A quick drawing and a quick thought this morning as I prepared my heart for church. I needed to remember, and perhaps you do as well, that God’s idea of mercy and mine are two entirely different notions. Mine has limitations, His goes higher than my mind can fathom.
As I prepare my heart for worship, Satan loves nothing better than to bring my failures into view in hopes that rather than glorifying God, I’ll remember me. But the fact of the matter God has thrown them as far as the east is from the west.
Some of the Old
Testament is often difficult for me to relate to because it’s so different than
how we relate to God today. We are so blessed by grace! A fact that is made all
the more clearer as I read the worship experience in the days of Ezekiel.
Through the closing
chapters of Ezekiel God is laying out prophesy and Christ like illustrations. Typification
that is easily seen from this side of grace. It causes me to wonder what it was
like to view it from God’s side of Heaven.
And so thou shalt do the seventh day of the
month for every one that erreth, and for him that is simple: so shall ye
reconcile the house. In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye
shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be
eaten. And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the
people of the land a bullock for a sin offering. And seven days of the feast he
shall prepare a burnt offering to the Lord, seven bullocks and seven rams
without blemish daily the seven days; and a kid of the goats daily for a sin
offering. And he shall prepare a meat offering of an ephah for a bullock, and
an ephah for a ram, and an hin of oil for an ephah. In
the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, shall he do the like in
the feast of the seven days, according to the sin offering, according to the
burnt offering, and according to the meat offering, and according to the oil.
There is no doubt in my mind that the formality
and pomp of this event was amazing. Should not our worship experience of modern
day be every bit as glorious? So why is it not? Likely because we don’t see the
blood as we should. The blood of that day was likely not such a glamorous
viewpoint but the reality that something died for your sin.
I must confess that blood makes me squeamish.
Even that of hamburger or any other raw meat. I just don’t have the stomach for
it. But I deal with it. So I praise God that our worship of today and the
sacrifice that our Lord and Savior made on the cross over 2000 years ago,
covers our sin; and I don’t have to deal with the blood of goats and cows! But
the blood must still be recognized.
When God looked over the balcony of Heaven as
the children of Israel made their sacrifice He knew the rebellion of His people
wasn’t over. He knew that that blood was a temporary atonement for continual
problem. He could see the coming atonement that was a permanent solution to an
As I read the details of the offerings and the
feasts and it goes on and on and I get burdened in my mind from what seems like
more information than I currently need. And then I think about my God. The God
Who is in every detail of my life. All the piddley little things that are so
unimportant in the scope of eternity and yet He cares. How can I not care about
every little detail of a sacrifice that set the example of what His Son did for
me so that I could have peace for the day and hope for eternity? God’s view
then, is my view now, even though mine is from earth, I can see it just as
clearly as God did from Heaven.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The final sacrifice. No more critters. No more
pomp and circumstance over the blood of animals. No more separation from God!
No more necessity of a man on earth to make our intercessions to God. We alone
can approach the altar of grace from anywhere we are, in any state of condition
that we’re in because Christ made the ultimate sacrifice and God make the
ultimate promise. It was finished! He opened the door of the throne of grace
for every child that accepted Him as Lord and Savior and the door would never
again be closed.
1 Corinthians 15:55
where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?
1 Corinthians 15:57
thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Having just lost another family member this
week, these verses provide fresh hope. Not just victory over death, but victory
over every day living. All the struggles I face. All the times I just don’t get
it, and I fail God miserably. He is there for all of it. He has me covered. His
offering was enough. “It is finished!” He said on the cross. And I am so
Below is my study of Psalm 100 that I’ll be using for the teen class tonight. Perhaps it will stir some thoughts in you to draw you into that spirit of worship our souls long for! It certainly did mine as I studied His word.
Protocol defined: the official procedure or
system of rules governing affairs of state or diplomatic occasions.
Who set the protocol for worship? The word of God.
1 Make a
joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
2 Serve the Lord with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it
is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep
of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates
with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and
bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good; his
mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
are many types of noises in the world, what do you consider a bad noise?
(painful, loud, extreme, unnecessary)
Who do you think uses these noises and why? Satan of course!
are some good noises?
100:1 says to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. What do you consider a joyful
noise to sound like?
should be shouting?
Gill’s commentary said:
inhabitants of the earth, who are called upon to shout unto him as their King;
as the angels did at his birth, the disciples when he made his public entrance
into Jerusalem, the apostles at his ascension to heaven, the saints when the
marriage of him, the Lamb, will be come, and both men and angels when he shall
descend from heaven to judge the world; and such a joyful noise or shout should
be made unto him as to a triumphant conqueror, who has got the victory over
sin, Satan, death, and the grave, and every enemy of his and his people, and
made them more than conquerors through himself;
That reading should stir your heart when you
think about the reasons we should make noise!
The 2nd Protocol in Psalm 100 for
Worshipping the Lord is to
And to not just serve Him but to be happy about it.
Since serving God is a protocol, how do you
want to serve Him?
Protocol Number 3 is to
before His presence
think that speaks to our attendance as well as the recognition that while in
attendance to church we expect God to be there and we treat the service
should we come into His presence?
Number 4 is
Yes! Everyone on the platform? No!!!!!!
there is not only safety in numbers there is also a blending of voices that
covers a multitude of bad notes. Why do you think music is important to God?
important is it to you?
you feel called into the music ministry?
you understand what a calling is?
number 5 is to
what? Know that the Lord is God! That’s a must to understand the calling on
your life. You have to frist be saved, and then get to know the Lord so that
when He speaks, you understand it is Him.
you ever felt the Lord speaking to you?
would you describe it?
you think people misunderstand the Lord’s calling on their life? Why?
are some reasons that we have to be thankful as we come into the building and
final Protocol in Psalm 100 is number 7, we should
always ask the Lord to bless us, but do we ever think about blessing Him?
are ways we can bless Him?
final verse of Psalm 100 gives us 3 reasons we should worship the Lord and have
an attitude of worship.
He is good
(even when the world around us
He is merciful
(every day we stand in need of it)
He is truth
(The world may be filled with
lies, but the word of God is filled with nothing but truth.)
A Study with Shari Johnson (The Jesus Chick)
www. the Jesus Chick.com (Please share my ministry page!)
I am guilty of only posting the pretty pictures. I don’t post the countless times I wad up a disfigured Jesus Chick or other images that don’t measure up. If someone takes a picture of my bad side, which can actually be any side that I don’t deem myself “pretty” I don’t post it and I’m quick to delete it off my phone before someone accidently on purpose stumbles across it. Are not our lives much the same way?
We let people see the “pretty” side of our selves. The one who is made up and picture perfect on Sunday morning, but what about the one that breaks down into tears on Monday because their world just ain’t right? Oh… that one.
No, nobody needs to see that, right?
Yesterday as I loaded yet another load of laundry for two obviously very dirty people into the dryer I felt a knot in my throat and tears well up in my soul. There was no reason. Other than I just felt overwhelmed.
I quickly sucked it up, started a new load of laundry and told myself, you don’t have time for that.
This morning as I loaded the dishwasher, for obviously very hungry people, the Spirit spoke to me and said, “just be real.”
I scroll through the countless images of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Listen to the ranting of crazy people and realize that there doesn’t seem to be a happy medium. There’s either the beautiful, seemingly perfect families or the nutcases.
I sing this song at the Long Term Care on Monday’s that the residents just love. I didn’t add it to my repertoire for a couple of years for fear it would offend. It’s called “Who do you think you’re foolin” by Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers. When I played the last note yesterday, the little old lady behind me yelled, “We need more like that!”
I realized then, and again this morning that people want the truth, not just the pretty images of Christianity. They need to hear that all of us have moments of sorrow, confusion and days that we too would be nutcases if we weren’t Spirit controlled preventing us from publishing that nutcase rant of reality.
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Two quick points to ponder before you post today.
The Sprit of the Humble
I love humble people. People who don’t lift themselves above others but realize that we are at best sinners saved by grace. There is also a humility we all tend to ignore and avoid whenever possible, and that is the humility of allowing people to see the brokenness within us. That life hurts sometimes.
I’m always careful to buy waterproof mascara for fear of the black clown face that can occur when that spirit of humility takes over. I waterproof my social media post too. But what we miss when we do this the spirit of revival. God will revive the spirit of the humble… not the proud.
The Heart of the Contrite
To have a contrite spirit is to be crushed and broken. Hello? My thinking is the only people who want the world to see that is the nutcase “ranters” who make me shake my head.
My thinking is wrong.
There has to be a happy medium and I see it once in a while. When someone just gets real for the sake of encouraging others. In that process they do not drag someone else into their post, it’s about their relationship with God, not man. God uses broken vessels to let the water of life pour out for others to drink and have their souls revived as well.
After my open heart surgery my water intake was extremely limited. Prior to that I didn’t even like water, but suddenly I craved it, and still do. Their denial of that life giving substance, though it was for my own good, caused me to desire it more.
The more dry and broken we become the greater desire we have to be revived. But you can ignore it until it becomes the norm. Oh… how often I’ve seen that across the churches of America. They only want the pretty Sunday’s, not the ones where broken people get revived and give control to the Spirit of God. It is then that rantings are replaced with the testimonies of broken people being healed, tears flow and God is welcomed into that place and He shows up in a mighty way.
Do we want that?
I don’t want people to air dirty laundry on social media, but it would be good if people shared a trial and how God brought them through. We all have struggles. People need to see they can have victory too.
Another Sunday in the books. And what will be done for the cause of Christ? My heart is burdened for the state of the churches of America. Few and far between do you see the fires of revival in the house of God. Churches linger somewhere between social clubs and legalistic mindsets that, though they preach grace alone for salvation, works is mingled in in the form of man’s opinions of acceptable church behaviors. I’m bordering on meddling this morning and I really don’t want to go there. I just want to experience Jesus this morning for myself and others. I want to feel the Holy Spirit stir the congregations of God to the point of Amen Hallelujah! And a lined altar of worshipers.
In 1 Kings, Chapter 8, when Solomon had finished the temple and stood before the people dedicating it to the Lord, he had the attitude that should be the attitude of the churches of America. We are free. Although the world around us is in captivity, and there is trouble in abundance; through the grace of Jesus Christ we are free indeed. We’ve lived in the land of Egypt where sin held us captive and there was no hope until we made Jesus our Savior. Why would we not stand, shout and rejoice in Him this morning. Another Sunday in the books and what will our story tell?
1 Kings 8:54-60
Hands of Praise
54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
The altar for me is often a place of repentance, and it should be, but it should be a place of praise and gratitude. When Solomon stood up with the where the Spirit of the Lord had been on him like a thick cloud, he went from his knees, a place of humbleness to the position of praise and rejoicing for what the Lord has done.
Throughout the service today our hands should be raised in praise that we are free to hear the word of God and speak His name without fear of persecution and arrest that so many others around the world are facing. Solomon’s father David had been a man of war. How many of our family and friends from ages past fought for the right we have today.
Voices of Praise
55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,
56 Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.
More importantly, not one word failed that was spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ! How worthy is He to be praised this morning. When the word of God is preached there should be shouts of glory! Yes in an order that allows the word to be preached without distraction, but if the Spirit is moving, the unsaved need to hear that when the word of God moves a child of God, He is worthy to be praised! Quench not the Spirit the word says!
A Cause for Praise
57 The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:
58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.
59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:
60 That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else.
There is no other God besides the Lord Jesus Christ. We serve the One and Only! Glory to God is that not reason enough? But couple that with the fact that we not only serve the One and Only, we are privileged to carry Him with us and have a relationship of Friend and Father that no other religion is privileged to have. The Creator of the universe is in our presence, a joy far greater than earthly royalty, and we are the honored guests.
I have to get ready for church else I’ll be late. But please, praise Him today like you’re in the greatest concert of your life. Because His word should be a such a song in your heart that you’re bubbling over today!
I refuse to be a judger of men when it comes to how other people and churches conduct themselves in services. I will only stand before God for the manner in how I conducted myself, and how I, as a leader, lead others. A lesson King David learned when he attempted to bring the Ark home from Kirjath-jearem. Uzzah lost his life because of David’s error in leadership. Uzzah was a Levite, but not a priest, who had been ordered to carry the Ark. One stumble of the oxen, one touch to the hallowed property of God and a man was dead. God takes order serious. (1 Chronicles 13)
Now I realize we’re not in Old Testament times, we no longer live by the law, but when I looked at the original church (Israel) it reminded me very much of the mega churches of today that so many people are critical of. I have to wonder if they’d be so critical of a mega church if it were theirs? But back to my point: be it mega or a little country church up the hollow, God still expects order.
David finally caught onto that the second time he brought up the Ark when he said in 1 Chronicles 15:13, “For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.”
So the order was fulfilled and the Ark and the presence of God was back where it belonged! Is that not what we want in our churches? The presence of Almighty God! Certainly it doesn’t require an Ark, but I still think it requires order.
The presence of God is carried within each child of God. What Uzzah couldn’t touch, because of the blood of Jesus, we are allowed to carry. My how things have changed.
Titles have changed within the church; we no longer have Priests but Pastors, Bishops, preachers, teachers, deacons, trustees and others who are put into place to hold order inside the church. The New Testament is clear about the order of the church (1 Tim. 3:1-12) with Christ always as the Head of the church. And those things will often be in line (for the most part) and yet the Spirit of God will not be felt. Then other churches will not have all things in line, and yet the Spirit of God will be felt. What’s the deal?
That was my question to God this morning?
Then like a brick off the brick yard being hurled at my mind an answer came.
“I’m no longer in the box. So stop putting Me there.”
God, through the sacrifice of His Son has made Himself personally touchable to everyone who has accepted Him as Lord. The problem is, those who carry Him into the church, don’t touch Him. They don’t stir up the Spirit within, they just let Him sit there inside of them, waiting for church to be over, all the while the Spirit cries “I want to be loosed!” And it is those who find criticism for the wild behaviors in mega churches, which I too believe may cross a line not intended by God. So who’s right and who’s wrong? I’ll let God decide.
I do however know in my heart that God intended for no man to take the Spirit of God for granted. When David returned with the Ark, there was music, dancing, instruments and shouting and it upset Michal, David’s wife. There will likely always be someone who “doesn’t get it.” It didn’t stop David and it shouldn’t stop us.
God’s mega church of the Old Testament had order. It had leadership and small groups, and all things had honor and respect for God. God is still every bit as Holy today as He was then, the only difference is we are granted far greater access as commoners by the cross. How we treat Him matters and the world needs to see a difference in how we approach Him and how we react when we get there. Less He be considered no different than the gods of this world.
I began reading in the book of Chronicles, and as I was going through the first two chapters of name after name after name in the genealogy of Adam, my eyes began to glaze over and I began to talk to the Lord. “Lord, please, I know something in this list of names should be stirring my heart, but deed, I’m missing it today.” And so I continued on believing it would just be out of obedience and nothing would be spiritually gained. But as I continued came upon the name of Heman. And in honesty my mind wandered as it often does and I giggled under my breath remembering the show my girls watched as children, “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.” This caused my mind to wonder as to whether or not Heman was a He-Man. What role did he play that was so notable that got him mentioned in the names of fame in 1 Chronicles Chapter 2.
Interestingly enough Heman played a role near and dear to my heart, he was appointed to Praise the Lord. “What an awesome job!” I thought. And then my brain kicked back in and I considered myself… appointed, anointed Praiser for God. And that a job I often forget the importance of, was so important to God that it was mentioned among the great and notable of the Bible that we are so familiar with.
Perhaps you are one of those who have been called into the music ministry, either in song or instrument, or perhaps you’re just setting back in the congregation. This message is for both you, and anyone who needs a reminder or encouragement that praise is serious business in the eyes of God.
Fifteen times Heman is mentioned throughout, Kings, Chronicles and Psalms.
There is Wisdom in Praise
Heman was notably wise. 1 Kings 31 says of Solomon, he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman…” No one was wiser than Solomon, but Heman was obviously not a slacker. Solomon and David both took the praise of the Lord serious enough to put the wise, faithful and prudent people in those places. When called by God into a position of praise, we too should understand that God has called us into that place of accountability and honor.
The Waiting of Praise
When I think of waiting, I most often think of the delay of something.
1 Chronicles 6:33 says “And these are they that waited with their children. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman a singer…”
They were waiting, as in the service provider, (waiter/waitress). An old time preacher that once attended our church said that a song prior to service was a “sermonic solo meant to prepare the hearts of the people.” Glory to God that puts a shout in my soul to think that a song I sing or a word I say would cause another to praise our Lord!
The Willingness of Praise
1 Chronicles 16:41 reads “And with them Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chose, who were expressed by name, to give thanks to the Lord, because his mercy endureth for ever;”
There should be an instant willingness in the people of the Lord, both those called to serve on the platform and those sitting in the congregation, to give praise to God in a manner fitting Him. Many aren’t comfortable of outwardly vocal praise because they’ve never been exposed to it in the churches they attend. I’ve had the blessing of being in vocal and non-vocal churches. Guess which one I prefer? And guess which one I’ve felt the presence of God in the greater degree? There’s a reason God “appointed” people to praise; it was because He knew the power behind it, and He wanted faithful people in those positions. It stirs the soul, it creates a desire to become one and be a part of the congregation as a whole. It’s builds a unity in the believers when they are in one spirit, praising and glorifying the work of the Lord in that place. It’s every bit as important to the congregation to praise as it is the singers and musicians. But it does usually start with the “sermonic solo’s or duets, quartets and choirs.” Woah… I wrote myself happy again.
A brazen serpent created by Moses, no doubt a reminder of their wilderness excursion with the snakes and God’s deliverance. But not rather than a reminder of God’s salvation, it was an object of worship.
But then along comes Hezekiah, and at 25 years old he began to reign as written in the book of 2 Kings 18; and unlike his father Ahaz, he did what was right in the sight of God:
He removed the high places
He cut down the groves and last but not least
He broke the brazen serpent
It was said of him in verses 5-6 that “He trusted the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any before him. For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments which the Lord commanded Moses.”
3 things made a notable difference in his leadership than any other leader before or after him:
He Removed the High Places
It’s not hard to look around and see the high places of the world, but looking inwardly is a discovery of my own high places of things that I have elevated above God in my life.
Technology consumes my time
Troubles consume my thoughts rather than trusting them to God
And that list could no doubt go on…
You too likely have high places that need torn down.
He Removed the Images
Theirs were literal handmade images of idolatry, but mine are more images: the way I view myself, others and above all God. Imagery is a powerful tool. Satan can contrive images in my head of who I or the world perceives me to be causing me to doubt who I am and God’s purpose and calling. It doesn’t take much talking to have me looking in the mirror saying “why on earth would God choose or use you. There’s no way He can move you past this failure.” And that image grows and grows to giant proportion until I can’t see God around it. Shari the failure. I too have some images I need to remove.
He Broke the Brazen Serpent
Israel was worshipping what was meant to draw people to the Creator rather than the Creator Himself. It was all about the serpent not the Savior.
We may not have a brazen serpent in our church to take our eyes off God, but many churches have lost sight of what it is we come to church for. There is a misconception of worship. Satan (the old serpent himself) has turned the altar into an object not to be worshipped but rather ignored. He knows that there is power in the altar, not from the location but from the Lord. And the one thing that will bring that power into a God glorifying moment is when people come with a worship frame of mind. Moses’ fiery serpent upon the pole that was written in Numbers 21:9 gave the people an object that they could look to for a reminder of salvation. We have that in the cross. Just above our altar is large wooden cross in the sanctuary. We don’t come to worship the cross… but the cross should serve as a reminder of the price God paid and cause our hearts to be lifted in praise and draw us to the altar to thank Him… Worship Him… Love Him.
Hezekiah was a great leader because he got rid of what was obstructing their relationship with God. We need some leaders to tear down some man made images of what God wants in church and worship God in the manner He deserves?
And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods. But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.
It’s the early morning hours of the 2nd day of camp and all my campers are fast asleep in their beds and I’m alone in the lobby with nothing but the sound of the air conditioner kicking in and out and an occasional ba-ding from my computer from a missed command on the keyboard. I’ve read a few chapters in 2 Kings and again and again I read words like “and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.” Again and again God’s people suffer, and then they’d get a king who would semi live right but he would usually fail to take away the high places.
We’re always just shy of what God desires. And generation after generation we continue to pass that character trait along because very few, if any are sold out to God. And so this weekend we teach the byproduct of flawed thinking. American youth.
We’re just a little bit captive but we’re a lot creative about it. The high places for which the children of God worshipped idols were literally “high” places. Pieces of ground that were elevated with stone pillars, shrines or various shapes which were objects of worship. We no longer travel to higher ground to do our extra-curricular worshipping, we do that right at the house by elevating the importance of all things “not God.” God takes a close second for even the serious minded saint.
Worshipping God has been brought down to the level of common things and praise and shout worthy events like sports, music, etc. are placed upon the hill.
The word continues in the book of 2 Kings 17:40-41
Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner. So these nations feared theLord, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.
Generation after generation continued in captivity because they refused to completely destroy the high places. They feared the LORD, but they served the images. Today’s church is no different. We fear God… we fear judgment, wrath, disappointment. We genuinely want to live right. Much like children we truly want to please our Father, but… we have this image to protect. The image in the high places. It’s kind of silly in perspective to the Heavenly Father, but the world says our image is important so we hold on tight and refuse to let go. The world says it’s okay to scream and holler at a ballgame or other event until you’re so hoarse you can’t speak, but Heaven forbid we lift a voice of Amen in a service. We’ll send kids to camp because it’s fun and wonderful, but we won’t send them to church on Sunday because it’s too early and it’s the world’s day off. We spend hundreds and thousands on the latest and greatest to make us happy but can’t figure out why those doggone kids won’t put up their iPhone in a service and listen to the preacher. The high places take priority.
When Satan took Jesus to the exceeding high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world saying “All these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Jesus told him to Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And then the Devil left. ~ Matthew 4:8-9
No images. No high places. Just God. We need to stop worrying about “our image” and just worship…
I was at a service last night that actually started before anyone entered the building. My heart was stirring most of the day as I prepared for the service. I felt the Spirit moving when I stepped inside the building. By the time that service started my wheelbarrow was already filling up! That’s a reference from the church Pastor, Darius, last night. He said that “people can be blessed a thimble full or a wheelbarrow full, it depends on how prepared you are to receive it.” Oh, that stirred me. I came in with an empty wheelbarrow. No thimbles for me! I don’t take those kind of services for granted because they are for certain not an everyday occurrence or not even an every church occurrence. It’s not that they couldn’t be. And for me, it may have nothing to do with the church or service, but it might be that my heart isn’t right. Life takes its toll sometimes.
He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
Not only will the cares of this world prevent someone from being saved, but they can suck the life out of those who are saved! I sometimes think I need to wear a shirt that says, “Please, don’t ask me and I won’t ask you.” Everyone’s got struggles. Some may seem petty to someone else, but when it’s our problems, it’s not petty. The struggle is real… very real. And if I enter a service with the cares of this world on me to the point that my mind is preoccupied with nothing else, the preacher will be hard pressed to bless. So what’s the answer? Prayer’s a great place to start. Prior to last night’s preaching, the Pastor opened the altar. It was lined with praying people. What did they pray for? I don’t know, it wasn’t any of my business. I went to the altar to do my own business with the Lord. And that few minutes of time were honored by God.
You want to leave a service as empty as you came in, come anticipating nothing. You’ll get exactly what you came for. Presumption is nothing short of pride. It’s saying that you already know what God is going to do. It’s an easy mode to get in, I’ve been there on more than one occasion. We go through the motions of salvation.
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Coming into a service with the attitude that it’s going to be “just another service,” is a prideful way of saying that God doesn’t have the power to make it an amazing service. Just stomped my own toes there…
Church isn’t just an obligation, it’s a necessity. And coming to church for the purpose of checking that off your list is pretending, not serving. My wheelbarrow was filled last night because I ask God to fill it with what He’d have me to hear. I heard one thing, someone else may have heard something entirely different from the same message. The gospel is exclusive and inclusive. It’s for everyone (collectively), and for every one (individually). But pretenders seldom get anything from the Word of God because the second it starts to make them uncomfortable they turn the preacher off like a bad radio station.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
The truth hurts. It convicts and sets a soul in search of rightness. It’s not for pretenders.
I will confess that I can be all three of my bullet points. Last night was the exception because I needed to hear what God had to say and I ask Him to say it. I ask Him to leave me out of it. And just give it to me straight. I came expecting Him to rake me across the coals for failed Christianity. But He rather soothed my troubled heart like Daddy does. Abba. Father. God.
He knows me. And praise God… I know Him.
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
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Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ