- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
In Spirit and Truth
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. JOHN 4:24
We are worshiping creatures by nature. It's why we were made. A glance around our world reveals a panorama of worship. Our culture alone includes an abundance of styles, a plethora of deities, a multitude of definitions, and myriad motives.
Considering the central role of worship in the life of a human being-it is our entire reason for being, as well as the eternal activity of the saints in heaven, according to the Word-we might do well to consider what God wants it to be like. Does He prefer informal or formal? Ritualistic or spontaneous? Noisy or quiet? Dignified or recklessly passionate? Nearly everyone has an opinion on these alternatives, but they aren't really the heart of the issue. What God desires most has less to do with how we express our worship than with the spirit behind it. In our adoration of our Creator, God seeks inspiration and integrity, sincerity and a spirit of sacrifice. He wants our outward expression to match our inward attitudes. He wants us not to worship ignorantly, but to know who He is. He wants it to be real.
That's hard for us. We fall into error so easily: We're either too emotional or not emotional enough, too rigid or too unstructured, too self-conscious or not self-aware enough. Most of all, we're apt to turn a worshipful heart into a routine behavior in the blink of an eye. What was sincere devotion yesterday is a performance for God's approval today. What was once an act of passion is now an act of obligation. Our hearts can grow cold faster than we ever thought.
What is your worship like? Is it a Sunday ritual or a frenzied emotion that you can put on and take off? Is it limited to one style of music or a particular church? Most important, is it more than skin-deep?
God seeks those whose worship emanates from deep within. He desires legitimate praise and integrity between heart and mouth. He wants to be the One we treasure most. Most of all, He wants you. All of you.
To worship God is to realize the purpose for which God created us. -HERBERT CARSON
JANUARY 2 * 1 PETER 2:9-10
Chosen for a Reason
You are a chosen people ... that you may declare the praises of him who called you. 1 PETER 2:9
This is a remarkably encouraging passage of Scripture. It tells us of our chosenness, our royal role in this world, and our inheritance as children of the most high God. We read verses like this and are amazed at the high and holy nature of our calling. We realize that mercy has been lavished upon us and we're in a privileged place. We are the ultimate rags-to-riches story.
But the amazing story doesn't end there. God hasn't just saved us and then written "the end." There's more to the plot than that. We are chosen so that we might declare His praises. As verse 9 continues, we have been transferred from a kingdom of darkness to a kingdom of light. We were blind, but now we see. We were hidden and then revealed. We were lost in a dark, murky wilderness, then plucked out of it and placed on streets of gold glimmering under the perpetual radiance of the Son. And according to this verse, there's a more ultimate purpose to our salvation than ourselves. We are bestowed with the honor of chosenness with the specific purpose of declaring His praises.
If you've never seen your worship as the ultimate purpose of your salvation, you're missing the best part of salvation. The place of glad worship is the place of greatest blessing, of richest fellowship, and of true fulfillment. Salvation isn't complete until we praise Him for His mercy-daily, passionately, honestly. We were bought with a price for a reason.
Many believers get caught up in getting the most out of their salvation. Few move on to giving the most out of their salvation. But those who do will realize one of the many paradoxes of the Kingdom: Giving it all results in getting it all. A heart poured out in praise results in a heart filled with purpose. The way of sacrifice leads to great gain. Losing your life in worship ends with fulfilling your life in God. And that's exactly the reason for which you were redeemed.
We are saved to worship God. All that Christ has done for us in the past and all that He is doing now leads to this one end. -A. W. TOZER
with the thankfulness that should naturally flow from a redeemed heart. It is our spiritual act of worship.
The response is for us to walk to that tabernacle or temple as the Israelites did in days of old, approach the Priest, and hand Him the sacrifice that we brought out of our gratitude: ourselves. We are to envision our Priest doing His duty by taking the sacrifice, placing it on the altar of God, and accepting it in His name. But unlike the old sacrifices, this sacrifice lives. It lives a dedicated life, an altar life. It now belongs to the Priest. We are in His hands.
If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him. -C. T. STUDD
JANUARY 4 * ROMANS 12:1-2
On the Altar
I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. ROMANS 12:1
What does it mean to lay our lives on God's altar? Imagine a scene from the movies: In some distant tribal culture, one man saves another's life. According to custom, the saved now belongs to the savior. And why not? If not for the rescuer, the rescued one would be dead. His life rightfully belongs to the one who preserved it. He might as well spend the rest of his days for the one who actually gave him the rest of his days.
So it is with Jesus and His sheep. We were lost and, for all practical purposes, dead. That's not our preferred assessment of ourselves, but it's what the Bible says. Without Jesus, we'd be forever lost and lifeless. But He rescued us. And in His culture, we now belong to Him. We are to live out the rest of our days-the days He mercifully gave us-for Him.
That's what being a living sacrifice is all about. It means that when Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, we don't have the right to say, "No, not this time." When Jesus tells us to give all we have-our time, our talents, our money, or even our deepest desires-to some aspect of His work, we don't have the authority to decline. We are not our own; we have no claim on our own lives. We were bought with a precious, heavy price. We were saved for the One who saved us.
Just as Jesus laid Himself on God's altar for our sin, we are to lay ourselves on that altar for His righteousness. We don't earn His righteousness, of course. But practically, God puts it into us-He works it into our spirits-to the extent that we lay down our tainted lives in exchange for His resurrected one.
The implications of that relationship are astounding. Radical. Relentless. It was an "everything" purchase for a "forever" promise. Living sacrifices don't live for themselves. They live for Another. That's their service of worship.
Precisely because they have been redeemed at such a cost, believers must be God's men. -LEON MORRIS
ROMANS 12:1-2 * JANUARY 5
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. ROMANS 12:2
Imagine a culture in which there is no word to describe deception. No lie has ever been told and no one has even considered deviating from the truth. This culture has such clear lines of authority that it would occur to no one to assert his own rights-or violate another's. It has a complete absence of conflict, a perfectly united fellowship, and a plan that everyone single-mindedly pursues. There's no discord there, only harmony. It's the utopia that human beings have instinctively envisioned, yet never achieved.
Such was the culture of heaven before Satan fell like lightning from his high estate. As far as we can tell from Scripture, Lucifer's rebellion was an isolated incident. It drew many followers-one-third of heaven's hosts, according to many interpretations of Revelation 12:4-but was not in any way typical of the remainder of heaven's inhabitants. No, heaven's culture was perfect. Who-except for a being as prideful as Satan-would have wanted to mess it up?
We can't relate to a society in which evil is foreign. We're not nearly innocent enough for that. We've grown up with sin all around us, showing up in violence, bitterness and anger, lust and greed, and all sorts of idolatries. But in the enormous span of cosmic history, our earth has gone tragically wrong for only a well-defined moment-a brief sliver of eternity. What we've accepted as normal is drastically abnormal. God's eternal kingdom will not accept any elements of rebellion. Regardless of how comfortable we've been in the past with the human rebellion, we need to be terribly uncomfortable with it now. We have to change.
Our worship of God is to involve a radical transformation to His culture-a society in which all disobedience is a horrifying thought. No lying, no lust, no discord, no rebellion. Our minds must fit the eternal patterns of heaven, not the momentary aberrations of earth. We are citizens of a very different kingdom than we've ever known. The ways of this world hold nothing for us anymore. Our conformity is over. Transformation must begin.
Measure your growth in grace by your sensitiveness to sin. -OSWALD CHAMBERS
JANUARY 6 * PSALM 31:21-24
A Sacrifice of Love
Love the Lord, all his saints! PSALM 31:23
Being a living sacrifice is more than a holy obligation; it is a holy passion. It's the lover who says, "I would do anything for you. I'd sacrifice my life, my dreams, my everything for your welfare." Few of us love God like that with any consistency, but that's our goal. And the only way to get there is to ask Him for that kind of love. It's supernatural. Only He can offer it and maintain it in our hearts.
How do we know if we have it? We'll know by what fills our minds when we lie down at night and when we wake up in the morning. We'll know it by where we direct all of our resources and all of our abilities. And we'll know it by the things we pray for.
If a stranger were to pick up the ledger of our checkbook and read it, would he know that we are lovers of God? If he were to examine our calendar, would he be able to tell that we have a holy desire for a beloved Savior? If he were to hear our prayers, would he find that we're wholly dedicated to the will of Another? We're reluctant to answer, because we know our shortcomings. We know how fickle our hearts and how self-directed our desires are. We know we have more than one agenda-God's plus our own. We know we have a long way to go to be filled with a holy, God-centered love.
That's okay. God's grace is more than enough to cover our lukewarm hearts. But He doesn't want us to remain ambivalent toward Him. He wants to stir us up to a consuming obsession with His goodness, His love, and His plans. He wants us not just to try hard to please Him-we've done that and failed so many times-but to delight in Him. Like any lover of another, He wants to be our joy. Like a wife who craves evidence of her husband's affections, or a husband who looks expectantly for affirmation from his wife, our God-though never needy-wants to be adored.
Can we adore Him? We must-it's our created purpose, and it's the only love we'll ever have that will leave us completely satisfied. All others fall short, but passion for Him always fulfills.
Love unites the soul with God; and the more love the soul has, the more powerfully it enters into God and is centered on Him. -JOHN OF THE CROSS
devotion, but do we? No, we have to notice our own reactions to be sure. When we develop hard feelings toward Him because He has not given us what we wanted, He has opened our eyes: We wanted some things more than we wanted Him.
Did you mean it when you told God, "I give my life to You"? Then His removal of your props should be no surprise. We cannot "give" Him our lives and then complain when He takes them-or painfully touches them, or seemingly deprives them. Our lives are His. What business is it of ours if we are uncomfortable under His management? He has higher purposes than we do, and we trust Him. We've surrendered all.
No sin is small. -JEREMY TAYLOR
Excerpted from THE ONE YEAR WORSHIP THE KING DEVOTIONAL by chris tiegreen
Copyright © 2008 by Walk Thru the Bible. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted February 23, 2009
No text was provided for this review.
Posted November 5, 2009
No text was provided for this review.