Thursday, August 30, 2012

Worship and Praise

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!
Psalm 117:1-2

As a kid, when we received a gift we usually shouted with joy.  We could not contain ourselves; we jumped and hollered and sometimes even remembered to say thanks. And if we did remember, it was usually something like,”thankyou!!!thankyou!!!thankyou!!!thankyou!!!!"  The Bible is an amazing and wonderful gift from God.  It contains everything we would ever need to know to live our lives in peace within ourselves and with each other (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  As we see in those words, Jesus was the ultimate gift from God, the gift of eternal salvation for those who believe (John 3:16). God has done so many things to show us that He loves us, doesn't want us to be miserable, and wants us to have eternal life in heaven with Him that we cannot help but be thankful and sing praises to Him.

Many people think that praise and worship is only singing songs at church and being there on Sunday mornings to do the Lord's supper and hear a sermon.  But God tells us how to praise and worship Him in His word. John 4:23 says, "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."  God wants us to worship him with sincere hearts, hearts full of love for Christ and for each other.  If we do this, it doesn't matter if we are in a special building at a certain time or we do the various things we see as patterns in the bible in a certain order.  Paul discusses a style of worship in 1 Corinthians 14 that had apparently gotten out of hand due to spiritual gifts they had received.  Rather than let them continue down that path, he states that "all things should be done decently and in order" (v. 40) so that unbelievers might come to know Jesus and believers could be increased in their faith. And so we should strive to ensure that as we come together, we should align hearts and minds to thoughts of Christ and God's great gifts to us. We should exalt God and express our love and awe to Him who gives us more than we deserve. We should make sure that we do our own little parts in harmony with one another to ensure that the message that we love Him is received by God and by all those in attendance.  

So leave your life’s baggage at the door when you come in. God knows of these things and will answer your prayers.  Be on time and prepared if you are on the worship team to make sure everything is in order. And be sure to take the love and peace that you feel as you worship and let that be the everyday you that everyone else sees so that they know that you "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:5)