Christianity 201

February 9, 2022

True or False? Spiritually Mature People Don’t Cry

This is, I believe, our tenth time sharing the writing of Gary Henry at WordPoints. Click the header below to read this there, and then check out other devotionals.

In This We Groan

“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven . . .” (2 Corinthians 5:1,2).

CREATED FOR FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD BUT LIVING IN A WORLD THAT IS BROKEN BY SIN, WE FREQUENTLY FIND OURSELVES CRYING OUT FOR RELIEF.

We earnestly desire, as Paul put it, “to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven.” And most of us have observed that “groaning” is not too strong a word for what we do when the troubles of this world press down upon us.

We need to be reminded that groaning is not wrong. Rather than the act of a weak person, it’s often that of a strong person whose eyes are open to what has gone wrong in the world. Isn’t Jesus the most notable example of how a strong person can sorrow? As He approached the tomb of His friend Lazarus, He “wept” (John 11:35). Then the account says that He arrived at the tomb “groaning in Himself” (v.38). We need to dispense with the idea that spiritually mature people never hurt and never cry.

Not only is groaning not inconsistent with godliness, but here is another amazing thing: groaning is not inconsistent with joy! The most joyous of God’s people are those who deeply, and even sorrowfully, cry out for His redemption. Indeed, it’s often the bitterness of groaning that makes our hope so sweet. The godly life fits the definition of “bittersweet,” and it’s quite appropriately compared to childbirth, an ordeal full of groaning, surely, but not without the joy that comes from hope: “The whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:22).

The Psalmist sang that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). “In this we groan,” said Paul, speaking of our fleshly bodies. But if we’re faithful in our walk with God, our groaning is helping us get to our goal more fervently. Groaning and earnestly desiring are simply two sides of the same coin. The gospel, after all, is good news, but only to those who’ve sorrowed over their separation from God. Having obeyed the good news, they’re now yearning for a final homecoming with Him, reaching forward to that day with every ache of their hearts.

“Life is a bridge of groans across a stream of tears” (Philip James Bailey).


Here’s a bonus devotional from Gary at WordPoints. Again, click the header below to explore this and other devos there.


Unconditional Surrender

“And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God” (2 Corinthians 8:5).

TO SEEK GOD SINCERELY IS TO GIVE OURSELVES TO HIM COMPLETELY.

The good things that come from life in God come to those who yield themselves to Him entirely. If we hold back parts of our hearts or our lives from His benevolence, we will miss the unique blessings that flow from commitment. If we sow sparingly, we will not reap bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:6).

“A living sacrifice” is the expression Paul used to characterize the yielding of ourselves to God: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). In the Law of Moses, animals that were sacrificed to God had to be slain. It was not possible for the worshiper to retain the living animal for himself and still give a part of it to the Lord. The very life of the animal itself had to be given. Corresponding to those sacrifices, our offering must be total. Although ours is a “living” sacrifice, the gift must be no less complete than if our bodies were to be slain. God deserves no less than our all, both inwardly and outwardly.

But the partial approach not only tries to give God less than He deserves, but it involves us in great difficulty and frustration. Just as a timid soul can’t leap a large chasm by taking two medium-sized jumps, the requirements of our new life can’t be met by the half-hearted efforts of our old mind. If we try to hang on to all that we think is ours and give God only enough of our outward behavior to get us to heaven, we are attempting the impossible. The old self will never be happy having to give up parts of itself to God. Since it never relinquishes its own desires except when forced to do so, the old self will never find Jesus’ yoke “easy” and His burden “light” (Matthew 11:30). So the old self must die and a new self must come to life. We must be “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). When that happens, we will then find that the Lord’s “commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

“The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says, ‘Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good’” (C. S. Lewis).

 

April 8, 2016

The ‘Giving’ of Worship

I normally tell you that you can click through to read these blog posts at the source where they first appeared, right? Well this time, you really should, because there are some graphics that go along with each of the 12 points. Today’s reading is also a scripture medley. We’re returning to Worship Sounds Music, the blog of Cynthia and Travis L. Boyd.

The “Giving Verses” of Worship

When the very living of our lives has become an act of worship, recognizing God’s supremacy and worth in every decision and thought, worship is no longer an action but rather a lifestyle.  It’s a 24 / 7 / 365 … every moment of every day … goal of intentionally expressing God’s glory in all that we do, think, and say.**   In seeking to live out this lifestyle and this heart commitment to the One who has given us His all, we give the only gift that we can give to our Creator and Savior:  the gift of a transformed life that brings Him glory and joy!

Here are The “Giving Verses” of Worship:

1.  Giving God THANKSGIVING and PRAISE!

* Psalm 100:4   “Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, and bless His name.”

* Psalm 9:1 & 2   “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart: I will tell of all Thy wonderful deeds.  I will be glad and exult in Thee, I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.”

2.  Giving God GLORY!

* Psalm 86:12   “With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever.”

* Psalm 96:6 – 9   “Honor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.  Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.  O worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness; fear before Him, all the earth.”

3.  Giving God AWE and REVERENCE, acknowledging Him as the Lord and Creator of all.

(In some verses and some translations, “the fear of the Lord”)

* Psalm 111:10   “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”

* Psalm 86:9 – 12   “All the nations You have made shall come and bow down before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.  For You are great, and You do wondrous things; You alone are God.  Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.  I give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart; and I will glorify Your name forever.”

4.  Giving God BLESSING.

* Psalm 103:22   “Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!”

* Psalm 28:6 & 7   “Blessed be the Lord!  for He has heard the voice of my supplications.  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts; so I am helped and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.”

5.  Giving Him EXALTATION!*

From the www.thefreedictionary.com, here are the applicable definitions:

1. to raise or elevate in rank, position, dignity, etc.
2. to praise highly; glorify; extol
* Psalm 34:3   “Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!”
 *NOTE:  The word ‘exaltation’ sometimes gets confused with ‘exultation’, for which the definition is “to rejoice greatly, be jubilant or triumphant (or, as in triumph.  We rejoice greatly or exult in His triumph.)  — same source

6.  Giving Him SERVICE
(giving of our hearts, our time, our gifts, and our lives in serving Him)

* Joshua 24:15   “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

7.  Giving Him WORSHIP!

True worship rises up from the people of God, who are choosing to intentionally express His infinite worth! **

**(see note at end of post)

You have probably noticed by now that there is some overlap in the various types of giving to the Lord.  For example, in singing praise to God, we can bless His name.  In the worship category of giving, there is overlap with all other types of giving.  All of these ways of giving to the Lord are worship (lifestyle worship) when we are giving with the purpose of bringing glory to God and expressing His infinite worth through giving our best to God in every area of our lives.

* Psalm 29:2   “Honor the LORD for the glory of His name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.”

* John 4:24   “For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

8.  We are to SING UNTO HIM!

* Psalm 5:11   “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.”

* Psalm 30:4   “Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.”

* Psalm 59:16 & 17   “I will sing of Thy power; yes, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning; for Thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.  Unto Thee, O my Strength, will I sing; for God is my defense, and the God of my mercy.”  

9.  Giving Him TITHES and OFFERINGS!

* Malachi 3:10   “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

* Exodus 35:29   “The children of Israel brought a voluntary offering to Jehovah, every man and woman whose heart prompted them to bring for all manner of work, which Jehovah, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.”

10.  Giving Him HONOR!

* Revelation 4:11   “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

* Psalm 96:6 – 9   “Honor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.  Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.  O worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness; fear before Him, all the earth.”

* Proverbs 3:9   “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first and best part of all your income.”

11.  Giving Him LOVE!

The words of Jesus Himself in Mark 12:30   “AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.”

* Psalm 31:23   “Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.”

* Joshua 22:5   “But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the LORD your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”

* Psalm 116:1   “I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.”

12.  Giving Him OUR WHOLE HEART AND LIFE!

* Psalm 86:9 – 12    “All the nations You have made shall come and bow down before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.  For You are great, and You do wondrous things; You alone are God.  Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.  I give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart; and I will glorify Your name forever.”

* Colossians 1:10   “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”

* Psalm 56:13   “For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.”

* Mark 8:35   “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.”

* Romans 12:1 – 2  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

For us, giving these to God (worship, blessing, exaltation, thanksgiving, praise, glory, awe and reverence, love, honor, service, tithes and offerings, songs, and all that we are in life and in our hearts) is our gift of worship and devotion to Him.

Giving is about worship, and worship is all about giving.

“Honor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.  O worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness; fear before Him, all the earth.”   Psalm 96:6 – 9

GOD HAS GIVEN HIS ALL… and continues to give in every moment of time.

May we follow His example.