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True Worship

As I’ve been reading and praying through John 4, I had a revelation about worship. In our day, there seems to be a warring of worship styles- Traditional, Contemporary, Culturally different styles…which is the ‘right’ kind of worship? The answer: all and none.

Out of all the things the woman at the well could have asked Jesus after realizing he was a “prophet,” the thing that was most on her mind was the issue of worship. “Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem” (John 4.20). So what did Jesus have to say about this question of worship? “Believe Me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem…true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship Him. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4.21,23-24). 

The style and place of worship is irrelevant. It is a matter of the heart. True worship comes forth from a heart engaged with the spirit of God who lives inside of us. In any style worship can be “true” worship or “untrue” worship. Worship is not a concert given according to our preference in music, it is a dialogue with God. Whether singing hymns, contemporary songs, gospel, or praise in a different language, we can have true worship if we involve the Holy Spirit. This is possible for all believers in all situations, whether in a worship service or doing the dishes, or driving in the car, etc. He is our constant companion. Therefore we can worship God with our whole being. 

Lord, help us to submit to one another in love and to worship you in spirit and in truth!

Gratitude and Acts 2

Having no food, no money and bills due has gotten me thinking a lot lately about my friends in Zimbabwe. When I lived there for a time in 2003, one of the youth I served said to me, “Pastor Jenn, my mom and I don’t have enough money for food each day. We pray and ask God to provide for us. When we get food we are praise Him and when we don’t get food we thank Him and ask Him to sustain us until we do.” This was the faith of a 17 year old who was in love with Jesus. These last couple of days as I’ve been feeling the affects of the financial shaking in our nation, I can’t help but remember my sister’s words and thank God for His goodness. Why should I think that just because I live in America I’m entitled to any more than what she has living in Zimbabwe? Indeed God is good and regardless of my circumstances, He is a good Father. Lord, give me this faith!

 Though I have little, my heart is alive and that is a testimony of Jesus. Yes, I think this is God’s intent as He is shaking our nation financially. It is in Him that we are to trust, not the size or comfort of our paycheck. Of course, many of us don’t realize our trust is mislaid until something is stripped away and it is revealed to us. Oh, God, thank you for your mercy to tell us now and help us to grow in knowing you!

 That’s not the end of my story… word got out last night about my need and I’ve had some groceries given to me and delivered to my house along with about $45. Thanks be to God for doing His bidding through the community of faith. Acts 2, here we come!

paid attendee

This year I have four significant friends who are getting married. Thus far, two of them have offered to pay for my plane ticket to attend their wedding. Imagine the Bride paying for me to attend her wedding. It’s hard for me to believe that my presence at their wedding is so important that they will pay for me to get there! I’m humbled and reflective of the work of the Cross.

Jesus has paid for me to come to His wedding too. His death on the Cross paid for us (the church) to marry Him. True: He is marrying me, so technically He is paying for my (our) wedding, but He is marrying the corporate body of Christ as well. It’s not a perfect analogy of course, but still my heart has been impacted by the generosity of my sisters and has given me incite into the love Jesus showed on the Cross.

Simple revelation

 

            A couple weeks ago, I was in dialogue with the Lord concerning this infection I’ve had for almost three months. I could feel offense rising in my heart and the scorn of God’s goodness based on my circumstance.  I confessed my offense to the Lord and asked Him to give me a heart free from it. I thought I had talked to God about it. However, His voice whispered, “Why are you offended?” I had not really considered the details of what I was feeling, only the obvious responses of my heart. The name of God as ‘counselor’ came to mind as I began to process with the Lord about my internal traffic. As we talked, lies and accusations came to the surface and were scattered by the light of His countenance. This subtle difference in the way I talk to God has made a huge difference in my emotions! Rather than feeling anxiety or frustration about certain areas, I am learning to talk to the Holy Spirit as my Counselor and though I may not have an answer, I am filled with peace that surpasses understanding. My circumstance hasn’t necessarily changed, but I know God is in the midst of it and I don’t feel the discomfort of hidden emotions and thoughts that I didn’t want to have. The underlying offense in my heart did not end with confession and a desire for change. Rather, it was necessary to get to the bottom of things through the council of the Holy Spirit. We have access to the treasures of wisdom and knowledge through Christ dwelling on the inside. Thank you Lord for the indwelling Spirit!

It was glorious riding across the Florida border! Florida, finally a place where things make sense! Florida, a place where it rains with the sun shining brightly- praise the Lord! Now this makes sense to me! Florida, where there is water…everywhere!!! Oh, I love the coast! Yep, we got big trucks, southern hospitality, accents that sound like me and outdoor BBQ’s with paper plates! Palm trees, old people and boats…beautiful! Now this is normal!

 

It’s great to be in my home state! I will be a little spoiled after spending a week looking out my back door and seeing the river! Lord, thank you for the coast! Indeed, God has set boundaries for the waters and each time I look out my backyard, I’m reminded of the power of our Creator God. 

 

For those who know what this means, ‘howdy ya’ll !!!’

It was the revelation of “God liking me” that unlocked my heart a few years ago, and again, Father God has poured out His affections in this special testimony…

 

As I was searching for a great deal on a rental car for the trip I’m currently on, I was stunned by the low price I found. I saw this little button just sticking out, calling my name J the button with the word, “Convertible.” I thought, “Wow, it would be really cool to rent a convertible for a couple weeks.” So I clicked on the button to see what the price was and, of course, it was much higher so I disregarded it. However, I kept praying over the next weeks for a convertible for my trip.

 

Thursday- the day to pick up my compact car for rent- got to the dealership and they had two cars in the compact class, but only one had cruise control. The one with cruise had really bad gas mileage. So, the dealer told me to take that car to the airport location and pick from their large selection. Once at the airport, I looked at about 5 cars in the compact car class and none had cruise control! So the manager offered to give me a free upgrade to a luxury car- I think a Hondai sonata. As he was punching the info in on the computer, he asked me the dates I’d be gone. After telling him, he said that car would not be available for those dates. Back to the drawing board! So I began to pray, “Lord, give me a convertible!” The manager found a car, but didn’t tell me what it was. He took me out to the car, said, “Have a great trip to Florida, no extra charge!” It’s a beautiful white convertible!!!! Who is my Daddy?!!!! Oh, there is nothing spiritual about getting a convertible. Father gave it to me because I’m his daughter, I asked and He wanted to pour out his love on me. He gave me a convertible because He likes me! He’s crazy about me! 

I was reading through Galatians last week and came across a verse that didn’t make sense to me, so I asked the Lord to tell me what it meant. Galatians 4.9 says “Now, however, you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God…” The context here is Paul’s encouragement to the Galatians to walk in grace and not to be enslaved by the Law. They have come to know Jesus, thus are free from the Law.

         When reading this verse, I thought, “when we say ‘yes’ to Jesus and receive salvation, we ‘know God,’ so why does Paul change this around to salvation being ‘known by God?’ Doesn’t God know us all, saved and unsaved? He is able to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart and knows what’s in a person, so what is Paul talking about here?”  Then, the revelation came… The verb ‘to know’ in the Bible often means ‘experientially’ knowing. Thus Adam ‘knew’ Eve and Eve bore a child. For God to experientially know us- that is to be one with us- we have to receive His Spirit. This only comes by receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior. Therefore, when we receive salvation, we become known by God, because He gets to experience us by becoming one spirit with us. If we reject Jesus, He loses part of His inheritance and actually misses something. He loses the inheritance of being one with that person. This is the God-given dignity of our choice and the humility of God to wrap up part of his eternal destiny with his creation!

         Salvation doesn’t end with the entrance of the Holy Spirit; rather it’s just the beginning! I want to be fully known by God. I want Jesus to have access to every part of my heart. I want Him to fully know me. My prayer for greater grace to surrender more of my life to Jesus is now, “God, come and know me!”