Worship: Positions From the Heart – Bow the Knee

“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, the flock under his care” (Psalm 95:6-7).

It is interesting to watch military personal when in the presence of the commander and chief. You can tell by the way they salute where their heart lies toward the man in the office. Some are very respectful and sincere in their salute. Others salute the office position because it is expected, but there is no real respect for the man in it. And then there are times when the man in the office is such a disappointment that the soldier at arms will refuse to salute.

Like with these soldiers, it is the same with those who profess to worship God. Yesterday we discussed the heart of worship. God looks to the heart and it is the sincere of heart toward Him that He best responds to. Today we look at the first of several positions of worship that scripture speaks of and the heart behind each, beginning with the bow.

Bowing before a sovereign is a show of respect to that position of authority. It is like the salute, honoring the office of one in authority, and the heart behind it makes all the difference. As I consider the positions of worship, I see in each a heart issue that must be in play for God to recognize it as sincere worship in spirit and in truth.

Taking first the bow, we bow to the authority of God over us. It is a position of surrender. And that position must begin in the heart of the man. To bow without consciousness of the surrender to God’s authority is position without true thought and intent.

Today, in the wake of the storms of life that come at us, in the challenges we face through the day, our call is to bow the knee by first bowing the heart in surrender to God. In closing, let us realize anew what the “heart” is. Heart in scripture speaks of the core of ones being. It is body, soul, and spirit. To bow physically to God in our body is easy in itself, but what of the rest of our core being?

Bowing the spirit, the eternal part of us that lives on into eternity, requires unity with the Spirit of God that quickens us—breathing new life into our being that will remain with God forever. Our spirit man bows to the work of His Spirit in us.

Bowing the soul: the mind or thoughts, the will and the emotions, this is the biggie to our surrendered posture. As the thought of a man goes, so goes his body or his being. We bow to the sovereignty of God in our minds when we take every thought captive to obey Him in Christ. When we bring our thoughts in line with His, our wills will quickly fall in line with His, and our emotions will follow our will.

Bowing before Sovereign God is a heart issue that must be whole and complete to be real and true of spirit.

We Bow Down

Worship: From Hearts After His Own Heart

“… The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart …” (1 Samuel 13:14).

In these days, as we watch the destruction that is coming out of the storm to the northwest of where I now sit, my heart is filled with the understanding that we need to be aware of the greatness of God who can and will see us through. My heart has been troubled for some time, called by God to pray for some “devastating storm” that will hit our land. Even as I watch the destruction that seems to be what God has my heart crying out to Him for His grace to protect, I sense, “this is not yet it.” I can’t even fathom what God is warning of in this season of prayer, but one thing I know:

“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually” (2 Chronicles 7:12-16).

God is with and for His people, and, in Christ, we are His chosen and beloved temple, chosen as His house of sacrifice as we follow the example of Christ. He heeds and responds affirmatively to the heart that is sincere before Him, the heart of the people of His temple. And one assurance we have that continually comes to my heart in these days is that “Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.”

When God’s people put their hearts to praise the Lord, wholeheartedly trusting in His sovereignty, there is no evil that can prevail against His will. He is God above all, and a heart after His own heart, that trusts in, relies on, has faith in and is confident in Him will see His sovereignty in their life storms.

Therefore “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).

For a season we begin a look at the heart of true, Spirit-filled and Spirit-led worship. As we worship God with a heart that truly believes in His Worth-ship, we will see Him high and lifted up and working in whatever storm may come our way.

“An hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). Worship in Spirit and truth comes to those who are wholehearted toward God, sold out to trust in Him, no matter the difficulties life in a fallen world brings. The sacrifice of praise is the call of God in this hour of storms.

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“We are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).

 Join us as we pray, praise and worship together on Living Worshipers’ Page: http://www.facebook.com/LivingWorshipersPage#!/LivingWorshipersPage

Thoughts from Isaiah – Chapter 7

Smoldering Firebrands

“Then the Lord said to Isaiah, ‘Go out now to meet Ahaz…and say to him, “Take care and be calm, have no fear and do not be fainthearted because of these two stubs of smoldering firebrands, on account of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah. Because Aram, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has planned evil against you, saying, ‘Let us go up against Judah and terrorize it, and make for ourselves a breach in its walls …’”’ thus says the Lord God: ‘It shall not stand nor shall it come to pass. …If you will not believe, you surely shall not last’” (Isaiah 7:3-8, NASB).

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Smolder: To burn with little smoke and no flame. To exist in a suppressed state.To show signs of repressed anger or hatred.

Firebrand: A piece of burning wood or other material. A person who causes unrest, stirs up trouble or kindles a revolt.

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Who or what is disturbing your peace today or causing fear to rise up in you? Take heart, for God sees those people and things that come against us as a smoldering firebrand; all smoke and very little of that; having no fire, no real power compared to the power we have available to us in Him.

Here, in God’s story seen in Isaiah 7, Pekah, the king who rose up over Israel against God’s will and His anointed king, Ahaz, was coming against Ahaz, the God-ordained king of Israel in the land of Judah. But God sends Isaiah to strengthen the heart of Ahaz with His promise that this “smoldering firebrand” will not thwart the will of God. Their plot will not stand so as to come to pass.

Do you realize that the things God wills for your life in fulfilling His purpose are just as sure? No enemy attack meant to rob you of your rightful position in God’s story will stand or come to pass, so long as you, like Ahaz, heed and follow the instruction of the Lord in facing those things that come against His will for you. What can we take from God’s instruction to Ahaz as to what he was to do in facing his enemy?

“…Take care and be calm, have no fear and do not be fainthearted because of these two stubs of smoldering firebrands. …”

Take care and be calm; take heed and be quiet (AMP). Psalm 46:10 puts it this way, “Be still, cease striving, let be and know (recognize and understand) that I AM GOD. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!” (See KJV, NASB, and AMP versions of scripture)

Be still—don’t move until your instruction from the Lord in His will for your actions is clear. Be still until quivering stops and you are moving, not in fear of the perceived enemy, but in faith in the One True God.

Cease striving—against God and His will for you. Sometimes it can look like the enemy is winning. That usually is true only when we are trying to handle things in our own way, fighting God’s will for us. Make sure you are not striving against God in your situation.

Let be—LET GOD BE GOD!

And know that He alone is God. There is no other God.

I like the story that Mark Harris tells at one of his concerts about the woman grabbing a little blue glass figurine and saying, “This is my god, and when I hold it, I find peace.” The man she said this too wisely said, “You know what? That’s not a big enough god for me; because the God that I serve was not made by human hands, but He made my human hands.”

To be still, cease striving, let be and know God, is to heed the truth that no one thing coming against us is more powerful than He. They are all but smoldering firebrands, p’ants in His presence. There is nothing big enough to overcome Him, and He stands for us. We are to stand and roar with confidence, like the kid-lion in Lion King, knowing that our Daddy-Lion stands behind us, adding His roar to ours. He can and will stand for us when we stand in His will. Only as we truly grasp this reality over us can we follow the next part of His instruction to Ahaz, to fear not nor be fainthearted.

So stand firm today, my friend, no matter the enemy coming against you, knowing that God is for you, He is not against you. His will for you will stand and the evil coming to stop you will not come to pass.

“Take heed and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted because of these two stumps of smoking firebrands … If you will not believe and trust and rely [on God and on the words of God’s prophet instead of Assyria], surely you will not be established nor will you remain” (AMP).

~*~

“The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!” (Psalm 46:11)

 

In the Flow of “Now” Living

“…Behold, I will make you to be a new, sharp, threshing instrument which has teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shall make the hills like chaff. You shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest or whirlwind shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the Lord, you shall glory in the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 41:8-16, AMP).

I have feasted on this promise for a very long time now, God highlighting it as true for me, something I can count as a done deal by His grace. As yet I do not fully comprehend all this means, but I am beginning to get glimpses.

The other day I received the following Spirit of Prophesy Bulletin from Faith Tabernacle: a devotional thought written to the body of Christ as from the Lord. It often speaks to me on a personal level, and this day struck me as something worth heeding. Quoting “The Trumpet” devotion by Bill Burns for 10/15/12:

“‘I have set those in this earth, those who are My psalmists, and they shall establish a flow, a flow of My river among My people, a flow that will help My people come higher, a flow of My presence. Because their songs come from heaven and their songs are anointed, they shall indeed impact you and bring you into what I am doing. So when you hear the sound of heaven impacting your heart and when you hear the sound of heaven coming upon you embrace it and let it do its work. Let it bring peace to your soul, let it bring joy to your heart and let it bring healing to your body. Let the Spirit of the Lord flow in the sound that I am bringing forth as promised. For such a time as this embrace My sound,’ says the Lord Most Holy.”

This is my heart’s desire, to be one who sets the flow that encourages and helps others come up higher. Perhaps today can be a beginning.

This morning, before ever cracking open God’s book, He spoke peace to my heart as I began typing thoughts into my journal. I suddenly knew that fretting over things in life not being as I would like or ever dreamed it would be is wasted energy and trashed time.

There is a poem God gave my heart a long time ago and I quote it often.

†   Yesterday is gone

†   Tomorrow may never be

†   Now is all the time

†   God has gifted me

†   Will I use it well

†   Or waste it in the way

†   Time will surely tell

†   The choice I make today

 Life is too short to waste one moment of it on yesterday’s whoa. What might have been is not what is. Fretting over what others did to us and the place their hurt now has us only empowers their hurt to continue ruling our lives. We throw away what we have, giving precious time to nothingness by worrying about the “might have been.”

I am not alone in this struggle. I have family members I love dearly and friends too, who are snared by the “what might have been”. No more, I say! No more. Life is too precious to waste. I decided today to give all I have to my now, living to the full and doing the best I can in it, and let God take care of yesterday and tomorrow.

One of my daughters said something that struck me and may be the source of this decision. Quoting as best I can recall, “I made the best decision I could back then with the information available to me at the time. I am not going to waste time now second guessing that. What we have now is what is. We have to carry on from here to do the best we can in it.”

Fretting over yesterday is like a CSI climbing in the trash bin of life to pull out dead bodies. Now is what is promised to us. Carry on with me, dear friend, doing your best with the information available to you; “And you shall rejoice in the Lord, you shall glory in the Holy One of Israel.”

Thoughts from Isaiah – Chapter 6

His Robe Fills the Temple

 “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple” (Isaiah 6:1)

My heart soars to the heights as I read this. Why? Because the train of His robe, all His royalty and glorious regale, fill the temple, and that temple is us, God’s people! We who have Christ as Savior, the Lord who not only equips our righteousness, but covers our sin with His righteous robes, we are made by Him to house the essence of God in all His glory. Can you fathom what that means for us? For little O struggling soul called “me”?

All that God is, in all His fullness, is available to fill up all that I am or ever hope to be.

Have you read “The Shack” by William Paul Young? Many are turned off to it because he portrays God’s three personas with the Father depicted in the beginning as a woman—which, by the way, God Himself likens Himself to a mother, caring for her young. He gives good reason for this depiction, but still, many miss a good read for that reason. There was another thing I noted, a comment I believe I understand the gest of but that could easily be blown out of proportion. Still, I digress.

There is one thing that comes across from “The Shack” very clearly that I believe is true of God and worthy of note. Mr. Young does an excellent job of depicting God’s full love that is available for every man, woman and child. God is not like us, trying to divide Himself between us all, giving “quality time” to each, being worn out by the sheer number of us and our endless needs, having less and less to give us because of waning strength. Each of us has His full attention, His total love, and we are each His favorite. The problem is that we don’t all realize, recognize and receive that. The author of The Shack makes that point clear as well. God is for all of us, though not all of us choose Him; and He is fully available to each of us with the whole of His love and care, but He will not force Himself on us. Only those who choose Him as the One true God become the temple in which the train of His robe flows forth.

I believe that when we begin to truly realize and comprehend the incomprehensible love of God for us and how much He longs to be involved in our lives, that is when we will experience the train of His robe filling the temple of our lives, and we will join the heavenly throngs…

“…‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory…’” (vs. 2-3).

I sing “Holy,” O God. “Holy!” I am only just beginning to rest in the joy and realization of Your robes flowing into the rooms and spaces of my life. I thought I knew it before, but I only knew in part, as I still only know so little. But I am realizing You more and more each day as You speak clearly to my heart to reveal the greater depths of Your essence and presence with me. Here am I, O God. Fill me up. Spill me out. In Jesus, amen.