Wednesday, April 26, 2017

THE PRAISE SERIES (PART 1) - PRIVATE PRAISE

"I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth"
Psalm 34:1

Thank God for corporate praise when we gather together. It helps us to get among a body of believers as we celebrate and magnify the name of the Lord. There is also a personal private praise which lifestyle worshippers must not neglect. The reason for this is that until we come to the place where we can really enter into that private, personal praise, just between you and the Lord, there are always going to be some hindrances and some holding back when we enter into the corporate praise.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17) and God wants us to get so free that when His Spirit starts moving on us at home, in our kitchen, out in your work place, when commuting or driving down the road in your car, we can just let the spirit of praise flow like rivers of living waters in our surrounding.The Bible says that God inhabits in our praise (Psalms 22:3). The question is, "If He inhabits in our praise, how far does He inhabits it?" The answer is as far as the sound of your voice goes ... "Glory! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Blessed be the name of Jesus!" As far as our voice sounds, God is living in those words. For example, when we are in our car praising and worshipping Him, our audible praise fills that car. When the devil gets any where near you; do you know what he gets? "Glory!" If he comes through the window of your car, "Hallelujah!" hits him. When he tries to enter by the door, "Jesus!" knocks him off.
PRAISE HAS TO BE VOCALISED. The Bible says, "My lips shall praise Thee "(Psalms 63:3).If you go around with your mouth shut and not praising God, then God is not in your praise and the devil beats on you. Our praise may be as weak as babes, but it is powerful enough to silence the enemy (Psalms 8:2). There is power in the name of Jesus, that means that that power is released when we speak or sing it. When we begin to speak forth or sing our praises in His name, the spirit inside us begins to rise up and the power of darkness outside of us begins to retreat. Let the Devil hit our praise ten or twenty feet out in front of us. Let them stick their fingers in their ears each time they are near us.

Psalms 34:1 says, " ... His praise shall CONTINUALLY BE IN MY MOUTH." Most people have to stop what they are doing to try to get 

into praising God, but we need to have this reverse. We need to praise God so much that we have to stop praising in order to do something else.

Psalms 113:3 says, " From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same the Lord's name is to be praised." King David was a man after God's own heart. He praised God in the morning, he praised Him at noontime and he praised him in the night-time.

Psalms 119:164 David said, Seven times a day I praise Thee." The number seven is perfect and complete. God is looking for worshipers who will choose to PRAISE HIM CONTINUALLY AND ALL DAY.

PRIVATE PRAISE is a powerful experience to live in. It is the key to a victorious and abundant life with Jesus. Let us the first fruits of our day to the Lord in private praise.

TPWC (An extract from Private Praise by Elbert Willis)

Until the practice of praise in private is continuous and free, the practice of corporate praise will be inhibited by fear, self-consciousness and discomfort. The practice in the corporate sense is absolutely indispensable to the maximum worship experience."
Jack R. Taylor - The Hallelujah Factor
#Praise #BlessTheLord #PowerOfPraise #PraiseGod #SpiritOfPraise

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

THE PRINCIPLES OF POURING OUT WORSHIP

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24
David discovered God's principle of pouring out in 2 Samuel 23:13-17. Here, in response to an uttered wish by king David for water from the well of Bethlehem, three of his mighty warriors broke through the army of Philistines that surrounded them and obtained that water for him. Yet, instead of drinking it, David poured it out before the Lord; saying, "Is this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives?" He had a legal right to drink that water, but he realized that there was a higher principle involved than merely drinking it and satisfying himself and his desire, and so he poured it out on the ground before the Lord as an offering.

A similar episode is found in John 12:3, Mary poured out an alabaster box or precious perfume upon Jesus. It was a posture and act of a glorious worship seen in the Bible (PROSKUNEO - to kiss, to knee down in reverence and adoration). WORSHIP IS VERY COSTLY! The alabaster box of purest perfumes part of her entire future. It was a dowry for her to be given to her groom on the day of her marriage. Yet when she poured it upon the Lord, the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

What is our motive for going to the house of the Lord? Do we complain, "The Lord did not touch me tonight."? Do we go to ask for blessing or to pour out our worship to the King of kings? There is a difference between going there for Him to please our hearts and going there for us to please His heart. We touch a higher dimension in God when we learn to give up the deepest desires of our hearts and pour them out before the Lord. It does not mean we do not care any more about these desires; in fact we will care more about them than we have ever cared in our lives. But when we touch this principle of pouring out in worship, it will not really matter as long as He receives the glory, and God will accept our offering, turning the barren earth in our hearts into new life.

Abraham knew the meaning of pouring out in worship. When God told him to sacrifice Isaac to Him, Abraham did not bargain but obeyed. He knew God so well that in Genesis 22:5 he could say, "... I and the lad will go younder and WORSHIP and come again to you." As a result of his obedience, Abraham met the God of resurrection (Hebrew 11:17-19), and God promised him He would bless him and multiply his seed. Only that which is offered in death will spring forth in resurrection life.

So was Jesus Christ poured out for us upon the cross of Calvary, "the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world" (Revelation 13:8)Philippians 2:6-8 tells us of Christ's willingness to be poured out for us. In the same way, there is a realm in God where we are willing not only to pour out but to be poured out, just as stated in John 12:24. If Christ had been willing to pour out His greatest desire but not to be poured out Himself, He would probably have said something like, "Father, I love You too much to leave You" and we would still be lost in sin. But because God was willing to pour out His Son and His Son was willing to be poured out, we have a precedent for any act of pouring out that God might ask of us - our ministry, friends, possessions and desires of our hearts - and become a kernel of wheat that falls into the ground and dies, that it might bear much fruit. (An extract from "On Eagles Wings - by E. Charlotte Baker)

Closing thoughts - Why This Waste?As we ponder on the story of Mary who broke the alabaster box (John 12:3; Matthew 26:8-9), may I draw your attention to the disciples' indignant remarks ... "Why this waste?"
Waste means giving more than necessary. To Judas and the disciples the waste of money, time and efforts of worship poured out upon the Lord could ahve been channelled for better use. But if the Lord is worthy, then can it be waste? HE IS WORTHY to be worshiped, worthyto be served, worthy for me to be a prisoner and worthy for me to be in ministry ... HE IS WORTHY! Once we see this revelation, what others say about this does not matter anymore
The Lord said, "Do not trouble her". So let us not be troubled. The Lord's approval upon Mary's action lays the principles of pouring out to Him: that in our worship we need to pour all that we have, our self, upon Him. It is not first of all a question of whether "the poor" (Matthew 26:9) have been helped but a question of whether the Lord has been satisfied.


Share with you this awesome song - Pour Out My Love (by Phillips, Craig & Dean). As you worship, lavish your love upon Jesus the lover of our soul.



Monday, January 30, 2017

EXTRAVAGANT WORSHIP

As I step into the New Year 2017, I was asking the Lord what would be a good resolution that would help me to maintain my desire to be a Lifestyle Worshipper?



 "Extravagant Worship!" - that's what the Lord has challenged me to do. Some of us could immediately identify the book "Extravagant Worship" written by Darlene Zschech... as you read this book, there is one common ingredient found in most extravagant worshippers and that is PASSIONATE about worship.

It is easier said than done because it would take quite a bit of DISCIPLINE to be a PASSIONATE WORSHIPPER. So the Lord reminded me to get back to what I had posted in my first article in TPWC's blog in the year 2006:

THE DISCIPLINE OF WORSHIP - "To The degree You Are Willing To Discipline Your Life, God Will Be Able To Accomplish His Desired Plan For You. To Bring To Pass Those Desires That He Has Placed In Your Heart And To Bring About Those Things For Which You Are Believing Him. It Doesn't Happen Merely Because God Said It Was Going To Happen. A Lot Depend Upon You And Me." 
(The 2nd Flood - The Discipline of Worship by John W. Stevenson)

To this day I can never forget meeting pastor John Stevenson (1991 in Kent Henry's Worship Seminar in Missouri USA). There in the midst of one of the worship, workshops, pastor John was playing the keyboard and leading worship, singing "I Worship You Almighty God" and the glory of the Lord fell in that room of about 80 believers. We stood for the whole session for about one and half hour just immersed in His holy awesome presence! Later I met pastor John in person; could just sense that sweet spirit of a passionate lifestyle worshipper and from that experience, it inspired me to be one.

Some of the ways we can maintain the Discipline of Worship:

DAILY replace the spirit of grumblings with the spirit of thanksgiving
- In EVERYTHING give thanks (1 Thess 5:18)
- Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS! (Phil 4:4)
CONTINUALLY offer to God a sacrifice of praise (Heb 13:15) 
At ALL TIMES - Bless The Lord and CONTINUALLY - Let His Praise Be In Our Mouth (Psalm 34:1)
- Each day offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, which is your reasonable WORSHIP (Romans 12:1) 
- Whenever OPPORTUNITY ARISES, lavish upon the Lord, worship because it belongs to God.
- In His dealings, CHOOSE to bow down and worship the ways of God. 

"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." (Psalm 95:6-7)

We can be like Mary in the Bible who anointed and lavished Jesus with worship (John 12:3). Be blessed by this song: "Pour My Love On You" by Phillips, Craig and Dean.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

THE ESSENCE OF TRUE WORSHIP (PART 25): PAUL - TRUE WORSHIP GLORIFIES GOD

Therefore, whether you eat or drink,
Or whatever you do,
Do all to the glory of God
1 Corinthians 10:31


1) GOD'S GLORY IS OUR PURPOSE
It is one thing to say that GOD'S GLORY is our purpose in life, but it is quite a different thing to understand the statement we have just made. What is GOD'S GLORY? GOD'S GLORY can be briefly defined as His awesome supremacy and divine mode of being. Yet because God is the everlasting, self-existing, Almighty Creator, His full glory must escape our complete comprehension. He is infinite, but we are not.
In fact, GOD'S GLORY is so immense that it would be deadly for us to see it's fullness. Moses asked the LORD, "Please, show me Your GLORY" (Exodus 33:18). God agreed to "make all My goodness pass before you" and "to "proclaim the name of the LORD before you," but He warned Moses, "You cannot see My face: for no man shall see Me and live" (Exodus 33:19-20).God could reveal only small portions of His GLORY to His creation.
In the Bible, we read scores of accounts in which God reveals His GLORY through His mighty works: the Creation, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Exodus, the Conquest. It is no wonder that David recalling such awesome displays of love and might write,
"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours: Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all" (1 Chronicles 29:11).
The classical Greek word from which we derive our English word glory denotes an opinion. We, as God's created beings, should have a right opinion of God. This concept of glory is evident often in the Old Testament as the Israelites revere YAHWEH (or fail to revere Him) in recognition for what He had done.
In the New Testament, however, the concept of glory as an "opinion" regarding God's past works is completely superseded. GLORY becomes in the New Testament a term to convey recognition of His intrinsic divinity. We read that God is "worthy ... to receive glory and honor and power: for You have created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created" (Revelation 4:11). Since God intends for all His creation to glorify Him, glorifying Him should be the burning desire of those who claim to be His people. "Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My GLORY: I have formed him, yes I have made him" (Isaiah 43:7).
(An extract from True Worship by David Whitcomb and Mark Ward, Sr.)

2) GOD'S GLORY IS OUR GOAL
God reveals His GLORY in the hearts of His people who are tender and sensitive to hear Him. Paul expressed this truth when he expressed his desire "that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Philippians 3:10). The Greek word that is translated "know" means to learn through intimate experience. A person first believes God in his heart, then learns ofGod in his heart, and at last, comes to know God in his heart. When that happens, we know God intimately, we can truly honor His GLORY.
So it follows that if God tells us to do everything for HisGLORY, it must also be true that anything e do - if done in the right way, for the right reasons - can GLORIFYHim. That applies even to eating and drinking, as in the passage 1 Corinthians 10:31. In other words, anything can become AN ACT OF WORSHIP.
In theory, we have no problem believing that, but in practice, it's hard to grasp. For example, how does it GLORIFY GOD for someone to keep doing the same menial task in a dead-end job? How can we go shopping to the GLORY OF GOD or study history to the GLORY OF GOD? How do we eat for His GLORY or dress for his GLORY? Is GLORIFYING GOD just for ministers and missionaries, or can the daily grind of average people be honoring to Him?
Intellectually, we know the answer. If the Bible tells us that anything we do can be AN ACT OF WORSHIP, then we can approach anything with that ATTITUDE. The same menial task may demonstrate to others that we have an otherworldly source of fulfillment. The stewardship of shopping and the dignity of dressing may demonstrate otherworldly values. Our studies, our habits, our interests, and our relationships are all able to reflect some aspect of His character. And reflecting Him is critical; making the invisible in this world is what GLORIFYING Him is all about.

The most important question to ask yourself in any decision, no matter how small, is whether it will reflect GOD'S GLORY or deflect it. Is your lifestyle a distraction that obscures a clear view of Him? Then take Paul's words to heart. Learn to live them. Remind yourself daily until they become part of the fabric of your life. WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT FOR HIS GLORY!
(An extract from: Worship The King by Chris Tiegreen)
#TrueWorship #GlorifyGod #ActofWorship #GloryofGod

Monday, June 27, 2016

THE ESSENCE OF WORSHIP (PART 24) - PAUL (TRUE WORSHIP BOAST IN CHRIST ALONE!)

When we begin to comprehend all that Christ is to us, like Paul we count "all things loss" in comparison. That attitude will become the foundation of our worship to the LORD, the natural expression of hearts into which "God has sent forth Spirit of His Son."


TRUE WORSHIP DRAWS DISTINCTIONS
How does Paul choose to illustrate the difference between the false teachers and true believers? By their worship

"For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Philippians 3:3).

In telling the Philippians "we are the circumcision," Paul did not intend to be arrogant or proud. By highlighting the subject of circumcision, Paul was communicating the truth thattrue believers have the sin and impurity removed from their hearts. Only those with circumcised hearts can give God TRUE WORSHIP. Christians need not be ashamed to draw this kind of distinction between the false and the genuine. Is it wrong to boast about the work God did in your heart? Of course not. We did not circumcise our own hearts; God Himself performed this special work, "the circumcision made without hands."
Paul lists key characteristics of TRUE WORSHIP, worship that comes from a circumcision heart:
First, such worship is offered  in Holy Spirit. TRUE WORSHIPERS do not try to glorify God through the inventions of heir minds, to "create" worship through impressive  ritual pageantry or the arts of audience manipulation.
SecondTRUE WORSHIPERS "rejoice in Christ Jesus" and not in their personal accomplishment or achieved emotional state. Since TRUE WORSHIP rejoices in Christ, we can easily conclude that a worship service should seek to make Christ better known through the exposition of the WORD. At one church you may ecnounter honored traditions and rituals that makes the people feel secure. At another church you may hear inspirational stories and music that makes the congregation feel warm and happy.  Often these worship methods can attract a crowd; but without the WORD of God to make Christ known there will be no TRUE WORSHIP.
Third, Paul stated that TRUE WORSHIP "have no confidence in the flesh." There should be no place in our worship for boasting in our own efforts. Instead we revel and rejoice in the clear working of God, in our lives and in the lives of others, to make us more like the Christ we love.

TRUE WORSHIP COUNTS CHRIST
The "religious worshipers" gloried in religious appearances and fleshy externals. If he had desired to do so, Paul could easily have beaten them at their own game! "I also might have confidence in the flesh," he wrote. "If anyone else thinks that he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so" (Philippians 3:4). As Paul went on to relate, he was "circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless" (Philippians 3:5-6).
Since he was circumcised at birth, Paul would have been deemed better than those Jews who were adult converts. He could trace his lineage through Bejamin back to Jacob, the man whom God had given the name Israel (Genesis 32:28).
Before his conversion Paul had been one of the Pharisees, the strictest sect among the Jews. He was zealously against cults that opposed "true religion" that he consented to the death of Christians. "But" Paul concluded, "what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ" (Philippians 3:7). 
TRUE WORSHIP places supreme value in Christ. This supreme regard for Christ requires us to take proper view of our human gains and achievements. Do they help or hinder our worship? We must be honest with ourselves.
Why must we give up our human gains "into God's hand"? Because a proper view of our worldly gains, a view that "counts all things but loss," contributes to a proper assessment of the value of Christ. Nothing in our lives is more valuable than He is. Nothing else in the world means more than our relationship with our Savior. When we value Christ above all else, ourworship will evidence that fact.. We will not need to invent ways to feel worshipful. TRUE WORSHIP will flow naturally from a dedicated hearta heart guided by the Holy Spirit so that God alone receives the glory.
(An extract from True Worship by David Whitcomb & Mark Ward, Sr)
#TrueWorship #FalseWorship #HolySpirit #Circumcision #WordOfGod

Monday, May 30, 2016

THE ESSENCE OF WORSHIP (PART 23) - JESUS AND THE SAMARITAN WOMAN (TRUE WORSHIP - WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH)


The greatest pleasure of the Christian life is WORSHIP, though we scarcely realize it until we've dived in wholeheartedly. We approach it at first as an obligation. We're fairly self-focussed, and it's hard to turn our hearts toward God. But if we do, in spirit and in truth (i.e with zealous inspiration and according to who God really is), we find inexpressible delights. Jesus seeks to turn us, like the woman at the well, into WORSHIPERS with substance rather than WORSHIPERS of ritual. How do we make that change?
Many of us ask God this question: "What is my responsibility toward You?" While not a bad question, there is a better, more heartwarming question: "What can I offer You to show my devotion?"
Do you see the difference? The first question presuppose a requirement we must meet. It almost assumes that there will be a minimum standard, and after having met it, we will cease our God-ward activity and resume our self-ward obsession. The second question presupposes a desire to express love and devotion. It assumes that there can never be enough we can offer Him, but whatever we can find to offer, we will. There is no self-focus in it at all; it is entirely enamored with God.
JESUS would have us not ask which requirements we are to fulfill, but what more of ourselves we can offer Him. When we look for our required obligation, we do not worship in spirit, because the SPIRIT OF GOD would not inspire us to fulfill quotas of devotion. And we do not worship in truth, because we underestimate God's worth. He is worth all we are, and more.
Blessed is the WORSHIPER who can truthfully - and with pleasure - say to the LORD: "What can I do for You? You name it, it's Yours. Whatever I can offer You, please let me." This is the kind of worshiper the FATHER seeks.
(an extract from At His feet Devotion by Chris Tiegreen)

"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." 
John 4:23

What kind of worship is God looking for? Our answer is found in John 4:23. Here Jesus speaks specifically of TRUE WORSHIPERS. Does Jesus' statement implies that there are also false/vain worship? Yes it is possible to be "doing worship" and yet not meeting what God is looking for. So what then is TRUE WORSHIP
1) TRUE WORSHIPER WORSHIPS THE FATHER.
Jesus did not walk up to the Samaritan woman to ask her to sing two fast songs and three slow songs or clap and raise her hands in worship. TRUE WORSHIP is about having a deep personal relationship with the Father. The Samaritan woman thought she knew about worship when she told Jesus about worshiping on a certain mountain while the Jew must worship in Jerusalem (John 4:20). Similarly today, we may define worship worship as a certain style or platform. But Jesus said, " True worshipers will worship the Father." This is the HEART OF WORSHIP! 
Jesus gives us a warning when He directed Matthew 15:8-9 to religious leaders:
"These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their HEART is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandment of men."
The Greek word for "vain" means fruitless and egotistic. Worship based on the traditions of men while ignoring the commands of God. Everything may looks good outwardly but they are just performances without HEART!
2) TRUE WORSHIP - WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND IN THE TRUTH
What does it means to worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth?
a) IN SPIRIT
- To worship God from the HEART - Deuteronomy 6:5-6
"Love the LORD your God with all your HEART and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be in your HEARTS."
- To engage our spirit in worship because God is a spirit  - John 4:24
"God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth."
This means that we can engage worship with our spirit in worshiping God (more that our physical body or dependence of musical instruments or comfortable environment) anywhere and anytime.
"Regardless of how magnificent the musical moment are, unless your HEART is fully engaged in the worship expressed, it is still only music." - Darlene Zschech

b) IN TRUTH: 
- To worship God as He directs in His WORD - Deuteronomy 5:32-33
"So be careful to so what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside the right or to the left. Walk in OBEDIENCE to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land you possess."
God is looking for a people who will live a LIFESTYLE OF WORSHIP walking in OBEDIENCE in accordance with His WORD.

"If you cannot worship God in the midst of your responsibilities on Monday, then it is very unlikely you were worshiping God on Sunday!" - A.W. Tozer
#Worship #TrueWorship #LifestyleWorship #InSPiritInTruth

Monday, April 25, 2016

THE ESSENCE OF WORSHIP (PART 22) - THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES (TRUE WORSHIP CAN BE OBSCURED BY TRADITION)

As worshipers we must guard against substituting mere tradition for TRUE WORSHIP. Jesus taught us why when He confronted the issue of traditionalism.


Tradition exalts people - Truth humbles people. 
Tradition creates pride - Truth creates holiness
Tradition is impersonal - Truth is intimate
Tradition only affects the outside - Truth penetrates the heart.
Tradition produces hypocrites - Truth produces servants of God.
Tradition is something you keep - Truth is something that keeps you!




THE TRADITIONALISTS CONFRONTED JESUS
Matthew's Gospel records that "the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 'Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread'" (Matthew 15:1-2).
The people who came to Jesus with this question about tradition were not insignificant people. They were the religious authorities among all the Israelites.They were the leaders who determined the standard of worship for God's people - or at least they thought this was their responsibility. 
 To the scribes and Pharisees, it was becoming very clear that Jesus' teaching opposed the accepted traditional standards.
The issue on which they chose to confront Jesus was the tradition of hand washing during meal. Were they worried about hygiene? Yes, hygiene was one reason for hand washing. But the leaders did not make the long trip north from Jerusalem to Galilee because they heard that the disciples were being careless and spreading disease. Their concern was for the ceremonial aspect of the tradition.
The religious leaders believed that to implement God's command of personal holiness it was necessary to avoid contact with anything the Scriptures might deem unclean. Eating was especially worrisome since it involved touching hand to mouth. A person who touched an unclean item and then touched his mouth, it was claimed, transferred the guilt into his whole body. Thus every Jew was expected to observe an elaborate hand-washing ceremony before and after eating.
The traditions of the elders, such as ceremonial hand washing, had been passed down orally through the generations of leaders. These traditions consisted of four elements: oral laws that Moses was supposed to have given in addition to the written laws; decisions made and precedents of judges; explanations and opinions of noted teachers; and votes of the Sanhedrin
In accusing His disciples of ignoring the teachings of tradition, the leaders were actually accusing the Teacher who gave the disciples such an example. In the leaders' minds, Jesus and not the disciples was the root of the problem.

JESUS CONFRONTED THE TRADITIONALISTS
Christ has an immediate response to their veiled accusation: "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?" (Matthew 15:3). Now Jesus was turning the tables on the scribes and Pharisees by citing one of their laws that clearly contradicted God's law.
"For God commanded, saying, "Honor your father and your mother"; and, "He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death." But you say, "Whoever says to his father or mother, 'Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God' - then he need not honor his father or mother." Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. (Matthew 15:4-6).
Jesus stated God's standard. God clearly commands His people to honor their parents and forbid us to speak disrespectfully of them (Exodus 20:20:12, 21:17). ANd since God forbids wrong speaking, He certainly forbids wrong actions. God's standard obviously prohibits us from doing anything that fails to honor our parents.
Yet the scribes and Pharisees held to a tradition that contradicted God's command. This tradition allowed a person to pronounce that any of his possessions were "Corban" (Mark 7:11), a gift from God that was dedicated to His use. A person could even pronounce a blanket oath over everything he owned.
Complete dedication to God is, of course, a correct attitude. But the religious leaders developed the tradition of "Corban" so that they could decline to help needy parents. If their possessions were dedicated to God, after all, they could not take these things away from God and give them to their parent! What was worse, the tradition allowed people to continue using their possessions for themselves even after they pronounced the "Corban." This practice was a common one in New Testament times.
"All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition," Jesus declares in Mark's account (7:1-13) of confrontation. And twice in this passage Jesus points out that "many such things you do."

JESUS EXPOSED THE PROBLEM
These leaders presented an appearance of righteousness, but Jesus ripped away their religious facade. "You hypocrite!" He called the scribes and Pharisees - and then He went straight to the cause of their hypocrisy.
"Well did Isaiah prophesy about you:'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.'" (Matthew 15:7-8).
Jesus here quotes Isaiah 29:13, who compared the people's spiritual blindness to a closed book. The root problem for these religious hypocrites, Jesus says, is their failure to honor God from their hearts, not just with their words. As a result of their failure, "In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9). Drawing a contrast to the scribes and Pharisees who were obsessive about unclean food, Jesus turned to the gathered crowd and to His disciples, saying,
"Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man ... Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man" (Matthew 15:11, 17-21).
Jesus concluded that the religious leaders' worship was vain and empty. That is not to say that the scribes and Pharisees did not worship. They worshiped a great deal. They were very busy. But their worship was not honoring to God, and so it was pointless. Their hearts were not right; they were giving honor to traditions of men rather than to the God they professed to serve.
Each week, untold multitudes go to church for reasons other than communing with the LORD, enjoying Christian fellowship, and being instructed from the WORD. Some think it is good for business or enhances their social standing. Others make an appearance to display their piety. Some attend merely out of a sense of duty. Not one of these motives brings to God. But since we have our traditional sanctuary, our organ, our robed choirs, our priest or minister in his vestments, we can lay claim to "having a form of godliness, [though] denying its power" (2 Timothy 3:5).
Have we allowed our traditions and practices to obscure or even replace True Worship? Do we believe that, as long as we show up for services and do the "right" kinds of things, we are worshiping - even if our hearts are filled with greed, lust, anger, and pride?
(an extract from True Worship by David Whitcomb & mark Ward, Sr.)

Monday, April 04, 2016

THE ESSENCE OF WORSHIP (PART 21): THE THREE HEBREW CHILDREN (The Unstoppable Worshipers)

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, your majesty. But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, your majesty that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up." (Daniel 3:16-18 NIV)


The life of a worshiper (one who is intimately acquainted with and has a daily relationship with God exhibited through OBEDIENCE) is not without tests, nor is without the pressure that comes with living in a sinful world. The story of the three Hebrew worshipers who lived a life of Faith, Obedience and Sacrifice. The three men were given one more chance by the king to bow to the golden image but they stood firm even if it caused their lives. Here are eight excuses they could have used to bow to the image and save their lives:
1) We will fall down but not actually worship the idol
2) We won’t become idol worshipers, but will worship if this one time, and then ask God for forgiveness.
3) The king has absolute power, and we must obey him. God will understand.
4) The king appointed us – we owe this to him.
5) This is a foreign land, so God will excuse us for following the customs of the land.
6) Our ancestors set up idols in God’s temple! This isn’t half as bad!
7) We’re not hurting anybody
8) If we get ourselves killed and some pagans take our high positions, they won’t help our people in exile.
(Please feel free to add on if you have more thoughts …)


Although all these excuses sound sensible at first, they are dangerous rationalizations. To fall down and worship this image would violate God’s command in Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before me.” It would also erase their testimony for God forever. Never again could they talk about the power of their God above all other gods.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were pressured to deny God, but what made them choose to stay faithful to God no matter what happened? I believe it was because they were CONSISTENT in living a life that were intimately acquainted with and have a daily relationship with their GOD exhibited through OBEDIENCE. That was why they were able to trust God to deliver them and were determined to be faithful regardless of the consequences. This same exhibition of Faith, Obedience and Sacrifice could be seen throughout the Scriptures on the lives of many other “worshiper-saints” like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, King David, Queen Esther, Prophet Daniels and many more heroes of FAITH.

Hebrews 11 has been called faith’s hall of fame. But do bear in mind that while we do read of many being rescued by our faithful God for their faith; there were also many who were tortured, flogged, stoned, sawed in two, put to death by the sword for their faith (Hebrews 11: 35-40). True worshipers are those who are able to say like the three Hebrew children : “But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, your majesty that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up."

#Worship #TrueWorshipers #Faith #Sacrifice #Obedience 

Monday, March 21, 2016

THE ESSENCE OF WORSHIP (PART 20): DANIEL (The Faithful Worshipper)

DANIEL THE FAITHFUL WORSHIPER
A Worshiper Is One Who is Intimately Acquainted With 
And Has A Daily Relationship With God Exhibited Through Obedience 
 John W. Stevenson

Daniel was a man who was greatly beloved of God. Daniel had a fervent love for God and had set his heart to worship Him all the days of his life.
We know that Daniel was a man of prayer. Three times a day he would get down on his knees and give thanks to God (Daniel 6:10). This was a practice he observed every day, and evil men would use it against him to seek to destroy his life. But Daniel’s love for God outweighed any fear of what man could do to him, and he continued to openly display his love for his King. Unashamedly opening the windows of his house, he prayed to the God of heaven just as he had done every other day. Even though it meant he was signing his own death warrant, Daniel preferred to worship God and die, than to live and not pray.
What possesses a man to seek God and pray even when it means certain death? I believe the answer to this question lies within the heart of the worshiper. Daniel was a worshiper of God, and he would bow to no one and no thing other than Him! Nothing could prevent him from worshiping the living God. Not fear. Not death by hungry lions. Not anything.


Daniel In The Lions' Den
As a worshiper, Daniel had enjoyed God’s favor all his life, and when king Darius appointed Daniel as one of 3 administrators to oversee the kingdom he so distinguished himself that king Darius thought to give him sole administrative authority over all the kingdom. This of course made the others jealous and they sought to discredit him, but Daniel was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent (Dan 6:4). Finally they devised a scheme to trap Daniel by making it illegal for him to worship GodThey convinced king Darius to make it mandatory for all his subjects to worship him for the next 30 days and anyone caught worshiping anyone else must be thrown into a den of hungry lions (Dan 6:6-9).
Daniel of course remained true to his God and since he made no attempt to hide this, he was caught praying and worshiping God and was thrown into the lions' den. From the original language of Dan 6:16-20 it appears that king Darius believed God was obligated to save Daniel because he was intimately acquainted with and has a daily relationship with God exhibited through obedience. 

"So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den.The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” (Daniel 6:16-20 NIV)
In Dan 6:23 the word translated trusted means to trust continually. The fact that the lions immediately devoured Daniel’s accusers in the morning proves they had been hungry all night long. 
"The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God." (Daniel 6:23 NIV))
This faith became one of the great examples in “The Hall of Faith” (Hebrews 11:33). “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:11 (NIV). Faith is trusting what the eye can’t see. The natural eyes see the prowling lion but faith sees Daniel’s angel.