Carole Sparks from Not About Me asked me to write a guest post for her blog Intentional Parenting. That’s an oversimplification! She reached out to me and then asked and asked asked and asked. I had too many things going on this summer and I always had a good excuse (to me at least!) But like the persistent widow (Luke 18 : 1-8) she kept reaching out to me kindly and gently and firmly. She believed I had something to say and she wanted to make sure she could share that with the online world.
I finally wrote down what she requested. A few minutes here, a stolen moment there and I finished. Without editing or checking for length , I sent it off to Carole , with permission to edit as ruthlessly as she must. Graciously Carole allowed most of the original post to stay.
At Intentional Parenting, Carole’s goal is to show how Jesus Christ of Nazareth has been and still is her model for parenting her children. She writes with the intention (pun intended!) of helping other parents realize that parenting is and should be our highest calling. She writes with the hope that you realize that she is flawed and imperfect and has made mistakes, but that you can see the truth of what goes on and realize that she is not judging you. She aims to encourage you and give you ideas and tips to help you along in your parenting journey.
With that goal in mind, Carole reaches out to other Christian mothers to write about their journey, sometimes so very different from her own. As always what we write and are allowed to guest post on her blog are meant to glorify our God. It’s meant to show you the reader that our imperfections and our weaknesses and our struggles are what they are, so that the All-Powerful, All-Knowing and Good God can fill us up with His strength and provide all we need.
I was privileged to be able to write for Carole’s blog and we would love it if you read the post and encouraged us in the comments.
“When letting others help you raise your child is the best thing you can do for him”.
The first few times I said special needs, Autism or something similar,
I brawled. I sobbed. I cried. I grieved actively (by which I mean I
cried every day) for several months, then on and off after that. I’d
be fine for awhile but then the grief would hit me for a few weeks,
and I’d be a weepy mess again, just able to do the day to day things,
and nothing more.
But since then I’ve been and am broken. I’ve allowed God to do what He
wishes in my life, by which I mean I accept, I’m not fighting and I’m
not running in the opposite direction.
I’ve also been restored and refreshed and held, in loving hands. He
has walked with me and watched me and knows.
But coming back to what helped our son. He was diagnosed 3 years ago
when he was 3 years old.
To continue reading, head on over to Carole’s Intentional Parenting blog and leave a comment please. We want to know how special needs changed your life and how God has been faithful in the midst of it all.
Until next time,
If you were blessed by this post, please share on your favorite social media:
In the last few weeks several posts by myriad authors on WORSHIP have come across my feed. I’m simply overwhelmed at the timing of them all. Some posts were written recently by bloggers I follow, several were written a year or two earlier , when I din’t know them. And then there are posts like today’s. I came across Lureta’s post just as I did Kristen’s , while I was scrolling through to find ones on worship.
I love how each post is slightly different and yet, and yet, they ALL point to Christ. Doesn’t that just give you goosebumps? Here we are, an online community, a body, of Christ-minded believers, willing to raise hands, hearts and voices to our Maker. And we find brothers and sisters to stand alongside us and praise HIM above else.
Lureta has been married to her best friend Shawn for 23 years. She is a mom to two children who are currently completing their post secondary studies. She has been a registered nurse for 27 years now.
Some of her favorite things are cheese cake, chocolate and hot cups of coffee. She loves coffee!!!! She enjoys sunny days and seaside vacations. She loves worshipful songs. Her greatest hope is to encourage and inspire others to passionately pursue God.
Click on the link and read a great post by Kristen. I want to say that this is a guest post, in that I sought out Kirsten and asked her to write for me , but actually I dint. Her post showed up as a related search to something else and when I read it, then I sought her out 😁.
If you’ve read my guest posts so far, you’ll know there is a common thread of worship woven in. This is because I believe worship is a major part of our Christian life, if not the most important thing. My goal is make sure its importance is known , as well as let you know how and when and where and why to worship.
There is no one way to worship, but the important thing is to worship Our God and Our Lord.
I love when Kirsten says in her post,
“Worship isn’t about the people. Worship isn’t even about the music. Worship is about giving God the honor and glory he deserves.”
This is why we worship.
“I’m coming back to the heart of worship cause it’s all about you. It’s all about you, Jesus.”
Kristen Neumann is the founder of Unfading Beauty Ministries.
She lives on her family farm in Central Alberta, Canada with her family, cows, cats and a very playful puppy.
Aside from being in Ministry and telling people about Jesus-be it through writing or speaking engagements, Kristen enjoys dressing up and going out with friends, taking part in Church Events, listening to all sorts of music, baking and hanging out at local coffee shops!
Many of us have been where Paul and Silas were. If not in an actual prison, we have been terribly wronged and for no reason of our making. We have been abused, insulted, mocked and scorned. For honoring God and proclaiming Him to others. Do we turn to worship in that moment? Or do we turn away from the same God? Read Erin’s post below and see what struck her from Acts 16. Erin is passionate about using her life to bring glory to Him. I have been blessed as I read her blog “Momma’s Living Room” (links below). She has ideas and topics that she would love for guests to collaborate with her (please go to her website if you are interested). I hope you are drawn to worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth more and more each day.
Why, hello there! I’m Erin! I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, two little boys, and four fur babies. I enjoy cooking, baking, writing, reading, and much more.
I’m an avid consumer of candy, sugar, and caffeine. I’m also an aspiring cat lady. I write on my blog to share my love for Jesus and my family. My hope and prayer is that my words are used to encourage you and we journey through this life.
There I was, six-years-old, steaming mad and standing in time-out.
My mom had invited him over. He was a four-year-old little boy named Angel. Unlike what his name would suggest, he was anything but an angel. He was mean, disruptive, and did virtually anything he pleased despite his mom’s laughing requests for him to behave. Hitting, biting, slapping, punching, spitting, head-butting, none of these behaviors were off the table for Angel. His parents thought he was cute and funny, however no one else in the room agreed. I remember at a prior playdate how Angel’s parents had held him while he kicked and screamed and they all exited the door as a family. Relief followed their exit and it was oh so sweet.
But there I was, standing in time-out all because of Angel. During this playdate, our moms visited upstairs while my siblings, Angel, and l played downstairs in our split-level house. It did not take long for Angel to be his disruptive little self. He began slamming the rolling closet doors open and shut. It was deafening. Despite our protests, he continued to do this over and over and over. My mom called for the noise to cease and still Angel did not stop this behavior. For some reason, my mother assumed the loud banging was me, and to this day I have no idea why. While the noise persisted, my mom angrily called me up the stairs to answer for the noise.
When she called me upstairs, Angel had chosen that exact moment to cease the slamming of the closet doors.
She began by asking me about the slamming of the closet door. I answered that it was Angel, but my mother would not believe me. That landed me in time-out for lying. When my time was up, she again asked about the slamming of the closet door. I insisted that it was Angel but my mother did not believe me. She returned me to time-out for lying. I answered truthfully when she repeated her question and landed in time out for a third time. When she asked after my third time of time out, I lied. I answered that I had slammed the closet door. I figured lying was better than standing in time out all day. The worst part was that I had to apologize to Angel’s mother for accusing her son of slamming the closet door.
I was angry. I returned downstairs to that same bedroom to discover Angel laughing at me for getting in trouble.
Have you ever gotten in trouble for something you did not even do?
Read Acts 16:16-34
There was once a slave girl who, through a demonic spirit, had the power to tell people secrets about their lives. One day, she decided to follow Paul and Silas around. She announced who they were (servants of the Most High God), and what they were doing (proclaiming the way of salvation). She did this for days. Can you imagine how annoying that would be? It is bad enough when a younger sibling follows us around to pester us, but what about a stranger? What about someone who could easily be mistaken for being a part of Paul and Silas’ ministry? After days of her persistent and unwelcome company, Paul was annoyed. He turned around, commanded the demonic spirit to come out of her.
Part of me wonders why he had not chosen this action sooner. Had he not recognized that she was possessed by a demonic spirit? Had he weighed the consequences of what might happen to them if she was freed? Whatever the reason, this girl was freed from that demonic spirit.
The problem with his act is that it set her free from this demon. The problem with that freedom is that her owners had lost their income. This angered them greatly. They brought Paul and Silas before the rulers and pleaded their case. They claimed that Paul and Silas were disturbing the city by bringing freedom through the message of salvation and through their actions. Paul and Silas were disruptive, they accused.
Paul and Silas were punished for setting this girl free. They were punished because her owners had lost revenue. Paul and Silas were beaten with rods without a trial and without consideration of their Roman status. They were thrown into prison. Their side of the story did not matter, much like my six-year-old self declaring my innocence.
Paul and Silas did not respond to these unjust circumstances like most of us would have.
They worshiped without care of who might hear. They did not care if their worship offended others and they did not care about the consequences of raising their voices up in worship and prayer. In their same situation, we might worry about further beatings or about the unkind words the other prisoners may utter. They did not care about any of that, their only concern was expressing their adoration to their savior. Nothing would hinder their love for God.
They worshiped despite being wronged and publicly humiliated. How many of us would have taken our anger out on those around us? How many of us would have lashed out at our loved ones because of our tough and humiliating day? How many of us would have chosen to keep to ourselves and nurse our wounded egos? Where we might choose to wallow in the “why me” mentality, Paul and Silas chose to pray and worship. Where we might withdraw from the Lord, they pressed in.
They worshiped through their physical pain. A lot of us might use our physical pain as an excuse to not worship. We prioritize the aches and pains of our bodies over the voice of the Lord. Paul and Silas chose to worship in spite of, through, and because of their pain. Their circumstances did not change their belief that God was good.
My own unjust circumstances caused me to question my mother’s love for me. I questioned why she would not believe me, her choices, and her reasoning behind my punishment. Paul and Silas never questioned whether God loved them. They never questioned God’s goodness, sovereignty, and care for them. It did not change their mission to serve Him. Worship focused them on who God was and all the reasons why He was worthy of their worship.
Next time you face your Angel, remember Paul and Silas’ response to worship God. Do not let your Angel make you lose sight of God’s love for you and His amazing goodness.
Did you know there’s a gender gap between worshippers in Church? Me neither! You’ll read more in this guest post though.We knew Pastor Bob when we lived in another state before coming here. He’s incredibly gifted with words, both his teaching and his writing makes you think and ponder for a long time afterward. When our son was first diagnosed with Autism, we went to him for prayer and counselling, and he really helped us out. I’m extremely privileged to have Pastor Bob guest posting here. Again the whole point of these guest posts on worship is to show you that worship is essential, not to tell you what kind of worship you should do.
Bob Condly is the vice president of academics at West Coast
When loved ones go missing, we jump into action! Years ago, during a visit to a mall in the Chicago suburbs, one of my boys vanished near an open court. I saw him one moment and the next, he was gone. Frantic, I focused my eyes like a camera lens and darted all over, trying to track him down. After an anxious minute or two, we found him. He’d strolled over to his grandfather. No big deal for my son, but a near heart attack for me!
People matter to us. That’s why we publicize those who’ve disappeared. We put photos on the sides of milk cartons, issue AMBER Alerts, and broadcast stories on television.
People matter to God. The first question recorded in the Bible was God’s query to Adam, “Where are you?” And Jesus said that a good shepherd would leave an entire flock to chase down one sheep that got away. The Lord cares when folks don’t show up and He wants Christians to pursue them. But first we have to notice their absence.
You know who’s missing from church?
As David Murrow reveals, the average American congregation is 61% female and 39% male. Between 70-80% of participants in mid-week services are women. And overseas, ladies outnumber guys in church by as much as 9:1.
Murrow traces this phenomenon to the age of industrialization. Around that time, men began to leave their farms to work in factories. Away from home, they relinquished church-related responsibilities to the ladies. As a result, the female perspective came to dominate every aspect of church life, including worship.
British theologian Ian Paul describes one effect as “the move away from familiar, rhythmic, structure songs to more unpredictable, emotive and interiorising songs.” Unfortunately, as Paul Coughlin concludes, “worship music is often too sentimental for guy tastes.”
Yet another factor dissuades men from engaging in worship. Murrow claims that the professionalization of music ministries, coupled with the introduction of too many new and unfamiliar songs, reinforces passivity. Churchgoers become spectators, and this is problematic for men in particular since most males gravitate toward activity and accomplishment. They need to take part but feeling uninterested or inadequate, they pass.
He recounts that “as I visit churches around the country, I’ve frequently observed that the majority of attendees do not sing. They stand motionless, looking at the words on the jumbo screen . . . I’d guess that only a quarter of the men sing.”
I can confirm this. At last Sunday’s service, I scanned what I could of the audience around me to see who was singing. At the beginning of the worship set, I watched more congregants refraining than participating. And almost no men sung. By the end, more people had joined in, including men, but not a lot. Everyone stood, but few sang.
How can we instill in men the vital experience and persistent habit of worship?
We can demand change. Pastor Doug Bursch disputes the premise that churches have feminized and professionalized their services. And even if they did, he rejects those as valid excuses for not worshipping God. Basing his argument on the account of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, Bursch reduces the problem to the condition of men’s hearts. Like Cain, guys offer second-rate worship to God when they ought to give Him their best, as Abel did. The solution is not to change Sundays but to transform souls. The fear of the Lord will achieve this.
“You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.” – Deuteronomy 6:13 (NASB)
Besides requiring repentance, we can also depict the fulfillment that comes from worshiping God. In Real Men Worship, music ministry leader LaMar Boschman frames healthy masculinity within the context of devotion to the Most High. And Merlin Carothers wrote several books expounding the blessings and benefits of praising God.
“The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.” – Exodus 15:2 (NIV)
Repentance and encouragement may persuade men to honor the Lord. But remember “the Sunday clothes. The contemporary love songs to Jesus. The winding sermons. Typical dudes don’t thrill to any of those things.”
If we want to motivate men to worship, there’s something else we need to do.
We must teach them.
I’m not talking about sermons and Sunday School classes that promote praise and worship. I mean choosing, crafting, and performing songs that instruct Christians in their faith.
A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about this subject. In that article, I analyzed admonitions Paul wrote to two different churches. Here are the passages:
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” – Ephesians 5:18-20 (NASB)
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” – Colossians 3:16-17 (NASB)
Ephesians grounds worship in the Holy Scriptures; Colossians, in the Holy Spirit. Apart from that difference, both epistles affirm that songs educate. Paul disregards issues that capture the attention of many Christians today, like how lyrics make us feel or which musical style wins God’s approval. Instead, he cares about how worship ministry edifies the church.
Pastor John MacArthur insists that “worship is directly correlated to understanding. The richer your theology, the more full your grasp of biblical truth, the more elevated your worship becomes.”
Emotions have value, but they follow dedicated expression. As Pastor Eugene Peterson writes, ”worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in an act of worship.”
Murrow observes that contemporary worship songs are less “about” God and more “to” Him. In other words, our lyrics favor “You” over “Him.” He recommends more of the latter because, he contends, men prefer those kinds of lyrics.
But we find both types in the psalms. For example, Psalm 111 exalts God for His good deeds toward Israel:
“Praise the Lord. I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly. 2Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. 3Glorious and majestic are His deeds, and His righteousness endures forever. 4He has caused His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. 5He provides food for those who fear Him; He remembers His covenant forever. 6He has shown His people the power of His works, giving them the lands of other nations. 7The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. 8They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness. 9He provided redemption for His people; He ordained His covenant forever–holy and awesome is His name. 10The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise.” (NIV)
In Psalm 5, the writer addresses God Himself:
“Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. 2Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray. 3In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. 4For You are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with You, evil people are not welcome. 5The arrogant cannot stand in Your presence. You hate all who do wrong; 6You destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful You, Lord, detest. But I, by Your great love, can come into Your house; in reverence I bow down toward Your holy temple. 8Lead me, Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies–make Your way straight before me. 9Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies. 10Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against You. 11But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. 12Surely, Lord, You bless the righteous; You surround them with Your favor as with a shield.” (NIV)
So Psalm 111 talks about God in the third person while Psalm 5 speaks to Him in the second person. (Sorry to get grammatical there!)
But Psalm 3 does both:
“Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! 2Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’ 3But You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. 4I call out to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain. 5I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. 6I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. 7Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. 8From the Lord comes deliverance. May Your blessing be on Your people.” (NIV)
While I appreciate Murrow’s concern, the Bible frees us to sing to the Lord and about Him. We don’t have to choose between them.
Let’s make sure our hymns and choruses communicate significant biblical themes. While our songs needn’t substitute for sermons, they should complement them. A deep song will give people something worth pondering throughout the week.
By memorable music, we transport into mundane routines the spiritual lessons we absorb in worship. The songs of the church can teach men how to conduct themselves in God’s kingdom and in their jobs. Peterson suggests that “worship should be a renewal of work, not an escape from our work.”
Songs that address the heart and nourish the mind benefit all believers in Christ.
I hope this article makes you wonder and ponder this week. We worship Him above else because we are privileged to do so. It’s not a burden.
Until next week,
If you were blessed by this post, please share on your favorite social media:
I came across posts by Lance when they passed through my reader. I was intrigued and went back to some of his older posts. While I’ve not yet met Lance, he and I have similar stories in that our respective parents divorced when we were teenagers. But God. God pursued me ( and He does with you as well ) and my brother and we came back to the Lord, mostly because of the church ( and the pastors) that we worshipped in. Lance has a similar testimony, (click on the link and read it, it’s worth the time). In this post Lance writes about what worship means to him. I hope to show you that worship is a daily experience. One that you choose to praise Him. To love Him. To honour Him. To turn your eyes to Him and watch the miracles happen when you put Him first.
Lance is a 30-year-old
Christian writer who resides in southern California. He enjoys reading and weight-lifting during his leisure time, but he flourishes the most with the support and brotherhood of his closest friends at his church
When he feels God moving him to write, Lance is excited to share with others what God is teaching him about life, and is impassioned to share his faith experiences with the world through his blog Lance Price Blog 2017.
First, I just want to send a very gracious thank you to Vanessa for having me guest post on her blog. This is truly a privilege and an exciting experience to share with a different crowd and to write about something new. Thank you, Vanessa, for having me here!
RELIGION, RITUALS, AND A DISTANT GOD
Worship had no meaning or place in my life until I was 28 turning 29, when I had a more firm understanding of the importance of surrendering myself to praising the God of my faith. But let’s backtrack to gain context.
In the Catholic church I was raised in, worship meant singing along to sonorous organ music following the lead singer on a podium in the front with a microphone. The song lyrics held no meaning for me; I didn’t understand the significance of the words being sung since no one ever spoke about faith. Growing up, I was deeply exposed to the strictured vernacular of religion, meaning, I was brought up having the emphasis of repentance, shame, and the lifestyle of rituals and performance thrown on me—instead of the radical message of hope, rebirth, and the challenging but prolifically joyful news of the Gospels. Because of this, my understanding of worship (rather than obligatory sing-alongs) was poorly educated, spiritually-speaking. Needless to say, I was not drawn into the atmosphere of worship and it did not bring me closer to a distant God who apparently wanted nothing more from me than my guilt.
By the time I reached middle school, I had no understanding of Jesus beyond the “thees” and “thous” of the Bible being used at my school. More importantly, I had absolutely no interest in learning, since my middle school years directly followed the trauma of my parents’ divorce in the fall of 1999, and my grandparents’ death a month later (a few weeks before Christmas)—both of which transpired at the end of my elementary school experience.
RED & KORN
During the 7-8 year interstice of blunt atheism and agnosticism which immediately ensued, I drove myself as far away from worship, church, the Bible, and Jesus as I could. At 16, I discovered the Nu Metal Rock band called Korn, and around that same time, Red—two rock bands; one very dark and heavy, the other heavy and yet Christian.
Red’s first album, “Innocence and Instinct,” caught my attention instantly, before I even knew they were Christian. I found their songs to be emotionally fitting for my place in life, and a few years later, when I discovered their Christian background, I realized how their music had been a form of worship all along. Years later in 2015, on their most recent album, “Of Beauty and Rage,” their song “Take Me Over” is one of my favorite worship songs. Exposing myself to the heavier and more raw nature of such artists as Korn, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and Lamb of God (before finding Christ) opened me to connecting with heavier Christian music. For this reason, even current day, I worship less with artists like Chris Tomlin and Jeremy Camps, and more so with artists such as Red, Fireflight, and Love & Death (with Brian Welch from Korn); who are heavier in sound but Christian in message. However, I do love songs such as Elevation Worship’s “Come to the Altar,” Jeremy Camp’s “Jesus Saves,” Hillsong’s “Forever Reign,” and Chris Tomlin’s “Our God.” God speaks to me with strength, joy, hope, courage, and deep love with these songs.
What remains inarguable is the way God works uniquely in each of our lives. While God used Korn and Red with me, He might not use them with someone else. He may use classical music or rap, or He may not even use music at all. I don’t believe Christians are restricted to only listen to Christian and Gospel in order to have an open, receptive, praising spirit; however, I would warn against believers listening to rock (or any music) with the intent of worshipping the art of music rather than the art of God. The difference is in separating the worship of God’s love through these artistic conduits of expression rather than worshipping the people who create it.
To use music as a means of bringing praise to Jesus, we remain in a posture of worship. But the moment we feel we must turn on music for the purpose of reminding us of God, it is then that not only have we changed the nature of our actions from worship to ritual, we have also supplanted our faith in Christ with the belief that only music can bring us close to God’s presence. This lie destroys the blessing of worship by indicting our souls with a lack of trust in God. In other words, to “need” music in order to worship changes the message we send to God from that of praise to that of fear. We are afraid if we must use an instrument in order to find God’s presence, when His presence is within us already. If we ritualize music in order to sing God our praises, then we are no longer worshipping God; rather, we are using a powerless tool within the subtext of a spiritual-less routine, lacking the merit for glory.
WORSHIP AS A LIFESTYLE
Worship as a lifestyle is not at all like worship as an event. Attending Sunday service to be “revved up” is basically the equivalent of attending a Christian rave party: Church becomes the meth served through the expectation that mere attendance will inflate our spirits with holiness. While spiritual music is meant to complement the posture of humility and surrender in praising God, it cannot be the sole reason we attend church each week. When this happens, worship becomes a ritual or routine instead of a mentality. The difference is how a ritual doesn’t involve giving praise to God, but rather, placating our repetitious need for continuity. To live in worship of Jesus means committing ourselves to His command to love others (even strangers) by speaking truth and acting in reverence of Him through the love, forgiveness, and compassion of our words, time, and generosity.
I will admit this is hard for me to do, so I empathize with those of you who can admit to finding this a harder reality to encompass. For many of us, going out of our way for a stranger as an extension of our love for Jesus is sometimes like having our parents ask for something in need at the worst possible moment: While we are willing, we are also hesitant to follow through on-command. However, Jesus calls us to be obedient and authentic, and I believe even taking the time to slow down and become in touch with our hesitant spirits is better than saying no and walking away to avoid the inner conflict altogether. I believe Jesus recognizes the stuttering and stammering heart of the individual before it acquiesces and that He gives mercy to the final surrender; whereas I believe He does not give mercy to the individual who blindly denies His call out of stubborn disobedience.
To reiterate, worship as only sing-along songs during a once-per-week service is not worship, but an act of the extracurricular and the religious. In other words, if we leave worship in the church building, we express ourselves to be as secular as an unbeliever who ignores church altogether. If we are not treating worship as both a communal expression of our thankfulness for God’s goodness in our lives and the lives of others—as well as a daily habit of loving others in reflection of our love for Christ—then we are abusing the purpose of worship and undermining the meaning of giving Him praise for our lives.
MOVING FORWARD WITH PURPOSEFUL DISCERNMENT
I hope that by reading this, we are able to understand more clearly the role music plays in the life of a Christ-follower, as well as the intention behind our actions. We are not banned from enjoying other types of music (non-Christian), but the intention of our heart behind the pleasure received from music is what divides the end result between worship and ritualistic action. Our past also does play a part in the way we view and receive how music influences our spirits, but this doesn’t change the intention behind the way we treat music when we are intending to give ourselves to Jesus. In other words, there are no excuses; either music helps bring us closer to God, or it deters us from extolling His sovereignty, provision, and goodness. When we can accept this blunt-edge truth, we can finally see the line drawn between an act of selfish repetition (ritual) and a selfless act derived from the desire to please the One who gives us all that we have. Truly, there is much to be thankful for, and worship is our extension of acknowledgment to God, saying: “Thank you, and praise you God, for you are always good and you always love me! Thank you for all that you are, and all that you’ll always be. I praise you for your glory and your provisions, and I ask for the humility to never forget that all I am comes from you. Thank you, Jesus! Be glorified!” To Jesus be the glory and honor and praise forever and ever!
THANK YOU FOR READING!
Again, I would like to express my gratitude to Vanessa for having me guest post on her blog! I was very humbled when she asked me if I would do this, and I hope by writing this, I have helped others see worship in a new light which before had not yet been realized. May we all be blessed as we praise God for His goodness through His son, Jesus Christ! May we carefully discern our reason and purpose for the music we listen to, as well as the actions we take when we move into the world—where our faith is tested and challenged by those who have yet to receive God’s grace and thank Him for the gift of open eyes and softened heart. This truly is a blessing of its own worth praising Jesus for all eternity. Be lifted up, readers, in Jesus name!
I really hope you were blessed by Lance’s post. I have to admit that I’ve never heard of these Christian heavy metal bands!! Not my style, but they may be quite a few of you that do like this music. Lance sent me a suggestion and I’m going to add that song to this post. It’s called “Radical” by a group named “Disciple”. See you next week,
If you were blessed by this post, please share on your favorite social media:
Featured image is “Still waters at Dawn…… An original oil painting by Diana Monte.” (with some editing)
I would love to tell you that what I remember fondly about Diana is her long, rich, black hair or her amazing height, but that’s not it. Every time I think of her , I remember a woman being patient and loving and ready to meet me in my broken-ness. She did not know me then, but I was crying and sobbing my heart out at church one evening, and she came and sat with me ( and pretended for a short time that she did not see my tears ) and told me she was waiting eagerly for her daughters to come back from college on vacation. She made small talk and drew me out. Once we were conversing she asked me what was on my heart, and do you know it, it brought the tears back! This time in release. I’m forever grateful to Diana for just hearing me out, and then praying with me and seeking me out after this episode. I think you’d love what constitutes worship to her. I pray you will be blessed by her post as I have been by the person.
Diana Monte has been teaching private painting classes for the past twenty years. She is a ‘juried’ artist whose work has been shown at the New Mexico State Fair, local Art Studio Tours, Los Ranchos Lavender Festival, Encantada Art Exhibition and several other venues. She currently is the featured poster winner for lavenderinthevillage.com being held on July 15th.
It is Diana’s genuine hope that her paintings bring an atmosphere of peace to a home and reflect the beauty displayed in God’s creation. You can find her art at dianamontefineart.com
Diana and her husband John live in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque with their two beautiful daughters, Ariana and Lydia. Her husband John is on the Pastoral Staff at Legacy Church and Diana is actively involved Directing the Bliss Women’s Ministry at the East Campus at her church. Her passion is to use her art to glorify Him and to bring women into a deeper knowledge of Him.
I was asked by Vanessa to share a little bit about Worship and how it is a part of my daily life. I agreed and I am delighted to share a few things with you that hopefully will help you along in life. ☺
I am an artist and I am so very thankful to God for this gift/talent of creativity. Using oil paint on a canvas is an expression and passion of mine to glorify and honor Him. Over the course of many years, I have said “If I don’t use it, I’ll lose it!” So I regularly and continually utilize and broaden my painting skills so that the God given talent increases. It is my heart’s desire that my paintings will minister to people in some way. I pray and ask God for wisdom and ability when I paint. Bottom line: I want to utilize my artistic talents more and more to glorify God.
Worship – the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration.
Every day is a new day to grow and transform into the person that God has destined you and I to be. What talent/gift has God given you to utilize??
Every day isn’t a bed of roses, we all face challenges, obstacles and trials in one way or another. In the midst of these trying times, do we press into God for help and direction? You see, our transformation usually occurs when we are being hard pressed and challenged in an uncomfortable circumstance or situation.
No matter the circumstances around you remember that God is for you and not against you. He is your strength when you are weak and weary. And He will never leave you nor forsake you. “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
II Corinthians 12:9 / Psalm 121:1-2
I often will journal the struggles I am facing and write down the following:
The date and description of what the circumstances are
What I am praying and believing God for
And the emotions I am going through at the time.
I pray for wisdom and direction and declare that I am trusting God to be with me through it! I always try to pray until I have a peace knowing that it is God’s hands and not mine.
I also find a couple of scripture verses that I can say out loud to continually pray over every situation. It is only then that I can rejoice & praise Him by faith, for the victory.
Some prayers are answered quickly and some may take years to see.
But the Fact remains, our God is Faithful !
I cannot have a victory without having the battle! A Victory reminds me that God has heard my cries for help. Growing through the tough times makes you and me stronger in so many areas. The most important thing is knowing that God is actively involved in my life. To me, that makes life worth living and gives me something wonderful to Worship Him for!
A situation could might be staring me in the Face, and I KNOW that it’s going to work itself out. How do I know?? Because God has ALWAYS brought me through every single situation! I can wholeheartedly say that I can Worship God every day regardless of what I feel like.
10 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] Philippians 3:10 (AMPC)
I pray God’s blessing over you, that your gifts/talents and abilities continue to grow and increase. May you also express Worship wholeheartedly in your daily life!
I hope you enjoyed reading Diana’s post. Bring your talents to Him and watch Him do wonders with it.
If you were blessed by this post, please share on your favorite social media:
I first read some of Bruce’s posts as they came across my feed. I have to say that I am amazed by the depth of work, research and effort he has put into most of his posts. He writes straight out from the Bible and then explains it. I have re blogged several of his posts ( most notably on the Tabernacle (from Leviticus) series). I know you will be blessed as you read what worship means to Bruce in his life.
I’d love for you to make time to know Christ in a real and personal way. And that you know that He wants all of you, wants to be part of your daily life and cares for all the minutiae and details in your life. Come to Him, surrender completely and worship Him in spirit and in truth always.
Bruce Cooper is just an ordinary Christian. Ex-military (35 years service), Information
Technology Network Administration background, happily married 46+ years to the love of his life (humanistically speaking) with 5 grown up children and 6 grandchildren A.K.A. Papa. He is a non-denominational Protestant, born again in his mid twenties, now 72 years old (semi-retired). He is strong advocate that all Christians should be involved in Christian Apologetics so that we are prepared to give an answer to any who might ask. He lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.
I Will Worship the Lord
The word that is frequently used in the Old Testament for worship is the Hebrew word “shachah” (Gen 22:5) which literally means “to bow down, to depress, to prostrate oneself”. But the actual position we place our body in when we worship God is secondary to what takes place in our hearts, minds and souls. I’m not defining what worship is here, or the various aspects of what constitutes true Biblical worship. I’m making this personal because for me, worship is personal, it’s between my God and me, even when I am collectively worshiping God with others. I believe true worship is designed to be that way. Personal.
I have a hard time trying to put into words what comes into my mind and spirit when I worship God because in essence, it is my concept and experience of God’s totality. Yes, I know, you are probably thinking, is that even possible and I agree with you, it isn’t, not even close. But God knows that. He knows everything. He knows everything about me and He still accepts my worship of Him.
Many years ago, for a short period of time (two or three minutes), God ushered me into His presence. I don’t know why He orchestrated it but He did. I can’t forget it nor do I want to. I cherish it. I saw nothing, I heard nothing, but I was there, in the Spirit. Instantaneously I was aware of three things at the same time:
God is Holy. Holy is not a word, holiness radiates from His person. I sensed it with every fibre of my being. I can’t explain His Holiness any other way. He just is. It is beautiful beyond words.
He is the Creator, I am the creature. No doubt, no question, difference between God and me was immense (beyond words). There is no argument, no discussion, He is the creator. Done.
God’s Love: Can’t possibly explain it. NEVER wanted to leave. The most beautiful awareness I have ever experienced in my entire life. God is the source and it is so beautiful.
I understand why the prophets of old fell to their knees when the Angel of the Lord (divinity) appeared to them in the Old Testament. You don’t think about it, you just do, like blinking our eyelids. I worship our heavenly Father, His son Jesus and the Holy Spirit because I can’t do anything else but. To me, worship is communion with God, that special time whether it be in prayer, while singing a hymn or studying His Word, when I just stop and acknowledge Him for who He is and his greatness. But that is part of my story, you have your own, that is why it is personal, between you and God. God has no grandchildren, it has to be between you and Him. That is why my testimony is really not important, your testimony is.
The Bible verse that best exemplifies worship for me is Romans 12:1-2: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.”
Jesus tells us that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). This means we worship from the heart and the way God has designed. Worship can include praying, reading God’s Word with an open heart, singing, participating in communion, and serving others. It is not limited to one act, but is done properly when the heart and attitude of the person are in the right place.
Worshipping God is an excellent way of keeping God as a priority in our lives. For me, I am reminded by the Holy Spirit quite frequently of the many many times He has intervened on my behalf over the years. When that happens, when I am reminded, I instantly thank Him again and worship His Lordship over my life. I am thankful for the reminders, we have a tendency to forget how constant God’s love for us is, and has been, even when, in those part’s of our lives, we were not seeking Him. Feed on God’s Word, drink of His guidance through the Holy Spirit. Worship will follow.
I find a direct correlation between the amount of time that I spend in God’s Word and the awareness of God’s direction and presence in my life. You can’t enjoy the water or even learn to swim unless you literally get into it. It is that way with God’s Word. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t have all my questions answered, I still fall short daily, but ….. His peace, His assurance, the sense of God’s love and purpose for my life and those that I love is there and stays there, when I make Him a priority daily by studying His Word, commune with Him in prayer and worship Him as His Spirit within me directs me. Jesus is the Truth!
So yes, I will worship the Lord, I will praise His Holy name, I will sing our His glory, I will bend my knee in His presence, I will thank Him for His sacrifice, I will marvel at His love and purpose. He is my God, I can worship none other. I love Him and He made all this happen by first loving me.
2 Corinthians 13:14 “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Your brother in Christ – Bruce
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!
I hope this post blessed you. See you next time,
If you were blessed by this post, please share on your favorite social media: