Posts Tagged ‘worship’

More reminders: Be holy

January 10, 2017

1-peter-1-15-16

Taken from the Amplified Bible Classic Edition, the Verse of the Day for January 10, 2017 offers more reminders of exactly how Christian believers show conduct their lives:

1 Peter 1:15-16:

But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living. For it is written, you shall be holy, for I am holy.

Exactly what does it mean to be holy? Simply put, to be holy is to be separated, set apart, sanctified, and dedicated to the glory of God Almighty.  Throughout the Scriptures God reveals the ultimate purpose for His creation: worship and adoration. The lyrics to this song remind us:

We were made to worship You.

We were made to worship You.

Raise our hands and lift our voice,

Sing Your praise and make a joyful noise.

In everything we say and do

We were made to worship You.

 

We were made to worship You.

We were made to worship You.

We were created for Your glory:

Every page of our life’s story.

Every fiber of our being

Gives our life its fullest meaning.

In everything we say and do

We were made to worship You.

We were made to worship You.

Prior to the release of the Children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, Moses told Pharaoh repeatedly, “Let My people go, so that they may worship Me.” After their escape from captivity, Moses reminds God’s people: “For I am the Lord Who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God; therefore you shall be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:45)

In the Old Testament everything associated with worship was to be “holy,” separated and set apart and dedicated specifically for the service of God: animals, vessels and instruments; those who offered sacrifices as an expression of worship; even the very place where the presence of God abided was known as “the most holy place,” the “holy of holies.”

In a similar manner, as believers we are to separate ourselves and make a commitment to be holy in our conduct and manner of living, in everything we do. We are to live our lives in holiness that we might be pleasing unto God who commands that we be holy.

Paul speaks of the believer’s former position prior to Christ in light of how one should conduct oneself after accepting Christ as savior:

Romans 6:19 (NLT):

Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy

A similar exhortation is found in 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NLT):

Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.

In thinking about the phrase “be holy as I am holy,” I recall the slogan, “Be all that you can be,” catchphrase of the recruiting campaign for the US Army. As believers, members of the Body of Christ, we are to be all that we were designed to be, that we might fulfill our ultimate purpose in the Lord who has blessed us as believers, so magnificently expressed in Ephesians 1:3-5 (AMPC):

May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm!

Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.

For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [[a]because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]—

We close with a familiar hymn to remind us of the commitment that it takes to live in holiness: we must “Be Ye Holy”:

 

Got to serve somebody: Whom will you serve?

November 8, 2015

Joshua 24v15

The Verse of the Day for November 8, 2015 is taken from Joshua 24:15 (NLT):

But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

The Holman Christian Standard Bible also offers another rendering that is especially meaningful:

Joshua 24:15

But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshipped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.”

The King James Version of Joshua 24:15 asks questions as to whom the Children of Israel will serve. In actuality, Joshua is asking whom will they worship, for to serve is to worship, and to worship is to serve. A recent Verse of the Day focused on Romans 12:1, which speaks of offering our bodies as “a living sacrifice,” which is our reasonable service, or as the Amplified Bible puts it: “which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” Indeed, service = worship.

From that previous blog entry comes the following comment which also has application to today’s Verse of the Day: “Another expression of worship involves doing or serving, as we follow God’s command and make a sacrifice to do His will, to serve Him alone.”

Each day God sets before us the choice: will we choose the path that leads to life everlasting, as we choose to follow the Lord and serve only Him? Or will we choose the path that leads to destruction and choose to serve other gods. The daily choice that confronts us also brought to mind this poem:

Choices, Chances, and the Changes We Make

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed

by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is

that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2 (New King James Version)

As we journey life’s highway, we all must make a choice:

To follow the path that leads to life or the way of death.

The Lord says choose life, but we must give heed to His voice

And follow the path of life each day that we draw breath.

Each day we can remain where we are or take a chance

And open up to release what we have and to give,

As we determine whether we diminish or enhance.

Only when we give in love do we begin to live.

God’s Word encourages us to be transformed, to change.

As butterflies emerge in beauty, our lives unfold.

From death to life, beauty for ashes God will exchange.

For those who walk uprightly, nothing good will He withhold.

Life is the sum of choices and chances, risks we take,

Not to be conformed but transformed by the changes we make.

I recall a popular song from the seventies in which the inimitable Bob Dylan made a profound statement that “You got to serve somebody . . . it may be the Devil, it may be the Lord, but you got to serve somebody.” Just as the question was raised by Joshua when he confronted the Israelites, as they prepared to enter the Promised Land, so the question is raised to believers today, “Whom are you going to serve or worship this day?” Like Joshua we also need to be resolute in our bold response, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

That commitment is powerfully expressed in this video by John Waller: “As for Me and My House:”

The sacrifice God desires: A living sacrifice

October 30, 2015

Romans_12-1The Verse of the Day for October 29, 2015 is taken from Romans 12:1 in the Amplified Bible:

[ Dedicated Service ] Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.

Bible scholar E.W. Bullinger points out that the first time that a particular word is used in the Bible marks its significance and importance when studying the word. Such is the case with the word “worship” which is first mention in the account where Abraham prepares to take his son, Isaac, and offer him as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah in Genesis 22:5 (Amplified Bible):

Abraham said to his servants, “Settle down and stay here with the donkey; the young man and I will go over there and worship [God], and we will come back to you.”

We are familiar with what occurs when the voice of the Lord speaks and intervenes, sparing Isaac’s life. This first usage of worship indicates that God does not desire human sacrifices. The Psalmist declares that God does not delight in sacrifice, that He is not pleased with burnt offering, but that He delights in sacrifices of righteousness (Psalm 51)

When we think of worship we recall the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. In a discussion about the place of worship, the Lord spoke these words:

John 4:23-25 (NKJV):

God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth:

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

One expression of worship involves our offering praise and thanksgiving unto God, that is the “sacrifice of praise . . . the fruit of our lips,” whereby we declare that He is worthy of our worship and adoration. The Alleluia Singers offer an illustration of this kind of worship in “We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise.”

Another expression of worship involves doing or serving, as we follow God’s command and make a sacrifice to do His will, to serve Him alone. We recognize that to obey God is better than to sacrifice our lives in the same way that animals are sacrificed. God desires that each believers offer his or her life as a living sacrifice. In the closing stanza of “Stone upon Stone: A Psalm of Remembrance,” I describe twelve stones, representing milestones or accomplishments from my life over the years. In closing, I symbolically build an altar from these twelve stones and offer myself as an offering, echoing the words Romans 12:1

El–stone upon stone–Bethel–I build this altar.

In the center of this altar burns fire, white-hot

as the cloven tongues appearing at Pentecost,

a flaming fire, refueled by the oil of blessing,

this unction, anointing, ignited by the spark,

tabernacled in me twenty-six years ago;

consuming desire, empowered by the spirit,

seeking to forge with words, this joy unspeakable.

Enflamed with a new name and transformed to offer

all I am and all I ever hope to be

a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable,

a lively stone, known, read by all with eyes to see.

So I return to teach the meaning of these stones.

 El–stone upon stone I build this altar–Beth-el

A musical illustration of Romans 12:1 is “Take My Life—A Living Sacrifice”  by Chris Christian

The Verse of the Day reminds us of our “reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” Listen to the Romans 12-1-2 Song “A Living Sacrifice” (Christian Scripture Praise Worship Song with Lyrics:

Joshua 24:15: Whom will you worship?

November 8, 2013

Joshua 24v15

The Verse of the Day for November 8, 2013 is taken from Joshua 24:15. In this case, I found that Holman Christian Standard Bible offers another rendering that is especially meaningful:

But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.”

The King James Version of Joshua 24:15 asks questions as to whom the Children of Israel will serve. In actuality, Joshua is asking whom will they worship, for to serve is to worship, and to worship is to serve. Recently my Verse of the Day blog entry focused on Romans 12:1, which speaks of offering our bodies as “a living sacrifice,” which is our reasonable service, or as the Amplified Bible puts it: “which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” Indeed, service = worship.

I made the following comment which also has application to today’s Verse of the Day:

“Another expression of worship involves doing or serving, as we follow God’s command and make a sacrifice to do His will, to serve Him alone.”

I recall a popular song from the seventies in which the inimitable Bob Dylan made a profound statement that “You got to serve somebody . . . it may be the Devil, it may be the Lord, but you got to serve somebody.” Just as the question was raised by Joshua when he confronted the Israelites, as they prepared to enter the Promised Land, so the question is raised to believers today, “Whom are you going to serve or worship this day?” Like Joshua we also need to be resolute in our bold response, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

That commitment is powerfully expressed in this video by John Waller: “As for Me and My House:”