Christianity 201

February 18, 2019

God is Exalted When He is Entreated

Take an extra 30 seconds to continue the title I posted above for today’s post. At first I wasn’t sure about this, but once you’re clear where the writer is going it’s a really amazing consideration.

The writer of the blog My Morning Meal, Peter Corak is appearing here for the fourth time and it’s really good fit for our Sunday Worship series. As usual, click the header below to read this at its original source.

Moses Worshiped When Moses Asked

It was over. That holy, sacred, once in a lifetime encounter of the divine kind had ceased. The goodness of God has passed before Moses. The cloud had descended. The name of the LORD had been proclaimed. From the protection of the cleft of the rock the glory of God had appeared, the back of God had been seen. God’s light had shone and then was gone. His voice had declared and then was silent. It was over. And Moses felt He needed to respond . . . Immediately!

And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Your inheritance.”

(Exodus 34:8-9 ESV)

Moses had asked Jehovah to see His glory (33:18) and the Existing One complied. Big ask. Even bigger answer. You’d think that would have been the end of the asking. Nope! Moses continued to petition. Asked for three things: 1) go in our midst; 2) pardon our sin; 3) take us for Your own. In essence, fulfill Your promise.

And here’s what grabbed me about Moses’ continuing supplication. It was worship.

Hearing the voice cease, knowing the LORD was passing on, Moses hastily went facedown lest he lose the favorable opportunity before him. He bowed and he begged. And I think, “Wait a minute. Asking isn’t worshiping. I know the prayer model. ACTS … Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. I’ve been warned about going too quickly to my requests. That I need to work up to it, acknowledge first who God is before I ask Him for what I want. TACO … Thanksgiving, Adoration, Confession, Others.”

Wait just a minute! Moses worshiped when Moses asked? Apparently.

Moses saw the glory of God. He was there. Not quite face to face, but back to face, and that’s pretty close. And before it was over, Moses prostrated himself and pled his case. And it was worship.

I get the warnings about being so consumed with supplication that we forget who we are supplicating before. I’m a proponent of being still and knowing He is God before monopolizing the conversation with all that I desire God do. But this morning I’m also reminded that God is exalted when He is entreated.

Our ask is acknowledging His ability to answer. Our meager prayers offered only because we know His majestic power. Our supplications and desires to the Father, a pronouncement of faith that, through the cross, He has made us His sons and daughters.

And when that ask is for more of His presence so that we might be more His people, it is worship of the highest degree. We who were once in rebellion now pleading for deeper relationship. We who once had gone our own way, now asking that He would show us increasingly His way. We who once thought we could do life on our own, now seizing the opportunity to cry out, “Lord, I need You!” And in that, God is worshiped.

Sometimes we’re gonna go straight to “S” and bypass “ACT”. And when that is done with heads bowed and hearts lifted it is worship.

Worship by the grace of God. Worship for the glory of God.

 

 

 

March 18, 2018

Your Voice Should Be Recognized in Heaven

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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Today’s devotional is from the Prevailing Family Network site, based in Lagos, Nigeria, Africa. It was slightly edited for flow. Click the title below to read at source:

Personal Praise

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. – Psalm 103, NIV

I just want to make two points points in this message.

The first point is this: It is important we understand that our worship to God is personal, God sees us as individuals in the place of worship. Each of us is expected to come to a point God will say, ‘That’s James worshiping… oh, Johnson is praying now… that’s Jane praising me’ in other words, your voice should be recognized in heaven.

Sometimes we think like how can God have my time when there are billions of people in the world? Of course He does have time for each of us, in a church of one million members in attendance God recognizes the voice of each one, the story of Cain and Abel confirms what I am sharing here. It is important you realize that as we gather to worship or worship personally God is waiting to hear your voice.

The second point is this: It is important you realize and acknowledge what God has done for you. Don’t allow the thought of the things God has not done overwhelm your heart to the point that you forget His goodness; rather thinking of His goodness will give you reasons to bless the Lord.

The psalmist considered this absolutely important so he spoke to his soul, ‘Bless the Lord, o my soul‘ he enumerated good great things God has done for him. God has been good to everyone include you, no matter what you’re going through now, if you think deeply you will realize the goodness of the Lord.

I know you still have questions to ask God, questions like; why am I going through this? Why me? In the midst of your challenges and trials God is still good, and as you worship Him continually, He is committed to walking you out of the tempest storms.

God bless you, do have a praise-ful week.

PRAYER.
* Lord whatever will make you reject my praise please remove it.
* Your praise will not depart from my mouth.


We have two worship songs that were suggested by today’s reading. The first one was just presented here three weeks ago, but fits so well we’re repeating it with a slightly remixed version. The next one appears for the first time.

December 9, 2013

Swimming Against the Current

Oswald ChambersI’m always amazed at the number of people who have never heard of what is probably the most enduring devotional resource, My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Many years ago a bookseller named James Reiman undertook to rewrite the entire book in more modern language, so that the type of sentence construction employed all those years ago wouldn’t be a barrier to people getting to the depth and riches of the material.

Two years ago we ran a few Oswald Chambers Quotations, and you can read a short biography of him here, and also at Wikipedia. It’s worth noting that Chambers never “wrote” My Utmost, rather, after his death his wife, who was a stenographer, transcribed notes from his talks.

The sample devotionals below are from the website utmost.org and are the readings for yesterday and today. Click the calendar page on the site for the permanent links to each.  In titling today’s thoughts, I was thinking in terms not of the evil in the world, but in the world’s definition of goodness which can trip us up at a more subtle level.

 

The Opposition of the Natural

Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires Galatians 5:24

The natural life itself is not sinful. But we must abandon sin, having nothing to do with it in any way whatsoever. Sin belongs to hell and to the devil. I, as a child of God, belong to heaven and to God. It is not a question of giving up sin, but of giving up my right to myself, my natural independence, and my self-will. This is where the battle has to be fought. The things that are right, noble, and good from the natural standpoint are the very things that keep us from being God’s best. Once we come to understand that natural moral excellence opposes or counteracts surrender to God, we bring our soul into the center of its greatest battle.

Very few of us would debate over what is filthy, evil, and wrong, but we do debate over what is good. It is the good that opposes the best. The higher up the scale of moral excellence a person goes, the more intense the opposition to Jesus Christ. “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh . . . .” The cost to your natural life is not just one or two things, but everything. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself. . .” (Matthew 16:24). That is, he must deny his right to himself, and he must realize who Jesus Christ is before he will bring himself to do it. Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence.

The natural life is not spiritual, and it can be made spiritual only through sacrifice. If we do not purposely sacrifice the natural, the supernatural can never become natural to us. There is no high or easy road. Each of us has the means to accomplish it entirely in his own hands. It is not a question of praying, but of sacrificing, and thereby performing His will.

The Impartial Power of God

By one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified Hebrews 10:14

We trample the blood of the Son of God underfoot if we think we are forgiven because we are sorry for our sins. The only reason for the forgiveness of our sins by God, and the infinite depth of His promise to forget them, is the death of Jesus Christ. Our repentance is merely the result of our personal realization of the atonement by the Cross of Christ, which He has provided for us. “. . . Christ Jesus . . . became for us wisdom from God–and righteousness and sanctification and redemption . . .” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Once we realize that Christ has become all this for us, the limitless joy of God begins in us. And wherever the joy of God is not present, the death sentence is still in effect.

No matter who or what we are, God restores us to right standing with Himself only by means of the death of Jesus Christ. God does this, not because Jesus pleads with Him to do so but because He died. It cannot be earned, just accepted. All the pleading for salvation which deliberately ignores the Cross of Christ is useless. It is knocking at a door other than the one which Jesus has already opened. We protest by saying, “But I don’t want to come that way. It is too humiliating to be received as a sinner.” God’s response, through Peter, is, “. . . there is no other name . . . by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). What at first appears to be heartlessness on God’s part is actually the true expression of His heart. There is unlimited entrance His way. “In Him we have redemption through His blood . . .” (Ephesians 1:7). To identify with the death of Jesus Christ means that we must die to everything that was never a part of Him.

God is just in saving bad people only as He makes them good. Our Lord does not pretend we are all right when we are all wrong. The atonement by the Cross of Christ is the propitiation God uses to make unholy people holy.

 

August 11, 2013

Arriving at the Truth

As curator of this devotional blog, my personal Bible study time is often spent interacting with the various sources that end up here each day. But my morning kicks off with a visit to Daily Encouragement, the website of workplace chaplains Stephen & Brooksyne Weber. Here’s one they posted on Friday; you’re encouraged to read it at its original home: Always Learning.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player

“Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7).

We surely live in the most “educated” period in human history. The other night I heard a young man being interviewed who, like so many, was having a hard time getting a job following his graduation from college. He referred to his generation as being the most “academically qualified” in comparison to all previous generations. Now it is my observation that a greater percentage have additional education and even many advanced degrees but certainly this does not necessarily lead to a knowledge of the truth. In fact for many it has shattered their faith in the truth of the Bible.

Always learning can be a commendable trait whether young or old but of infinitely greater importance is coming to the knowledge of the truth!

Today’s Bible text is from Paul’s second letter to Timothy. He is writing of conditions in the last days in which he describes as perilous.

Among the conditions of people’s hearts is deception. Among the characteristics of both deceivers and the deceived is that they are “always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Another version states, “always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.”  Could it be that the philosophy of their day was much like ours now – make truth relative so that it conforms to our preferred outlook and resulting lifestyle, rather than accepting truth as originated from Holy Scriptures and conforming to its absolutes.

Information abounds as well as the means to acquire it. Just consider what the internet has done regarding the accessibility of information. The Amplified Bible translates this verse, “They are forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth.”  I believe the emphasis and capitalization of “Truth” is significant. Paul is not merely speaking in a general sense as to what is true and what is not, but rather the supreme truth of God’s revelation in Christ.  So many, many are indeed always learning and attaining knowledge without coming to the knowledge of this truth.

In the first two chapters of Romans we have three responses to the truth: suppression, exchange, and disobedience (1:18,25;2:8).  My, these are surely responses that abound in our day.

May it be said of us in regard to our response to the truth that we are learning and fully acknowledging the Truth.  If we are doing so we will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! (see 2 Peter 3:18)

Daily prayer: Father, You grant us access to Your presence through Your Son, Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. As we come into personal relationship with Him we begin to know the Truth that sets us free from the deceit and lies of Satan. Help us to faithfully engraft Your Word into our hearts so that we will filter all that we see, hear and read to find what You, the Source and very Essence of truth have to say to our hearts. Help us to conform to Your will in all matters.  Amen.


Technical matters: Online readers and subscribers are invited to comment on the change we’ve made in the last couple of days from setting these readings in bold type to posting them in regular type. Is the copy more readable? Less so?

Leave a comment or contact at searchlight [at] nexicom [dot] net.


I’ve really enjoyed being on Twitter since late March. It’s not about anything I have to say but about some great people I get to follow. Here are few recent things and who said them:

Chris Seay@PastorChrisSeay

I believe that God can redeem all things, and that what is broken, God fixes. He uses his people and church, to restore all things broken.

John S. Dickerson@JohnSDickerson

“Jesus takes broken folks..to show the world that he is amazing. He doesn’t need celebrities to do that.”

Louie Giglio@louiegiglio 

He who walks with God has arrived.

Jonathan Thompson@pastorJon_T

“People often get upset when you teach them what is in the Bible rather than what they presume is in the Bible.” ~ NT Wright”

Ravi Zacharias@RaviZacharias

“The God of faith is mercifully shown as one who draws near…” – Jill Carattini

Kyle Idleman@KyleIdleman 

Psalm 119:11 – … I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Randy Alcorn@randyalcorn

“For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us” (Isaiah 33:22).

Pastor Jim Cymbala@jimcymbala

Breakthrough prayer isn’t born out of an “I should pray today” attitude but, instead, out of an “I must have God’s help” frame of mind.

Lee Grady@LeeGrady

“You are to love one another not because of the gain you get from one another but because of the good you can do to one another.” –Spurgeon

 

August 4, 2013

Prayer as a form of Praise

Today’s devotional is from the website TruthForLife.org, the Bible teaching ministry of Alistair Begg. It’s actually an excerpt from a book the ministry is offering this month, Created to Praise by Derek Prime. You’re encouraged to read this at source, and then click around to explore the rest of the ministry website, including other excerpts from the book.

Worship 5Praise is prayer. When I lift up my heart to God to praise Him, I talk to Him and commune with Him. Prayer is not all asking. As Thomas Watson, the seventeenth-century Puritan, quaintly put it, “Many have tears in their eyes, and complaints in their mouth, but few have harps in their hand, blessing and glorifying God. Let us honor God this way. Praise is the quit-rent we pay to God: while God renews our lease, we must renew our rent.”

Prayer itself is praise

To pray to God is to praise Him. In prayer – even when I am not specifically praising God by spending time thinking about one of His attributes – I am acknowledging God as the One who is supremely worthy of my trust, and uniquely powerful to help me.

Let’s imagine that I contract a serious illness. My own doctor declares himself unable to advise or help, but recommends specialists who may be able to assist. After much enquiry and searching, I hear of a leading specialist in the relevant field of medicine and immediately I place myself in his hands. Now, without my uttering any compliments to him, my action constitutes praise of the doctor concerned. My trust in him indicates my assessment of his competence and worth.

Or imagine that I want to go to a concert one evening. I peruse the advertisements and there are a number of concerts from which to choose. I discover, however, that a celebrated violinist is playing, and in choosing to go to his concert rather than the others, I give him a form of unspoken praise.

True prayer is in itself part of our praise of God. We go to Him in a way we go to no one else. He is able to help us as no one else can. His ability surpasses that of all whom we know. Furthermore, in prayer we submit ourselves to God’s will – we pray “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10) as the foundation of all our other prayers. By our acknowledgement that God’s will is best, we praise God indirectly for His infinite and perfect wisdom.

I remember a father sharing with me, with considerable joy, how his daughter, in her middle twenties, had come into his study one evening and poured out to him her distress over a personal relationship which had gone wrong. His pleasure was not, of course, in his daughter’s distress, but in the fact that she felt so assured of his love and concern that she could unburden herself freely and find relief through his understanding. Without saying a word about him, she was nevertheless praising him as a father – she was acknowledging what a good father she knew him to be. When we pour out our hearts to God in prayer, in a way we can do with no one else, we are praising God, we are telling Him what an incomparably good Father we know He is.

Derek Prime

Read another excerpt from the book at this link.  Derek is also the author of
On Being a Pastor and Directions for Christian Living. The new book, Created to Praise is published by Christian Focus Publications