Tag Archives: Worship

Encountering the Savior

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Mt. 14:22-36)

After feeding a crowd of more than 5000, Jesus sent His disciples away in a boat to the other side while He went up the mountain to commune with the Father. This intimate communion with the Father was an integral part of His life and ministry on the earth. This kept Jesus focused on His mission.

Casual following
It was obvious that quite a good portion of the crowd followed Him for the fringe benefits of food and healing. Some followed for the fun of watching the miracles. It took time for the truth to sink into many minds as to who they were following.

Jesus prayed all night through and came to the disciples some time between 3.00 and 6.00 am., that too walking through the waves that were rocking their boat. The disciples felt they were going to confront some ghost and were alarmed. Then Jesus reveals His identity and comforts them. Disciples were still in the process of their encounter with their Savior.

Result of an encounter
Peter the smart had a bright idea. He wanted to experience the thrill of walking on water. So he asks the Lord to command that wish into effect. The Lord does not mind our childish adventures and He orders. Peter walked up to Jesus on the water looking at Him alone. When he felt confident of himself he looked around and saw the waves. “When he saw the wind” he realized that he was surrounded by the deep waters. His focus shifted for a little while from the Master and he started sinking. The Lord had to lift him up by the hand. They got into the boat and the wind stopped. The disciples were watching all this in amazement. They had to rewrite their impression of Jesus in their own minds at that moment. And the result! They recognized who Jesus really is and responded to His Majesty.

Only a true encounter with Jesus, through His Word the Bible, can open the eyes of people and enable them to recognize who He really is. Until then people will casually follow Him and later disown Him for their own doom. A true and honest encounter with Jesus will compel anyone to worship Him, the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

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God who is worthy of all praise!

Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.

Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard

(Ps. 66:1-4, 8)

Praise Him for who He is
The entire earth is invited to offer their praise to the God of the Bible, for He is the Almighty. His enemies would surrender in fear because they have seen His power. How do we praise this awesome God?

We do it by expressing our joy in His presence. Telling Him how awesome He is, how much we appreciate His greatness. This means, we are acknowledging openly that He is the Almighty God and He is our God. Several Psalms exhort us to verbally express our joy in His being the Almighty God. We are to shout for joy or make a joyful sound (Ps. 95:1), cheering for Him or singing for Him. We must do it in such a way that it brings Him glory and honor in the midst of others.

Praise Him for what He does
The whole human race is invited to witness His mighty deeds. In fact His deeds are evident to all those who are open and honest. The classic example of His glorious deeds is the history of His people Israel. Two similar incidents are reminded here, the parting of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:21) and the drying up of the Jordan river (Josh. 3:14-17). These were reasons for great rejoicing among His people. He protected them from all the rebellious enemy nations who exalted themselves. His eyes still keep a watch over the nations of the world to see that His people are protected.

How to praise God
We are to do it by exalting His name doing it in such a way that it will be heard by the people around (66:8). This is because He has kept the remnant of His people safe from being utterly destroyed. Due to their disobedience the people of Israel had gone through trials and captivity, hard labor and slavery, fire and water. However, their descendants could enter the land of abundance. They are still a people and now once again restored as a nation.

Go into His presence consciously and offer Him praise, the sacrifice of our lips. Fulfill any vows made before Him. As a testimony proclaim to others all that God has done for you.
Remember, in any prayer we make or praise we offer, our hearts must be clean lest it will not be acceptable to Him.

Traditions versus Rituals

The LORD’s people left Egypt exactly four hundred thirty years after they had arrived. On that night the LORD kept watch for them, and on this same night each year Israel will always keep watch in honor of the LORD. (Exo.12:41-42 CEV)

The Lord God brought the people of Israel out from their bondage in Egypt. The children of Jacob had now become a nation of over a million people. (600,000 men according to Exo.12:37. There could have been an equal number of women and children. Exo.12:38 includes “many others”.) It was an ocean of people and cattle! Leading them out of the city of Rameses was not a joke. But the Bible tells us in Exo.12:42 that God kept watch over them the night they left. We also see in the next chapter that the Lord covered them with clouds during the day and fire during nights and protected them.

Biblical Traditions

In order to remind them of what He had done for them the Lord commanded them to observe that day each year as the Passover feast. He gave them detailed instructions as to how they should and how they should not observe it.  The Lord also instructed them that as they observe this feast they should explain to their children the reason behind it. Thus it became a rich and meaningful tradition which  reminded the people of the great deliverance their forefathers experienced and honored God.

They also kept another tradition of keeping a night watch on that night each year and the Bible tells us that they did it to “honor the Lord” (12:42). Biblical traditions are followed by churches with this intention, to remind people of the faithfulness of God and to consciously honor Him for His glorious deeds.

Religious Rituals

Traditions that are not rooted in the Word of God and do not honor God are just rituals that satisfy our human yearning and guilt. They are observed without convincing reasons or valuable purposes. They often honor people rather than God. They drag you away from the real worship of the true God and lead you into hypocrisy and idolatry.

Good traditions are meant to honor God for what He has done in our lives. Do we honor God through our traditions or simply follow rituals for mental satisfaction?

Get back on the track

In the eighteenth year of his reign, after he had purified the land and the Temple, Josiah appointed Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of Jerusalem, and Joah son of Joahaz, the royal historian, to repair the Temple of the Lord his God….

While they were bringing out the money collected at the Lord’s Temple, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord that was written by Moses. (2Chr.34:1-18 NLB)

The Christian communities around the world have slipped into a kind of sluggishness. Many have lost the joy of their salvation, struggling to cope up with the world. Several have succumbed to the temptation of following the crowd. The demarcation between them and the world has faded away. The Church has been compromising on the teachings of the Word of God to satisfy those who are trying to satisfy their own flesh. There is more of mammon worship than worship of the true God. (But, glory be to God, there is a remnant spread all over the world, that still honor God and follow His Word.)

There is only one way to experience the joy of the Lord-get back into the fellowship. That is why there is a constant call from God to His wayward children to return to Him. Some of the ancient rulers reinforced this in their kingdom. One of such was king Josiah of Judah. He ascended the throne as an eight year old lad but he desired to follow the Lord like his forefather David. So he destroyed everything in his life and the life of the nation that was an abomination to the Lord.

Get rid of whatever is detesting to the Lord

It is not a literal instruction to the Church today. This does not mean that you go around destroying others’ property, attack religious places or cause inconvenience to others. We need to understand the principle. How do we decide? Go to His Word. As you read and meditate the Spirit will convince you of things in your own life that need to be thrown out or destroyed. Just obey. There is nothing more pleasing to God than to see His children obey Him, because obedience comes out of trust. Josiah did just that. A cleansing is required before the joy of the Lord can reclaim our lives.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (1Cor.3:16-17 NIV)

Repair and Restore the Temple

The temple of God represents the worship of God. The worship of God has been interrupted, lost its meaning or perhaps stopped in your life. This needs immediate attention, repair and restoration. When the worship of the Lord is restored the glory of the Lord will continue to descend up on the temple in such a way that others would see it.

Seek the Law of the Lord

The restoration of worship will naturally lead to the rediscovery of God’s book of Law, the Bible. The high priest discovered the book of the Law and introduced it to the  king and officials. That revolutionized the lives of the people. Though it did not last for long before the king died and people slipped back into sin, the principle for restoration and spiritual growth remains the same.

Rid your life of every sin. Don’t try to define your actions or justify them. The simple formula is to keep away from whatever that raises a doubt or question in your mind. Read the Bible, meditate on it. Follow the Law of the Lord. And when you fall, gather yourself up and get back on the track as early as possible.

Worship

At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.

They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Rev.4:2-4, 10-11)

The concept and meaning of Worship differs from religion to religion and from person to person. It comes with a whole lot of rituals and ceremonies for some, while it is pure appreciation for some others. Christian worship is not meant to be a ritual or ceremony but an attitude that one wears all the time. Worship is to be reflected in the person, his being, his reactions, his relationships, his conduct and his communication.

The Background

Here, in the book of Revelation, we have a glimpse of God’s throne room. Worship is all that happens there, all the time. This should have implications for our worship of the same God now here on earth as the Church. The background for true worship can be seen as the awesome Holiness of God and the righteous position of the believer justified by faith. God’s holiness is beyond desription. The believer receives the righteousness of Jesus Christ, freely given to him as he placed his faith solely on Christ. The believer has been lifted to the position of reigning with Christ (Rev.20:4, 6), seated on thrones, garbed in His righteousness, crowned with honour for their faith and endurance (2Tim.4:8; Jam.1:12).

The Focus

The focus of Christian worship is the absolute, awesome Holiness of our God. He is clothed in splendor and glory that can never be approached by the sinful humans. It is being continuously announced by the creatures around His throne, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Rev.4:8). There can be no other focus for Christian worship, any other focus will render it as idolatry.

The Content

Worship is nothing but “ascribing worth” to our God, which He fully deserves. It is appreciating who God is and what He is doing, by laying down all pretentions and pride, in utter humility, acknowledging our helplessness and total depravity. Worship is consciously placing God where He ought to be, the prime place in our lives and affairs. Our worship services should not contain any ingredient that does not ascribe all honour, glory, credit, thanks and praise to God.

The Frequency

Christian Worship is not controlled by the celestial bodies or the clock as some may have it. There is no special time divinely ordained for worship because it is an attitude that one should be wearing all the time. It is a Christian’s identity. He can not be an angel at the worship service and a devil at the work spot. The heavenly model is a non-stop service. “Day and night” refers to the unceasing nature of worship. You can not take a break. You are a 24/7 Christian.

The Attitude

The attitude of worship is that of humility. I see myself as worthless as the dirt the ground at the realization of God’s glorious worth. All that I consider of any value, all that I have received from God, all that is earthly, is fit only to be placed at the feet of the Almighty God. I should never glory in any of those things or people, but glory in the greatness of my God. Then is it real worship.