True Worship

John 4:23-24(NIV)

23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Jesus had just had a conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacobs well, a very insightful chapter that could probably fill several posts, but I want to focus on what he has to say about worship. The woman points out that her ancestors had worshiped on the hill where the well was and that the Jews required worship in Jerusalem. Jesus makes a statement that the old ways of worship both by the Jews and the Samaritans will be replaced by a new worship. The true worshipers will worship in the Spirit and in truth, but what does that mean?

First we need to realize that it does not say in spirit but in “the Spirit”, with out the Holy Spirit present in our lives we can not worship God. Notice I did not say present in the place you are worshiping, if you are one of God’s children, the Spirit is within you. If you have to invite the Holy Spirit into your place of worship then you have no Christians there.

Acts 1:4-5 (NIV)On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”

I find it odd when Christians get together and they pray for the Holy Spirit to come into there meeting. We as we gather bring the Holy Spirit because he is within us. What Jesus is saying in this passage is if you want to worship God you must have the Spirit of God within you. That only comes by faith in Jesus as your Lord. The Spirit of God working in our lives and on our hearts allows us to enter into worship with God. We are unable to have a true heart of worship without the Spirit. Before they worshiped out of obedience to the law, they worshiped God for what he had done and the promises still to come. They loved God but could not have the relationship made possible through Christ that we have. We can truly come into the presence of God in our worship, because the Spirit of God is within us allowing our worship to be heard by God.

What is the truth that Jesus is talking about? Well for starters all truth comes from God and what has God given us as our source of his truth? The Bible, it is our source of truth, there is truth that can be found outside the bible, (IE: in nature, in science, observation), but nothing that is true ever contradicts the Bible. If we are to worship in truth our worship cannot go beyond the truth found in the Bible. We as humans have tried through the ages to make up new ways to do everything better, including worship God. There are no gimmicks when it comes to worship. God wants our hearts, no motives, no agendas, no new revelations on how to get closer to God, He just wants our hearts! True worship based on the truths we know from the Word he has given us led by the Spirit He has placed within us.

Worshiping God is an amazing experience when it is done the way God intended, if not, it may be amazing but it isn’t worship. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you in worship as He also leads you in understanding the awesome truths of God. It is not a maybe it’s a must!!! You “can not” worship God unless it is in the Spirit and in truth.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

GOD is GOOD!!!

 

Satan’s Ways (The 5 D’s that lead to defeat)

This morning I am going to expound upon my Pastor’s sermon this last week because it really relates to where I am in my walk and with my writing. It’s also some really good stuff and probably most of you will relate as well. Thanks Pastor Sung for the inspiration.

Satan hates us! It doesn’t matter if  your preaching to five thousand, or encouraging the neighbor through a hard time with the love of Christ, he hates you for talking about Jesus! He knows he can’t beat Jesus, but he will do everything he can to defeat and destroy those who follow Christ. The good news is no matter how hard and destructive the battle those who are truly in Christ are just as victorious as Christ himself. The key of course is Christ and his power within us!

Pastor used a couple of analogies from the military that I thought were very appropriate since we are in fact at war with the enemy of our soul “Satan”! You don’t successfully go into battle without knowing two things, your strengths, weaknesses and resources, and your enemies strengths, weaknesses and resources. When the United States went to war with Saddam Husein in both Gulf Wars, even though it was pretty apparent we out resourced them in both technology and might, we still had to know our enemy to minimize loss to our troops. We had to be aware of the resolve of our enemy regardless of how sure the ultimate outcome. Satan knows he can’t defeat Christ, but his resolve is to cause as many casualties as he can, in spite of his ultimate defeat.

I want to go through five tools Satan uses against us to destroy our effectiveness in the battle to save the souls of those who Christ loves.

1. Discord: Have you ever been in a Church or heard of one that has been completely torn apart by discord. Disagreement over trivial differences in opinion. Before you know it there are two opposing sides, at war with each other, and ultimately the Church becomes a bomb ready to explode and completely useless in changing peoples lives. Whether in a Church or in personal relationships Satan loves discord. We tend to focus on the disagreement rather than the one who can bring agreement and that fits Satan’s plan perfectly. There are few things more unappealing to a non believer seeking answers than Christians fighting amongst themselves. If it is causing division and discord it is not from Christ

2. Distraction: Satan knows if he can get your attention on anything other than Christ you become unproductive for Christ. It can be something very good and pleasant: Vacation, new stuff, new relationship, unexpected windfall of money or something unpleasant: job stress, bad relationship, unexpected bills or just the stuff of life: tired, tv, busyness. It doesn’t really matter to him as long as your focus is not on Christ and His Kingdom. Life happens to all of us and distraction is part of that life. How you handle distraction will determine how victorious you are in life. We need to reset our default point of attention, where are mind always wanders to when distracted, from things of this world to things of HIS Kingdom. Every good thing comes from Christ and every bad thing can be conquered through Christ, so why do they all take are mind off of Christ?

3. Discouragement: Satan is great at discouraging, and it seems that we as humans are amazingly easy to discourage. I will step to the front of the class on this one! We as believers should be totally and completely immune to discouragement. We have the God who created everything telling us there is nothing he won’t see us through and yet we doubt and get discouraged as soon as anything doesn’t go the way we had it planned. I think the key here is “the way WE had it planned”. Satan can’t do anything about God’s plans, but he sure can screw up ours! He will do anything to make us feel like we are inadequate and unable to accomplish the things God has set before us. Trust in God, not what you think or feel, just GOD!!! Remember that God’s ways are not our ways, do it God’s way and there is no room for discouragement.

4: Deception: Satan is the father of lies, the great deceiver, he is good at it and he knows it. He started with Adam and Eve and has been honing his craft for centuries. Without the light and love of Christ no one is above his ability to deceive. We have all grown up in a very “if it feels good do it” society which lends itself to an attitude that is very susceptible to deception. Sin is not sin it’s a disease that can’t be helped so don’t judge them. God would not want you in a bad marriage, if your unhappy just leave. The bible was written to a different culture, things are different know, so we need to interpret it differently.  I could go on and on about how Satan, the prince of this earth, has planted so many deceptions into our society that take us away from the true Word of God. By the way just because it comes from a pulpit doesn’t mean it’s not deception. Trust the Word and the God who wrote it. If it doesn’t point to Jesus be wary!

5: Destruction: This pretty much sums up the other four! Satan wants to destroy you! He wants to destroy the Church! Ultimately he wants to destroy Christ, but he knows he can’t do that, so he will put his full effort into destroying us. He will try to take away everything that makes us strong and stable, whatever that may be, so that we allow him to destroy all hope. With out Hope we have nothing! We need to understand, we cannot be destroyed, unless we allow our own destruction. If Christ is for us who can be against us? The answer is nobody!!! not even Satan. We are victorious, the Kingdom of Heaven is secure, and that is our home.

Kind of long but I hope it is useful.

Know thy enemy, and remember he loses!!!

GOD is GOOD!!!

Please comment, I value your opinion.

 

The Gospel and the Bible

I talk about the Gospel a lot in what I write, because it’s important, it is in fact the single most important thing you will ever hear. The Gospel means “Good News” that is how God describes the fact that he sent his son to die for humanity so that we could have fellowship with him. Good News seems a little inadequate to describe what God has done for us. I think maybe something like “The extraordinary, amazing, unfathomable why in the world did you do this for me news” is more fitting. Of course the Bible would be a whole lot bigger if we used all the words needed to describe the awesomeness of God’s grace. My point is if all that is going thru your head when your sharing the Gospel is “Good News” your missing so much. If Good News is how God describes it, it should take are breath away every time we think about or share the power of God’s love for us!

We are funny people, we are so excited to share when good things happen to us. “I just got a raise” “Look at my new car” “We just had our new Grand baby”. So many things are good news, and of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing that. We get joy in sharing and most of the time the receiver of the information is made happy also. Good things are, well, good. If you are a Christian you are in possession of the Greatest of Good News, and yet we so often don’t share it. We will tell our friends and neighbors about the great fun we had on vacation, but not about the God who created the universe that also died for them on a cross. Now more than ever this world needs GOOD NEWS, don’t keep it to yourself.

I also wanted to talk a little about the Bible, God’s awesome instruction manual/love letter to humanity. The words in this book contain all you need for life and Godliness all the wisdom you will ever need, all the comfort you could ever want. It’s words are powerful, gentle, convicting, uplifting everything you need. The deal is it needs to be read! If it remains closed, on your night stand, in your car, on a bookshelf or even packed around everywhere you go, but never opened it will do you no good. You might as well be packing around a dictionary or the latest best selling novel.

There is a bookshelf God has designed for his Word, it won’t hold this physical bunch of bound printed pages. This book , the Bible is just a means of transferring God’s Word into that bookshelf, your heart. That, like I said, requires the information entering your brain (reading and studying) and by the power of the Holy Spirit being written on the tablet of your heart. Imagine your heart with a slot in it exactly the size of your Bible. That’s a big hole, your hearts not going to function well until it’s filled.

Read your Bible! It will transform your understanding of the God that Loves you so much. Don’t rely on second hand knowledge read for yourself what God has to say to you.

You can’t know what you haven’t learned and you can’t learn what you haven’t made an effort to know.

Hope all is well and the Grace of God is on you!

GOD is GOOD!!!

Amazing Story! Human determination and inginuity

Take a look at this link:

Paralyzed Claire Lomas completes London Marathon

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/athletics/london-marathon/9252205/Paralysed-Claire-Lomas-completes-London-Marathon.html

(copy and paste to view if link doesn’t work)

I was doing my morning scan of the news and came across this story on The Drudge Report. It is amazing what the human mind and the spirit of determination can accomplish. Here is a lady who refused to allow her circumstance to define her life. It would have been news worthy for her to walk around the block, but too spend 16 days to complete a marathon when she shouldn’t have been able to walk at all “WOW”. She is showing to herself and the world tragedy doesn’t have to determine who you are. I have two good legs and I don’t  have enough commitment to do a marathon.

I am so impressed by people like Claire and all the military vets who are missing limbs who don’t accept there situation as who they are. I get all “woe ease me” about the stupidest little things that come along. “I don’t know if I can do that cause my back hurts” “Oh! if I do that my knees will ache for days” “I should really start exercising more, but I just don’t have time, and I don’t feel that good” kind a pathetic comparatively don’t you think!

The other thing that blows my mind is how we have found ways to fix things that just 20 years ago meant a life in a wheelchair, being bed bound or death. God has blessed the human mind with a tremendous capacity to solve even the most complicated problems. Every year medical issues that where once terminal or permanently debilitating are being resolved with cures and fixes never before thought possible. Of course there is so many other diseases and disabilities that still need cures: cancer, aids, heart disease, stroke the list goes on, but again every year advancements in almost every area are happening.  The human mind and will are extremely powerful forces when focused on bettering the human condition and of course, without God’s guidance can also be pretty darn destructive too.

The next time you think you can’t accomplish something, just stop and look around. It won’t take long for you to find someone who has already conquered that obstacle and even more. God is with you, in every trial, He may not take it away, but he will take you through it. Whether it’s a miraculous healing, or the ingenuity and determination of the God given human mind, He will be with you.

Remember the ultimate healing is in the heart. A heart turned to Christ, is a body eternally healed. This life is temporary, no matter the trial, keep your eyes on True North!

GOD is GOOD!!!