Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!, image courtesy of dayspring.com

My thanks to each of you who've shared your thoughts, life, fellowship and Christian journey with me this year; you've openly shared your faith and commitment to Christ. You've also blessed, encouraged and challenged me to Live for Christ.

May our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ bless you and your family as you continue your walk of faith in this coming New Year of 2011.


Spiritual SundaysNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte and Ginger).

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

One Glorious Saviour, image courtesy of Dayspring.com
One Glorious Saviour

"Great and marvelous are Your works,
O Lord God, the Almighty;
Righteous and true are Your ways,
King of the nations!
"

(Revelation 15:3, NASB)



Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte and Ginger).Spiritual Sundays

Monday, December 20, 2010

God said...(Part 2)

In my last post, I talked about the first two characteristics of God's word. The bible declares that God's word is:
  1. Alive
  2. Powerful, and
  3. Revelational
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.1

God’s word is revelational: God’s word reveals His will, purpose and acts, but God’s word also reveals my thoughts, intents, and condition. God’s word opens my life before Him, revealing to me the truth of who I am, where I am, and what I need. God has revealed Himself through His spoken word, His written word, and His Son, Jesus Christ, The Living Word.

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son,2

Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.'”3

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.4

When God speaks, His words go beyond influence and charisma, God infuses his words with His Spirit and His life so that what He says is indistinguishable from who He is. God’s word is alive and full of power! There is never an instance when what God says is differentiated from who God is.

Who you are is distinguished by what you say and do. By this I mean that we have the ability to perceive the difference between what someone says from what they do. As a child, I heard adults say, "Don't do as I do, do as I say." It was as if I was expected to ignore what my eyes were seeing. The beauty of Almighty God is that you cannot distinguish God from His word. Where does God end and His word begin? God is indistinguishable from His word.

"And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power..."5

God’s word extends beyond the revelation of who He is, His word reveals who I am. I can stand before a mirror and see a reflection of myself, but what I see is only a reflection, not a revelation. My reflection is viewed by my own perception of who I am. A woman looks in the mirror and sees herself as too fat. A man looks in the mirror and sees himself as too bald. A boy looks in the mirror and sees himself as too short. A girl looks in the mirror and sees herself as too plain. A reflection can never show what God’s word reveals. God’s word cuts through the reflection of what I see and exposes the true condition of my life.

It is only when I discover the revelation of who God is that I finally see who I am.

What God says, is upheld, reinforced and sustained by who God is; a revelation of real truth that I can always rely upon what God says. This got me to thinking of what God said in creation.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.6

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.7

God spoke light where none had existed. Why? So that we in this world having eyes, might see the illumination, beauty and glory of Him who has always existed. It wasn’t just God saying, I allow light to now be a reality, God sent forth His word as Light in a world filled with darkness.

The bible often speaks about the fear experienced by those who are in the presence of God. The common thread in those instances is God saying, Don’t be afraid.

He said, 'I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there.'”8

When God says, do not be afraid, He is sending forth His word as courage to a person overcome with fear. When God says the word Peace, He sends forth His word as peace to silence conflict. Whatever God says, is representative of who God is. God is honorable, so His word must be honored; God honors and upholds His word.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.9

…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.10

God’s word has purpose, direction, and fulfillment. I think about things I’ve faced in life and how God sent His word, and as a result, my life changed. In some instances, it didn’t happen overnight, but it happened. There were times when I didn’t understand how, but it happened. God said it, and my life was changed. God takes what I lack and strengthens me by His word. It’s what Joshua needed to hear after Moses died.

Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.11

God wasn’t just saying the words, “Be strong and courageous…” to Joshua. God spoke strength and courage into Joshua’s life so that what Joshua saw was not a reflection, but a revelation. Joshua saw the strength and courage of God saying, I swore to their fathers that I would give them possession of the land.

For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,12

This is the certainty of God’s word! In a courtroom, a person swears to tell the truth; they commit themselves to speaking the truth based on someone being greater than them. Since there is none greater than God, God binds what He says with who He is.

Whatever we face in this life, God says a word appropriate to our circumstances. Whatever it is, God has spoken to that circumstance; in order for His word to stand above and beyond my thoughts, fears, hurts, pain, afflictions, hunger, death or anything I face. God has spoken to it already; there is nothing in my life greater than God.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.13

No matter what you may find yourself up against, remember that God said…

Let God’s word take hold of you and strengthen you to face your fears, hurts, pain, hunger, death or whatever you may be going through. When you feel like you can’t go on, listen to God speak to you, strengthening you with the word of endurance.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.14

Father God,

Thank you that Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light on my path. Thank You that Your word is alive: in me! O Lord, create in me a clean heart that I would worship You with joy and gladness. You strengthen me by Your word. Your word reveals to me how much I need you every moment in my life; I rely on You Lord. What joy Your word gives me. Regardless of my circumstances I know You are here with me; I'm not afraid. I can trust Your word just as I trust You, Your word represents You. I ask You Lord, to speak to those crying out for Your word, for a revelation of You, of Your truth. Speak to that need, that lack, that hurt, whatever cries out from our heart to You O Lord. Your word can never fail. May Your grace shower down upon our lives. No matter what circumstance we face, we're not alone, encourage us Lord. Reveal Your word to us, in us, and Your plan and purpose for our lives. You are the God who loves us, O God, we can do nothing without You. Your grace is always sufficient, that's why I shall praise You always. Thank You Lord. Amen.


Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte and Ginger). You'll find blogs openly professing a love for Christ, and a passion to share. I encourage you to visit. You won't be disappointed.Spiritual Sundays

Footnotes:
  1. Hebrews 4:12, NLTB
  2. Hebrews 1:1-2, NASB
  3. Exodus 34:27, NASB
  4. John 1:1, NIV
  5. Hebrews 1:3, NASB
  6. Genesis 1:3, KJV
  7. 1 John 1:5, NASB
  8. Genesis 46:3, NASB
  9. Matthew 24:35, NASB
  10. Isaiah 55:11, NIV
  11. Joshua 1:6, NASB
  12. Hebrews 6:13, NASB
  13. Romans 8:38-39, NASB
  14. Philippians 4:13, NKJV
References:
  1. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  2. The Amplified Bible, by The Lockman Foundation, Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, ISBN-13: 978-0310951414
  3. King James Version, The Crusade Analytical Study Edition, Crusade Bible Publishers, Inc., PO Box 90011, Nashville, Tennessee 37209
  4. The Message Bible, by Eugene H. Peterson, NavPress Publishing Group, Colorado Springs, CO, ISBN-13: 978-1600060250
  5. New King James Version, by Nelson Bibles, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., PO Box 141000, Nashville, Tennessee, ISBN-13: 978-0840713704
  6. The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA
  7. The New Living Translation Bible, by Tyndale Charitable Trust, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, ISBN-13: 978-0842384896

Friday, December 17, 2010

God said.... (Part 1)

What comes to mind when you hear the words, “God said”? How do the words, “God said” affect you? These two questions got me to thinking during a recent meditation. The bible says that God’s word is alive, powerful, and revelational:

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.1

For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.2

When God speaks, it is unlike any words I could utter; there is a vast difference between what God says and what I say. God’s words are spiritual and life-giving words.

Every word I've spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making.3

God’s word contains the elemental qualities of creativity; giving and sustaining life where none existed. We recognize great works of art, music and literature, yet none of those we recognize have the inherent ability to infuse life where none existed. Science and researchers are making tremendous strides in biotech research, yet what they discover and produce is not life-making; they have simply discovered how to manipulate properties at a cellular level that already have life.

God’s word is Alive: Recognizing that God’s word is alive ought to cause me to seek more of His word in my life, causing me to think, say and do that which affirms and glorifies Him. The fact that God’s word is alive is what propels me forward. His word is alive to the extent that as I store His word in me, I am renewed, invigorated, and refreshed. The sad truth is that I often find myself bogged down by my own words that continually try to shape my view of the world I live in. I keep thinking about a post written by Joan (Reflections) called The Right Perspective ~ Choosing Thankfulness, in which she expresses that we need to look carefully at 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to see that it says, give thanks in all circumstances, not thanks for all circumstances. It has helped me tremendously to appreciate the grace of God that sustains me in every aspect of my life. Having the properties of life, God’s word sustains me with patience and endurance. I’m learning to thank God no matter what the circumstance (all things) may be. I remind myself of His word, what God said so that my spirit is renewed with the life-giving, sustaining properties of God’s word; enabling me to endure and get through my circumstances.

God’s word is powerful: Men and women make powerful decisions in government and business that affect the lives of many, yet they lack the ability to say one word that is truly creative and sustaining. Who is there that can oppose God? The bible recounts numerous instances when those with power assumed they were above God only to come face to face with the God whose power they had not imagined possible. The bible asks the question in Revelation:

…who shall be able to stand?4

God’s word is alive and powerful. Combining these two elements tells me that God has the ability to make and shape who, what, when, where, why, and how He speaks His word. Touring a nuclear power facility gives one an idea of the awesome power of nuclear energy and yet nuclear energy pales in comparison to the power of God’s word.

Who but God can speak a word that changes my life?

I remember a commercial in which a group of investors were discussing the volatility of the stock market. One investor asks a question of a representative of this prestigious investment company and as the man begins to answer, the entire room of investors turns silent and attentive to what is about to be spoken. The slogan of the commercial was:

When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.

Questions to answer:
  1. Am I attentive to what God says?
  2. Do I thirst for more of His word?
  3. Do I see His word as a lamp to my feet and a light to my path?
  4. Do I believe that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is able to resurrect my life?
People with influence have an audience but there are times when even influential people are at a loss for words, or are unable to change the overall attitudes of others. Throughout history, there have been notable people with charisma, but even charismatic people lose the power of their charisma. You can be a person of influence, charisma or some other quality that enables you to affect others, but you can always be identified by some other trait. A person of influence can also be insensitive. A charismatic person can also be a liar. Who you are is distinguished by what you do.

The power of God’s word finds no obstacle too hard, no mountain too high, no valley too low, and no river too deep that cannot be overcome by what God says. God’s word represents Him by representing His power. We have seen the destructive power of explosives and machinery that can demolish a building, but that power has no ability to oppose the power God. God’s word has no peer; nothing can stand up to the awesome power of God. What God says cannot be revoked or invalidated by anyone.

I will continue this discussion in my next post.

Father God,

Thank you for the joy You give, and what You have said regarding Your word. I want to rely on Your word because You renew, refresh and invigorate my life. I want to count it all joy, no matter what circumstances I find myself in; I know You are with me in all things. I can trust You because Your word is representative of You. Your word is truth, lacking nothing. Your word never fails. I pray not for myself, but for family and friends, I pray for those reading these words as well. Speak to them as only the Sovereign God speaks. Shower your grace upon their lives. No matter what circumstance they may find themselves in, without a job, without a home, without family, without food, or whatever those circumstances are, speak the words that will illuminate their life, directing them what to do. You are the God who cares, loves and guides our steps. We can do nothing without You Lord. I pray Your favor upon them Lord, Your grace is sufficient. I want to always praise You, for who You are. Thank You Lord. Amen.


Spiritual SundaysNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte and Ginger). You will find that the blogs linked there are filled with a love for Christ, and a passion to share. I encourage you to visit. You won't be disappointed.

Footnotes:
  1. Hebrews 4:12, NLTB
  2. Hebrews 4:12, The Amplified Bible
  3. John 6:63, The Message Bible
  4. Revelation 6:17, KJV
References:
  1. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  2. The Amplified Bible, by The Lockman Foundation, Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, ISBN-13: 978-0310951414
  3. King James Version, The Crusade Analytical Study Edition, Crusade Bible Publishers, Inc., PO Box 90011, Nashville, Tennessee 37209
  4. The Message Bible, by Eugene H. Peterson, NavPress Publishing Group, Colorado Springs, CO, ISBN-13: 978-1600060250
  5. New King James Version, by Nelson Bibles, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., PO Box 141000, Nashville, Tennessee, ISBN-13: 978-0840713704
  6. The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA
  7. The New Living Translation Bible, by Tyndale Charitable Trust, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, ISBN-13: 978-0842384896

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Keys to Listening

What did You say?Last week I wrote about discovering what God wants from me. At the time, I remember thinking; there is so much to be said on this topic. How can I fit it in just one post? I decided to write it in a way I felt gave honor to God, while offering encouragement to
those who hear or want to hear from God. Little did I know, that post would lead me into an area on my spiritual journey, which speaks to the subject of listening.

A friend whom I love and respect shared some thoughts about me (I asked) and my friend realizing how I (at times) tend to overreact tempered what was said. Of the few words which were spoken to me, there was one word which caught my attention. The word was never.

Now never is a word in and of itself, which can be either good or bad. I understood it to be absolutely bad. To me, the word was all-encompassing (even though it perhaps was not meant that way). For me, the word never, spoke to my past, present and future. For me, there was no escaping never.

I was imprisoned by a word which offered no reprieve.

I decided to go and pray because I needed grace to overcome the disappointment, hurt and anger echoing in my ears. I found myself directed by the Holy Spirit to James 1 and there I read something that pierced my disappointment, hurt and anger.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.1

What caught my attention were the words, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” Anger does not produce agreement or the correct standing with God. I will never agree with God when I’m angry. If I won’t agree with God, I’ll never agree with anyone else.

I thought it might help if I looked at other versions of scripture to learn how it might be expressed:

The Message:
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!2

Living Translation:
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says.3

This time, what caught my attention was, “get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts”. To accept the word God has planted in my heart takes humility. I cannot take a defensive position regarding my life (no matter how justified I may feel that position is) and be humble to the extent of accepting God’s word.

Why do I attempt to defend myself? What will my pleading and arguments accomplish?

The key to listening seems to be tied to both my senses and emotions. There are three actions I must take to humbly accept the word of God:
  1. Be quick to listen
  2. Be slow to speak
  3. Be slow to anger
Why does God want me to be quick to listen?

I believe listening in conjunction with my silence, short-circuits my mouth and emotions. If I’m not talking, I’m not attempting to defend myself. Look at the example of Christ:

The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him,Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.4

Instead of listening, I opened my mouth in a vain attempt to defend myself. I was wrong.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!5

The example set forth by Christ is that of a servant! How can I presume to be more than Christ? Can I sublimate my ego to the place of humility? When I get there, I will find Christ waiting for me. To be humble, I must do more than listen…I must do what I hear. It serves me no useful purpose to listen, if I’m not committed to obeying God.

Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.6

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.7

Humility and obedience are interconnected as spiritual virtues. The more humble I become, the greater my capacity to obey God word. Having the capacity to obey is not the same as obeying. To obey takes discipline and self-control of my life, particularly what I say.

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.8

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.9

Watch your words and hold your tongue; you'll save yourself a lot of grief. You know their names—Brash, Impudent, Blasphemer—intemperate hotheads, every one.10

It is a difficult lesson, but one worthy of learning:
  1. Be quick to listen
  2. Be slow to speak
  3. Be slow to anger
These lead me to the place of humility and the path of obedience where I am welcomed by Christ.

Father God,

I realize that the in order to hear your voice, I must come to the place of humility. It is there where Christ wants me to stay, that I will hear Your voice. You don't want me to just hear, I must obey You. This is my desire O Lord. I reject my ego and my arrogance. I accept the mind of a servant; I will not practice my own form of self-justification. I am only justified by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Without Him, I am lost and I have no hope. I exalt You because You are life to me.

Now, O God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servants. For Your sake, Lord, look with favor on this nation of people. Give ear, our God, and hear; open Your eyes and see the emptiness of our hearts. We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because the people of this nation call on Your Name.

When we are weak, You give us strength. When we are afraid, You give us courage. When we are distressed, You give us peace. When we cry out for forgiveness, You hear and forgive our sins.

Thank You for all that You are O Lord. You are the Great and Mighty God who reigns supreme throughout eternity. We praise You with our hearts. Amen.


Spiritual SundaysNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte and Ginger). I believe you will find the blogs linked there filled with a passionate love for Christ. I encourage you to visit. You won't be disappointed.

Footnotes:
  1. James 1:19-22, NIV
  2. James 1:19-22, The Message Bible
  3. James 1:19-22, New Living Translation Bible
  4. Mark 15:3-5, NIV
  5. Philippians 2:5-8, NIV
  6. Ezekiel 33:31-32, NIV
  7. James 1:26, NIV
  8. James 3:5, NIV
  9. Psalm 19:14, New Living Translation Bible
  10. Proverbs 21:23-24, The Message Bible
References:
  1. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  2. The Amplified Bible, by The Lockman Foundation, Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, ISBN-13: 978-0310951414
  3. King James Version, The Crusade Analytical Study Edition, Crusade Bible Publishers, Inc., PO Box 90011, Nashville, Tennessee 37209
  4. The Message Bible, by Eugene H. Peterson, NavPress Publishing Group, Colorado Springs, CO, ISBN-13: 978-1600060250
  5. New King James Version, by Nelson Bibles, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., PO Box 141000, Nashville, Tennessee, ISBN-13: 978-0840713704
  6. The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA
  7. The New Living Translation Bible, by Tyndale Charitable Trust, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, ISBN-13: 978-0842384896


Friday, December 3, 2010

What Does God Want From Me?

What Does God Want From Me?

Call methe Quester.I've been king over Israel in Jerusalem. I looked most carefully into everything, searched out all that is done on this earth. And let me tell you, there's not much to write home about. God hasn't made it easy for us. I've seen it all and it's nothing but smoke—smoke, and spitting into the wind.

Life's a corkscrew that can't be straightened,

A minus that won't add up.

I said to myself,
I know more and I'm wiser than anyone before me in Jerusalem. I've stockpiled wisdom and knowledge.What I've finally concluded is that so-called wisdom and knowledge are mindless and witless—nothing but spitting into the wind.

Much learning earns you much trouble.

The more you know, the more you hurt.
1

But life must be more than just a quest to know, if it is to have real meaning. I thought about those of you who write about Christ, life, relationships and what it truly means to live a life that truly pleases God.

What does Christ see when He looks at me?

Am I seeking to give myself to Him or am I only seeking what I can get from Him?

I ask the Lord for something every day in prayer; without fail. I want something. I make my requests known to Him. Last night I confessed.

Why am I asking You when You already know my thoughts Lord?

When I pray for my son, or daughter, a relative or friend, when I pray for those who read this blog, is it then wrong to share my own personal needs before You Lord?

There is silence as I attempt to still my thoughts from running back and forth; keeping busy. My thoughts often seem to parallel Martha, who was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen when the Lord visited her home. I need silence that I might hear God speak to my spirit.

What does God say to you in the silence of your thoughts?

Often I hear the same words, time and again.

Worship Me.

Confess before Me.

How do you worship the Lord?

I looked for examples of worship in scripture and came across this tidbit:

…you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go...2

I thought about these words, “you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose… there for his dwelling”, and I realized that the place the Lord chose for me to worship is within me.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.3

I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.4

God has put His Spirit in us so that we would walk before Him in the only way that truly pleases Him, faithfully.

But how am I to worship God?

In the Old Testament, the Israelites worshipped the Lord with burnt offerings, sacrifices and fellowship offerings, but what does God really want from me?

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

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
5

Do you think I feast on venison? or drink draughts of goats' blood? Spread for me a banquet of praise, serve High God a feast of kept promises...6

God wants to see me filled with gladness when I come before Him joyful songs. To worship Him in a way that tells Him, “I don’t want to hold anything back from You Lord.” God takes no pleasure in the sacrifice of animals when He has offered the ultimate sacrifice: His Son, Jesus Christ. He wants me to serve Him a banquet of praises, my very own recipe. God wants me to be faithful as He Himself is faithful, by keeping my word. God is Light so there cannot be even the slightest change that would mutate the character and nature of His promises. God is saying to me: Be faithful by keeping your promise to Me.

We say, “Take my life Lord.What do we mean by these words?

Do I want God to possess me in such a way that I’m not reserving any part of me from Him?

Have I given God access to my life which I previously kept reserved for me?

The Israelites sacrifices animals, what am I offering up to God from my life?

Do I give Him my time or am I too busy for God?

Do I give Him my talent, or am I using it to indulge myself?

Do I give Him my treasure, or is my treasure reserved for only me?

Do I realize how badly God wants what I hold on to so tightly?

It is an awesome thing to ponder the thought that, God values and wants me; all of me.

God is not satisfied with just a morsel of my life. No more than I would be satisfied with just a prayer that is proportionally answered to the degree I give myself to Him. If God divvied out His love, blessings, and grace to us the way we give ourselves to Him, would you be pleased with His effort?

God said this regarding His relationship with Abraham:

The LORD said, 'Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do'...7

God had no desire to hide from Abraham what He was about to do. I don’t believe God wants to hide from you or me what He is about to do in our life.

Do I want to know what God is going to do?

What can I learn from God when I come before Him with a heart willing to listen?

Will God respond when I:
  1. Worship Him without reservation
  2. Serve Him a banquet recipe of my sincere praise
  3. Confess my life before Him openly
  4. Honor my promises to Him faithfully
  5. Demolish the walls that hinder me hearing Him
God responds to me
I believe He will respond.

I can never meet the extent of God’s response to me, but I will never cease my effort to extend myself more and more towards Him.

Father God,

You are The Awesome God, the great I AM! It is You alone that I worship, You alone that I praise and You alone that I adore. How faithful You are to me! I want to prepare myself for You as a banquet of praise. You are too great for the few words I have to extol You. Someone once said, "What a wonder You Are!" How true these words echo in my thoughts. Your love and peace flood me beyond measure. I confess my sins that I may stand before You in reverence and adoration. Through Your Son, Jesus Chirst, there is no longer a wall of partition beween You and me. Thank You Lord Jesus for tearing it down and establishing peace with God on my behalf. No one could have done this but You Lord Jesus. I want to be faithful Lord, that I may stand in Your presence and hear what You're going to do. Heal those who cry out in anguish. Give favor and blessings to those who've lost job, career, home or family, but cling to a hope that You will respond. Move forth by the power of Your Spirit and reveal Yourself as The Sovereign Lord. Amen.


Spiritual Sundays

Note: Several months ago, a blogger friend suggested I visit Charlotte and Ginger who host the blog Spiritual Sundays, and that I should link in with fellow bloggers who share encouraging and inspirational posts.
I believe you will find hearts ablaze with faith, love, compassion, kindness, humility, and fellowship in Christ. I encourage you to visit. You won't be disappointed.

Footnotes:
  1. Ecclesiastes 1:13-18, The Message Bible
  2. Deuteronomy 12:4-5, NIV
  3. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NASB
  4. Ezekiel 36:27, NASB
  5. Psalm 100:1-3, NIV
  6. Psalm 50:13-14, The Message Bible
  7. Genesis 18:17, NASB
References:
  1. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  2. The Amplified Bible, by The Lockman Foundation, Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, ISBN-13: 978-0310951414
  3. King James Version, The Crusade Analytical Study Edition, Crusade Bible Publishers, Inc., PO Box 90011, Nashville, Tennessee 37209
  4. The Message Bible, by Eugene H. Peterson, NavPress Publishing Group, Colorado Springs, CO, ISBN-13: 978-1600060250
  5. New King James Version, by Nelson Bibles, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., PO Box 141000, Nashville, Tennessee, ISBN-13: 978-0840713704
  6. The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA
  7. The New Living Translation Bible, by Tyndale Charitable Trust, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, ISBN-13: 978-0842384896