Monday, September 22, 2014

Created to Worship? I don't think so...

Yesterday during song worship at the Sunday morning gathering, the worship leader began sharing what was on her heart. She said, “We were created to worship. We were born to worship God.” I felt a familiar rebellious thought begin to invade my mind. I hate being told what to do. (Clearly, I have authority issues. I’m working on them.) I don’t want to be told to worship.

I consider myself a worshipper but worship, like love, must be given freely otherwise it’s not authentic or sincere. Since I was a child with a rebellious nature, I’ve struggled with a so-called Christian’s requirement to worship. I had no trouble with the disciplines of Christian life – reading my Bible, praying, doing good works, fasting and interceding, but I drew the line at worship being mandatory. Despite my rebellious heart towards worship, I understood even as a child, worship was/is an internal response.

My heart attitude towards worship began to change several years ago when I was challenged by a volunteer who worked with girls trapped in a cycle of drugs and prostitution. She gave God [genuine] praise for each night a girl was kept safe, and off the streets. It didn’t matter if it was for one night, or one month, or one year. I began give God praise for blessings in my life, even if the matter wasn’t totally resolved. I praised God in the process; and in the process, my heart changed.

My knowledge and understanding expanded again when I heard Bill Johnson say, “We praise God for what he’s done, we worship God for who he is.” I was confronted by lies and untruths I believed. I didn’t differentiate between praise and worship, except for praise songs were a little faster, more drums and got your toes tapping and worship songs were slower, more contemplative, and they typically ended the singing portion of a Sunday morning service. Praising God for what he did, does, and will do makes sense. Worshipping God for who he is makes sense too, the problem is, many Christians (me included) don’t know who God is.

It’s impossible to worship what you don’t know.

These are the thoughts swirling around my head yesterday, and as I’m attempting to meditate on truth, and not lies, my mind simultaneously began to think of what the Lord promised Moses when He commissioned him:

Exodus 3:12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
God gave me a new understanding (a lesson, if you will) about what He planned to do for his people. It wasn’t a plan to get them out of Egypt so they could worship God, as if he needs validation. He is complete in himself. A few verses later, God declares his name to be I AM WHO I AM. He is complete, and needs not requires any validation from us or any of creation.

God rescued his people to show himself to them, so they could know God, intimately and relationally. It’s impossible to worship what you don’t know. God is so complete in himself, he knows when we, his people, get to know him, and his heart, the only response is worship. Throughout their salvation and exodus from Egypt, there was many exhibitions of God’s power and might and there was much to praise him for but he wants us to know more than what he does, God wants us to know him. When we know him, we worship.

#40lessons: God wanted to bring his people out of Egypt to worship him, because his intention was to show himself to them. You can’t worship what you don’t know, and to know God is to worship him.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

God is Faithful

God is faithful. That’s all she wrote.

Well, okay. That’s not exactly all she wrote but it’s all anyone needs to know. If only we believed it, there would be such a radical shift in human behaviour the world would turn on its end and we would experience “heaven on earth”.

The reason we can’t or won’t believe God is faithful is because we see him through our own unfaithfulness. When Peter declared Jesus is the Anointed One, the Son of God, it was a revelation of the Father, by the Holy Spirit and not of himself (Matthew 16:16-17). The same is true when we grasp the revelation of God’s faithfulness.

According to, faithful means: strict or thorough in the performance of duty; true to one’s word, promises, vows; steady in allegiance or affection, loyal; reliable, trusted, or believed; adhering or true to fact, a standard or an original.

God is faithful to his word. For simplicity, and for argument’s sake, pretend God hasn’t uttered a word or promise since we’ve been handed the Holy Scriptures. If the Bible is the only word(s) God has given his church (it’s not because he continues to speak today), he is faithful to finish every incomplete promise. Nevermind about the length of time it may take. When God spoke to Abram in Genesis 12:1-3, He gave him a directive, “Go, to the land I will show you...and I will make you a great nation.” When Abram set out, he didn’t know where he was going, but God was faithful to give him a glimpse (Genesis 12:7). In Genesis 13:14-17, God reiterated the promise of land and a nation of descendants. Again, in Genesis 15:1-21, God again gives Abraham a promise and add to it - it won’t be fulfilled for another 400 years.

Mankind’s lifespan was already shortened to 120 years by the time Abram received this promise so he knew it he wouldn’t be around to personally collect, but still God remains faithful. Despite the obvious setback (Abram and Sarai were old, and past childbearing years when the promise was given), or the tests (God tested Abraham to sacrifice Isaac – the only heir to the fulfilled promise), God was still faithful.

We read about the commencement of the fulfillment of the promise in the exodus story. The literal seed of Abraham had become a great nation, and the Lord brought them to the land he had already promised and shown Abraham would be for his descendants. The fulfillment is still unfolding, even to this day because the promise also included the blessing would be for all nations, which includes Israelites and Gentiles alike. It was a promise, and it was meant to continue on expanding.

In the Psalms, David tells us to taste of God’s goodness (Psalms 34:8) but to feed on his faithfulness (Psalm 37:3). A taste is a taste, fleeting and not sustaining, but when you feed on something, it’s like gnawing on a bone. It takes time and it will sustain you. You can grow fat from what you feed on, but a taste won’t make you fat.

I encourage myself and remind others of God’s faithfulness to his promises – the ones we read in the Bible, and the ones He gives to us personally. If they haven’t been fulfilled, then the story isn’t finished. Keep eating, feeding on his faithfulness.

#40lessons: Isaiah reminds us the word of the Lord does not return void, and no plan of God’s can be thwarted. His plan is unfolding to bring about his promises. He is faithful, that’s all we need to know and believe.
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