Hallmark worship

“When I worship, I would rather my heart be without words than my words be without heart.” Lamar Boschman

 I love music. I love singing. I just love worshipping God through song it is a great way to express our love for Him, and is very close to my heart. There are so many songs of praise to God in the Bible. I truly believe that He loves to hear us sing his praise. However, worship is so much more than just our songs. Worship is born in our hearts, not on our lips. I believe worship is a life-style, not only a segment of a church service.

Worship is for God.

In all our songs, in all our actions, in all our “worship,” the ultimate goal is to bring God glory. It is not to make us feel good. It is not to put our love for God on display. In the presence of God, we find forgiveness and healing, we grow and learn and become more like Jesus; however, in all that we say and do in our worship, our focus should be awe before the surpassingly great and gracious God—not our church, our peers, or ourselves.

Therefore God has highly exalted him [Jesus] and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. Revelation 4:11

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’ Hebrews 12:28-29

Worship should be authentic.

C.S. Lewis said, “The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance.” It is so great to find exactly the right words in the Bible or in other songs to convey your feelings. Everyone loves to get hallmark cards. I take such a long time picking out a card. I just love to find a card with just the perfect message. But, If I put that card inside an envelope with my just my name signed on someone else’s words… how much would it really mean to the person I’m giving it to? It means the most when it is personalized. Those pre-written words are great, but what really matters to the receiver of that card is what you write with your own hand from your own heart. I think this applies to worship. God loves to hear us sing his praise, but if all we ever do is sing words written by someone else, it is like signing your name to a card, but never saying it with your own mouth. What God cherishes is for us to tell Him how we really feel. He wants us to sing a NEW song because of the marvelous things He has done. Tell Him how wonderful, and amazing, and beautiful He is to us using our own words, and prayers, and actions on a daily basis.

“God is to be praised with the voice, and the heart should go therewith in holy
exultation.”
Charles H. Spurgeon

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Hebrews 13:15 

Worship is more than a song.

“The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service.”  Billy Graham

When I think about worship, it is not just a Sunday morning occurrence. I think about my whole life. I think about how and if my whole life is honoring to God. Every job you work, every choice you make, every person you meet, every smile or word of encouragement is an act of worship to God. The following are definitions of “worship”: a. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object. b. To honor and love as a deity. c. To regard with ardent or adoring esteem or devotion. It is from the old English term which means “to ascribe worth.” Who is more worthy than God? There is surely more than just songs to ascribe worth to someone who is so amazing.

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. Psalms 29:2

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; I Chronicles 16:29

True worship is born in obedience. To “worship” God without obeying Him in your everyday life is not worship at all. In our personal relationships, we all know that words-actions= nothing. Do we not think God feels the same? God wants not just our lips but our whole selves. This is really how God KNOWS that we love Him: not only when we SAY, but when we DO– when we obey. Of course there is no sense in singing about giving Him your all, and trusting Him completely and then not putting stock in how he advises to live. That is what faith really means, after all.

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 1 John 5:3

Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. 1 John 3:24 

Worshipping God is telling others about Him. Confessing the name of Jesus in a “worship” service is easy.  Confessing Jesus to your non believing co-workers, family and friends is a different matter for most Christians.  The Lord would rather have your obedience to preach the Gospel and disciple all nations than to have your “sacrifice of praise” on Sunday morning. “To obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22) He also expects you to live that worship out in real life.

“Who will deny that true religion consists, in a great measure, in vigorous and lively actings of the inclination and will of the soul, or the fervent exercises of the heart? That religion which God requires, and will accept, does not consist in weak, dull, and lifeless, wishes, raising us but a little above a state of indifference.” Jonathan Edwards

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and TRUTH, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

He is Creator, Redeemer, Provider, Healer, Deliverer, King, Friend, Keeper of hearts, and Savior of souls. He is wonderful, beautiful, loving, gracious, and faithful. Who is more worthy of our devotion to not only worship Him with our mouths, but with our hearts, and with our lives? How could we, being so unworthy, really adequately ascribe worth to such a holy, magnificent God other than to offer Him our lives and every part of us? My highest goal and desire is to give Him all, all of my worship, all of my praise, and all of my life.

He is worthy.

“Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self—in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.”  C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1

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My Music Mondays {Lauren Talley}

There people who can sing… and then there are people who can SING. Lauren Talley is one of those people. Along with performing with her family, The Talley Trio, Lauren has an extensive solo career and has recorded four solo albums. Her latest, Songs In The Night, also accompanies her first book of the same title. Her voice is rich and powerful, and this song is one of my favorites.

It is easy to forget just who we are. It is easy to forget just how hopless our lives were before Jesus. He really gave everything He had to us. Everything that we could not attain on our own, everything that we did not possess, He gave to us in return for our brokenness. And when we think about who He is… righteous, holy, royal.. it should break our hearts that He did for us what He did. How could it ever be? Listen to this song and be thankful for the gift of God that gave us life. It is not about me and it is not about you.. or what we do.  It is about Jesus, and what He has done. What love divine? He have His life for mine.

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15 

Visit Lauren’s website here.

His Life for Mine by Lauren Talley and the Talley Trio

and you call yourself a Christian?

Titus 2:10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

If you and I are to call ourselves “Christians”, by the VERY name of Christ, then you and I have a tremendous responsibility. The bravest most important task that anyone could have laid upon them. We are an example to the entire world. We represent the one thing that set this world in motion, that the galaxies are strung upon, and that is the thread of meaning throughout all of human history. Every single one of us is an employee of the Gospel called to adorn ourselves with it, and be an example of the light of Christ.

Every person we come in contact with we can have an impact on.

The world is looking at you. They are watching. What is the first thing a person notices about you? Well, in my case, they notice I am a woman. You might be a man, I’ll get to you. Either way, the very FIRST thing someone takes note of is your gender. I am called to be an example to the world of what a woman should be. This is a big responsibility. You are an example of the entire female race. There are so many bad examples of women out there. The entire world is telling you what you are as a woman, and God is telling you something else. The world tells you that you are a worth little more than your physical appearance, and what you do with, and how you present your body. However, God tells you that you are beautiful, loved, cherished, and holy. Your body is not a fish hook, designed to bait men and manipulate their emotions and actions. Your body is designed by God for His purposes to be used only to glorify Him.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

As a man, the world tells you that you are little more than your instinctual desires. You desire money? You should have it. You desire women? Take them. You desire power? Get it for yourself. God sees you in a different light. He sees you as wealthy in heavenly riches. He has designed ONE woman specifically for you to win, and cherish, and keep forever. He has given you the power of the Gospel to proclaim to the world. He has made you to be more than conquerers in the battle of the ages for men’s souls. He says you are loved, and brave, and powerful in Him.

So, you can either chose what the world is telling you to be OR you can chose to be an example of a what God has actually made us to be. Only the latter will ever satisfy.

So, first people will notice your gender, but secondly, people will notice that you are a Christian. If people speak to you or are around you for long enough, they will notice you are different. They SHOULD notice you are different. You have been called by God to a different standard. Separated out of the world, and to God. You are an example of what a Christian is to the people in your life. That is not a title to take lightly. If you SAY you are a Christian and live  like the devil, it is worse than not saying anything at all. With your actions, you can turn people away from God. You can be responsible for people either saying, “Yes, I want what they have,” or saying, “No, there is no need for God in my life.” The things we do while claiming the name of Christ are a big deal to a Holy God. He has saved you, and set you apart for His purposes.

This seems like a whole lot of responsibility. Well, it is.

How are we supposed to accomplish this? By training, and training hard.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

We need to take responsibility for our own training. Know God. Get close to him by reading the Bible for yourself. Listen to pastors and teachers. Read books by authors who are known and respected by the Christian community. Educate yourself. It is hard work. You do not train by simply going to church. That is only a small part of your training. There is so much you need to do in taking responsibility for your own training to be a successful Christian man or woman.

Matthew 5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

I have said this before, but the men and women of the Bible did not have anything more than we have today. We probably even have more. We have the Bible completed in full, and so so many resources to learn from. We have the same God they did, and we can have the same boldness, confidence, and power that they did to accomplish the task that is set before us.

Think about how effective just ONE person was throughout history. Now, imagine if we all do our part. If we all take responsibility for our own stuff, we can be the role models that the world is really looking for. Forget hollywood, forget the media. The Christians ought to be what people aspire to be like. Good, and loving, and giving, and preaching Christ, and glorifying God. That is what we were set apart for. Let the gravity of this reality sink in. It is the biggest responsibility in the history of the world, and I can think of no braver endeavor.

My Music Mondays {Britt Nicole}

This song makes me cry every time. Sometimes I get so focused on the here and now. Sometimes I get so caught up in my current situation and today’s struggles, that I forget. We do. We forget that God has been there throughout so much in our lives, and when we truly look back and are able to see everything that God has brought us through, it might make our situation seem not so big…. or maybe it gives us a little more faith to carry on and trust Him more.

If you are human,  you know that sometimes our faith and trust in God can slip. Until it slaps us in the face that God really has been there all this time. In every pain and every struggle, He has brought us through. We owe everything to Him. It is really humbling to think about how God cares for us, and heals us. Whatever your situations were, however hard they may have been or might be, you are not alone. God is there, and you can trust Him. He will never fail you. If you haven’t in the past, trust Him now… and one day, you can look back and say…. “You’ve been walking with me all this time.”

All this time by Britt Nicole