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REASONABLE SERVICEA RATION OF MY PASSION
By Kwete Quaynor
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Kwete Quaynor
All right reserved.
Chapter OneGOD'S HOUSE & HIS PRESENCE
IT is good to be in the HOUSE of God, for David acknowledges that in Psalms 122:1 by saying, 'I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord!'—Yet knowing the difference between being in God's house and being in His presence is even better BUT best of all is choosing to be in His Presence. This opening chapter will explore the difference therein and further lead us into what it takes to access the presence of God which we all so desperately need.
So often we hear people claiming to have been in 'the presence of God' when in actual fact they have only been in the house of God and not necessarily in 'His presence'.
We seem to take so many things for granted in our Christian walk, thereby mixing up what should have been our basic principles and as a result, inevitably confusing ourselves. However, in this book, God compassionately teaches us some fundamental yet essential truths that should alter our approach towards praising and worshipping Him. In this book, I will by the Grace of God, share what He Himself will have you learn as regards praise and worship.
Primarily, it is significant to establish that being in the 'House of God' is not the same as being in the 'Presence of God', and to distinguish clearly between the two.
It is important to note that, one may enter a house and yet not be granted recognition or audience by the occupants of the house for various reasons. If for instance you decided some time ago, to pay me a visit at 103 Pennan Road, Tillydrone, Aberdeen, AB 24 2UA, you would have gotten the address to my residence right and may have even found your way there (in person) without any difficulty, considering the brilliant planning and house numbering system of Aberdeen, not to mention the admirable technology of navigators now on the market. Yet, having discovered 103 Pennan Road, and probably, having met or fellowshipped with others who might have been there looking for me, would not have necessarily implied that you had met with me or been in my presence for that matter. Others might have seen you there and shared fellowship with you, but then it could well have been that you might not have been in my presence. You may not have met my presence and may not have shared fellowship with me.
In like manner, I dare to say that, being in the house of God is not the same as being in His presence. Let's face it—many find their way to different 'places of worship'—(which may generally be churches) yet never really get to enjoy the presence of God.
For this group of people, church turns out to be nothing more than just another public gathering.
Sometime ago, the son of a prominent ex-president visited my country, Ghana. The visit had to do with some charity work of some sort and together with his entourage; he decided to visit one of the well known kings in Ghana. It must have been on their itinerary and I believe the necessary preparations had been made to receive them at the palace. To the best of my knowledge, they got the address and directions to the palace right and found their way there but upon arrival, some of them were turned away to dress properly before the king could grant them audience since some of these visitors were considered inappropriately dressed and hence could not be permitted into the presence of the king.
Initially, I presume the visitors might have been excited to have reached the palace and in that light might have taken it for granted that they were going to meet with the monarch or better still, be in the presence of the king of that land. You can imagine how embarrassed or disappointed they were as the news broke that they were not going to be allowed to see the king because of the way some of them were dressed. Apparently, none of them could have sincerely claimed to have been in the presence of the king despite the fact that they entered the palace. I believe this scenario reinforces the point that, simply finding our way into someone's house does not automatically mean we would have had the honor of seeing that person or of enjoying the person's presence.
You could be in someone's estate or even in their building and still not be in their presence even though the person may be in that estate or even the same building with you.
Imagine you going to Buckingham Palace to see the queen on an occasion when she was absent. Your being there would not imply that you were in the Queen's presence, regardless of who you met there and what hospitality was accorded you. In the recent past, an ex-president of the Republic of Ghana, whilst still serving as president, was in London on a state visit at the Queen's invitation. Amidst the glitter and pageantry and all the colorful setting which included an inspection of the guard and a state banquet amongst other functions, the Queen was there with him. She had granted him audience and actually communicated and shared fellowship with him. In this instance and in no uncertain terms, it can be said that, that ex-president was in the presence of the Queen. If the Queen had not shown up at the function, the opposite would have held true.
In the previous illustration (that is, the ex-president's son's visit to one of the palaces in Ghana), it was the guests' dress code that disqualified them from seeing the king, but there are quite a few more things that may debar us from being granted access into certain people's presence.
Another important matter to establish is the fact that, though God is everywhere, He does not manifest or reveal Himself everywhere. Let us consider this scenario:
Pastor Reuben Obeng is a powerful man of God who had been invited to preach at a service. Apparently, most of the members of the assembly did not know him in person and when he arrived (humble as he is); he had decided to sit at the back of the auditorium, without the leadership of the ministry noticing him. As the time for him to minister approached, people became very anxious, questioning the whereabouts of the invited preacher man and how long it was going to take for him to show up. Not until he had been called upon or his identity revealed, did those around him know who he was.
The scenario also demonstrates how God manifests Himself. God being everywhere doesn't necessarily mean He manifests or reveals Himself everywhere.
THE DRESS CODE
If earthly kings demand a certain dress code before one can come into their presence, how about the King of kings? Of course, He deserves the best.
It is imperative to know that there is a 'dress-code' one must adhere to when approaching the presence of our God and until we get that 'dress code' right, we are bound to encounter challenges in accessing God's presence or at worst we could even be barred from entering into His presence all together.
Questioning who will debar us from God's Holy presence? Do you remember when Adam and Eve were driven out of God's presence (in the garden)? Scripture says God set an angel guard over the garden to prevent them from entering into it again. I believe it is clear to you now that the presence of God is guarded hence impossible to enter anyhow.
You don't just wake up one day and automatically find yourself in His presence. No! Things don't just happen that way. In the days of old, the High Priest's leg had to be tied as he went into God's presence. This was done so that, if for some reason, his standing was not right with God and he incurred His wrath and was struck dead, he could be pulled out, which affirms the fact that the presence of God was not a place anybody could meddle with anyhow.
In our present day, we may not have often heard about people being physically put to death by God's presence as a result of their wrong standing with Him as was feared in the olden days. But who can tell why peoples' health, prosperity, ministry, wisdom and other virtues and gifts die off so suddenly especially when they claim to have been into the very presence of God? Could it probably be as a result of our entering into His presence anyhow and thereby incurring His fury?
If we respect our earthly kings by honoring dress codes, conducting and comporting ourselves in a certain 'acceptable' manner whilst in their presence, then isn't it prudent that we honor God even the more? What then will be the right garment or dress code we need to adhere to when going into God's presence?
According to Isaiah 61:1-3,
1 'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound, 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion—to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit-that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.'
Did you realize that praise is referred to as A GARMENT?
In a moment we will consider what garments are for, for which reason the Bible speaks of a garment of praise but before then note that:
* The wearing of garments takes an effort since garments obviously don't exactly jump onto people all by themselves. Again, I suppose a garment to be worn is chosen carefully—if not, the purpose for wearing it will be defeated. For example, if the weather is cold, it will not be particularly sensible to wear a sleeveless top nor would it be fashionably sensible to wear a nightgown to a cocktail dinner. I remember a good number of people criticizing an ex-president of Ghana for wearing a suit on the occasion of the 50th Independence Day celebrations. Their reason being that, the president could have done better by wearing something traditional to portray the rich culture of his nation and for that matter Africa. Well, that was their opinion and I refuse to comment on it, yet the point I am bringing to the fore is the fact that there are different garments that are considered ideal for certain occasions and not for others. As a general perspective or as a matter of principle, reasonable people are expected to adhere to such dress codes. Note that in like manner, there are different types and forms of expressions of praise, suitable for different occasions.
* A garment may turn out to be of no good if it was just kept in a closet and admired from a distance without actually wearing it.
Just don't forget these three points we have discussed because they will soon come in handy in explaining some further points.
Now a few reasons readily come to mind in considering why we would choose to wear a particular garment over another and I wouldn't be surprised if they strike you as well. I reckon, we wear garments so that they probably:
* protect us from the elements of the weather
* enhance our beauty
* make us look presentable for certain occasions
* demonstrate modesty
* reveal our identity
Now, when God promises a garment of praise in Isaiah 61:3, He contrasts it with heaviness:
3 'To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion-
-to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit—that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.'
I suppose heaviness mentioned here refers to despair as some other versions have it. It also indicates faintness, feebleness, or weakness. This means that, should we accept to wear the garment of praise, which God has provided and which He contrasts with despair, (then just as we physically wear our garments for protection from harsh elements of the weather), praise will spiritually afford us protection against the negative spiritual elements of faintness, feebleness, weakness, heaviness and despair. For this reason, it is important that we wrap up protected in praise.
Praise again enhances our beauty and makes us presentable as we come into the courts of the Almighty God.
We need not be prophets to be able to make out the profession of a nurse in uniform. Again, should we meet a soldier in full military uniform or a chief in his full traditional regalia, there won't be the need for the former to pull out a gun or the latter to show us round his kingdom for us to know their respective professions. What I am driving at is that, people's garments or attires usually reveal their identity.
In the same manner, it shouldn't take much effort to identify Christians by their garments of praise. I believe one reason why some demons may have ventured (with or without success) to treat you with so much disrespect or to play silly pranks on you is because they didn't see what was supposed to identify you as a Christian—your garment of praise. Can you imagine yourself tired and already frustrated, in traffic and the driver right in front of you driving recklessly? I suppose your first reaction, if you had the chance to overtake him, would be to give him a piece of your mind or maybe make a gesture to register your disgust. (Can I have some honest drivers standing up to be counted?) But now, imagine that just before you uttered that word or made that gesture you noticed that the man was dressed in full military regalia. I can bet that a good number of us would have either had a second thought and to be on the safe side, swallowed our words and forgotten about whatever gesture we would have imagined making.
Maybe you would save that for another driver someday! Why? The uniform alone would have made you think twice. On the other hand, imagine he was still a military man of the same rank but in mufti. I am sure you would have had a go at him without even thinking twice. Now, do you understand why sometimes, even as Christians, demons easily use us with such impunity when we are not dressed up in our garment of praise?
One day at my work place in London, my line manager walked up to me and asked, 'You are a Christian, aren't you?' For a moment I thought that was a very strange question to ask especially when I didn't have the slightest idea about what necessitated it. But I came to understand later that she had gathered it from the way I would go about praising God even as I discharge my daily duties.
Initially, she thought I just loved music—the 'music type' or the 'singing type' as she put it, since most of the praise songs I sang were in my local dialect which she obviously could not understand.
Eventually, she came to realize that there was more to it than just singing, so she became very curious.
Praising God had identified me as a Christian!!!
Chapter TwoGOD'S DESIRE TO COMMUNICATE & SHARE HIS POWER & AUTHORITY
I believe the ultimate reason for the act of creation was as a corollary of God's longing to have a family, a friend, someone to live with, fellowship with and even share His authority and power with.
THE CRUCIAL 'RAISON D'ÊTRE' FOR CREATION
There may be many reasons attributed to the purpose of man or why man was created. I am not by this book, seeking to side with or dispute any of those reasons though I have no regrets in quickly hinting that some of them do not 'hold water'.
What I intend to do now is just to mention a few reasons why I believe God must have created me or mankind in general:
1. TO SHARE AUTHORITY AND POWER
According to Revelation 19:16:
'And on His garment (robe) and on His thigh He has a name (title) inscribed, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.'
It is interesting that He was not referred to as the 'Ruler of subjects' but rather as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS, which at least points out one certainty, doesn't it? We are supposed to be kings and nothing less. He is our King, though we are kings ourselves (or supposed to be for that matter). That is the reason for the title—KING OF KINGS which is written on His vesture and on His thigh.
Now, as far as I know, every king has some authority and power. If He is my King and I have been made king by Him, then I can confidently say that He has also delegated to me some of His power and authority so I can execute my duties as a king.
I can therefore conveniently say that one reason why God created me is to share with me, His authority and power. Again in speaking about the man and woman, Bible says in Genesis 1:28-30:
28 And God blessed them and said to them, be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth. 29 And God said, See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the land and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to all the animals on the earth and to every bird of the air and to everything that creeps on the ground-to everything in which there is the breath of life—I have given every green plant for food. And it was so.'
Excerpted from REASONABLE SERVICE by Kwete Quaynor Copyright © 2012 by Kwete Quaynor. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 GOD'S HOUSE & HIS PRESENCE....................1
CHAPTER 2 GOD'S DESIRE TO COMMUNICATE & SHARE HIS POWER & AUTHORITY....................13
CHAPTER 3 THE TRUE MEANING OF PRAISE....................21
CHAPTER 4 CHARACTERISTICS OF PRAISE....................31
CHAPTER 5 BIBLICAL REASONS FOR PRAISING GOD....................45
CHAPTER 6 PRAISING GOD IN DIFFICULT TIMES....................51
CHAPTER 7 THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAISE....................61
CHAPTER 8 SOME BENEFITS OF PRAISE....................71
CHAPTER 9 SOME ELEMENTS OF PRAISE....................89
CHAPTER 10 SOME BIBLICAL EXPRESSIONS OF PRAISE....................101
CHAPTER 11 THE KING'S MODEL PRAISE....................119
CHAPTER 12 HINDRANCES TO OUR PRAISING GOD....................125
CHAPTER 13 THE VANITY OF MERE TRADITIONS....................151
CHAPTER 14 WORSHIP....................155
CHAPTER 15 THE EXPRESSION OF WORSHIP: AS PORTRAYED BY THE WOMAN WITH THE FLASK OF FRAGRANT OIL....................171
CHAPTER 16 SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF TRUE WORSHIP....................179
CHAPTER 17 WORSHIP AS A FRUIT....................185
CHAPTER 18 MODEL WORSHIP....................197
CHAPTER 19 THE TABERNACLE....................209
CHAPTER 20 A CLOSER LOOK AT THE INNER TENT....................227
CHAPTER 21 A CLOSER LOOK AT THE MOST HOLY PLACE & THE ARK OF THE COVENANT....................247
CHAPTER 22 DON'T DARE!!!....................259
CHAPTER 23 DON'T DOUSE THE FLAME OF THE SPIRIT!....................271
CHAPTER 24 SOME POWERFUL WORSHIP MINISTERS OR MINSTRELS AND THEIR SONGS OF WORSHIP....................277
CHAPTER 25 CORPORATE WORSHIP....................281
CHAPTER 26 UNDERSTANDING YOUR CALL TO SERVICE....................285
CHAPTER 27 SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF A LEAD WORSHIPPER....................299
CHAPTER 28 HOW TO SHARPEN YOUR GIFT....................317