Saturday, May 29, 2010

Practicing The Presence Of God - Part 1

"I Make It My Priority
To Presevere In His Holy Presence,
Wherein I Maintain A Simple Attention
And Fond Regard For God"
- Brother Lawrence

Most of us are familiar with - The Practice of the Presence of God: The Original 17th Century Letters and Conversations of Brother Lawrence. (
Brother Lawrence (1614 to 1691) was a monk who serve in the monastry's kitchen - today is most commonly remembered for the closeness of his relationship with God, as recorded in this little book. He spent almost all of his adult life in solitude, poverty, and obscurity within the walls of a priory. He was known for profound peace and high commitment to Jesus Christ. He cared not for the worldly status of his tasks, but the motivation behind it. "We can do little things for God," he wrote. "I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God." Generations after his death, this book has become one of the most popular Christian books in history. It was often quoted by John Wesley and A.W. Tozer, and today tens of millions of copies are in circulation.

Being in the presence of the Lord could arguably be considered the single most important part of our lives. While in a sense, it is always with us and we cannot live without it, we find ourselves hungering for it more and more.

While God is omnipresent, and His presence is always with us, we continue to long for an encounter with the presence of God. When we talk about experiencing the presence of the Lord, we are talking about the realization of His manifest presence – of perceiving His presence and being conscious of Him.

{Ominipresence describes His being in all places. David speaks of it when he writes, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?" (Psalm 139:7). David went on to say, "If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to theplace of dead, you are there. I could ask the darkness I cannot hide from you. (verse 8) This speaks of the Lord's promise to never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Though we cannot sense this presence, it doesn't negate His being there. We are just unaware of it.

The second presence Scripture defines as His manifest presence, The word manifest means to bring from the unseen, or unknown into the seen, heard, or known. The manifest presence of the Lord was what Moses passionately desired (Exodus 33:12-33). This is when God reveals Himself not just to our spirits, but it is when our mind and senses become aware of His nearness as well. It is when His knowledge is revealed to our minds. This is the presence Jesus spoke of when He said, "I will love him and manifest Myself to him." (John 14:21) }
{ an extract from - Drawing Near by John Bevere}

God can manifest His presence in various ways. In Scriptures some saw Him, others heard His voice without seeing Him, while others sensed His nearness and immediately knew things they'd never known before because of His revelation. But one thing is certain, when He comes, you know it, you'll sense Him within your inner-most being, and know He is there

Practicing His presence through worship is one of the most valuable things we can do. God has promised that as we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8) and we will experience His presence in ever increasing measures. The key is to experiencing His manifest presence is that we first draw near to Him ... and He will draw near to us! We determine the level of our relationship with God.

How do we practice the presence of God? - Part 2


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Worship - Offer Your Body (Part 2)

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness. (Romans 6:13)
Do not make the mistake of thinking that God is only concerned with our spirits. It's true that Jesus said we are to "worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). But there's a context. We worship the God who indwells mortal flesh. We are His temple. And those who carelessly degrade His temple, either through immorality or irreverence, are being careless about their worship. Praising God with physical mouths and then treating our bodies with little concern for our health or morality is gross contradiction - Chris Tiegreen (Worship The King)

Here is a list of Scriptures (certainly not exhaustive, but enough to get you started) that will help you understand God's perspective on how you can offer your body to Him on a daily basis as a SPIRITUAL ACT OF WORSHIP. We will look at what the Bible says about your ears, your eyes, your mouth, and their relationship to your thoughts.

Your Ears
How can you offer your ears as a living sacrifice to God? Consider these words of instruction from Scripture:
- The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out. (Proverbs 18:15)
- Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
- Apply your heart to instuction and your ears to words of knowledge. (Proverbs 23:12)
-Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? (Job 12:11)

What do we allow ourselves to listen to? What kind of environment in which faith can be nutured? It is conducive to worship? We spit out foods that offend our sense of taste. What do we do with words that offend our hearing?

Your Eyes
How can you offer your eyes to God as a living sacrifice? Here is what the Bible says:
- I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl. (Job 31:1)
- Turn my eyes away from worthless things. (Psalm 119:37)
- I will set before my eyes no vile thing. (Psalm 101:3)
Vile means wicked, peverted, offensive to the senses, disgusting, cheap, degrading. What are we doing with our eyes? What do we allow ourselves to look at?

Your Mouth
How can you offer your mouth as a living sacrifice? Again, let's see what the Bible has to say.
- Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. (Psalm 34:3)
- I said,"I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence." (Psalm 39:1)
-What goes into a man's mouth does not make him "unclean," but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him "unclean." (Matthew 15:11)
- Rid yourselves of ... slander and filthy language from your lips. (Colossians 3:8)
- Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (Proverbs 4:23-24)

Jesus taught us that our lips reveal the content of our hearts. "Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34). What do your lips reveal about the content of your heart? What are you filling your heart with that overflows from your lips?
David prayed: "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. (Psalm 19:14) - May this be our prayers too.

Your Thoughts
I know that your thoughts are not physical parts of your body. But they are inseparable from your body. Your thoughts both reflect and direct what you do with your eyes, your ears, and your mouth.
- In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (Psalm 10:2)
- Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, what ever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
- Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.(Colossians 3:2)
- Take captive every thoughts to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

One best ways I have found to take every thought captive to Christ is to develop the habit of turning self-talk into God-talk. You know what self-talk is? It is the silent and secret conversations you have with yourself. Some methods of turning self-talk into God-talk:
- Praying without ceasing
- Listening and singing praises to God
- Reading and meditating on the Word of God

Living sacrifices that offer to God as an act of worship ... "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
(an extract from - The Way of a Worshiper by Buddy Owens)


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Worship - Offer Your Body (Part 1)

Offer Your Bodies As Living Sacrifices,
Holy And Pleasing To God
This Is Your Spiritual Act Of Worship
Romans 12:1
Why does God want your body? Why does He wants your worship? Apostle Paul tells us, "offer your bodies as living sacrifices." He goes on to tell that this is a "spiritual act of worship." We need to think about that statement for a minute. Offering our bodies is a spiritual act - it is a physical demonstration of a spiritual reality. (Of course, the problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps trying to crawl off the altar).

But why are we told to offer our bodies to God? How is this a "spiritual act of worship"? Why doesn't Paul just say "Turn your heart to the Lord"? I believe Paul answers that question in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 when he says:

"Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body."

Your body, your flesh and blood and bones, this "piece of earth," as it were, is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Your body, my body, the body of every redeemed, blood-bought person, is God's dwelling place. Your body is God's house.

I can just imagine that if you had been looking over God's shoulder as He formed Adam from the dust of the ground and if you could have asked Him, "What are You making?" He would have said, "I am building a temple." It was a temple that He would occupy for thousands of years. Paul, in Colossians 1:26-27 refers to the "mystery that has been hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints ... this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

It is not just Christ with you; it is Christ in you. The mystery hidden for ages is that God created you in his own likeness to be occupied by His Spirit. Your body is the place of His presence. And it is through your body that God reaches out to the world around you.

There are people in your life who will never hear the voice of God until you speak the Word to them. there are people in your life who will never feel the touch of God until you reach out to them with the love and compassion of Christ. There people in your life who will never see the face of God until they see the light and life of Jesus in your eyes.

And that is why the Bible tells us to offer our bodies to God. God wants to fill you afresh everyday with His Spirit so that He can use you to accomplish the purposes of heaven on earth
(an extract from: The Way Of A Worshiper by Buddy Owens)

The Lord Jesus claims the use of your body, your whole being, your complete personality, so that as you give yourself to Him through the eternal Spirit, He may give Himself to you through the eternal Spirit, that all your activity as a human being on earth may be His activity in and through you; that every step you take, every word you speak, everything you do, everything you are, may be an expression of Christ, in you as man - Major W. Ian Thomas (1914)

How do we offer our bodies to God? We'll look at that in our next week's post.


Saturday, May 08, 2010

Worship - The Act Of Obedience

Our Worship Is Shaped
Not Only By What We Feel,
Or Say Or Sing,
But By How We OBEY

Most of us have various reactions to the word ‘OBEDIENCE’. It often gives us a sense of duty, legalism and work but if we take a closer look, we find that God's intention is to show us His amazing love.

We all remember the story in Genesis 22 where Abraham is preparing to follow God’s instruction to have him sacrifice his only son, Isaac. We know the end of the story and our tension is stayed by the fact that we know God would not put Abraham through the ultimate sacrifice; yet have we ever thought that when it comes to His own beloved Son, God offered Him for us! (John 3:16 - God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son ...)

As mentioned in my last post, the first time we find WORSHIP in Scriptures is in Genesis 22. Abraham tells his other men to stay behind, and “we will worship and return to you” (Gen 22:5).

The whole scene in Genesis 22 enables us to understand Apostle Paul's letter when he said, “Christ was obedient to death, even to the cross” (Philippians 2:8). Christ’s OBEDIENCE at the cross was really His ultimate expression of WORSHIP to the Father. Yet when it comes to offering our lives as living sacrifices (which is our reasonable worship) or even taking up our "crosses" (daily), we often shrink back.

What does it means to lay our lives on God's altar? Imagine a scene from the movies: In some distant tribal culture, one man saves another's life. According to custom, the saved now belongs to the savior. And why not? If not for the rescuer, the rescued one would be dead. His life rightfully belongs to the one who preserved it. So it is with Jesus and His sheep. We were lost and, for all practical purposes, dead. That's not our preferred assessment of ourselves, but it's what the Bible says. Without Jesus, we'd be forever lost. But He rescued us. And in His culture, we now belong to Him. We are to live out the rest of our days - the days He mercifully gave us - for Him

That's what being a living sacrifice is all about. We are not our own; we have no claim on our own lives. We were bought with a precious, heavy price. Living sacrifices don't live for themselves. They live for Another. That's living a life of OBEDIENCE! That's our reasonable WORSHIP!

"There is no true WORSHIP without OBEDIENCE. A life of OBEDIENCE before the Lord is a life of WORSHIP. It was Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden that separated him, and ultimately you and me, from God. It was Jesus OBEDIENCE to the Father, even unto death, that gave us opportunity to enter back into a right relationship with God." - John W. Stevenson

Our Worship Is Shaped Not Only By What We Feel, Or Say Or Sing, But By How We OBEY - TPWC

Saturday, May 01, 2010


Our Worship Is Shaped
Not Only By What We Feel
Or What We Say Or Sing,
But How We Obey

Most of us are familiar with this term : Praise is the fast songs and worship is the slow ones. The word worship, to most believers the first thing that comes to mind is slow songs on a CD, music video, or in a service.

The first time you find worship in Scriptures is in Genesis 22. It reads:
Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship ..." (Genesis 22:5 NIV)

Abraham was not going up yonder to sing a slow song with Isaac. He was going up there to put the most treasured possession in his life to death, simply because God ask him to do it! So as you can see worship is A LIFE OF OBEDIENCE. This explains why God passionately says to His own people who were singing songs to Him:

Away with your hymns of praise! They are only noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a river of righteous living that will never run dry. (Amos 5:23-24 NLT)

I have been in so many services where the music has been progressive and beautiful, but there was no manifest presence of the Lord. In those situations I usually first search my heart with diligence asking the Holy Spirit, "Have I offended you or sinned?" Most often there is a reassurance deep within my heart that I haven't, so I know the hindrance lies with the people. I will then preach with confidence on the fear of the Lord and obedience. In those atmosphere, almost every time, I witness over 50 percent of the people respond to call of repentance at the end of the message. I then come into the next service with same worship songs and worship team, and almost every time the presence of God manifests wonderfully. Why is that? True worship is a life of OBDIENCE and out of that life will flow songs of worship, which will delight the heart of God, rather than repulse Him as in the above Scripture.

True worship is found at the base level of a human being which is the HEART. The thoughts and intents of the heart reveal the truth of our worship, yet they cannot be discerned outside the Word of God. We are told to guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23) with all diligence, for out of it flow the forces of life. If neglected we can be easily deceived. A heart left to itself outside of the counsel of God's Word and His Spirit is a heart which is deceitful above all else.

To worship God in truth is to not only OBEY Him but to DELIGHT in what He asked you to do. It is to speak to Him what is really in HEART, not what you know is the right thing to say. It is not being two-faced with God. I have discovered that when I am gut-honest with the Lord He will draw near. If I'm covering something, it hinders me, and I can't get anywhere in prayer; it becomes an absolute struggle because I'm not connecting with Him. He is seeking those who will draw near in integrity of HEART, not pretense. I sometimes wonder when I observe people in services saying, "Thank you Jesus ... Hallelujah ... glory to God," if they are just repeating "Christian worship lingo," or if they are speaking from the base level of their HEARTS.

Out of a life of true worship, which is OBEDIENCE from the very core of our being, will flow songs of worship. There are men and women in the body of Christ who are gifted to bring forth songs of praise and worship. They are modern day psalmists. Some are living lives of true worship, while others are worldly and sensual. Those who are defiled can still come up with tremendous songs, because of their gifting, yet lack the holy presence of the Lord as they sing; while the pure carry a glorious presence of God as they minister to Him and to His people from their HEARTS.

To worship God in truth is to worship Him from the integrity of our HEARTS. It is to FEAR & REVERENCE Him in the truest sense. The psalmist says:
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. (Psalm 89:15 NLT)

God is seeking those who will hear His call to a life of worship. Those who heed are those who will walk in His presence. They will know Him intimately as He will manifest Himself to them (John 14:19-21). Only those who truly worship Him know Him. He revals Himself to them as they are His dear friends (see John 14:22-24)

(an extract from - Drawing Near by John Bevere)