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Archive for September, 2008

True Worship Costs II


In order to be a true worshiper it will cost you, sometimes even your own life. Without dying to self you will not be able to live a life of true worship. I’m not talking about physical death but death to your desires and plans.  Everything that is you must die, nothing can be held back.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].

For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. Matthew 16:24-25 (AMP)

Too many of us are afraid of letting go and we hold on to things that hinder us from being all that God has meant for us to be in Christ Jesus. God wants a surrendered heart. He wants us to daily pour ourselves out at His feet. One of the greatest examples of costly worship is found in Luke 7:36-38:

Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.

This woman knew she was a sinner and needed forgiveness. She fell at Jesus feet tears and repentant heart. She brought with her an alabaster jar of fragrant oil which was called nard. To the women of that time that oil was very precious as it was meant for the day they got married and cost approximately a years wages. She poured this willingly over Jesus’ feet. In Matthew 26:13 He said “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

The bible says in Psalm 51:16-18;

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
         You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
         A broken and a contrite heart—
         These, O God, You will not despise.

Jesus didn’t care who that woman was, where she had come from or what she had done. He saw her heart. A worshiper’s heart broken and surrendered.

The greatest act of worship is when we come before our God totally surrendered. The oil that we pour out are our very lives. Holding nothing back we declare that we are sinners and without His sacrifice we are lost. No amount of sacrifice on our part will add one thing to our salvation or can compare in the slightest to the way Jesus poured Himself out for us. The worshiper whose life is being poured out before the Lord becomes pliable and easy to mould in the Lord’s hands. They know that they have been bought with a price they can never repay and nothing in this world can hold them back from becoming the Lord’s vessel.

We get so busy and let the things of this life crowd Him out. If we would just take that time and put aside some things in order to give the Him the worship that is His due. It will cost you. Are you willing to pay that cost? Are you willing to become that offering a sweet fragrance to the Lord?  Don’t be afraid to prostrate yourself at His feet and allow yourself to be broken. There is such a sweetness there. He will never reject you. The rewards that will come far out weigh anything we surrender here on the earth.  Jesus is Worthy oh so worthy.

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I Will Rise


Video

There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
"Worthy is the Lamb"

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

Chris Tomlin 2008

 Life can be very hard for those who have made the decision to go all the way with Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (NKJV)

It is a choice we have made. If we want to be true worshipers we have to die and it sometimes costs us dearly. We have to let go of all our desires, passions and possessions.

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:24-25 (NKJV)

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8 (NKJV)

We will be persecuted by this world and even hated by members of our own families. Sometimes even with those we think are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:18-19 (NKJV)

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:10-12 (NKJV)

If we suffer in life it is so that Christ may be glorified through our suffering. 

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. John 9:1-3 (NKJV)

God has promised us that He would see us through our suffering.

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob,
      And He who formed you, O Israel:
      “ Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
      I have called you by your name;
      You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
      And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
      When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
      Nor shall the flame scorch you. Isaiah 43:1-2 (NKJV)

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NKJV)

He has promised to be our refuge and our strength

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
      The righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV)

Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints!
For the LORD preserves the faithful,
         And fully repays the proud person.
Be of good courage,
         And He shall strengthen your heart,
         All you who hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:23-24 (NKJV)

Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
      And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the LORD
      Shall renew their strength;
      They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
      They shall run and not be weary,
      They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:30-31 (NKJV)

We have an enemy but Christ has overcome him. Also know that you are not alone in your suffering.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:8-10 (NKJV)

As the verse says above, suffering is but for a moment.

Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His,
         And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
         His favour is for life;
         Weeping may endure for a night,
         But joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:4-5 (NKJV)

The time is coming very soon when we will be free from this world. Rejoice

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. Revelation 21:1-7 (NKJV)

It’s coming very soon that we will rise on eagles wings. I sense it everyday that Christ is drawing nearer. I physically can’t kneel because of damage done to me knees by arthritis. But when I rise and stand before his throne I won’t have any problem in kneeling. How I long for that day. No more suffering. No more pain. All thinks new. I can’t wait to look upon the face of the one who gave His life for me. I will rise….. I will rise.

So You Had a Bad Day!


Yesterday was one of those days where I wish I had stayed in bed. It started off by me missing my bus for work because it arrived 5 minutes before it was scheduled to and I had to stand and wait another 25 minutes for the next one which isn’t easy for me due to having two plastic knees. Then when I got to work my table which is set up for me on the weekend, wasn’t set up properly and it crashed down on those knees. In the process my favourite coffee mug was destroyed and coffee splashed on my laptop leaving it with two vertical lines down the middle of the screen. I have a warranty for it but it doesn’t cover accidents. On the way home the bus was so jammed packed with students that I was lucky to get off at my stop alive. I had to push my way to the front door and in the process lost my best reading glasses. These were just the major things. There were so many other minor things that happened that just made that day a real joy. lol

We have all had those type of days. Ones we would just like to forget. It seems on certain days one thing after another can go wrong and just when we think it’s over "boom" something else goes wrong. It is how we handle those days that makes a difference. We can let them get us down or we can turn around and say "Praise God anyway!" It’s our attitude that makes or breaks us when things don’t go well. There have been times when my attitude wasn’t what it should have been and a bad day would throw me into depression and I would complain to God and ask, "Why me?"

Well why not me or you for that matter? The truth is that days like that build character if you let them. Just because you are a child of God doesn’t make you exempt from life’s problems and it’s bad days. As a matter of fact you may experience more bad days than good after you have become a follower of Christ. But the closer you get to Him, the less those days will have an effect on you.

Days like this are nothing compared to what many believers go through in many other parts of the world. They face death, torture, imprisonment and persecution daily because of their faith. It’s not something that we face often here in the West. These believers face the things they go through with joy and in China the church is growing in leaps and bounds simply because people see how these new believers face their problems. We don’t face this type of intense persecution here…..yet, but it is coming. When it does come how will you face it? If you can’t cope with a bad day now and then now, how will you cope when your very life or livelihood is threatened because of your belief in Christ? Will you face it with fear or will you face it with worship and trust.

The apostle Paul and Silas faced a rough day in Acts chapter 16. Luke tells us what happened:

One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a demon-possessed slave girl. She was a fortune-teller who earned a lot of money for her masters. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.”

This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her.

Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.”

A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.

Now right about here many of us would start complaining and fretting, but not Paul and Silas

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 

What?!? Here they are in jail and in chains and they were having a worship service! Jails back then were not comfortable places like we have now with a bed and plumbing. They were basically dungeons.

Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”

The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.

In worshipping and trusting in God despite their circumstances they provided an opportunity for God to work on their behalf and because of this many were saved. This is going on in many places in the world right now and is the reason why new believers are being added to the body daily.

The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, “Let those men go!” So the jailer told Paul, “The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace.”

But Paul replied, “They have publicly beaten us without a trial and put us in prison—and we are Roman citizens. So now they want us to leave secretly? Certainly not! Let them come themselves to release us!”

When the police reported this, the city officials were alarmed to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. So they came to the jail and apologized to them. Then they brought them out and begged them to leave the city. When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left town. Acts 16:16-40 (NLT)

Paul and Silas after all they had been through didn’t complain about their day, they found the time to encourage others. Why can’t we learn? With some of us It seems even a hangnail can determine whether we have a good day or not. We need to change and when things go wrong stop looking down and saying; "Woe is me!" and start looking up and saying; "Great is the Lord and He is greatly to be praised!" There is nothing that gives a better perspective on things than seeing and recognizing just how big God is and how miniscule are our problems really are compared to all Jesus went through in suffering for us. In recognizing and worshipping Christ through your problems and difficulties you will begin to see how much easier it is to win a soul who has been watching you go through some tough things with your eyes fixed heavenward.  You’ll also notice that those problems were not so big as you first thought.

Paul wrote;

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Cor 4:16-18 (NLT)

There is nothing in this world that can weigh us down when we have our eyes fixed on where we are headed. All things will pass away. When our eyes are on the things of this world we will despair but when they are fixed on Jesus we are lifted above all this world can throw at us.

I had a good day yesterday. In spite of all the things that went wrong, I chose to worship and praise my Lord. So when I said in the first paragraph that it was a real joy I meant it. We learn from our problems and should always let them push us closer to Jesus.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
      And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
      And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)