Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lessons in worship from a dog

(Jn. 4: 23-24) But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The word Worship in these verses is Proskuneo which in the Greek means to kiss, like a dog licking his Master's hand. To fawn or crouch, prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore).

My dogs have taught me so much when it comes to worship and my relationship with God (my Master).

Our dog Frissee is a true companion to me. Whatever room I am she has to be in there with me. Everyone else can be in other rooms in the house but if I choose to go to the bedroom and lie down Frissee will come in there with me. If I choose to go outside in the blistering heat of Arizona she is right there, In the shade of course, but I am always kept in her sight.

I was thinking about this today and I realized that this is how we should be with our Heavenly Father. We should desire to always stay near to Him, and always keep God in our spiritual sight. We can do this by communing with Him in prayer or even studying and or reading His Word. Sometimes I will turn on some music and just praise and worship the Lord in song. The Word of God says that He will inhabit the praises of His people and knowing that His presence is near to me brings me great comfort. This is how my dog Frissee is, knowing that I am near is comforting to her.

Frissee will walk over to me sometimes for no apparent reason and lay her big ol' snout on my leg and give me a wet kiss on my hand or knee. When I reach out to pet her as to return her affection she will look up at me with those big precious brown eyes of hers as if she just can't contain herself. She will stand there forever if I let her just adoring me as I caress her, and she soaks it all in. Sometimes she will get so filled with excitement as if she is going to burst and will begin spinning in circles and chasing her tail, at this point she is literally rejoicing, which in Biblical terms the word rejoice can mean to spin in circles.

This is what the scriptures is speaking of when it comes to worshiping our Heavenly Father. When I think of praising and worshiping God I am reminded of a puppy that rolls over on its back and makes himself vulnerable to the hand of his master, trusting and knowing that when he does he is going to get a good tummy rubbing and maybe even a little tickle from his master. Aw! to feel the touch of his master's hand, life just doesn't get any better than that. As far as that little puppy is concerned this is life in its fullness. This is an example of what the Bible says: "that God will inhabit the praise of His people." The Lord desires to commune with us. He desires to spend time with you. When we praise and worship God it is our invitation for Him to come and meet with us. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw night to you (Jas. 4:8).

Our praise and worship is like the puppy when he approaches his master and desires the comforting and playful touch of his master's hand. Just as the puppy trusts and adores his master so we trust and adore our God (Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour) and then begins an exchange of love between us and our Lord. Jesus desire is for us to be intimate with Him and His Father just as they are with one another, and to be ONE with them.

May we open ourselves up to praise and worship our Master and kiss Him with the praise of our lips and let His cleansing touch wash over us. Feel the touch of your Master's hand and be a witness of praise and joy for His Son Christ Jesus!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rejoice in His Grace!

Rejoice in His Grace for it has been freely given to you: We are free to live in God's Grace (His unmerited favor). (Eph. 2:8-9 N.L.T.) God saved us by His special unmerited favor when we believed. And we can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Have you heard the term; that there is nothing we can do to make God love us any more or any less? Knowing this, why do so many constantly try to prove themselves worthy of God's love. A lot of people have been conditioned for so many years to believe that if they are ever going to have anything they are going to have to earn it. After all nothing is free, right? It's hard for most to comprehend Grace because they are trying to understand it in the natural. It will never be naturally understood though. As long as we are trying to put it on an intellectual level we will never grasp it. It is only by faith that we can acquire this beautiful revelation of Grace and what it truly means. Grasping it can be the difference between life and death spiritually and sometimes even physically speaking.

For example let's take a look at the person that sees everything in a legalistic kind of way. They pull out their legal list and check mark all the religious conditions that their doctrine has expected them to follow. Here are some examples, for the woman, she must never cut her hair. For the man, he must always cut his hair but have no facial hair. For some, you must say this prayer for that sin three times a day before your sin will be forgiven. If you don't attend church every time the doors are open then you really don't love Jesus. You must be busy working for the church at all times to be considered a worthy child of God. And the list can go on and on. By the time they get through their legal list day after day they can be so mentally and physically exhausted that they can literally become weakened in their bodies and discouraged in their spirit because they still feel they are just not doing enough to earn their love and acceptance from God. Some truly believe that this is a sign of their holiness and or right living, and to be truly saved you must look like this and abide by all these rules. They will even try to convince and lay this burden upon others. Some will tell you, that if you want to be a true witness of your salvation than you must fulfill all these precepts that we have. You must dress like this, don't wear that. Don't clap in the church, you can't say amen.
Have you received the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith? Having begun in the Spirit why are you now trying to become perfect by the flesh? Many are living in this pit of painful obligation and works. They feel as though they are required to do this or not to do that as to be pleasing to God. All the while the bands are being snapped on and they are being held captive in a prison of deception. We must not allow this to be our identity in Christ Jesus, because this only nullifies the cross of Jesus and exalts the religious laws of man. Freely God has given you this gift of salvation by Grace through the cross of His Son Jesus Christ. It is His gift that He is offering you. No strings attached. May we not grieve our Heavenly Father by telling Him thanks but no thanks I'll do it on my own. Or may we not say to our Father, "here let me pay You for your gift to me, because I must pay for such a gift before I can receive it, because after all I am not worthy of it." If we were worthy then we wouldn't need His gift of Grace, right? This is why we must freely receive God's gift of Grace for us, because in doing so we are acknowledging that despite our unworthiness we can humbly receive and be ever so grateful for Jesus and His death on the cross for us. This is humility in all of it's beauty.

Receive God's gift of Grace and know freedom and rejoicing in your life in Christ Jesus!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Water off a duck's back

We had a Pastor who use to say that he had a back like a duck because he had learned not to carry or allow offenses to soak into him, they would just roll right off of his back.

Jesus said in Lk. 4:18-19 That the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

The word brokenhearted in the Greek means to have crushed/shattered feelings. I think most of us have experienced this kind of pain. Having your heart crushed is a horrible pain. It's like a heaviness that lingers in the pit of your stomach. You have been pierced through and feel utterly devastated. The worst pain I think I have ever felt is the pain of betrayal. My heart has literally felt crushed by this heartache. But praise be to God that He didn't leave me with holes of betrayal in my heart. And He doesn't want to leave you with a shattered heart either. Jesus has said that He has come to heal the brokenhearted. Jesus came to mend our hearts and bring healing into our lives. He desires to make us brand new. The first step in becoming brand new is to first give our forgiveness to those who have caused us pain. We must forgive others of their offenses before the holes in our heart can be filled with Jesus' healing balm.

God has allowed me to experience some tough emotional pain in the last few years and I believe this is because He has been teaching me the lessons of giving forgiveness and Grace to others so as I can have His forgiveness and experience His healing in my life and be set free. He is teaching me to keep my eyes upon Him. These experiences have been some hard ones for me but I will have to admit that it is getting easier for me to let things just roll off of my back and not allow offenses and unforgiveness soak into me. I have been taught some valuable lessons by the Holy Spirit to not only be forgiving and gracious toward others but also to use Godly wisdom and discernment.

I truly believe that the only holes that will forever be permanent are the ones that Jesus (our Lord and Savior) took so that we wouldn't have to. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. May we allow His healing to take place in our heart by first offering our forgiveness to others
so that we can say,
"It's just water off a duck's back!"

Friday, August 1, 2008

Are you a God-seeker?

Do you know that God delights in us seeking Him? The Word says that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6b). As we seek God with our whole heart He will be found of us. (Jer. 29:13) says: And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

I loved playing hide and seek as a child. It was especially fun the closer it got to being dark outside. When I was growing up the whole neighborhood was our back yard so there were a lot of hiding places. We would try to make some reasonable boundaries of course for everyone. Those were different days then. The neighbors didn't mind when children would play in their yards, and all of them looked out for every one's children. Wow! I am giving away my age now, it's really sad to see how far we have come. Well that was just a side bar. Now to get back to playing hide and seek. Like I said it would get more fun the closer it got to being dark. Things would get pretty tough then. At this point the seeker would sometimes pull out a flashlight and he/her would begin shining the flashlight at certain objects just be sure there wasn't someone hiding there. Sometimes the seeker would sneak up on the hider and shine the flashlight just in time to tag them and now they were it. But most of the time the one hiding would sneak out of his/her hiding place just in time and make it to the home base before the seeker could catch him. Those were some good memories.

Now that I am an adult I have found it very exciting to seek God. What's so awesome about seeking God is that He gives us a flashlight as well. I like to refer to God's flashlight as the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit "flashlight" will never fail in leading us directly to God. He will never leave us groping in the dark. The Holy Spirit will reveal the truths of God to us. He is always faithful in letting us in on the secrets of God and seeing things that we didn't notice without the flashlight. He brings things to light. Of course this is God's plan and how He prefers things to be. What's so great about seeking God is that when we finally find Him He doesn't run away. He just smiles real big and says, "see, I knew you could find me if you sought me hard enough."

What happens when we seek God with our whole heart and find Him? As the Word says, He will reward us. What is our reward? I believe it is the Holy Spirit who is given to us to teach us the deeper things of God. Of course it all begins with His son Jesus. Rewards of salvation and eternal life is our final destination in and through Christ Jesus. But as we grow in Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit within us we are rewarded with revelation and truths about God that the natural man cannot understand because it is spiritually discerned by the Spirit of God. Therefore we are rewarded with the mind of Christ by and through the power of His Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2: 10-16).

And as we are faithful with the truths of God that have already been given to us, then God will give us more revelational truths. The seeking doesn't end it continues. In the beginning we walk to find the truths, then as we find more truths we break into a run because we are excited to find them and want even more. God just smiles so proud and continues to reward us. For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath (Mt. 25:29). We don't want to find ourselves in the latter part of that verse. If you read prior to verse 29 it is the parable of the talents. Our Father God has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit by and through His Son Jesus because of the finished work of the cross. Which is more precious than any talent. We don't want to make light of this and find ourselves in the same shoes as the unprofitable servant that when the Master returns all we have is some lame excuse for our wickedness and laziness. We won't be able to say: I just chose to ignore/bury my convictions and the things pertaining to God. This is not going to hold water my friend. In that day those who try to give lame excuses will find themselves cast into the outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
If you are a God seeker, then you will be like unto the faithful servants who took their talents and made more for their Master. You will take very seriously the things pertaining to God. You will be one who is hungry for the things of God. You will not make light of the Truths of God. When your spirit man is checked and there is a red flag that pops up and says, STOP! Wait a minute! Don't do that! Don't go there! Will you be as the good servants and listen and be faithful with what God has given you via His Holy Spirit in you, or will you do as the unfaithful servant did? It is your decision.

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I , that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (Jn. 16: 13-15).

A New Year Praise!

Upon entering the year 2018 I am seeing just how great our God is. He is forever faithful and worthy of all praise. He is the God of all glo...