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?



 
Trust
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)


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December 30, 2010

To say what you don't feel in your emotions is considered to be inauthentic, or phony. Samuel rutherford would beg to differ.


"If you don't feel it, don't say it!" That mantra, more unstated than overtly expressed, has had a debilitating effect on  worship of late. After all, so the reasoning goes, how can you "be joyful" when you don't feel it? Isn't that just being hypocritical?

A great old Scottish saint (is that redundant?) from the 1600's, Samuel Rutherford, argued against this line of thinking, as pointed out by a Scotsman two centuries later named Alexander Whyte:

Ought we to go on with our work and with our worship when our hearts are dry and when we have no delight in what we do?

That is just the time to persevere, replies their evangelical guide, for it is in the absence of all sense of liberty and sweetness that our duties prove themselves to be truly spiritual.

A sweet service has often its sweetness from an altogether other source than the spiritual world. Let a man be engaged in divine service, or in any other religious work, and let him have sensible support and success in it; let him have liberty and enjoyment in the performance of it; and, especially, let him have the praise of men after it, and he will easily be deceived into thinking that he has had God's Spirit with him, and the light of God's countenance, whereas all the time it has only been an outpouring on his deceived heart of his own lying spirit of self-seeking, self-pleasing, and self-exalting.

In other words, we can be easily self-deceived. Just feeling good about our service for God, or our worship of Him, is no guarantee that what has been offered is genuine.

While, again, a man's spirit may be all day as dry as the heath in the wilderness, and all other men's spirits around him and toward him the same, yet a very rich score may be set down beside that unindulged servant's name against the day of the 'well-dones.'

God can honor his truth and his word, and accomplish His purposes, even though it come from Balaam's ass, or Balaam himself.

'I believe that many think that obedience is lifeless and formal unless the wind be in the west, and all their sails are filled with the joys of sense. But I am not of their mind who think so.'

My conclusion? Better to risk being inauthentic than to remain silent and choke off what God might want to do, in you and through you.






Be Careful Where You Sit

July 19, 2010

Reading scripture plops us down into a world of faith, of trust, and a miracle-working God. Can some of that faith rub off on us? Hope so.


In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. Psalm 22:4-5

When David was a boy, the testing of Abraham's faith on Mount Moriah was probably a bedtime staple. You can almost hear him asking his mom to tell of the people of God "trapped" at the Red Sea, with Pharaoh on one side, and a body of water on the other. We know how that story turned out.

Or take Abraham. Surely David loved hearing that story. After years of waiting, Abraham had his son as promised, only to be told that he must offer up his boy as a sacrifice! What did Abraham do?

He believed.

Hebrews 11 tells us that as he raised the knife to slay his son, the thought was going through his mind, "This seems crazy (or words to that effect) but God can raise the dead, so..."

Embedded in these two verses above from Psalm 22 is a truth that resounds in every generation - simply that when up against difficulties, our part is to trust, and God's part is to deliver.

Remember Eutychus, with early church believers gathered in a third story room, listening to Paul talking "on and on?" Getting drowsy as midnight came and went,  Eutychus apparently sat on a window sill to keep from falling dozing off. It didn't work, and tragically he fell to his death three stories below!

Paul, no doubt feeling somewhat responsible, went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him (remember Elisha and the dead Shunammite's son? 2 Kings 4:34?). "Don't be alarmed," Paul shouted to the worried faces peering down from above, "he's alive!" Acts 20:7-12

Acting like nothing out of the ordinary had happened, Paul climbed back up the three flights, suggested that they all have some more food, and then with a "now where was I?" he resumed his discourse until daylight, and then left.

Jesus wondered, if when he returns, faith would be in short supply. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!!

 






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