Worship… A follow up to The Threshold

Posted: March 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

Yes… this is a same day blog… answering to the last blog I wrote.  Earlier I was typing the blog through coughs and through tears.  Tonight I type through coughs and open eyes to the truth before me.  People are rooting for us and praying for us all over and we are so grateful for that.  We are also very thankful for our family here in Colorado of whom we love as well as blood family in Texas.  In Emmaus we can just hug it all out and no side hugs are prohibited, (Ha) or they can be awkward, but at the same time we have love and encouragement through each other in our community of faithful followers.  I assure you there is nothing better than sitting down and talking with people that want to follow the Lord.  There is nurturing and accountability to be had and we are building relationships so that it may happen.  That is not what this blog is about though.

This blog is about the fact that it seems like everything has been crazy and almost out of control. To make sure that people do not take the last blog out of proportion and go all the way over to thinking we are on the edge of collapse I must write this blog.  In the last blog I said, “If the next breath comes in cough, or sneeze, deep, or shallow I know that He gave it to me.  That’s all I got now because that is all He has given me…. but that is enough because that is His plan and I will surrender.”  There is a huge statement that is so strong to make.  When Joy and I decided that God’s will was here in Denver we came… hell or high water.  We decided that all the stress in the world was worth it if we were walking in His light.  We initially thought the move would be hard and it was hard.  We knew coming into this that coming to the Mile High City meant there would be spiritual battle.  We knew that emotions would run high and we also knew that there would be incredible hard times that we may pass through.  You can only think about these things and expect them but it isn’t the same as going through them.  I hope you are catching what I am throwing at you because this is going to be great.

Because the times seem so obviously out of my control, my pride has been stripped and I have been led into a marriage and a move where I can only pray for God’s provision.  Because God has repeatedly shown us that His will was for us to be here, we have persevered to see His Glory being displayed in others.  Can we become discouraged?  Most definitely as humans we can become discouraged. It’s not a Godly thing in this instance, but we are simply just like everyone else right?  That is the lamest excuse for falling into a lie from the evil one.  The truth is that we lapsed in our thoughts and our focus.  Daily there is a reminder in Romans 8 of the hope that comes in the end.  The only true hope is Jesus and it is displayed with how all of the earth cries out for its freeing of bondage and ,”not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”  Everything evolves around the redemption of our Lord and the glory and splendor of His name.  So where is the worship in our situation?  The worship is in the last part of the quote that I said, “that is all He has given me… but that is enough because that is His plan and I will surrender.”  According to Piper’s sermon all the way back in 1981 I believe this was spot on.  We are not quitting or stopping in our efforts to serve Him.  I now have to come clean and say that the sin of pride has led me many times into a grip of fear and anxiety.  This has at times seemed to almost paralyze my walk with God and possible steps of faith He has asked me to take.  I prayed for a long time about this and we are here now trying to live in faith and there seems to be no end of hardships that may come our way.  Lets take a look though.  God has not let me down in my prayer.  God grew my faith and helped me walk with Him enough to quit my  job and move here amidst all the other stuff going on (within 2 months of Joy’s graduation and less than a month from our wedding).  Sickness has been hard and not having a job or income was harder.  These all take faith and a step backwards in pride. The Lord has provided glimpses of His glory through small things and I have been able to smell the roses.  It comes down to worship.  The Lord has proven that He takes care of His own and that so far my prayers have been answered.  So why stop living in faith now?  Its easy to say… but human nature sucks.  That is why I am just going to fight every day as my act of worship to walk with Him and pray for the faith that I need.  I know that walking through this is going to be insane, just like the rest of my future.  But for once I am going to take the light in a dim place and use it to walk through.  I will glorify Him in the meek and feeble character that I have.  I will stand up only because He gives me the armor to go into battle.  I will do all of this and lead my wife in the same viewpoint because, as my act of worship, that is how I glorify Him in the most and the highest.  In essensce I am begging for help from Him to help me because this is a new step.

__________As Piper said in the sermon, “Worship involves an act of reflecting back to God in praise the glories emanating from his presence…..When God says, “In vain do they worship me,” or, “with their lips they honor me,” he implies that worship can be thought of as a series of acts or words that are performed in obedience to biblical commands or liturgical tradition. Worship throughout biblical history always involved action. The main word for worship in biblical Hebrew means “to bow down.” Worship was performed in bowing, lifting the hands, kneeling, singing, praying, reciting Scripture, etc. All this can be called worship. But all this can also be done when the heart is far from God…….Those two different experiences correspond to two different senses in which we use the word “worship.” The one is a series of activities performed by the body and mind. The other is an experience of the heart which may or may not find outward expression. It seems clear to me that when the Bible commands us to worship, it is not commanding us to honor God with our lips while our heart is far from him. When David says, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2). 

Now let’s be specific. What are these feelings that make the outward acts of worship authentic? What are the feelings toward God that turn learned forms into genuine worship? For a sampling of the extraordinary, rich emotional responses in worship, we do best to look into the world’s richest book of worship, the book of Psalms. Some of the highest worship begins with the feeling of brokenness and contrition and grief for sin.

“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17). “I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin”(Psalm 38:18). Mingled with the feeling of genuine contrition is the feeling of longing or desire. “As a hart longs for the flowing streams, so longs my soul for thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:12). “Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:2526). Also mingled with our sense of sin and our longing for his mercy is the feeling of fear and awe before the holiness and magnitude of God. “I will worship toward thy holy temple in the fear of thee” (Psalm 5:7). “Let all the earth fear the Lord, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him” (Psalm 33:8). And as he approaches, forgiving all our iniquity, crowning us with honor, satisfying us with good (Psalm 103:3–5), our hearts well up with the feeling of gratitude. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him, and bless his name!” (Psalm 100:4). And mingled with our gratitude are the feelings of joy andhope. “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart” (Psalm 32:11). “Why are you downcast, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God” (Psalm 42:5).

These are examples of some of the feelings that come from God and move us to God in genuine worship: contrition, sorrow, longing, desire, fear, awe, gratitude, joy, hope. When these feelings are quickened, the heart is no longer far from God. Worship is no longer lip-service. It is genuine and authentic.”__________

So with that said, as an act of worship I am going to walk through my life knowing that He has ordained this situation to happen.  I will be vigilant to walk in His light and work for Him through all this junk.  Will you work through your life in the same way?  Our will for true worship through our life is completely based on glorifying Him in the highest and letting Him give us strength in our weaknesses.  Our will to worship Him will always be a battle of our flesh and humanistic fallacies, but we can know that His grace and mercies are more than enough for us as we walk down the road.  So when going into a mode that is hurtful and seems like it won’t pass over I must notice, “If the next breath comes in cough, or sneeze, deep, or shallow I know that He gave it to me.  That’s all I got now because that is all He has given me…. but that is enough because that is His plan and I will surrender.”  That breath is all I need to worship Him and til the last one that He gives I will do so through His power and His grace being displayed in my life.  I hope I explained that well and without a complete narrative.  I’m just trying to live as He is leading me to and I realize that its time to let control slip my mind.  Lord forgive me for my pride and my selfishness of trying to act as god in my own life.  I’m not God, I’m not in control so please let me fall on my knees before you each day.


excerpts from the John Piper sermon:

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org



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