Why we Worship

PSALM 47

Clap your hands, all peoples!
  Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared,
  a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
  and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
  the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout,
  the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
  Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
  sing praises with a psalm!

Why Sing?

God reigns over the nations;
  God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
  as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
  he is highly exalted!


Why Scripture?



 
Worry
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26)


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Self-sufficient humanism. Paul saw it coming – “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

Imago Dei
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So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Why Can't I Pray?
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The bible gives us several reasons, but according to Jeremy Taylor, a deceitful heart is at the root of prayerlessness.

It's Not Rocket Science
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To keep in step with the Spirit should be our daily quest. And if we are successful at that, all of life falls into place.

Theological Steak
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These words by P. T. Forsythe on the magnificence of Christ's work are to theology what Ruth's Chris is to a good steak.

Describing the Indescribable
February 11, 2012
What we have in Christ will take all eternity to describe. But for one segment of one sermon, a great preacher made a mighty attempt.

Making Sense Of It All
January 30, 2012
Where are things headed? Is there rhyme and reason to the endless cycle of summer, fall, winter and spring? Is there a plan in place, or is randomness the explanation?

Your Lap and God's Blessing

May 13, 2010

Everything we do on earth is carefully monitored by our heavenly Father. That can be scary, or wonderful. It all depends.


Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38

During the time that Elisha was prophet, an unnamed woman took a liking to his ministry, and after talking it over with her husband, she had a room constructed on the roof especially for him, so that whenever he was "in town" he could come and relax.

Her generosity got the best of her, and the room had all the conveniences of a Days Inn - you know, not the Ritz Carlton, but it had a bed, a table, a chair and a lamp (had wifi been around then, that would have no doubt been included).

The man of God was impressed, and sat her down one day, and said, "So I really appreciate what you have done. Now, what can I do for you? You want me to speak to the king? I have pull, you know." She deferred, basically saying, "I'm doing just fine."

Elisha and his servant Gehazai conferred together. "Surely we can do something for her," they thought. Gehazai pointed out that they had no children, and that her husband was old. "Great idea," Elisha exclaimed. "Go call her!" And as the woman stood in the doorway, Elisha announced to her, "At this time next year, you will be holding your firstborn!"

She was shocked. The pain of thinking she would never be a mother was just below the surface and she blurted out, "Don't mislead your servant, O man of God!"

The prophet wasn't kidding. A boy was born in due time, and you can just imagine her joy. With no ulterior motive, she had blessed the man of God with a kindness, and now God had blessed her womb. Her lap was getting full. Blessing #1.

Tragically, one day the boy complained of a headache, and died in his mother's arms. She went up on the roof, entered the man of God's room, and laid her lifeless child on Elisha's bed. Without informing her husband of the crisis, she saddled a donkey a servant brought her, and the two of them sped of (if a donkey can speed off!) to find Elisha on Mount Carmel.

He spotted her in the distance as she approached, and sent Gehazai to inquire of her, suspecting that something had gone terribly wrong. Ignoring Gehazai, she headed straight for Elisha, and fell at his feet in bitter distress.

"Did I ask you for a son, my lord?" she said. "Didn't I tell you, 'Don't raise my hopes'?"

The fastest solution seemed to rush Gehazi off with Elisha's staff. He ran ahead, went up on the roof to that now very familiar room, and laid the staff on the boy's face. Nothing. There was no sound or response.

So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, "The boy has not awakened."

When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the LORD. Then he got on the bed and lay upon the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands.

As he stretched himself out upon him, the boy's body grew warm. Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out upon him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.

Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, "Call the Shunammite." And he did. When she came, he said, "Take your son." She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.

Blessing #2. Her lap is overflowing with the kindness of God. But that is not all. God pours out blessing on us, far more than we deserve.

The next blessing came as Elisha warned the woman of a coming seven year famine.

"Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the LORD has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years."

The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.

Blessing #3. A heads-up on a coming crisis, allowing her and her family to avoid starvation. Her lap now has barely any room left!

At the end of the seven years she came back from the land of the Philistines and went to the king to beg for her house and land. The king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, and had said, "Tell me about all the great things Elisha has done."

Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to beg the king for her house and land.

Gehazi said, "This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life." The king asked the woman about it, and she told him. Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, "Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now."

Blessing #4 - God watched out over her property, and made sure that she was not taken advantage of, and that she suffered no loss.

The takeaway? We can't outgive God. Our acts of kindness, no matter how risky or random or even reckless they may seem at the moment, will not go unnoticed by our heavenly Father.

And consider yourself "warned" - you better make some room on your lap, because God is about to show some kindnesses of his own.






The Best And Worst Of Times

May 11, 2009

In the opening sentences of A TALE OF TWO CITIES, the reader is immediately thrust into the turmoil. For Madame Elizabeth of France, that turmoil meant death by guillotine. She was faithful to the end, and went magnificently.


All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16

Dickens described the the period leading up to the French Revolution this way. You know it well.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Madame Elizabeth was the youngest sister of King Louis XVI. When the revolution broke out, she was place under house arrest, and her neice, who was living with her, describes in detail the night of her aunt's arrest and "trial."

"What is your name?"
"Elizabeth, of France."
"Where were you on the 10th of August?"
"In the palace of the Thuilleries, with my brother."
"What have you done with your jewels?"
" I know nothing about them; besides, these questions are wholly useless. You are determined on my death. I have offered to Heaven the sacrifice of my life; and I am ready to die — happy at the prospect of rejoining in a better world those whom I loved upon earth."

They condemned her to death. She asked to be placed in the same room with the other persons who were to die with her. She exhorted them, with a presence of mind, an elevation of soul, and religious enthusiasm, which fortified all their minds.

Sometime while awaiting her pending death, Madame Elizabeth prayed this prayer.

I do not know, my God, what may happen to me today. I only know nothing will happen to me that you haven't foreseen from all eternity, and that is sufficient, my God, to keep me in peace.

I adore your eternal designs. I submit to them with all my heart. I desire them all and accept them all. I make a sacrifice of everything. I unite this sacrifice to that of your dear Son, my Savior, begging you by his infinite merits, for the patience in troubles, and the perfect submission which is due to you in all that you will and design for me.


The memoirs of her niece continue....

In the cart she preserved the same firmness, and encouraged and supported the women who accompanied her. At the scaffold they had the barbarity to reserve her for the last. All the women, in leaving the cart, begged to embrace her.

She kissed them, and, with her usual benignity, said some words of comfort to each. Her strength never abandoned her, and she died with all the resignation of the purest piety. Her soul was separated from her body, and ascended to receive its reward from the merciful Being, whose worthy servant she had been.

The worst of times? Yes. The best of times. Absolutely, for she went to be with her Savior. And we know by faith that it is better by far  to be with the Lord. May the Lord give us similar grace in our hour of trial.





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At key times in the history of the Church, men and women have been raised up to fan into flame the the embers of Christian believers, and often with seismic results. God is watching carefully, and preparing. Keep your eyes open, and keep praying.

History In The Making
January 28, 2009
“Prayer is a grand cement, and lack of prayer is like withdrawing the force of gravitation from a mass of matter, and scattering it into so many separate atoms.” C. H. Spurgeon

If The Lord Had Not Been On Our Side
January 20, 2009
Life is more fragile than we realize. Our very existence hangs by a thread. But unless God wants that thread to break for some reason, we are perfectly safe. And if it snaps by his will, he is ready to catch us. The saints of God are secure in Him.

Watchman, What Of The Night?
January 9, 2009
A newly installed president to "break in", an intense struggle in the Middle East, a worldwide economic meltdown, with America humbled and somber and anxious. What's going on?

Tumultuous Times
January 7, 2009
The Psalmist asks, "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? Psalm 11:3 Well, for one, they can pray to a prayer-hearing God. And who knows....

What's In A Name?
December 28, 2008
Emmanuel means GOD WITH US. That's good, right? So just why are we so anxious? What gives? Fretting offends God, because it implies that he won't come through. How can trust shove doubt aside, and we become God trusters instead?

Every Reason To Be Thankful
November 23, 2008
Complaining seems to come naturally, doesn't it? Being thankful is a whole different matter. We have to work at it, knowing that if we are obedient in this, God will get the credit he deserves, and our satisfaction in Him will expand.

Priming The Pump Of Gratitude
November 20, 2008
Who can proclaim he mighty acts of the Lord or fully declare his praise? Psalm 106:2 The answer? No one. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

Deep Waters
November 18, 2008
Our God is in the rescue business. He delivers, he saves. And not only that. The very trials we face are the testings we need to become strong, eventually producing eternal results

Faith And Real Life
November 16, 2008
"Keep a stiff upper lip," we're told. Buck up. Life is capable of throwing a withering sequence of blows at us, bringing even the strongest to their knees - literally. For if our hope is in God, our future is very bright, no matter how grim the present.

Making A Difference
November 13, 2008
We all want our lives to matter, to count for something. How can we be sure we are not throwing our life away? What will count for eternity? This much we know. Giving ourselves to Kingdom of God work is never wasted effort.

Tears In A Bottle
October 21, 2008
You list my tears on your scroll. Psalm 56:8 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. Isaiah 42:3

Faith - A Grace From God
October 12, 2008
Faith, hope and love are the three qualities that endure. But if our faith gets depleted, this three-legged stool suddenly is worthless.

Comfort and the Plan of God
July 11, 2008
The kingdom of this world is becoming the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. But that battle is "no holds barred" - it's nasty, and believers can get caught up in some pretty uncomfortable moments in the process.

Life's Wear And Tear
July 8, 2008
"I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." Acts 9:16





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