Is Your Worship From the Heart?

Luke 19:28-40

When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.  And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples,  saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here.  And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’”  So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them.  But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”  And they said, “The Lord has need of him.”  Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him.  And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.  Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:  “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”  But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Sadly by the end of the week, the crowd was calling “Crucify him!”

Is your worship from the heart, or the kind of worship that could go from mass hysteria to mob violence?

We are physical, spiritual, social creatures.

The emotions that we reflect at various times in our lives are a part of these different elements.  When we are happy or depressed, joyous or sad, these emotions are the result of

  • Our physical well being
  • Our psychological outlook
  • Our spiritual relationship with the Creator

In extreme stress due to sickness, loss of a loved one, financial difficulties, marital problems, our entire being – body, soul and spirit or physical, spiritual and social are affected.

Here is the scene – Jesus’ triumphal entry. There were those who knew this Jesus

  • Mary Magdalene
  • A blind man
  • A crippled man
  • A leper
  • Others who had been touched in some way miraculously, wondrously by Jesus
  • Then there were those who only cried out “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” along with those who really knew Him, who really had a relationship with Him, but were expecting a King, an earthly rule, a change from the Roman occupation they were experiencing.  Expecting someone to set them free of Rome and its bondage.  Their cries were “Hosanna”, but what did it really meant?  Was it “What can I get out of this man being King – more money, more prosperity, an easier life style, a better job without Rome breathing down my neck?  Wow!  I could have a much easier life.” 

Just a few days later those who were caught up in the emotional frenzy of the day – Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem – would be equally caught up in the emotional frenzy of the crowd who would cry out, “Crucify him!”

Who do you suppose really loved Jesus, the ones who had experienced a change in their life, their body or those just momentarily caught up in the events of the day?  It was hard to tell probably.  Their voices were all raised; they all shouted praises; it all sounded great. 

But there was a difference.

  • The ones who had really experienced a change in their life, the sinner, Mary Magdalene, the beggar, the lame man, the blind, all now restored – their praise was from the heart.
  • The others, part of the crowd, their emotional high was probably not too different to see, to hear, but there was a difference.  Their cry of “Hosanna” was for selfish reasons, was for what they wanted.

Is it really any different today?

We come into the church; we worship, we sing praises.  For those whose lives have really been touched by the Master, those whose sins have been forgiven, there is praise from the heart – the emotions of the heart, the soul, the spirit from way down deep inside.  Rejoicing, praising and worshiping God for who He is and for what He has done in their life.  Their worship is from the heart.

The others are giving lip service.  There may be emotion, perhaps frenzied, perhaps on the whole appearing not different from others, but theirs is worship from the lips, from being in the church, from perhaps longing or desire.  But their worship leaves them unchanged in their everyday life because there has not been a change in the inward man.

Their cry of praise, of worship could just as easily be cries of (do we dare say “crucify him”) for their life has not been touched by real change.

What kind is your worship?

Grateful for A Miracle!

Recently a local business in our community held a Arts Explosion. From November through the month of February local artists were invited to display their work. The business is involved with educating the public about agriculture and has a lot of public events at its facility. During this time people were asked to look at the paintings and vote for their favorite artist.

I entered one of my paintings. A very pleasant surprise when I won runner-up in the contest.

While I am grateful to have won this honor, what really makes it special is that this is the first painting I did after returning home from emergency surgery for a brain bleed. On a Thursday I had fallen in my art gallery in the basement of my condo. I hit my head on the concrete floor. Covid-19 had just started and I was reluctant to go to the hospital. By Sunday I was having a terrible headache and realized I should seek medical help.

After a CT scan at the local hospital they rushed me by ambulance to the hospital in our state capital about 20 miles away. Emergency surgery was required and I was in ICU for several days.

The doctor told my wife that I would need long-term rehabilitation. He listed several problems I might face including difficulty in communication, in swallowing, in walking.

But God had other plans. Within a matter of a few weeks I was walking without a walker and my communication improved almost immediately.

My wife and I are Scrabble addicts and she was worried that I might not be competitive with her any more. But I’m still able to beat her butt in the game. 🙂

Just a couple of weeks after coming home my son-in-love brought my art supplies up to the dining room table as I was still a little unsure about using the stairs to my art studio. I sat down at the table and painted this picture. I was inspired for this painting by a trip my wife and I had made a few years ago to Maine.

So – while I am thankful for winning second place out of over 40 artists who competed, I am even more thankful that I am alive and in good health.

Truly, God has been good to me.

He Rejoiced

Acts 16:25-34

About midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the (other) prisoners were listening to them, suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the doors were opened and everyone’s shackles were unfastened.  When the jailer, startled out of his sleep, saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was on the point of killing himself, because he supposed that the prisoners had escaped.  But Paul shouted, Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!  Then (the jailer) called for lights and rushed in, and trembling and terrified he fell down before Paul and Silas.  And he brought them out (of the dungeon) and said, Men, what is it necessary for me to do that I may be saved?  And they answered, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping) and you will be saved, (and this applies to both) you and your household as well.  And they declared the Word of the Lord (the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God) to him and to all who were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night and bathed (them because of their bloody) wounds, and he was baptized immediately and all (the members of) his (house-hold).  Then he took them up into his house and set food before them; and he leaped much for joy and exulted with all his family that he believed in God (accepting and joyously welcoming what He had made known through Christ).   The Amplified Version

HE REJOICED

  • He rejoiced.  He believed in God.
  • He rejoiced.  All his household believed in God.
  • He rejoiced.  His sins were gone.
  • He rejoiced.  No more condemnation.
  • He rejoiced.  His family was saved.
  • He rejoiced.  His name was written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
  • He rejoiced.  His family’s names were written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
  • He rejoiced.  There was a change in His life.
  • He rejoiced.  There was a change in the life of His family.
  • He rejoiced.  He opened His heart to receive the Word of God.
  • He rejoiced.  He received peace everlasting.
  • He rejoiced.  Peace had come to him.
  • He rejoiced.  Peace had come to his family. 
  • He rejoiced.  Peace had come to his home.
  • He rejoiced.  He had no more guilt.
  • He rejoiced.  He had no more sadness.
  • He rejoiced.  He had no more sorrowing for wrong doing.
  • He rejoiced.  He followed in obedience and was baptized.
  • He rejoiced.  His family followed in obedience and was baptized.

LET US REJOICE

  • Let us rejoice.  Our lives are changed.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our hearts are made anew.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our attitudes have been reprogrammed.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our family is different.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our job is different.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our walk is different.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our names are written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our family’s names are written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life.   
  • Let us rejoice.  We are different.
  • Let us rejoice.  There has been a change.
  • Let us rejoice.  Let us rejoice.  Let us rejoice.

Behold I Will Make All Things New

Revelation 21:1-7

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”  And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

When we go to be with the Lord on that great day of His return, what a difference for us!!!

  • We have had trials – God will give us victory
  • We have had sickness – God will give us health
  • We have had sorrow – God will give us joy
  • We have had torment – God will give us peace
  • We have had lack – God will give us plenty
  • We have had hate – God will give us love
  • We have had bondage – God will give us liberty

In Christ, on that day – no more death, sorrow, crying, pain.  These are the “former things.”  They are gone, gone, forever gone, forever passed away. God will dwell with us.  What a thought! 

  • God dwelt with the Israelites in the Holy of Holies
  • God came to dwell with us in bodily form through Jesus
  • Now, God will be with us – and we with Him throughout eternity.  Forever and ever.

It is done! 

The Alpha and Omega – the Beginning and the End – He has accomplished all this for us

  • The fountain of the water of life will be given freely.  I will never thirst again.  My desire will be satisfied.
  • He who overcomes shall inherit all things
  • Nothing will be lacking
  • I will have all things – nothing incomplete
  • It’s mine – The King of Kings calls me His son
  • I will be a joint heir with Jesus Christ

What an incentive to overcome the world!!!!

The Lord God Omnipotent Reigns

Revelation 19:5-7

Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!”  And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!  Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

End time Bible prophecy is difficult to understand.  It can be interpreted in many ways and much of what has been written has been speculation by those trying to understand.  However, no matter how difficult it is to understand, no matter how it is interpreted, no matter how much we speculate on what it means, God is still in control.

In this passage, we find a great multitude crying:

“Alleluia!  For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” 

The earth has just been destroyed.  All is in smoldering ruins following the last battle to take place.  And now we hear:

“Alleluia!  For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” 

This simple statement misinterpreted by the beginning Bible scholar or the one totally innocent to the ways of Bible history might lead one to the wrong conclusion.  “This is something new to God.  He is in charge now, not the devil or his followers.’  Or, perhaps, “It sure took Him a long time to get the upper hand.’

Make no mistake about it – The Lord God Omnipotent reigns!  He always has.  He always will.

The very word “omnipotent” brings to mind the thought “all powerful.”   Then, you might ask why are things the way they are in the world now if God is in complete control?

Isaiah 55:8-9 – For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Romans 11:33-36 – Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!  “For who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has become His counselor?”  “Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?”  For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Isaiah 40:10-26 – Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.  He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.  Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?  Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?  Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him?  With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice?  Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding?   Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.  And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.  All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.  To whom then will you liken God?  Or what likeness will you compare to Him?  The workman molds an image, the goldsmith overspreads it with gold, and the silversmith casts silver chains.  Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks for himself a skillful workman to prepare a carved image that will not totter.  Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  Has it not been told you from the beginning?  Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?  It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.  He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless.  Scarcely shall they be planted, scarcely shall they be sown, scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.  “To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.  Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing.

Job 40:-1-2, 6-9 – Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said:  “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?  He who rebukes God, let him answer it.”  Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:  “Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me:  “Would you indeed annul My judgment?  Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?  Have you an arm like God?  Or can you thunder with a voice like His?

As we look at God’s creation and His Word, we can truly say

“Alleluia!  For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” 

We can also agree with the writer of Hebrews who said

Hebrews 2:5-7 – For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.  But one testified in a certain place, saying:  “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him?  You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands.

You Are Worthy, O Lord

Revelation 15:2-4

And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.  They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:  “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!  Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy.  For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.”

  • Who is singing this song? – Those who have victory over the beast, over his image, over his mark, over his name.  These are martyrs who have given their lives during the great tribulation. 

Here is a picture of the redeemed of the Lamb.  They are singing and playing their harps on the sea of glass around God’s throne.   They are singing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.

Exodus 15:1-19 – Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying:

“I will sing to the Lord, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The Lord is a man of war; The Lord is His name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; They sank to the bottom like a stone. “Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath; It consumed them like stubble. And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together; the floods stood upright like a heap; the depths congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my desire shall be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’ You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand; the earth swallowed them. You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation. “The people will hear and be afraid; sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling will take hold of them; all the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. Fear and dread will fall on them; by the greatness of Your arm they will be as still as a stone, till Your people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over whom You have purchased. You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which You have made for Your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established. “The Lord shall reign forever and ever.”

Note the similarities between the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb

  • God is being praised
  • The people are no longer captives of Pharaoh or of Satan
  • The Egyptians are being destroyed – the beast is about to be destroyed
  • The people are rejoicing in victory
  • Acknowledgement is made that the Lord will reign forever and ever
  • Following judgment of sin, the Lord reigns forever and ever

Seven things we see in these two songs of praise

  • God is our song
  • God is our salvation
  • God is the strong one
  • God is all powerful
  • God is able to subdue all enemies
  • God is God!
  • We are not defeated! – As we look around us at the sin in the world that at times seems to be everywhere and almost overwhelming, we may begin to feel defeated.  But Satan is a liar.  He is the one who is defeated. 

1 John 4:4 – You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Philippians 2:9-11 – Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

  • Praise Him NOW – You may not feel like praising Him, you may be sick, tired, discouraged.  But praise Him NOW. 
  • God is “enthroned” or lives in our praises.  Praising God brings us into His presence.

Psalm 22:3 – But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.

  • Praise is pleasant (satisfying, enjoyable) and beautiful.

Psalm 147:1 – Praise the Lord!  For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

  • Praise opens our heart to trust in God and know that He will deliver.

Psalm 42:5 – Why are you cast down, O my soul?  And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.

  • We need to help our children to see what God has done and, even in difficult times we need to set the example of trusting God.

Psalm 78:4 – We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,

and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.

  • Let’s praise Him!!!
  • What a Mighty God We Serve
  • Great and Mighty is the Lord Our God
  • Glory to His Name
  • How Great Thou Art
  • Praise Him! Praise Him!
  • Great is Thy Faithfulness
  • Holy, Holy, Holy