The first song I remember my mother and grandmother singing to me was, “Jesus Loves Me.” As a three-year-old I sat on my grandmother’s lap in a lawn chair and I remember asking her to sing it over and over again. I have heard our teachers sing, “Jesus Love the Little Children” and I myself still sing this song to my granddaughter. When we have her for the weekend she asks, “We going to church papa?” We have a great influence on people by our actions in worship. We sing these songs to our children and grandchildren today. We hummed these songs to infants when they are sick, hungry or just crying. Why? Because we were made to worship.
To worship God is to walk through the shadows into a familiar welcoming place, where the fire never dies, and the light is soft and glowing. To worship God is to know we are truly home, acting on a desire deep in our souls. Long before we rationally understand the truth of Christ, we want to praise someone or something for bringing love, joy, and hope into the world. We are made to be worshipers -- worshipers of God from the heart. Thinking worshipers. Working worshipers.
Teach us to worship, Lord. Not just to be emotionally ecstatic or to just feel good, but heart-based worship of You, my spirit with Your Spirit. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (Psalm 95:6-7). “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him.” (Psalm 89:7) The text
stresses the need for reverence on the part of those who would draw nigh to God and the Bible commands this throughout. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Worship literally means to kiss toward; the act of homage or adoration paid to God. The concept of reverence raises certain questions which need to be answered for us to more fully understand its significance. Read Psalm 89:7 again. “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him.” God is to be exalted above all else. The natural question then is this: Have you personally placed Him above everything? Have you worshipped Him reverently? This is something we must ponder with ourselves and family.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (Psa. 136:1)
You know, mercy always precedes grace, but they always go hand in hand. Before God gives us what we do not deserve (grace), He first withholds from us the judgement we have coming (mercy). Our God is, by nature, merciful: He does not treat us as we rightfully deserve. Rather, in loving grace, Our Father pours out His forgiveness over us. For such mercy and grace, we can never praise Him enough.
Imagine if God’s mercy were to somehow expire. What if one day He’d had enough of forgiving our sins - those sins that we can’t seem to master or turn away from? What if He were to reach a point where He decided to mete out exactly what we deserve as punishment for our sins, our faithlessness, and our self-centered ways? This is something to really ponder.
Of course, that turn of events would violate His own gospel: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) If God’s mercy were to expire, we would perish.
“Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever. (Psa. 136:26) God is the only doctor will never send you a bill.
Let us thank God for loving us unconditionally! Amen.
“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth . . .
I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” Isa. 43:19
Our life is a journey with God. It may be hard sometimes, but I am assured it would be all worth it. Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.
The only impossible journey is the one you never begin. Prov. 3:5-6, Jer. 17:7
We will have to go though many trails and different obstacles. James 1:2-4
God uses events in our lives to shape us, to teach us, to grow us - some of the key events are those sparked by sin in our lives or someone else’s life. On our journey we continually avoid Satan, confess our sins, and forsake them. Paul advise us to “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” Eph. 6:11 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am you God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” Isa 41:10
A New Beginning is always exciting, refreshing, and makes us thankful. New beginnings often happen at weddings, a new baby’s birth, graduations, retirement, and so on. When these new beginnings include times like a new birth in Christ, a restored soul, land for a new building, leadership in place, the first minister, and restoring fellowship with other brethren we have so much to be thankful for. No words can express how blessed we are!
Etymology of Opportunity:
Nested into Colossians 4 is a verse that doesn’t get much publicity, but I think of it as a great definition of spiritual maturity. If each of us obeyed this verse, it would revolutionize our lives.
This scripture doesn’t specify how many or how few opportunities. It does not quantify how small or how large the opportunity. We simply need to make the most of every opportunity.
Seeing and seizing opportunities is an underappreciated dimension of spiritual maturity. Seeing and seizing those opportunities is at the heart of what it means to follow Christ and to be filled.
But here is the catch: The old aphorism is wrong. Opportunity doesn’t knock. The Egyptian giant that Benaiah battled didn’t knock on the door; he knocked down the door. (1 Chronicles 11:23)
In fact, Benaiah is one of those cool background characters that’s only mentioned a few times in the Bible, but whenever he shows up, he’s doing something incredible.
Most of us want our opportunities gift wrapped, but opportunities typically present themselves at the most inopportune times and in the most inopportune places. Opportunities often come disguised as a big, hairy, audacious problems, but we as Christians see things different.
The word “crisis” is made up of two characters:
One means danger and the other means opportunities.
Problems are opportunities in disguise. Let us always seek opportunities in the Lords church.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: (I Peter 4:10)
When asked “what is grace,” the word is most often defined as “unmerited favor.” Yet, grace involves so much more. It empowers us to do the will of God, to forgive when it’s hard, to do what would be impossible on our own; from walking in wisdom to building businesses to loving the unlovely.
The grace of God is extended to us in many forms: in salvation, in our spiritual and natural gifts, in our accomplishments, and in our experiences. As we’re called to freely give because we freely received (Matthew 10:8), we are called to both receive grace and extend it to others.
How do we do this? One way is to be like Christ in His sacrificial love. Let’s consider what our Lord gave up (Philippians 2:7-8). He gave up the most for the sake of the least. If Jesus extended that kind of selfless love to us, we’re obliged to extend it to others.
Every gift of time, every act of service, every favor we do; these are reflections of the sacrificial love and grace of our Lord. By deliberately losing something (time, energy, focus, the chance of to do something else) so that others may gain, we extend His grace.
I say this, “if we want to be like Christ, we need to look for ways we can be like Him. Christ, our Lord, gave up power, glory, and position because that is what He had. What do you have? Time? Money? Opportunity? Talent? Imitate our Lord by sacrificing that for others, and you will be a good steward of the grace of God.
Showing grace to others is about showing kindness even when they don’t deserve it. God has shown us much grace. We, in turn, are asked to show grace to each other. Amen!