Christianity 201

October 29, 2017

Sunday Worship

For this week’s Sunday Worship column, we have a writer who is new to us, but part of the WordPress family. Peter Corak has been very faithfully writing devotionals at My Morning Meal since November, 2009. As always, click the title below to read this at source and then use the archives menu to find other material.

Seeker Friendly

I guess I don’t normally think of God as a seeker. Maybe that’s because I think of seekers as needing something and I don’t think of God as in need of anything. But while God has no need of anything, there are some things He desires. This morning I read of something the Father seeks. Of something that He’s actively pursuing–something, in a sense, He craves. Something, go figure, that I can provide.

“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.”   ~ Jesus   (John 4:23 ESV)

God is a seeker. And He seeks true worshipers to worship Him.

The woman tried to debate the Lord Jesus on the form of worship (John 4:19)– was it after the way of the Samaritans on Mt. Gerizim or more along the way of the Jews at Jerusalem. But Jesus didn’t engage in that conversation. He was more interested in the function of worship. The “where” and “what” of worship were secondary to the “how” and “heart” of worship. True worship, said Jesus, was worship offered in spirit and truth.

Authentic worship isn’t tied to the externals of rite and ceremony, but is sourced in the authenticity and sincerity of the inner man. Real worship is less about going through the motions than it is about something moving in and through us. Offerings sourced in the heart and then finding expression as the “sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name” (Heb. 13:15). True worship is worship in spirit.

True worship is also worship founded on truth, Jesus said. Not in shadows or types, which is what Jerusalem worship offered, but in the substance which those shadows and types pointed to. Yes, it is to be worship based upon sacrifice, but not the shed blood of lambs or goats. Instead, it’s to be adoration in response to the shed blood of the Lamb of God, come to take away the sin of the world.

What’s more, worship in truth is not worship offered from afar, carried by another into some cordoned off holy place. Rather, the worship God desires is to be personally, and transparently, brought before the throne of a thrice holy God by those declared to be believer priests, having been cleansed of their sin and robed in righteousness, through the power of the gospel. Able to bring their own offerings, as it were, into the very holy of holies, through the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Worship in truth is direct access worship.

People who worship in spirit. People who worship in truth. The Father seeks such people, true worshipers, to worship Him.

And so, in a sense, God is a seeker. And I ask myself, does God find in me what He’s looking for?

Am I Seeker friendly?

Oh, that my offerings would be sincere. That they would be sourced in thoughtful consideration of the One  I desire to worship. That they would be heartfelt. Brought with fervor before the One who is worthy of mindful and intentional sacrifices of praise. That I would resist slipping into an autopilot slumber with my thanksgiving. But that, instead, my worship would be the fruit of fully-engaged adoration–an expression of loving Him with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

That my offerings would be grounded in His word and His ways, enabled and powered by His Spirit. That I would resist the temptation to improvise and bring before the altar that which seems right to me. Rather, that my worship would be a response to the grace and truth found in the Savior. That the cross would ever be my “permission” to boldly approach the God who lives in unapproachable light.

Seeker friendly. That’s what I want to be.

By His grace. For His glory.

February 25, 2017

Five Aspects of God’s Glory

Today we return to catch up with Tanya Nemley who blogs at God Speaks I Listen. Click the title below to read this at its source, complete with graphics.

The Glory of God

First before I get into my thoughts and God’s word about this incredible topic of the Glory of God I want to say that my words are PITIFUL!!! Yes…really so pitiful that I almost don’t want to write this because of what Gods’ glory means. Compared to where He is and who He is what can I truly say? I’m glad I’m typing this because my lip can do His glorious majesty no justice!

Exodus 33:18,21-22 Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” Then God answered Moses:

But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” 21 Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.

God…”show me your glory” should be the prayers of us all! Why? Because when you have experienced the glory of God it will motivate you to want more of God. It will also motivate you to want others to see Gods glory through your life. Why else would God reveal any of His glory with us?

There are different aspects of God’s glory so let’s break it down:

  1. There’s His physical Glory or glory from His presence. Revelation 21:21-23   And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
  2. There is the glory that comes from what has been done as a result of His children’s obedience and living a righteous life. Ephesian 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
  3.  There’s the glory that comes from Gods creativity i.e. the universe, planets, and stars. Isaiah 6:3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  
  4. There is Glory that comes from God blessing His children with victories, miracles and answered prayers. John 11:4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
  5. There is glory that can give you strength when you are going through the absolute worst situation. Stephen is getting ready to be murdered.   Acts 7:55 But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;

God gets the glory for everything good and holy that emanates from Him and He gets all the glory for all good things on this earth! No one else is responsible for goodness. Only God has that kind of power and is power.

The word glory according to the dictionary means brilliance, radiance, honor, renowned, highly praiseworthy, fame, admiration or someone impressive. All of these terms don’t come anywhere close to describing God’s glory.

God’s glory is His perfection and His holiness. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 We fall short now because we can’t be 100% holy and perfect. This can only happen when we make the transition to heaven. In fact we will be in it!

God’s glory cannot be contained. The more I speak about this the more I feel I falling short.

As we learn more about the attributes of God such as His glory we will grow to know Him more. We always have to work on knowing Him because we can’t see Him. So ponder about the Glory of God.

Today I challenge you to pray the Moses prayer Exodus 33:18,21-22 Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” I pray that you experience the “Glory of God”!!!!!


Read more: Here’s another more topical article from the same author: Horoscopes and Mediums – Don’t Do It.

February 11, 2016

Vine Imagery in Scripture

This devotional content is Day 1 in Shelly Cramm’s 5-part series on BlueLetterBible.org titled “Garden Stories: Away from the Last Supper,” and is excerpted the NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible in which scripture mix with principles of maintaining a vineyard. Click the title below to read at source. The readings are not long, and you can easily do all 5 parts in about 15 minutes including time to click through to the Bible references.

Grapevine’s Intertwined History

John 15:1

“I am the true vine.”

 Genesis 49:22;

“Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.

Genesis 50:16-21;

16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

In using the grapevine as a metaphor, Jesus not only sharpened his disciples’ understanding of events to come, but drew upon a rich, deep heritage of the grapevine analogy in Israel’s history. Vitis vinifera, the grapevine, a member of the Vitaceae family, is a hardy and long-lived plant, extending roots deeply into most soil types. Preferring a Mediterranean climate with early spring rains, and little moisture on the flowers and fruits as they mature over summer, the vine will grow vigorously for generations. The grapevine pictures the establishing of a household’s prosperity, its nourishment, blessing and forgiveness intertwined throughout the Old Testament. Its particular characteristics of vivacity and need for pruning are vital in understanding God’s ways.

Grapevines are so full of enthusiasm and eagerness to grow that this is only the beginning — never let them get the upper hand; let them know from the very start that you are the boss. An annual pruning is essential and will maintain them in good health and vigor. — Louise Riotte, Growing Grapes and Berries, 1974

In Genesis we read that Joseph had the favor of his father Jacob over his sister and twelve brothers (Genesis 37:3). His father’s adoration grew Joseph’s confidence bordering on comeuppance. When he dreamed that his older siblings were bowing down to him, he used no discretion in telling them so (Genesis 37:5). He displayed “enthusiasm and eagerness,” noted by Louise Riotte in Growing Grapes and Berries, intrinsic to the grapevine. It would take many years and many pruning events — being sold into slavery (Genesis 37:28), thrown into prison (Genesis 39:20), and appointed to huge administrative responsibilities (Genesis 41:40) — to cut back and shape his ambition. Yet at the end of his life, Joseph bore the fruit of such pruning: Wisdom, humility, kindness, forgiveness and deep love of his family. Eventually, he did rule over his older brothers, a wise, benevolent and prudent leader. “Joseph was a fruitful vine” (Genesis 49:22), his father pronounced in his dying blessing.

Joseph’s forgiveness of his family foreshadows Jesus’ ultimate act of forgiveness; in the dark shadows of the crucifixion eve, moving away from the last supper, Jesus alluded to this great ancestor of forgiveness through the grapevine metaphor. In doing so, he prepared the disciples to endure his impending injustice and the trauma of losing their leader with the trusting wisdom that Joseph had spoken, as if to say, Remember, my friends, my Father will use what is intended to harm me for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20).

…continue to part twopart 3part 4part 5

January 25, 2016

God Calls Out: “Where are You?”

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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Something different today wherein a scripture medley is inter-woven with words God might speak to you*; followed by a prayer. We’ve highlighted the scriptures as we always do, but try to see this as a continuous flow. The writer, Jeremy Mark Lane is the author of Dearest Son and Dearest Daughter.

Click the title below to read. Then click “devotionals” to learn more about the books.

Dearest Son – Where are you?

Where are you? I called this out to the first man and I call it out to you now. Where are you?

But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” – Genesis 3: 9-10

You hide because your view of me is incomplete. You view me as Creator of all you see, Master of Heaven and Earth. You fear me as the Righteous Judge. Your mind tells you that I am the Lord.

You are correct – I am these things.

I am the God of the Universe.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  – Genesis 1:3

I am the God that builds nations.

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. – Genesis 12:2

I am the God that tolerates the worship of no other.

Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the LORD your God. – Leviticus 19:4

And I am so much more. Starting right now, I ask that you view me for all that I am.

My dearest son, I am your most Loving Father. You are my son. You do not realize it, but you are the son of the Most High King. You are royalty. I have waited as a patient Father for you to take your rightful place, my son, but I seek to wait no longer. I deeply desire to have a relationship with you. To spend time each day with the child I love so dearly. My heart aches for you. All of the questions you have, I will answer.

But first…I ask again.

Where are you?

Answer, “I am here, Father. I am here.”

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.  – 1 John 3:1

You need not hide from me ever again, my dearest son. You are loved.
PRAYER
 Father,

I know, until now, I have spent my life hiding from You. I was afraid. I was naked, exposed, with all of my mistakes and regrets and worries and problems and imperfections on display. I didn’t want You to see them. I didn’t want You to be disappointed in me. I didn’t want to discuss it. I was afraid of Your judgment.

Why would the Creator of all things tolerate my mess? I ran out of fear and shame. I have sought out other idols – things that I thought could bring me happiness, bring me purpose –  and I have chased after them. I have captured them and watched them turn to poison in my hands. I have so many questions for You. There are so many things I don’t understand.

I thank You for Your patience. And for Your love. I thank you for not giving up on me, though You’ve seen me at my worst. I realize now that there is no hiding from You. I understand that You know everything about me, and that you still deeply desire to have a relationship with me. To spend time with me every day. I understand that this is love. The love of my Father.

Thank you for who You are. I am here, Father. Amen.


*On my other blog, we’ve discussed the idea of writing as though God is speaking in the first-person, as it relates to a book which as topped the Christian bestseller lists for several years, and has proved controversial in some places. However, the approach is also used in other books, Come Away My Beloved, a classic by Frances Roberts, 66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb and a half dozen books in the His Princess series by Sheri Rose Shepherd; all of these without controversy.


Do you have a writer you’d like to suggest? Is there a Bible passage you’d like us to look into? Feel free to use the submissions/contact page.

October 21, 2015

Commit Before You Step Out

Life and God. Before You Take Another Step . . .

by Clarke Dixon

There is a God, but religion is for those who are into that kind of thing. Or so would say many people who go through life believing in God without much of an understanding of who God is. They believe that God exists with a kind of “there is Someone out there watching over us,” but as for being able to describe God, they would rather leave that for the fanatics. It is a bit like those who own a car, but leave the tinkering to the mechanic, or own a home, but leave the renovations to the handyman. As for knowing much about God, leave it to the pastors and Jesus-freaks. Leave it to the people who are “into” that kind of thing. But is this enough? Is wise to go through life with such an ambiguous sense of who God is and what God is like?

Following forty years of wandering in the desert, the people of God stand ready to enter the promised land. This is to be their next step, yet they are not quite ready just yet. Before they take this big step they must prepare their hearts and minds spiritually, which is why Moses gives a series of addresses, or sermons, which are collected together as the book of Deuteronomy. Part of what they need to hear is the following:

1 Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that the LORD your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy . . . You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:1,5 emphasis mine)

Before God’s people can take the next big step, they must commit to loving God with all they’ve got and with all that they are. The first thing to note is that it is very difficult to love someone in such a way if you don’t know them. And we should note that in this very verse, God has already made clear who it is they must love. It is “The LORD” that is to be loved. Whenever we encounter “The LORD” all in capitals in our English Bible translations we must understand that this is standing in place of the name God has given for Himself. This name is considered so holy that God’s people, especially among our friends in Jewish circles, do not dare pronounce it. So we say “the LORD” instead. The point is that this is not God in some generic sense that is to be loved. This is a very personal God who has revealed Himself, making Himself known, even by name. God’s people will not be taking another step without committing to loving this very God they are in relationship with. There is no ambiguity at all here about who God is.

Furthermore, this call to love is introduced with an emphasis on the identity of God:

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 emphasis mine)

In order to love the LORD, you must know the LORD. Notice that Moses does not say, “There is a God” which ends up being a rather vague statement, but rather and more specifically, “The LORD is our God.” And it is “the LORD alone” who is our God, not some other god. The identity of God is not in question for God’s people as they prepare for their next step. There is no ambiguity at all here about Who God is.

Furthermore, in knowing the Lord God’s people will fear the Lord:

1 Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that the LORD your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, 2 so that you and your children and your children’s children may fear the LORD your God all the days of your life. (Deuteronomy 6:1-2 emphasis mine)

You cannot fear, or give the highest reverence and honour to, God if you have an ambiguous idea of who God is. As they stood ready to enter the promised land, God’s people knew exactly whom they were to fear.

Furthermore, in fearing the LORD God’s people will obey the LORD:

1 Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that the Lord your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, 2 so that you and your children and your children’s children may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. (Deuteronomy 6:1-3 emphasis mine)

You cannot obey God if you have a vary vague notion of who God is. As they stood ready to enter the promised land God’s people knew exactly whom they were to obey, and what laws He had given.

Furthermore, in loving, knowing, fearing, and obeying the LORD, God’s people will commit to always readying the next generation for the same:

6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, 9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

You will be of no help to the next generation in learning to love, know, fear, and obey God if your knowledge of Him is very vague. As they stood ready to enter the promised land, God’s people knew exactly whom they were to nurture their children’s faith in.

As they stood ready for the next step, God’s people had a very specific knowledge of God. He is the One who rescued them from Egypt, He is the One who led them these last forty years, He is the One who revealed His name to them, He is the One who revealed His law to them, He is the One who is keeping His covenant promises. He is the One who will go with them into the promised land. He is the Creator. No ambiguous knowledge of God here.

And we know even more about God today. He is the One who came to us in Jesus Christ to teach us how to live, to show us how to love, to redeem us through His death, to give us hope through His resurrection, and to call us through His Spirit. There is so much more we could say about the identity of God, but I will just refer you to the entire Bible to find out more. For now, let me encourage you to not take another step in life without first taking a leap into the arms of Jesus. There is no need to go forward with an ambiguous sense of who God is. You can forward in relationship. You might leave fixing cars to mechanics and renovations to a handyman, but don’t leave knowledge of God to those who are “into that kind of thing.” You are the car in need of repairs, you are the renovation project. God is the mechanic, God is the handyman. Don’t take another step without leaping into His arms. You can face each step ahead, even if that step is forward into death, with God’s presence, with a knowledge of God, knowing and experiencing His power and love.

All Scripture references are taken from the NRSV

Clarke Dixon 10 21 15

January 5, 2014

Why, Exactly, Our God is Great

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:31 pm
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010514

David Kenney has embarked on an ambitious project on his blog this year… I’ll let him describe it at this post, Who is in Control?

Ok, so I am going to do something new this year. I think a thing that pastors run into every Sunday is the dreaded blank page. “What am I going to preach on next week? Next month? Next Christmas?” I mean sure, we all have the same source material, and there is certainly no shortage of things to talk about – but we all like to feel motivated, right? Perhaps inspired?

Well, like most of you I am determined to read my bible more in 2014 and so as I read through the scriptures each day, my goal is to use my blog to journal a sermon each and every day. Yep the goal here (if all goes according to plan) is to write a sermon “inspiration” each day and end the year with 365 sermons ready for 2015.

Today’s Inspiration:

Psalm 104:27-31

All of them wait for You to give them their food at the right time. When You give it to them, they gather it; when You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When You hide Your face, they are terrified; when You take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When You send Your breath, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth. May the glory of the Lord endure forever.

You know the song “How Great Is Our God” by Chris Tomlin? Most of the lines in that song come from Psalm 104.  The entire song is about how “great” God is, right? But the “great thing” about Psalm 104 is, the author actually tells you “WHY” God is so great – answer, because He’s in control.

Let’s face it a lot of people have an opinion of God, who he is, how he operates and how he gives out good points and bad points. And I think there are a lot of people who think that God just created the world and then walked away. “God lives in the clouds” and we live down here to fend for ourselves.

But Psalm 104 goes to terrific lengths to show how much God is involved in the life of the Earth. In fact, the author goes so far as to say that when God hides his face, creation is “terrified.”

I have a brand new son and he’s barely a few months old. He’s going through that annoying stage where we can’t put him down for two seconds. He knows we’re in the room, he can see us – we’re even still talking to him, but it doesn’t matter. He wants to be held. He wants to feel secure. He wants us to be in control. Right now, that’s the only way that he feels comfortable and safe.

What a total flip to how you and I live our lives. We like our independence, in fact, we’d probably like it better if God would “look the other way” from time to time. Then we could have moments to ourselves, then we could get away with stealing a cookie now and then. For some reason we think that life would be better if God were “on a cloud” somewhere.

But look at what the author says, the world is…dependent on God… for it’s survival. You know we’d like to think that we’re in charge, that we heal diseases, or that we save the rain forests and endangered species. We’d like to think that we’re out there saving the day, but God is the one who feeds the animals, verse 13 says God sends the rain, verses 14 & 15 say that God spins the circle of life and verses 19 & 20 say that he also spins the planets.

verses 32 & 33 say

He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they pour out smoke. I will sing to the Lord all my life

The irony is we treat God like a prying parent. God’s always reading our diary. But here the author talks about how involved God is and THAT is why he sings. He rejoices because God is so apart of his life. The author worships the God who plants the trees and gushes the rivers.

You see, my life isn’t miserable when God is watching, my life is miserable when I don’t want it to be watched. My problem isn’t an involved God, my problem is I don’t want God’s involvement. But the truth is, I should be welcoming God in more, sharing with him more, walking hand and hand with him more – because THAT’S when the songs come on strong.

In verse 35 the author closes with a wish, May sinners vanish from the earth and wicked people be no more.” You know what I think that means? That means if we could just all invite God in – if he could just become more involved and more a part of each of our lives- well… then… sin would disappear.

It’s true.

Do you know why sin is still around?

Because we want it around.

The truth is we’re all broken people who struggle with the question; “who is in control?” And when the answer is “we are” that’s when sin is born.

Lord help me to release control. Help me to depend on your love and grace for all of my needs – and may I invite you in each day of my life so that one day I can spin and dance in a world where sin has vanished.

March 8, 2012

Considering Christ’s Omniscience

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake

Jim is employed by a very large company that combines manufacturing, packaging and warehousing in a facility that spreads out over thousands of square feet in three different buildings.  His job is to oversee the “shop” where three technicians deal with the maintenance of the robotic and human-operated assembly of machinery that is used in other plants to build a variety of things we use every day.

Jim’s work station is monitored by four different security cameras. There’s no escaping them; no blind spot from which the the area is not visible. Still, Jim says he often goofs off.

“I figure that with over 140 cameras, they can only follow the action on three or four of them at a time;” Jim says, adding, “Besides, I’ve walked past that section and often nobody is on duty. The images are grainy and out of focus. Furthermore, I do my best work when I’m more relaxed.I have to live as if the cameras are not there and I’m not being watched.”

What Jim is saying is that he knows there is the potential that management or security is watching, but he feels the likelihood they’re watching is rather remote.

That’s often the way we respond to God’s omniscience. We know that he can see everything; that his cameras are in place and functional, but we must assume that he isn’t bothering to track us every minute of the day, or else we wouldn’t do (or not do) the things we sometimes do (or not do).

We deplore the theology in the song that says God is watching us “from a distance,” but then we live as if he isn’t watching us at all.

I’ve heard it said that people who have a hard time cracking an online addiction to internet pornography often find success only after coming into a greater awareness that God is with them, in the room, sitting next to them, watching their keyboard keystrokes, seeing what’s on the monitor. Their ability to break the habit increases when they imagine Him sitting next to them; perhaps even adding a second chair as a reminder.

II Chronicles 16:9 is translated in the KJV as “The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” and in The Message as “God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him.”

Both versions indicate that God is not looking for people who are asleep at their work station, but instead He longs for a people who whose hearts are fully committed to Him. He doesn’t want to catch you goofing off; rather, he’s hoping you’re being diligent enough to be named employee of the week. In other words, just as I Cor 13 tells us that “Love believes the best…” so also God wants to believe the best about you.

But He is omniscient, and we can’t assume that we can escape His gaze somehow. I Cor 4:4-5; the Apostle Paul states:

4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. 5 So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. NLT

This is an echo of Proverbs 16:2

All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
But the LORD weighs the motives .  NASB

Someone once said that each one of us is three people

  1. The “me” that I think I am
  2. The “me” that I appear to be to others
  3. The “me” that I truly am

I’d like to end this with a strong summary statement, but instead, I’ll end today with a confession: While I am 100% convinced of God’s omniscience, I often live like he’s tied up monitoring someone else. He is watching however, and His greatest longing is to see me productive and fully engaged at whatever work station in life I find myself.

 

August 18, 2011

Indescribable King

This is post number 500 here at Christianity 201, and it seems fitting that it includes a video clip which is so familiar to so many people through its widespread use as a church video a few years ago, but may be new to many others as well.  It’s S. M. Lockridge’s sermon excerpt, That’s My King.  (If you’ve seen it before, maybe it’s time to view it again!)

Usually, if there’s a video clip here, it’s a worship song.  I am convinced that if you are involved in worship planning, there are three worship themes with which you can’t ever go wrong:

  • communion, Lord’s supper, Christ’s death, Christ’s sacrifice, atonement
  • personal surrender to God
  • God’s attributes, particularly his greatness and majesty

The last category is where we land today.  All the most popular worship songs in the last decade — Majesty, Shout to the Lord, How Great is our God — are songs which speak to the indescribable greatness of God.

S. M. Lockridge (born Shadrach Meshach Lockridge!) pastored in Texas and California and was active in the civil rights movement.   You can read more about him at Wikipedia.

His words are most fitting for a blog which has as its aim being Christ-centered, and so well-suit being the 500th post here.

Here is the full text (click the ‘more’ button if it’s all not visible):

My King was born King.
The Bible says He’s a Seven Way King.
He’s the King of the Jews – that’s a racial King.
He’s the King of Israel – that’s a National King.
He’s the King of righteousness.
He’s the King of the ages.
He’s the King of Heaven.
He’s the King of glory.
He’s the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords.
Now that’s my King. (more…)