Worship

What do you think of when you hear the word “worship”? For a lot of us I would bet we think of singing in church; we think of giving ten to twenty minutes once or twice a week singing words that may or may not mean something to us. Or perhaps we think of our tithes and offerings as worship. Both of these things are worship, but they are only the tip of the iceberg.

So then if we’re missing the point, let’s ask some questions.

  1. What is worship? 
    • Worship is the expression of adoration or reverence.
    • Worship is something that God alone deserves (Exodus 20:2-6).
    • John 4:23-24 says that “true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”(emphasis mine)
    • 1 Samuel 15:22 says, “to obey is better than sacrifice.”
    • Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (emphasis mine)
    • Isaiah 29:13 says that if we are only honoring God with our lips but not our hearts, we are not truly worshiping.

    Essentially, worship is not something that we do once a week, it is something we are to do through our lifestyle. We are to worship in Spirit and in truth, two   things that are forever inside us when we allow Jesus to take His rightful place as   king of our lives. Offering our bodies as a living sacrifice is not something you do once, it’s continual dedication of ourselves to the Lord.

  2. Why do we worship?
    • If you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone you really like you know what it’s like to desire to get to know someone. You want to know everything about them – what they like, what they dislike, what makes them tick, their middle name, everything! – and the more you know the more you want to know. Our relationship with God is similar: when we spend time with Him and get to know Him, it stirs up the desire to get to know Him more, and when we get to know Him, we can’t help but worship Him.

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Worship is so much more than singing songs and giving money, it’s continually honoring God with our lives.

When we obey His command to love our neighbor, that’s worship.

When we choose to be like Jesus and pray for those who persecute us, that’s worship.

When we take the high road instead of stooping to the level of those who hurt us, that’s worship.

When we extend grace, that’s worship.

When we choose not to compromise our values, that’s worship.

When we stand and sing and pour out our hearts to the Creator, that’s worship.

When we use our gifts to further His kingdom, that’s worship.

When we die to ourselves and live solely for Him, that’s worship.

Our lives are meant to be continual acts of adoration and reverence of our Creator and King. Worship is not something you get away from life to do, worship is something you do amidst the messiness of life. Everyday is a blank slate. Everyday is a chance to choose God or self. What are we going to choose today?

Photo credit: unsplash-logoAnubhav Saxena

 

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1 Samuel 7

I sat down a few minutes ago to read my Bible and spend some time with God. I’m currently reading John and 1 Samuel, alternating days. Today was a 1 Samuel day and I sat down maybe not quite as excited as I should have been. Typically I find myself “getting more” from New Testament books, such as Ephesians or James. Recently, though, I’ve been praying that God reveal Himself to me throughout all of His Word. So I sat down, and by verse 3, God was pounding on my heart.

Samuel told them, If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, get rid of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths (a Canaanite goddess) that are among you, dedicate yourselves to the Lord, and worship only Him. Then He will rescue you from the hand of the Philistines.

Verse 2 says that the whole house of Israel began to seek the Lord, and Samuel’s response was that they had a few things to do!

They needed to:

  1. Get rid of the foreign gods
  2. Dedicate themselves to the Lord
  3. Worship the Lord only

Verse 4 says that they did just that.

A few verses down the Israelites find themselves under threat of the Philistines, so they cried out to Samuel to cry out to God on their behalf. He did, and the Lord answered. After the Philistines fled, Samuel set up a stone, naming it Ebenezer (Stone of Help).

After I finished reading and taking notes, I was rolling this passage around in my head. Samuel had basically told the Israelites to

  1. Remove the things from their lives that were coming between them and God
  2. Set themselves apart for God’s use
  3. Make the Lord their first priority

Then, when there were no things competing for the space between the Israelites and God, He answered Samuel’s prayer. I sat there thinking, “Man, this is good stuff! I need to blog about this!” I then sat at the computer and typed the first few words and thought, “Wait. What is between God and I right now? I can’t sit down and talk about how wonderful and applicable this piece of Scripture is whilst ignoring it in my own life.”

So I did some self-exploration and asked God what my “gods” were; what had I been putting before Him lately, because I knew that I was not where I needed to be. I got three phrases: sleep, laziness, and people-pleasing.

Sleep, I got. I often choose to sleep in, thus forcing something to be at the sidelines – and they tell me I’m not supposed to wear pajamas to school so spending time with God often gets neglected.

Laziness. I got that one too. I don’t know why it often seems like so much work to read my Bible or pray when scrolling through Facebook is all too easy.

People-pleasing. This one took me a minute. It’s not like I’m selling drugs to please people; however, I do tend to strive to make everyone happy all the time. I cannot stand when people are upset or mad at me – or if I even think they are. So I often find myself saying “yes” to things when I’m running myself ragged. I haven’t been resting in God at all recently if I’m to be honest. I people-please and then I stress myself out to the point of exhaustion and tears.

Now, the Israelites did what Samuel told them to do, but we know the Israelites have a track record for resorting back to their own ways. We are no different. I know that if I don’t continually work at my relationship with God, if I don’t continually take my gods off the shelf, I’ll be right back where I was. This blog post is essentially my Ebenezer, a stone of remembrance for taking my gods off the shelf today and to remember to keep them that way.

 

Stealing My Song

This morning at church we sang 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord), a song I have sang dozens upon dozens of times at church, at home, as a lullaby to kids I babysit. This morning when we sang it, however, the first verse struck me in a way that it hasn’t before.

The sun comes up
It’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes

It made me think of how some days I wake up singing praises to the Lord, but by the end of the day, something has stolen my song. But this verse, this prayer, says “whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.” Did you catch that? Whatever.

I can’t let circumstances steal my song of praise.

I can’t let my feelings steal my song of praise.

I can’t let other people steal my song of praise.

This really woke me up. It’s time to praise no matter what the situation, I can’t let Satan steal my song.

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Photo Credit: Brooke Cagle

Psalm 100

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
  2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before Him with joyful songs.
  3 Know that the Lord is God.
    It is He who made us, and we are His;
    we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

  4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving
    and His courts with praise;
    give thanks to Him and praise His name.
 5  For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
    His faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Psalm 100

This short psalm tells us so much about how we should approach praising and worshipping the Lord.

  1. We should worship the Lord with joy in our hearts. Worship is not a solemn or somber occasion at all, we should be glad (verses 1,2)!
  2. We should acknowledge and marvel at who God is and what He’s done (verse 3,5).
  3. We should approach him with thanksgiving and praise – not just our needs (verse 4).

Worshipping God is more than singing to Him and praying, it’s a lifestyle. Let your life be one of worship. No matter the season, the problem, the struggle, remember that the Lord is indeed the Sovereign God, and approach Him with praise. The hard times won’t last forever, but the Lord will never stop loving you and being faithful to you, even when you aren’t necessarily feeling Him at the moment.

Photo Credit: Carsten Stalljohann