Psalm for the Day

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How do we obtain favor?......... Part II


If you are willing and you are obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land.


But if you refuse and you rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword.

For the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.”   Isa. 1:19-20 LEB

 

How can we walk in favor with God and man?


Appropriate and right words often generate favor from those around you.

 

 Proverbs 18: 21tells us that: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

We can speak life or death over others or situations in our life.  People like to be around those who speak life and live as a light for Jesus.

 Proverbs 16:13: “Lips that speak what is right and good are the joy of kings, and he who speaks the truth is loved.”

Humility is a great way to generate favor.

Proverbs 15: 33: “Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor.”


God’s anointing creates favor!

Daniel 2:47-48: “The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret.”

Then the king appointed Daniel to a high position and gave him many valuable gifts. He made Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon, as well as chief over all his wise men.”

Finally, repentance brings favor!

I Peter 5:6: “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”

Favor increases when you associate with people of integrity!  Remember Boaz had a great reputation for integrity. Ruth gleaned in his field. That association brought blessings to all involved!

Favor is an attitude of goodness towards you.

Remember, a wise heart will always look for opportunities to sow favor!  Isaiah 1:19 tells is: “If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land.”

There are many ways favor will come upon you.

Here are several examples from the Bible of those who walked in God’s favor:


Daniel 2:12-13,16:   Favor comes upon you when you are sent to solve problems for others!

God will remind someone of something good you have done!  In Esther 6 the king was reminded that Mordecai had not been rewarded for revealing the plot to assassinate the king.

Psalm 5:12 is an awesome scripture that King David wrote of God’s favor: “For You will make those happy who do what is right, O Lord. You will cover them all around with Your favor.”

Paying tithes brings favor.  Malachi 3:9-11: “You are cursed, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!   Bring the tenth part into the store-house, so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this,” says the Lord of All. “See if I will not then open the windows of heaven and pour out good things for you until there is no more need.   I will speak sharp words to the destroyer for you, so that it may not destroy the fruits of the ground. And your vine in the field will be sure to give its grapes,” says the Lord of All.”

Uncommon achievement attracts uncommon favor!   People desire to be on the winning team!   Romans 8:37: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

A good attitude often influences favor!

God reveals His favor in you so that others see the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit operating in your life!

Remember Joseph and how God promoted him!

Obedience to God guarantees favor!  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How do we obtain favor?......... Part I


If you are willing and you are obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land.


But if you refuse and you rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword.

For the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.”   Isa. 1:19-20 LEB

 

You may ask, “How can we obtain favor?”   “What do we need to do to walk in God’s favor?”

Notice, at the beginning, and ending of these verses there is a small but big word. "IF!"

Remember favor is a deliberate design by God to reward you for acts of obedience.

Favor is not a mere miracle but a reward for faithfulness!

One of the ways that favor is unleashed in your life is by, you’re desire for wisdom!


A wise hearts look for opportunities to sow favor.


In Proverbs 8:32-35, God say’s, Listen, my children.  You are blessed if you keep My ways. Hear My instructions and be wise. Don’t disobey Me in this! Blessed is the man who listens to Me and who watches and waits at the door.  He tells us whoever finds Me finds life and obtains favor from God!

Diligence creates favor! 

Proverbs 13:4: “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing, but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”   (NKJV)


Another way to obtain favor is to have an understanding heart.  Listening with your heart to understand people and their needs brings favor.

Proverbs 13:15: “Good understanding gains favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.”  (NKJV)

 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Walking in Favor………… Part II


“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;

 But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.”    Isa. 1:19-20  AMP

 

Gal. 1:10 presents us with a worthy question.   Only you can answer that question for yourself but it requires total honesty from you.  However, if you really want the raw truth ask someone else to answer the question in relation to how they see you.  Please, don’t get angry with them if you don’t like the answer, just work on changing:   Do you think I am trying to get the favor of men, or of God?...........”  (NLV)


Favor comes as you fall in love with God and His word!

Psalm 1:1-6 tells us: “Happy [blessed] is the man who does not walk in the way sinful men tell him to, or stand in the path of sinners, or sit with those who laugh at the truth.   But he finds joy in the Law of the Lord and thinks about His Law day and night.   This man is like a tree planted by rivers of water, which gives its fruit at the right time and its leaf never dries up. Whatever he does will work out well for him.

 Sinful men are not like this. They are like straw blown away by the wind.   So the sinful will not stand. They will be told they are guilty and have to suffer for it. Sinners will not stand with those who are right with God.   For the Lord knows the way of those who are right with Him. But the way of the sinful will be lost from God forever.”  (NLV)


Favor will come as you begin to pray for others!  James tells us the importance of prayer, confession and how it can affect those around us: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (5: 16, NLT)

Favor will also come as you learn to bridle your tongue!   Again, James gives us additional insight to the conditions of receiving favor: “Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.” (1:19 AMP)

We must remember God sees our attitudes, motives, thoughts and heart.  He knows when we are manipulating, controlling and/or lying.   He sees the truth behind our words and actions.  Therefore, we must be aware that these areas—negative or positive will determine favor with God and man. 

Our confidence in Jesus, our daily witness and genuine concern for others will bring God’s favor into our lives!

 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Walking in Favor………… Part I


If you will only obey me,
you will have plenty to eat.


 But if you turn away and refuse to listen,
you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”   Isaiah 1:19-20  NLT


We need to remember that with every good seed sown-eventually favor will come!

Paul said it this way, whatever a men sows that he will also reap.  Favor is like a current; it’s either moving toward you or away from you.

Before we go any further talking about favor--- you may ask; “what is favor?”  Favor is a deliberate design by God to reward you for acts of obedience visible or invisible to others.

Favor is when God causes someone to desire to come along side of you to help solve a problem in your life.  Favor is an attitude of goodness toward you.  Favor is the willingness, desire and participation of someone to help you advance or obtain a deeper relationship with Jesus.

The divine purpose of favor is to enable you to achieve your assignment! Your willingness and obedience toward God in everything will bring favor, but your disobedience will make favor leave you!

In Luke 2:52 this is an interesting verse in regards to favor.  It reveals that Jesus had to grow in favor as well: “Jesus grew strong in mind and body. He grew in favor with God and men.” (NLV)


This verse also seems to indicate that although Jesus was God, there’s not any indication that He had all knowledge and wisdom from birth. It seems that even Jesus had to decide to walk in the Father’s wisdom and knowledge to obtain favor!


Isa. 1: 19 tells us we have a condition to meet before we are blessed with favor: “IF you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land.”

The first way to obtain favor is, to always obey God! 

Man usually gives favor that is designed to manipulate, but God gives favor through obedience!

 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Come now, let’s settle this……..


 “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.


Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.
 If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat.


 But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”      Isaiah 1:18-20 NLT

There have been many times that people have said to me they have sinned in a way that God could or would not forgive them. I do not believe there is any one that cannot be forgiven.

It does not matter how bad you have been; it does not matter what sins you have committed.  God is in the business of forgiving sins and loving people. The passage above tells us God can cleanse us from the stains of sin.  No matter what they are if we are willing to repent and be obedient to Him.


God wants us to come to Him, in Isa. 1:18a , He says, “Come now……”

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6:2,“For He says: In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.”


 God is longing for His people to return to Him.


Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.”


Isa. 1: 18 (b) says, “…when we come to God, He will reason with us.”
Please note here that the word reason means to demonstrate what is right and true.

 He will reason with us what is true about Himself. One truth about God is: He loves you!


Romans 5:8: "….. God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."


John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not parish but have everlasting life."

 It is true that He came to save us.


God will reason with us in regards to what is true about our sin.


It is interesting that Isaiah uses two colors here in describing our sins: “scarlet” and “crimson.”  Old Testament scholars say that there is no distinguishable difference between the two as they were found in ancient times. The dye for this color came from a worm. The dye was absolutely colorfast and indelible.  It wouldn’t wash out, which was one reason why it was so expensive. It went down deep into the very fabric, and wouldn’t come out. It has been used to illustrate sin in our lives.

 It was also, the same color as blood. 

 

We cannot wash our sins clean. There is no new leaf we can turn over, no self-help program we can launch, no amount of determination we can acquire, that can take away the indelible stain of our sin.  

 

And when God says to us, Though your sins be as scarlet,” He’s trying to say to us that not only are we sinners, but our sins cannot be washed away by any human means.

Snow is used in the Scriptures as a symbol for whiteness, for purity. When David prayed his beautiful prayer of confession in Psalm 51, he said, Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow(v. 7).

Daniel had a vision of God, and in that vision he saw that “thrones were placed, and one that was ancient of days took his seat; his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool” (Daniel 7:9).

 

It has nothing to do with the color of your skin.  It has everything to do with the condition of your soul before God.

 

In spite of our scarlet sins, God desires to make us white, pure, forgiven, and clean before Himself and He does it through the shedding of the scarlet blood of His Son Jesus.


God can take our sins and clean them out in such a way that there is no evidence and no stain of sin left in our life.

The scriptures tell us that He casts the sin as far away from as the east is from the west and He remembers them no more.

 He can make us as white as snow, as clean as washed and bleached wool.

God is still calling to the unreasonable and the ungodly. He will forgive and cleanse all who come to Him. His blood still makes guilty men clean. It would take a totally unreasonable person not to respond to His call.

Whether a nation is part of Israel or not, if they rebel against God’s authority and demand to be judges of what is right and wrong for themselves, they will eventually be called to account.  God does not wish to condemn a nation, but God will not be mocked forever, and with a heavy heart He will deliver a wicked nation to its merited judgment if they refuse His repeated calls to repent and receive grace and mercy.   

God delivered a timeless message to all nations at all times, a message that is particularly relevant to our own times.  God speaks to a wicked and rebellious nation seeking for them to reason with Him. He promises them forgiveness for their sins, if they will repent, and for the imputed righteousness of the Lamb of God to be on them rather than their own sinful character. He promises blessings for repentance and obedience to His ways, and judgment for disobedience and rebellion.  

How long until the nations of this world take His call to repent seriously?

Why do we not repent?

Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."


1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Today I want you to understand that God loves you and will not let you perish in sin if you would just come to Him and repent of your sin.



 

 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It’s a choice…………..


Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling.”   Psalm 2:11


Judah’s leaders had chosen corruption over compassion and justice.   Their decisions were based on what was best for them and their desires over what was best others.

 

The judges, governors, and priests, who should have been administering the Law were actually the lawbreakers. They had the wealth and influence to get away with it. 

They were living as we see many today: “Do as I say and not as I do.”


God called them to repent or suffer retribution.  (vs. 23, 24)


 All this abuse was rooted in pride and selfishness which are forbidden to the Christian according to Rom. 12:3, 10.


If we honor others more than self, we will defend and help the weak and needy. (Isa. 1:17)


To serve the Lord, we must choose to serve others.


Before his death, Moses challenged the children of Israel to choose between life and death. (Deut. 30:19)  

Soon after the conquest of the Promised Land, Joshua issued the same challenge and announced his determination to choose for the Lord and life. (Josh. 24:15)


The same challenge stands before each of us.

We serve a God who calls for a choice.

 

 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Obedience glorifies God……………..


Because at [your] standing of the test of this ministry, they will glorify God for your loyalty and obedience to the Gospel of Christ which you confess, as well as for your generous-hearted liberality to them and to all [the other needy ones].”             II Corinthians 9:13  AMP


Our obedience glorifies God!


God desires His children to choose obedience over rebellion.


We should desire to worship God to show our love, thankfulness, obedience, love and our respect for Him.


The Jews only pretended to worship God: They had forsaken the Lord and turned their backs on Him. They no longer demonstrated any respect for Him or His Laws. (vs 4)

Their worship didn’t change their behavior so it was empty, meaningless, and offensive to God. (Vs. 11, 12)

Does that sound like our day, as well?


Certainly, God had instructed them to sacrifice, but it wasn’t just to have His temple courtyard trampled by hooves of animals.


But because they have turned their backs on God, He turned His back on them. (vs. 15)

 He did not want to do it, but they had violated His covenant.


Let’s look again at Rom. 12:1. We are told that surrendering ourselves as living sacrifices is our spiritual act of worship.

There’s more to worship than gathering and doing certain things at certain times, like Sunday morning.


John 4:23- 24: A Samaritan woman asked Jesus about the proper place for worship. She seemed concerned about doing the correct thing in the correct place, but she was not sincere.  If she were, she wouldn’t be living in adultery.  If worship does not affect your life, it is insincere.


If you can gather on Sunday morning and sing praises, pray, participate in the Lord’s supper, and listen to the Word then steal from your employer, cheat your employees, lie, have unforgiveness, jealousy, deceit, control & manipulation, addictions, commit fornication, etc. the rest of the week, your worship is offensive to God.

 In fact, it is not worship but disrespect for God.  You are only going through the motions to impress others.   A sanctimonious ritual!  

You read the word and pretend to be a Believer while still secretly living in sin!

It’s rebellion and disobedience combined with a lack of faith in God’s word.

This is hypocritical to God and a stench in His nostrils.

It is deception at its finest!

Monday, January 21, 2013

God exposes disobedience……………


Heaven and earth, you’re the jury.
Listen to God’s case: “I had children and raised them well, and they turned on me.
The ox knows who’s boss, the mule knows the hand that feeds him,
But not Israel.


My people don’t know up from down.
Shame! Misguided God-dropouts, staggering under their guilt-baggage, Gang of miscreants, band of vandals—
My people have walked out on me, their God, turned their backs on The Holy of Israel, walked off and never looked back.

 “Why bother even trying to do anything with you when you just keep to your bullheaded ways?


You keep beating your heads against brick walls.
Everything within you protests against you.


From the bottom of your feet to the top of your head,
nothing’s working right.”   Isa. 1:2-6   Message Bible


Of course we should choose obedience rather than rebellion but it is so hard to do when our flesh is in control.   Most of us desire is to be obedient but our flesh has a greater stronghold over us and consequently we surrender to our flesh.

Samuel told us that God said, “…Obedience is better than sacrifice….” 

Most people really want to be obedient as long as it does not require giving up something that is too important to them.  Idolatry is the number one stronghold the enemy uses to keep us walking in disobedience.

Have you ever felt like God does not hear your prayers?   Do you feel like you are living the same day or situation over and over?

 “Why aren’t you answering my prayers, God?”

Check your obedience level.   Have you been obedient in anything God has asked you to do?  

Ask Him to reveal any idolatry or disobedience in your life in respect to why you have unanswered prayers.


Isaiah accused Israel of the worst kind of rebellion, like children rebelling against parents, Isa. 1:2.


Don’t we usually pity parents whose children rebel against them and bring shame and disgrace upon the family?

Is there any greater disaster for parents than seeing their children go astray?


God’s children were more rebellious than animals. (vs. 3)


What they did was completely contrary to good sense and their own best interests.  In addition, it was the epitome of ungratefulness. (vs. 5)


God’s children had chosen rebellion over obedience.   They wanted their way and wanted God to bless them while living in their pigpens.


God calls upon us to choose.    We must make a choice between obedience and rebellion.   

Remember our scripture Monday from Rom. 12:1?
It stated that we were to offer our body as a living sacrifice.  In verse two it tells us not to conform to the world’s pattern.


There is no way to really know the blessings of following God’s will until you put your whole heart into trying.  You will see great results, if you would only try. 

You would see God’s hand in answered prayers, miracles, healing and deliverance through your obedience.  

God rewards obedience!

Worship with thankfulness………………….


“When you come before me, whoever gave you the idea of acting like this,
Running here and there, doing this and that—all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?

 “Quit your worship charades.
I can’t stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings— meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that.  I hate them!
You’ve worn me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening.”    Isa. 1:12-15 Message Bible


Religiously, the real people of God were in a minority and were splintered into exclusive little groups.

Millions worshiped pagan deities which offered no moral guidance.  Some religious leaders were drunkards and adulterers who raised funds to be used for their own pleasure. There were large groups that practiced witchcraft, spiritualism, drug abuse, fornication, and human sacrifice.


Isaiah describes some of these problems but doesn’t dwell on them.  Isaiah is a book of solutions, not problems. As he presents the solutions to Judah’s problems, he sets forth principles that would solve all our national and personal problems if we read and heeded them.


Isaiah calls upon his fellow people to repent and turn back to God for deliverance from their sins.

 He warns of judgment but he also declares a note of grace and looks far down into the centuries to the time when God would provide the ultimate sacrifice for sin in His Son, Jesus.


In our study of Isaiah, the prophet calls upon the Israelites to make hard choices.

We face the same choices which they faced.


We must choose between thanksgiving or ungratefulness.


Israel, as a nation, was founded on religious freedom. They left Egypt in order to worship God as He outlined.   He gave them a national constitution based on gratitude for His care, guidance and relationship.  (Exod. 20:2)


Their national historical documents were filled with references to God and they prayed every day in the synagogue and at home.


God guarded them as a mother guards her children.


Yet, the Israelites were not grateful to God for all this. They took it for granted and ignored His claims on their lives. They were judged and punished repeatedly.


Today, our relationship with God must be based on a conscious awareness of all God has done for us through Jesus Christ.    Rom. 12:1, says: "……. I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." (NIV 1984)

The decisions we make daily will reflect whether or not we have chosen to be grateful or ungrateful for blessings.


Do you not think God expects us to be grateful for all His goodness?

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”      I Thess. 5:18  NLT

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Stale Worship………………….


“When you come before me, whoever gave you the idea of acting like this,
Running here and there, doing this and that—all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?

 “Quit your worship charades.
I can’t stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings— meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that.  I hate them!
You’ve worn me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening.”    Isa. 1:12-15 Message Bible


Sounds like Israel was offering stale worship to God.  Going through the motions and acting out of a routine. 

We are confronted here with God’s serious displeasure at what the Israelites had turned worship into. It had become empty and hollow.

No heart worship. 

From Isaiah we learn there are a few things that does not matter in worship and that there is one thing that does matter.


 External form of worship does not matter!  The Israelites had the form of worship down to a science. They knew it inside and out. They could worship in their sleep.   They were going through the motions, emotionless.


Order of service does not matter when we surrender the service to the Holy Spirit for His leadership.   When He is given the freedom to choose the music and order of worship, be prepared for revival worship!



When man controls the order in which we do worship it is merely an external form of praise.  It is designed to bring emotionalism for egos and deception.

 

The amount of offering does not matter.   The Israelites had become quite proficient at offering sacrifices, and God says, “Hey don’t you think I’ve had a enough?”


God doesn’t need our offerings.    He wants us to give out of a heart of thanks and worship, not because we have to or legalism.

God asks in verse 12, “When you come before me, who ever gave you the idea of acting like this, Running here and there, doing this and that—all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?”

God just wants to spend time with us.   He isn’t interested in what we can do but in a heart of surrender and love.


Prayer does not matter when worship is just an emotional routine.

 
The Israelites had also become quite proficient at praying. They would pray with hands outstretched in piety.


Prayers that are lip service or routine have no power.


God says that He is not going to listen to their prayers.  

Why?  Verse 15 says, “Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.”


Sacrifice and blood go together, but that is not what God is talking about. He is talking about what it took away from the worship service.
James 3:9-12 says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”


Our HEART must be right with God.


The heart of worship is our heart. We can do all the right things, but that does not matter if our heart is not right with God.


In Matthew 5, Jesus says, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”


Our life and heart must be in order for us to worship in spirit and in truth. Otherwise we are spouting salt and fresh water out of our mouth.

Worship that is not offered in the right motivation and with the right heart is an offense to God.


God is offended by insincere, false or half-hearted worship.  

Is your heart right with God, today?

Is your worship real?

 

 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Worship…….it’s a heart thing!


 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”    John 4:24 NASB

 

In order to see a worship renewal in your life worship must be a constant in all areas of your life. 

We need to make worship a constant in all areas of our life.

Worship is not just about our heart, soul and strength, but our mind as well.  It’s every area of our life. 

Worship must penetrate all aspects of your life.

A.W. Tozer speaks of it in this way: "The total life, the whole man and woman, must worship God. Faith, love, obedience, loyalty, conduct and life- all of these must worship God. If there is anything in you that does not worship God, then there is not anything in you that does worship God".

Those are hard words.  But, if there is anything in you that does not worship God, then there is not anything in you that does worship God.

Worship must be something that is done with every fiber of my being.  As it says in 1 Peter 4:11; “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”


So the question that needs to be asked: Are you worshipping God in every area of your life?

Are the words we speak, spoken as to bring glory to God?

Are the actions we do, done to the glory of God?

Worship needs to be a constant in our life.

It can’t just be something we come to church and do and then go home.

Worship is not something you just do.

If that is how you approach worship, you will always leave feeling empty.

Worship must be from your heart!

“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship the Lord in holy array.”  1 Chronicles 16:29 NASB

 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Worship is a lifestyle…………………


 “Quit your worship charades.
I can’t stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—
meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!


You’ve worn me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening.
And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.


Go home and wash up.
Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings
so I don’t have to look at them any longer.
Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.


Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.”     Isa. 1: 13-17  Message Bible

 

When we go to church on a Sunday morning, it should not for our entertainment.

Worship maybe entertaining, but that’s not its purpose.  When we stand up to worship and lack a sincere, heart-felt desire to worship, then it is pointless.  The anointing is not going to fall and the presence of God is not going to come!

Worship must be more than words from our lips it must start in our hearts.  It must be a way of life.  It must be something that consumes us in every way.

I believe we have an opportunity to start fresh and have a renewal in worship.  In order to do so we, all, must understand who God is.  He longs to enhance our relationship with Him.  Worship is the key that unlocks the door to His presence.


Granted God is far greater than anything we can comprehend.  But we can understand His nature and the nature of His relationship with us.

Worship is the "thank you" that refuses to be silent!

Worship is the voluntary act of gratitude offered by the saved to the Savior, by the healed to the Healer, by the delivered to the Deliverer.

We should always root our worship in prayer.

Prayer needs to be the backbone of your spiritual life. Without pray all other facets of your spiritual life will wilt.

Sadly, many believers too often are too busy to pray or forget to pray.  If we do not root our spiritual lives in prayer and without this underlying foundation, we will never fully accomplish the plans and purposes of God. We can never see the changes God desires without prayer. We can never see a worship renewal without prayer.

Without prayer, our worship will lack the anointing, strength and foundation that it gives.

Jesus Himself modeled the necessity of prayer.

Luke, said that "Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” If such prayer was necessary for Jesus, how much more important is it for us?

But prayer is hard work and people are lazy.

Before we can see a renewal in our worship, we must first root our lives in prayer, knowing that God’s word is true when it says in John 5:14-15: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him.”

Prayer needs to be the bedrock of our worship. To see a worship renewal in our lives and in our Church, we need to root it in prayer.

 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Worship…………..


 “Quit your worship charades.
I can’t stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—
meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!


You’ve worn me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening.


And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.


Go home and wash up.
Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings so I don’t have to look at them any longer.


Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.”         Isaiah 1:13-17  Message Bible

 

Let’s look at Isaiah 29:13;

The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”

Our lives need to be lived in worship, worship needs to be a way of life, and worship needs to be more than words from our mouths, but something truly from the heart.

A.W. Tozer wrote "It is possible to worship God with our lips and not worship God with our lives. But I want to tell you that if your life doesn’t worship God, your lips don’t worship God either".

In Isaiah 1 we are seeing God speaking to the people of Israel, but referring to them as Sodom and Gomorrah.  He’s also referencing the different traditions of Jewish worship. 

Now the problem God is having is not with the rituals themselves.  He was, in fact, the One who instituted most of these rituals Himself, but the problem was with those who were performing these acts of worship.

We see that made clear in Isaiah 29, they were worshipping God in word, but their hearts were not in it. They sang and they sacrificed, but they did not worship. They fasted and they feasted, but they did not worship.

Why? Because their hearts were far from God and their lives did not reflect a true heart of worship.

We were created to worship, not just in word, but with our lives. We see this in 1 Peter 2:9, " You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 

Worship needs to be our lives. Our lives need to be worship.  In the church today, I believe that we need to see a worship renewal; a worship revival; a worship renaissance, if you will.

 What do I mean by that?

For a lot of people, the word worship is synonymous with music.  Music has become an emotional ritual with many believers.  Music can be divisive.  But worship unites!

Musical tastes come and go, but music is not the only form of worship. Worship is not only about music.  Music can be one form of worship, a facet, an outlet, but it is not the only type of worship.  What’s important is worship is eternal and it is constant.


So what is worship?   The other side of worship I am referring to is and can be interwoven with music, but true worship is our response to experiencing the presence of God.

It involves all the ways in which we can respond to Him, all the ways that we can praise Him by what we do and say.  It is all the ways we can demonstrate that God is worthy of all praise and glory and honor and power and might.

Unfortunately, like in Isaiah’s day, we have lost some of the essence of worship. Our worship has become empty. As the prophet said, we worship God with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him.

We have all seen people who never enter into worship in church, they barely move their lips if at all.    Our lives outside of church reveals our heart of worship by the way we live, speak and reach out to others.   Our lives should be a constant worship of Jesus Christ!  

When live in disobedience, lies, deception, repeated sins and bitterness we are unable to live a life of worship.  Our desire is not to worship but rather to live by our flesh and that is the lifestyle we see the prophet referring to in Isaiah 1.

Stephen Charnock, a 17th century Puritan said this about worship: "Without the heart, it is not worship; it is a stage play; an acting part… We may be truly said to worship God, though we [lack] perfection; but we cannot be said to worship Him if we [lack] sincerity".


 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

How can we be the Church............


“Wash yourselves and be clean!
Get your sins out of my sight.
Give up your evil ways.


 Learn to do good.
Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.

 “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.


 If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat.
But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the Lord, have spoken!”  Isa. 1:16-20 NLT

 

So how can we be the church? 

How can we live Godly lives in a corrupt world?


 Isa. 1: 16 - 17, gives us a place to start that journey.


It says we are to wash ourselves; make ourselves clean.  As Christians we need to ask the Lord to forgive us of our sins.  I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


We then need to put away the evil.  When you ask God to forgive you of your sins then you need to turn from your sinful ways.  But, that is the problem for some of us, a lot of times we ask God to forgive us, knowing very that we will do the same sin again and we are just looking for some temporary relief of our guilt.

 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

 This means we must turn away from our wicked ways. A total surrender of our flesh and old habits must be left behind.   We all desire to turn from our old sinful nature but sometimes we like it too much that we choose not to give it up.  Our desire to live in the flesh is stronger than our desire to surrender to Christ. 

We must make a choice to stand in faith and believe God to empower us to walk in righteousness and holiness.   We have the Holy Spirit living in us to guide and empower us to be Christ like if we surrender and choice to live for Jesus.


We also must learn to do good.  How do we learn to do good?

We learn from the teacher. And who is the best teacher?  None other than our Lord Jesus Christ; He taught us by example and through His teachings.

Hebrews 4:15, says; “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”   (NIV)

Always remember to pattern your life and the decisions you make to be like Jesus.

If you do these things then you will learn how to live godly in a corrupt world.

In verse 19 we find the last two conditions of how to live godly lives:

Willingness and Obedience!

The first thing you have to do is be willing.  You have to be willing to make the sacrifices to obey God and His commands to make it happen.


Monday, January 7, 2013

What is the church?


Hear [O Jerusalem] the word of the Lord, you rulers or judges of [another] Sodom! Give ear to the law and the teaching of our God, you people of [another] Gomorrah!

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me [unless they are the offering of the heart]? says the Lord. I have had enough of the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts [without obedience]; and I do not delight in the blood of bulls or of lambs or of he-goats [without righteousness].

When you come to appear before Me, who requires of you that your [unholy feet] trample My courts?

Bring no more offerings of vanity (emptiness, falsity, vainglory, and futility); [your hollow offering of] incense is an abomination to Me; the New Moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot endure—[it is] iniquity and profanation, even the solemn meeting.

Your New Moon festivals and your [hypocritical] appointed feasts My soul hates. They are an oppressive burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them.

And when you spread forth your hands [in prayer, imploring help], I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood!      Isaiah 1:10-15  AMP

There is Hope in our Lord Jesus.

God is tired of people playing church instead of being the Church.

What is the church? 

Is it the four walls that surround us?

No, we who are Christians are the Church.


1 Peter 2:4-5, “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

If you profess to be a Christian, you are the Church.  You may be the only Jesus others may see.  You are leaving as a representative of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Why is it so important for us to be a good representative of Jesus?  

When we as Christians see other people professing one thing and living something different, they are living a lie.  When the lost see us doing the same thing, professing this and living that, then they just see the lie. They see the lie, because they don’t see the truth of the only true satisfaction is in a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. They see the lie and do not believe there is any reason to get saved.  They see themselves as being just as good as the person claiming to be saved, so why do they need to get saved.  We need to lead by example.

We say we love Him with our mouth; but in our actions we don’t reflect it.


James 2:14-20, “ What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, Depart in peace, be warmed and filled; but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body; what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, you have faith and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe
that there is one God; you do well: Even the demons believe, and tremble. But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?”

So how are you?  Are you dead?  Are you living in compromise?  It’s not that works save you, but rather you are saved to do works.


Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”



You may ask what are some of the ways that people are playing church?

We play church by our lack of concern for reaching the lost.


We will go to church and we will sing a song or two and put some money in the plate when it goes by and try to stay awoke during the sermon, but to ask someone to join us. Forget it. We are comfortable in our own little world and we really don’t want to cause others to feel uncomfortable by inviting them to church.


We play church when our prayers do not include others who need the Lord, when they pray it’s all about them, Lord give me this, and pray for my loved ones, me, me, and more me. Our prayers should always include the lost.

We play church in our attendance. We will go to church most of the time, when it is convenient or if we feel like it.


Hebrews 10:25, “ Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.”

 
Exhorting means to come along side and inspiring another with the truth. You start getting a bunch people coming together and others will come if for nothing else to see what’s going on.


I don’t think we would have room in our churches if everyone who claimed to be a member of a certain church they attended as claimed in the obituaries.  Did you ever notice that 99% of all people listed in the obituaries were a member of some church?  

Your name written in some obituary stating that you attend some church will not get you into heaven; only your name written in the Lambs book of Life will get you into heaven.

So how can we be the church?  How can we live Godly lives in a corrupt world?