Heart of Worship part II

So, what does real worship look like? Depending on your point of reference, you might be thinking of almost anything, from shouting out praises to God at the front of a church, to kneeling quietly at home behind your locked bedroom door. Everyone has a flavor, if you will, that they prefer, for expressing their love for and to God. Shouting out praises and kneeling silently are two bookends for a wide range of expression that blends everything in between, all of which can be forms of true worship. In fact, you may run the entire gamut of expression during a single time of prayer and worship. This is because true or real worship is a matter of your heart.

God is Love. He is light and life. He is the Truth and the Way. He is also the Living Word and a thousand other ‘things’ right on into Infinity. Eternal. When you truly enter into His presence, you will know it, and you will feel a tangible difference deep within your inner being. Love, conviction, repentance, forgiveness, mercy, grace, peace, healing (mental, spiritual, and yes, even physical), are some of the things you should be experiencing as you enter into real, true, and honest worship. How you’re standing, or if you are kneeling or even face down on the carpet, are secondary to the reality of communing with god. The Important thing to ‘do’ is to follow your spirit. If you feel the need to kneel or go face down, do it. Don’t worry about what everybody else is doing. the minute you become self-conscious or fearful of what others might think, you’re slipping away from worshipping in spirit and in truth.

True worship will stay with you. It’s not just for the church service or the prayer session you’re involved in. It’s meant to transform you from the Inside out. As I’ve said before, it is instrumental in making you into the person God created you to be. We should feel the effects for days, with each prayer time strengthening and confirming what we were given, right up to the next time of worship. In the time in between, this also equips us to minister to and serve others.

God dwells in the midst of our prayers, and in our worship. It is the natural manifestation of our supernatural relationship. We need to press in, and receive all that God intends for us, so that His kingdom may truly come.

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Heart of Worship

There is something that goes much deeper than singing a few songs about the Lord. Not that songs about the Lord aren’t good. There is no higher use of music than worship. But we need to push past the songs. What if there was no music? Could you still worship? Jesus said that the Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. That can and should be our lifestyle.

We are in a place, and drawing near a time, of great significance. The Intensity grows stronger with each passing day, and the stronger it gets, the harder it seems to put into words.

How do we find the heart of worship? The place we should be is a place where we are so overwhelmed by the presence of God, that everything else becomes unimportant. It’s not so much about what we do, as it is about who He is. Where what we feel in our spirits outweighs all of our physical senses. This is the place of transformation. This is how God changes us into the people He Intends for us to become. This is where we need to be, living in Intimacy and with expectancy, more and more often as we grow in faith.

What is the heart of worship? We sometimes feel we’ve touched it, but the journey continues. I believe it always will, right into eternity. God is eternal, and He will forever reveal new facets and reasons to worship Him, and joy overflows in the quest! Could it be any other way?

FIRE FALL

Let Your fire fall, let Your wind come, let Your Glory come down.

Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.  Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. Acts 2:2-3

They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32

All consuming fire, You’re my hearts desire, living flame of love, come baptize us.

All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. Ex 19:18 To the Israelites at the foot of the mountain, the glory of the Lord appeared at the summit like a consuming fire. Ex 24:17

The winds are your messengers;flames of fire are your servants. Ps 104:4

But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it! Jer 20:9

Fire fall down, Fire fall down on us we pray.

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Luke 3:16b

“I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! Luke 12:49

For our God is a consuming fire. Heb 12:29

So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Rev 3:18a

Fire is mentioned in the Bible over 300 times. Some fires are bad, and some are good. There is one particular fire we need to seek with all our heart. It’s the one that consumes you from the Inside out, that burns in your heart and Inside your bones. It smolders and then rages till we can’t containe it. There are no words to fully describe it,  all the above references won’t ‘bring it’ till you’ve felt it. Once you’ve felt it, you will know it Intimately, and you’ll never be the same. It’s what we need to bring with us to prayer and worship. It’s what we need to carry with us into the world wherever we go. We will not be able to move forward without it. It is the essence of the kingdom of God. It is the embodiment of the new church as it rises from the ashes of the old. It is the passion and heart of the Bride of Christ. It is His will. It is revival.

 

 

 

The Sound of Heaven

This is not a time of quiet worship and reflection. There is a time for that, perhaps in your prayer closet, or with a group of believers who want to ‘soak’ in His presence. But this is something else, something that draws on and draws out the power of God.

6 Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders… 7 He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. 8 And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9And they sang a new song….Rev 5:6a,7-9a

It starts with the four ‘living creatures’ and 24 elders holding harps and bowls, representing worship and prayer (intercession). They sing a new song, Inspired by the presence of the Lamb (the Son).

11 Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. 12And they sang in a mighty chorus… Rev 5:11-12a

Even a few angels praising God can shake the ground;

1 It was in the year King Uzziah died[a] that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. 2 Attending him were mighty seraphim… 3They were calling out to each other,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!
The whole earth is filled with his glory!”

4 Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke Isaiah 6:1-2a,3-4

So, is it safe to say that thousands of millions of angels would be fairly loud? I’m thinking that would be the case. In fact, this goes beyond what any human can Imagine (on earth anyway). But we’re not done yet.

13And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
belong to the one sitting on the throne
and to the Lamb forever and ever.” Rev 5:13

If it wasn’t loud enough for you before, with thousands of millions of angels, well, how about every creature in Heaven and Earth (and ‘under’!) joining in?

This is the worship around the throne witnessed by John. That someone still ‘in the flesh’, so to speak, was able to take this in, is no small miracle. I believe my mind would have been completely blown to bits.

Now here’s where the rubber meets the road. We need to see the manifestation of Gods Kingdom in the earth, and we need to see Gods power manifest in His church. We need the kind of worship that pulls down the heavens and shakes the foundations of the temple. We can not afford to shy away from powerful times of worship out of fear of offending those who may not understand. We must not fear loosing control. God will be in control, because He will be present. This model of worship is in the book of Revelation because It’s time for us to enter into it.

I am going to have to get a bigger amp…..*

 

 

*in case you’re not a musician, that’s an amplifier.

Enoch

Sometimes, something really strikes a chord. You just stop, and with your mouth hanging open, stare at nothing in particular, while your mind tries to digest it all.  It seems that all of a sudden, there is too much to take in. And so it was with me just a few minutes ago, while reading an email that made reference to Enoch.

Enoch walked in close fellowship with God. For over 300 years, he had an Intimate relationship with God, Genesis 5:21-24. He was the great, great, great, great, grandson of Adam. Verse 24 says He had ‘close fellowship’ with God. And then it says, at age 365, Enoch was no more, because God took him!

This was hundreds, or more like thousands, of years before the day of pentecost in the second chapter of acts, yet Enoch had cultivated as close a relationship with God as any man ever has done, with the exception of Jesus’ union with his Father.

Wow. I don’t even know if I can comprehend this level  of oneness with God. My mind is so completely boggled by this, I’m almost speechless. And to top it all off, God was so pleased with this guy, He just kind of ‘beamed him up’ at age 365. What???!!!

Since without faith, it’s Impossible to please God, (Hebrews 11:6), We at least know that some faith was Involved. I surmise it was a fairly great faith, but there must be so much more to it than this. And as we have received the In-filling of the Holy Spirit, we should, at least in theory, have an Inkling of what it consists of. If Enoch had the ability to be so close to God, then so do we. More so actually, because of our relationship with His son. We just need to  do what Enoch did.

Enoch did have a few advantages. There was no TV, movies, Internet, major league sports, or planes or cars, etc. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with any of this ‘stuff’ in and of itself. But it IS a distraction Enoch did not have to contend with. And we need to step away from it, if we expect to hear from God. It’s in the quiet moments I have been consumed by the Love of God. Not just a mushy feeling, but the honest knowledge of His Love. And it’s in the quiet moments that heart to heart communication has occurred with the most clarity and purpose.

I want what Enoch had. I pray that you do too. Let’s press in, and give it all we’ve got. We may not have 365 years to get there.

‘Curse God and die.’ Job 2:9

 Job scrapped himself with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, ‘Are you still trying to maintain your Integrity? Curse God and die.’ Job 2:8-9

The book of Job tells of a devastating series of  events that tragically center upon one mans life. In the above passage, his wife has seen enough. ‘Job, you are the ultimate looser! You might as well call it a day. God’s finished with you, just curse Him and die already!

How many times do we feel like God is finished with us? And not in a good way? Every door is shut, and there are no windows to climb through. You seek direction, but you get no answers. There  is only silence when you pray. And all the plans you made because you thought it was Gods will, well, that didn’t work out quite right. And that’s when you hear from the world about how messed up you really are.

So, what are you going to do?

But Job replied, ‘You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God, and never anything bad?’ Job 2:10

Indeed, should we?

This has been a recurring theme of late, I know, but it needs to be….embraced! God needs us to be strong in Him. And it will not come without pain and sacrifice. Jesus said in this world we would have trouble. Not might have trouble. Would. This is where we learn to trust God. This is where we must believe His word. This is where we will test our faith, and see if it has any substance to it. This is where we make our most critical choice.

You may have a knot in your stomach, and a dry taste in your mouth. You may feel like all hell is looking over your shoulder as you read this. Maybe it is. And you are going to either turn and face everything that is trying to crush the life out of you, or you are going to curse God and die. It’s that simple. God does have a plan. But we have to go through, not around the mess to get to it.

Job did, in fact, learn and grow from his experiences. In fact he was blessed with twice as much as he had before. But he had to go THROUGH to reach the other side. We must find the courage to do the same.

BEWARE THE MINOTAUR

It’s 2:00 A.M. and I’m awake (as usual), and I find myself reflecting on the events, the happenings, if you will, that have brought me to this place and time. Many a strange twist and turn, you can be sure, has been employed by both life itself and the creator of it, to put me where I am now. And where exactly, is this? To be honest, I’m not quite sure.

I could wax piously about Abraham heading out and not knowing where he was going, or Noah building a boat without ever having seen rain, but I’m not going there. Not this time. Those are awesome examples for us, but that’s not what I want to talk about right now. No, what I want to talk about is the labyrinth.

Allow me a little abstraction, if you will; we are creatures of time. Yes we occupy space (some of us occupy too much of it!), but what shapes us and pushes us forward is time. Just think about it for a minute. The future rushes by you, and in milliseconds becomes the irretrievable past. Kinda spooky isn’t it? What we call the present really doesn’t amount to much in this respect. It really affects the choices we make.

I believe God created time for this very reason. Time is what takes your life, in all its wanderings, and weaves it all together (or ties it in knots!) with other lives and people and places. Time shrouds the future in mysterious turns yet to be taken, and it obscures the distant past. Time is the labyrinth of life. It is also the crucible of faith.

Do you find yourself looking over your shoulder? Has this maze of life and time made you feel a little nervous or hunted even? Have you stumbled in the dark? maybe more than once? Taken more than a few hits? There is something lurking here.

It is fear, doubt, anxiety and worry. It is a thousand little ‘what ifs’. It is the cares of this world, and the lusts of the flesh. And they will combine one with another, and rise up to become the monster of the maze. We can not let this overcome us, or we will cower in a corner somewhere, afraid to move. This is what the enemy of your soul wants to see happen to you.

But, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Even when we can’t see where we’re going, we can be at peace knowing God is there. What kinds of things do you hope for? They have substance when you apply faith. There is evidence of their existence, even though you can’t see them yet. Without faith it is Impossible to please God. He wants you to have faith. Just like Abraham and Noah, He wants you to trust Him. That’s at least one of the reasons He created time. So that you could have faith, even in the labyrinth. God Bless your steps, as you walk out this mysterious maze, in Jesus Name, Amen!