Archive for January 2017

from Prepare Yourself for Worship

Prepare for Worship

Worship is like every other activity: we reap what we sow. Our relationship with God is like every other relationship: we get out of it what we put into it.

Worship is so much more real and meaningful when I come prepared to worship Him as He deserves to be worshiped: with my thoughts and desires turned to Him.

You shall love the Lord Your God
with all your heart, and
with all your soul, and
with all your mind.
This is the great and foremost commandment.
(Matthew 22:37-38, NASB)

So much of my life I’ve come to Sunday worship distracted. I’ve gone through the motions, but my heart and mind were far away. As I asked God for His forgiveness and help, He prompted me to begin preparing myself for Sunday worship. On Saturday night or Sunday morning I’ve begun to consciously turn my mind and heart to Him.

During this journey, the prayers He has given me I will share with you through a new Saturday edition of my blog. (For 2017, my blog posts will come out on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.) Each of these Saturday posts will appear under the heading, “Prepare Yourself for Worship”. Each prayer will conclude with a hymn.

Father, You want me to know You better,
and You say that I can know You better
through a more wholehearted participation in public worship.
I want what You want:
I want to know You better.
I want a closer, more constant relationship with You.
Teach me, Father.
I am listening.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Prepare Us
Printed Music & Lyrics

Silent Witnesses

Too often we look at the helplessness of infancy and of old age and feel that such lives are useless. We seem to think that if they can’t DO anything, what is the use of them living.

But we forget that God glorifies Himself most magnificently, not through our strength, not through our sufficiency, but through our weakness.

“My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 2:9, NIV)

Look at the way sovereign God chose to feed the five thousand, or slay a giant, or demolish the impregnable walls of Jericho. He chose to use weakness because it proved that He Himself was acting, not some human agent.

We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. (2 Corinthians 4:7, NASB)

Look at the example of Jesus. While He was still a helpless infant, only doing what infants do, God used Him powerfully. His arrival proved God’s faithfulness to His promises. His humble circumstances said more about God’s tenderness and mercy than words could ever express. News of His birth drew worshipers from a country and a religion far away.

God can powerfully use helpless infants.

When Jesus was in His final moments, able only to gasp and groan, God painted a picture of love that none of us can ever forget.

Even when we can no longer do God’s work, God can work through us.

I am not proposing a simplistic solution to the complex issues of life and death. But when He allows those in the grip of death to linger a bit, don’t doubt His wisdom or goodness. Even when we can no longer speak a testimony, our silent witness can eloquently glorify the God who is always faithful and who never leaves us alone.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: God Is Working All Around You
Printed Music & Lyrics

His Indescribable Gift

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’  I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” 

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34, NIV)

All the gifts of God,
all the freedom of His forgiveness,
all His unfailing love,
all the life-giving renewal of His mighty breath,
all the beauty of His character,
all the joyful, glorious, abundant future
that His heart could ever imagine
have come to you in Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV)

Listen and sing:
Hymn: See the Lamb of God
Printed Music & Lyrics