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Archive for the ‘worship’ Category

Hosanna

palm sundayHosanna, loud hosanna,
The little children sang;
Through pillared court and temple
The lovely anthem rang.
To Jesus, who had blessed them,
Close folded to His breast,
The children sang their praises,
The simplest and the best.
 
From Olivet they followed
Mid an exultant crowd,
The victor palm branch waving
And chanting clear and loud.
The Lord of earth and heaven
Rode on in lowly state
Nor scorned that little children
Should on His bidding wait.
 
“Hosanna in the highest!”
That ancient song we sing,
For Christ is our Redeemer,
The Lord of heav’n our King.
Oh, may we ever praise Him
With heart and life and voice
And in His blissful presence
Eternally rejoice!

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“Worship” may be a word you don’t quite understand.  Dictionary.com defines worship as “reverent honor and homage paid to God.”  The way we show this reverent honor or homage to God may be very different from another believer.

The Bible recites many different postures and activities for worship:

  • Standing
  • Kneeling
  • Prostrate (laying on the ground with face down)
  • Arms raised
As to the “how of worship”, in the Bible we are encouraged to:
  • sing to the LORD
  • Shout to the LORD
  • Sacrifice (burnt offering) to the LORD
  • Thank the LORD
  • Praise the LORD
  • Bless the LORD
  • Play instruments to the LORD
The one criteria on which God evaluates worship, regardless of the posture or the position or the activity, is the intent of the worshiper’s heart.
  • To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the LORD. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats.  When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts?   Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies-I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.  Isaiah 1:11-15
When approaching Him in worship, consider that God is not impressed so much with the outward expression of your adoration as He is with the motivation of your heart.  To God, our hearts are exposed, transparent.

Jesus said this, “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.”  John 4:23-24

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We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.  1 John 5:18

It is much preferable to read about what God had done for me, what God is doing for me and what God will do for me.  My part doesn’t seem as interesting, so when I come across a verse like 1 John 5:18, it begs the question:  “How do I keep myself?”  The following are some ideas:

  • We need to submit or if you prefer, surrender ourselves to the will of God (as clearly stated in His Word)
  • We need to know what the scriptures say about where our help and hope lies
  • We need to be committed to worshiping God for who He is
  • We need to be committed to serving Him only (e.g. we need to be about the LORD’s business)

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One of the most beautiful pictures of the love of God and the foreshadowing of Jesus is found in the Tabernacle at the Mercy Seat.  When you visit the Tabernacle in your mind’s eye, you must first enter the gate, then cross the court yard, pass the bronze altar, make your way past the laver and then enter the first partition separating the outer courts from the holy place.

Once inside the holy place, you will find only the light of the golden candlesticks.  By its light, you will see the table of show bread and the altar of incense which is right outside of the Most Holy Place.  As you push aside the last veil separating you from the presence of God which occupies the Most Holy Place, you will look in and see there is only one piece of furniture – the Ark.

The Ark was a box covered with gold and on top of which were two cherubim with their wings touching.  Inside of the Ark was found the law (the tablets from Moses with the 10 Commandments).  The top, the covering over the law was known as the mercy seat.  It was here that God promised to meet with His people.  It was here that the High Priest was to sprinkle blood.

The picture is one of mercy.  God would bring mercy and cover the law.  God made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of Christ in Him.  It is the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat (covering the law), that speaks of Jesus, of Calvary where Jesus’ blood would be shed once and for all to pay for the sins of all men so that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life.

That is amazing love.  O, what a savior!

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In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series on knowing God through looking at the attribute of His great love for us, we discussed how the scriptures of the Old and New Testament describe the love of God.  In this post and those following, we will consider some of the pictures that God has used to illustrate His love.

Abraham and Isaac

One of the pictures of God’s love, actually a foreshadowing of the coming of Messiah, was the story of Abraham and Isaac.  You may recall the story recounted in Genesis 22 where God tests Abraham asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah.  Abraham takes his son, goes up with him to the mountain, binds his son to the altar that he built and proceeds to prepare to sacrifice his only son as God asked.  As he is lowering the knife to slay his son, God stops him.  God provides a substitute sacrifice (a ram caught in the thicket) instead of Isaac.  This picture of God’s love is the picture of the substitutionary sacrifice.  God had every right to require the first born child of his marriage to Sarah from Abraham.  Nevertheless, because of His great mercy and His promises to Abraham, God provided a sacrifice to satisfy the blood requirement.  This substitutionary sacrifice is seen again on Calvary, years later when Jesus died, once for all.  He who knew no sin, died for those who were under sin’s curse.

Deliverance of Isarael

Another great picture of the love of God and His heart for Israel (and us for whom the wall of separation was removed by the blood of Jesus) is the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.  You may recall this story from Exodus.  The people of God are in captivity in Egypt.  They have been reduced to slavery.  Their oppressors fear them and make their life difficult.  They are even forced to kill their children.  God hears their cries from their bondage, and from within the their own ranks, God raises up a deliverer, Moses.  By the hand of God on Moses, the people of God are delivered from their oppressors and allowed to follow their God and worship Him.  This picture of God the deliverer is emphasized again and again by God in the Old Testament.

By these pictures, we begin to see God’s love.  You may want to go back and read the stories in their entirety and ask God to speak to you of His great love.

In our next post, we will look at some more pictures that God provides to illustrate His gr eat and amazing love.

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In part 1 of this series, we looked at the amazing love of God as we see it in the New Testament.  In this post, we will consider how God speaks of His love for us in the Old Testament.

  • God’s love for us is individual and designed to help me – – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8  Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
  • God’s love for us is protective –  For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5   The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2
  • God’s love for us is comforting – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
  • God’s love for us is sympathetic and compassionate – You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? Psalm 56:8
  • God’s love for us is one of abundant provision – They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.  For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. Psalm 36:8-9
  • God’s love for us gives us hope – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
  • God’s love for us is everlasting (eternal) – The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.  Jeremiah 31:3

So much remains to be said about God’s love.  It is truly amazing.  It is His love for us that draws us to Him.  Read of Him in the pages of your Bible, the One who loved you, loves you and will love you!

In our next post, we will consider some of the word pictures and stories that the Bible provides of God’s love.

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In the words of Julie Andrews, “let’s start at the very beginning . . . it’s a very good place to start.”

In Genesis 1:1, we read, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” That is where God begins His story.  It is not the beginning of God, since He is mentioned as already being present in the verse.  It is, however, the beginning for the heavens and the earth.

The attribute of God most evident in this verse for me is His power.  God simply created everything that we can see, feel, sense or hear.  Even more amazing is that He created it out of nothing (ex nihilo).  He is the all-powerful creator God.  “Elohim” is His name.  Elohim is the traditional Hebrew name for thecreator God and it mean, “The Strong One.”

Part of knowing God is knowing His power.  The most obvious evidence of His great power is the creation.  Many other scriptures refer to His role as creator and they lend some additional insights:

  • Completed in six daysExodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
  • Creation reveals God’s genuineness – Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens.
  • God created the heavens and earth to be inhabited – Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the LORD, and there is no other.
  • God knows all the details of creation – Job 38-41.

May you continue to meditate on the creator God.  May you worship Him, for He alone is worthy of praise.  There is none like Him, like our God.  He is the King of Glory!

Note: According to John MacArthur,  Bible teacher and commentator, the original Hebrew language here supports a recent creation (thousands, not millions of years ago).

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