Psalm 150:

Praise the Lord!

Praise God in his sanctuary;
 praise him in his mighty heaven!

Praise him for his mighty works;
 praise his unequaled greatness!

Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn;
 praise him with the lyre and harp!

Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;
 praise him with strings and flutes!

Praise him with a clash of cymbals;
 praise him with loud clanging cymbals.

Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

Listen to some Christian music today and sing along if you can.

God will absolutely love it!

As always, I love you

Martin

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“In the groove” was a common phrase a generation or two ago.

It’s roots traced to the 1930s adoption of the phrase by jazz musicians who described their moments of mistake-free playing in terms of a phonograph needle sliding without error through a record groove.

Of course, with no scratches or bumps or warped surfaces to encounter, the needle produced signals that were smooth and true to the original intent of the record producers.

It’s all about flawlessly, calmly experiencing the best in a particular situation.

We like it when we’re in the groove on a date, or at our jobs or when playing a sport or when enjoying a hobby or when volunteering at church.

We like it when we’re in the groove while talking with our family members.

And, of course, God loves it when we’re in the groove while worshiping Him.

The fact is that when we join heaven’s choir, we’ll be in the groove forever.

Until then, let’s enjoy the “groove” for His sake in this life.

“Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
 celebrate His lovely name with music.”

Practice Psalm 135:3 sometime today.

Play a Christian CD. Turn on a Christian radio station.

Buy tickets to a Christian concert.

Sing a Christian chorus to yourself.

Or at lease hum it.

And sing your heart out next Sunday at church.

It’s the groovy thing to do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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The four words screamed off the computer screen this morning.

“There was always enough…”

These were Bible words. And I knew they were true.

What happened to me at that moment has happened to you, too, I’m sure.

You’re reading something or listening to something and then a phrase grabs your mind and every other sensory input loses volume.

You’re taken hostage by envisioned thoughts and memories flooding through your mind because of the phrase.

“Always enough.

Not always an abundance.

Not always having too little.

But always enough.

The specific context of these four words from I Kings 17:16 involves the poor widow who was asked to feed the famished prophet Elijah who was led to the home of this woman who had just enough food for her and her son to share a last meal before starving to death.

Many would have told Elijah that he was crazy if he thought she was going to feed him instead of her hungry son and herself.

But the wise, faithful woman trusted God’s leading and fed the prophet.

And God proved Himself faithful to the faithful.

For a long time after this day of faith, God kept her large jars for flour and oil replenished just enough to feed those in her home.

Nothing wasted.

Sounds a lot like God’s provision of manna in the wilderness, doesn’t it?

Sounds a lot like Jesus’ promise in Matthew 6:33, doesn’t it? Seek God first and all we need will be provided to us?

Please reject the lie from hell that we can’t be happy unless we have MORE than we need.

We are all SO much better off than billions of people in the world, many whom are believers with very strong faith.

Let’s rejoice that we have an Abba Father who makes sure that we always have enough to worship and serve Him.

Even if all we have is our breath, we have enough to praise Him.

And when it comes to preparing for glory, that’s really all that we need, isn’t it?

As always, I love you
Martin

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Read I Kings 7 and you’ll be amazed at the descriptions about the ancient Jerusalem temple built during King Solomon’s reign.

The incredible amount of effort and wealth that went into the project is SO impressive, particularly when one thinks of the engineering challenges that had to have accompanied the effort as described.

The intricacy of design and craftmanship is breathtaking.

And to think that much of the temple was plated in 24k gold truly boggles the mind.

Many Bible scholars project that the temple would cost hundreds of billions of dollars to produce today.

It’s quite a wake-up call for our souls when we consider that the temple was built for two basic reasons — to worship God and to pray for forgiveness of the people’s sins.

Simply stated, the temple was a tool for restoring the relationship between God and His children.

What an incredible investment (countless billions of dollars of gold were used).

What an incredible effort (200,000 men involved in the project at one point).

All because of God’s incredible love for man’s souls and the incredible grace He invested in restoration of lost souls.

The temple project really was amazing.

But then we read in Acts 7 some words from Stephen reminding us that no matter how amazing the temple was, it pales in comparison to the place of worship God wants to see built in each of our hearts.

David found favor with God and asked for the privilege of building a permanent Temple for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who actually built it.

“However, the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says, ‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
 Could you build me a temple as good as that?’
asks the Lord.
 ‘Could you build me such a resting place? Didn’t my hands make both heaven and earth?’” (Acts 7:46-50)

It’s true that God is honored when we join with other believers in a church building construction or remodeling project so that more people might more effectively and passionately worship God and seek His forgiving grace.

What’s vital to understand, though, is that God’s preferred place for being worshipped is in our hearts and minds.

When God reigns over the actions and attitudes of our hearts during the week when we’re at home or work or school or on the highway, He sees where His ranking in our lives REALLY is.

Please continue giving your time and your tithe to your congregation so that the building and programs can remain on solid footing.

But remember that God notices if our hearts are the temple He wants them to be.

If they are, His heart is blessed.

And that’s why we were created in the first place — to bless Him.

As always, I love you
Martin

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