Monday, June 13, 2016

"Choices, Choices, Choices!"

  We live in a time of choices. The more choices that there are the more things become complicated. Just go to a grocery store and look at the choices. Multitudes of items for one product. You read, look and look some more just to make a simple choice. You go to an electronics store to search for a new product and what do you find? Multitudes of choices! It even comes down to something as simple as buying a pair of jeans. Slim fit, easy fit, relaxed fit, button fly, zipper fly, stone washed, acid washed, distressed, boot cut and tapered. What has happened to "the only kind"?
  But there is more. Because of our modern technology we can work every hour of the day from almost anywhere on this planet and we face the choice of how to do that. The choice of i-pads, tablets, laptops and phones and whatever else you want to choose that is offered. Choose your hours.
  Where has all this taken us? Choices can be good on some things but there are so many it is affecting the very core and fiber of our lives. You hear people speak, "I wish I had made a better choice of a mate." Our youth aren't being trained but make choices based on whatever is offered that appeals. People seem to pick and choose what best fits them and that can lead to disastrous results. With so many choices in everyday life some find it difficult to choose anything at all. The devil is doing a good job at complicating our lives. We come to religion. Look at the choices. There is something offered for whatever a person is looking for to fit their situation in life. There are so many flavors offered, the choice can be difficult. People come to worship looking for something to offer their children, something that agrees with what they agree with, some special songs played by the gifted they might want to be a part of or something that is entertaining and fun. There seems to be little taught or sought about worship "in spirit and truth."
   We turn to God and He calls us to make a choice: Him and His truth! God "uncomplicates" everything. One direction with one purpose. Jesus pointed to God and His truth. The apostles pointed to God and His truth. The inspired writers of the Holy Scripture point to God and His truth. One direction. Seeking God on God's terms not God on our terms. There are many so-called gods among us but there is only One true and living God and He has revealed Himself through the truth of His word. Paul reminded the Ephesian brethren: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." (Eph. 4:4-6) One choice and only one choice in each matter of faith. These seven ones are the very basis of God and anyone who moves from these 7 ones is not part of the truth. Any of these ones that is left out is not part of God! Choose two baptisms and you have strayed from the truth. Choose many faiths and you have wandered from the Lord. Our choices become much easier when we realize this. We are called to seek the things above where Christ is seated and set our minds on things above not on the earth (Col. 3:1-3). That simplifies every thing. One direction, one choice. To set our minds and seek the truth of the Lord brings His favor to helping us find the standard of truth. Joshua's words rang out in the ears of those people listening and should ring in ours: "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River; or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15) 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

"What's Happening?"

  At the heart of Israel was this tabernacle and it was not a given as a social place even though many used it as such. God placed Himself in the midst of this nation and brought to Himself a priesthood where the nation could be blessed and meet with God in their worship. If we examine that tabernacle closely, it was not thrown together. There are chapters written for us in detail on what would be part of this "worship house" and how God was to be approached. Many just quickly over-look all this. There are many instructions given on a multitude of things necessary to the worship of the Almighty. In all this, the Lord God Himself laid down these instructions and the purpose to worship. Yes, God has a purpose in worship!
  When we look at the church at Corinth, they had taken their worship to a whole new level beyond what God desired (I Cor. 14). What we learn is who and how we worship not only reveals our inner workings but shape our inner self as well. Worship and those who worship bear witness to the existence of a world beyond what our senses can't grasp or that's what it should do. To worship the Lord God is to act out of a conviction. Who and how we worship reveals our insight to God or the lack thereof.
  When Jesus pointed out to the woman at the well about God seeking true worshipers (John 4) He was drawing her and us into a reality beyond just words. Coming into the presence of God, we realize our relationship to Him as we come as His body who also is in that relationship. Together we recognize His sovereignty, speak to His goodness, marvel at His power and honor His majesty. What we fail to realize many times is not only are we doing something but something is being done to us!
  Outside this "worship house" there was life and service lived. God calls us together as His body and His body was responding daily in their lives. Something is happening in worship with the heart and mind engaged and it was with them in daily life. Some never seem to realize the God given value of worship and their lives reflect that. The worship as one to our Father makes something of us. All healthy worship from the heart draws toward truth and that drawing creates a sense of awe and reverence. Our God is greater in might and eternal in nature points that we are not self-made and we owe all our blessings to Him. Our worship is a confession of that very thing! All healthy worship strengthens our trust in Him who we can't see. The presence of the unseen is seen through eyes of faith and offering ourselves to Him changes who we are and how we see life.
  All in all, Jesus took 12 men aside on the last night of His earthly mission and what did He do? He engaged them in worship! Why? Jesus was preparing them for the tough road ahead as they would come to realize His redemptive work on man's behalf. That in itself should give us a little insight that worship and real daily life come together at some point. Worship is not just something we do but meaningful worship encompasses the truth while something is being done to us! Have you ever thought about what is really happening?