Monday, October 31, 2011

The Song of the Lamb

We were served communion at church today. It’s something we don’t do often enough for me, but I think because it’s infrequent, it highlights the sacrifice of the Lamb even more. When I take it, I often focus on what Jesus did for me, which is natural. I also spend the prayer time confessing my sins before I eat the bread or drink the wine. That is appropriate. 

But today’s verses prepared me to just worship Him for who He is. It’s a song I want to always sing and I hope my heart will learn it better and better.

Jesus, You are the Lamb who was sacrificed for the sins of the world. 

Your works are great and marvelous. Your creation is too amazing to comprehend and You are greater than Your creation. But Your salvation is even greater than Your other works. Your work of redemption makes us bow before You. I can stand in Your presence and worship You because You have justified me.

In the end everyone will know You and what You have done. It will be obvious to everyone that You have created. They will all worship You; they won’t be able help it because it’s the only response to Your glory.

You are the only Holy One; how can they not glorify Your name? There will be no more idols, no more self-worship. We will all fear You, the King of all the nations, the sovereign Lord of all creation.

You are the awesome judge and our fear of You is justified, for You are just and we deserve judgment. Your judgment is true; You are the Lord, the all powerful, the sovereign God.

You are the sacrificial Lamb.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blessings from Heaven

When you were a kid, didn’t you hate it when you dad wanted to have a talk with you? This morning God had one with me.

God: Come back to me and I’ll come back to you.
Me: How can I come back when I’ve never left?
God: You’ve cheated me.
Me: What do you mean? When did I cheat you?
God: You’ve cheated me of the offerings that are due me. Bring them to me and I’ll bless you.

Okay, this was really His conversation with Israel. And they were cheating Him of His tithes and offerings. Wayne and I have been faithful about tithing for years and we give extra offerings when we can. So this doesn’t apply to me, does it?

But money isn’t the only thing due God. He deserves my time, my love, my gratitude, my trust and my worship. So the talk we had was about these things. He reminded me that I need to:

arrange my schedule around Him; plan my day to serve Him
love Him with my heart, soul, strength and mind
see His blessings in all the good things and thank Him for them
trust Him to work all things for my good
worship Him for who He is; meditate on His attributes

The wonderful thing about God is that He wants me to do these things so He can bless me. He wants to send down blessings from Heaven that are so big I won’t have room for them all. He wants to give me:

more time than I need
love that overflows
songs of praise
confidence without worry
the glory of His presence

Then my life will be so delightful that people will know I’m blessed.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Worship and Trust

I recently saw part of an episode of The Sopranos. I wouldn’t normally watch a show like that because I don’t see any entertainment value in the lives of people who are so desperately far from God. But something that struck me about the show is how religion is woven through their lives, even in the midst of their crime, anger, hatred and promiscuity. In the episode I saw, a character went to confession and the priest offered him absolution. When another character died, the family turned to their priest for comfort. 

It made me think of this passage. The women of Israel loved their families so much, they were willing to do anything to ensure their happiness – even abandon the worship of God for false gods. Like the women in the TV show, they refused to see the evil around them, as long as they had plenty to eat, were well off and had no troubles. They didn’t care that their worship was abhorrent to God. In fact, they gave credit for the good times to the goddess they worshipped. The men were involved too. They supported what their wives were doing.

Women tend to protect their families at all costs, but men participate. For many of us, family comes first and God had better come along or be left behind.

It makes me wonder what kind of sin my family tolerates. Have we corrupted the worship of the Lord in any way? Are we assuming our prosperity comes from something we do, instead of from the God who blesses us? 

When things go well, I think it’s because I’m doing right, so I keep doing it. I don’t question what I’m doing. When things go badly, I think it’s because I’m not doing right, so I go back to what I did when things went well.

But that's wrong thinking. The good things are blessings from Him, not a result of my actions, no matter how religious. And the suffering is also under His control and I can’t make it go away by the way I worship.

God told the Israelites that He knew about their false worship and the other disgusting things they were doing. He was the One who sent the troubles to them as a punishment. He knows about my wrong thinking too.

God wants me to worship Him in truth and trust Him for the rest.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Real Princess

What’s more valuable than gold or silver?


All the gold and silver in the world couldn’t purchase my freedom from an empty life. Instead, my Heavenly father ransomed me with the blood of His Son.

One of my favorite children’s books is The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Sarah is a little girl whose father sends her from her home in India to a boarding school in England. While she’s there, he dies and the owner of the school makes her into a servant because there’s no one to pay her tuition and she no longer has a home. Her life is pretty miserable, but she gets through it by imagining she’s a princess in disguise. Eventually a friend of her father’s rescues her and brings her imagined world to life.

I’m an adult living in my own home. But I’m also a princess living in a foreign land. Unlike Sarah, my Father isn’t dead. In fact, He’s already rescued me. He has sent my ransom and I’m just waiting for Him to come take me home. 

Another difference between me and Sarah is that I’m not an only child. My Father has many children and we’re all exiles in this foreign land. We’re waiting together for Him to come get us; we have each other to rely on. It’s comforting to have brothers and sisters to love 

When I got homesick at boarding school, I pretended I was a princess. My fantasy was that my parents would drive up to the school and take me home. But when my imagination wasn’t enough to comfort me, I had my sisters and brother to turn to. I was blessed to never be completely alone. And when my parents did come to get me, they came for them too. 

As valuable as I am to God, I’m not His favorite. He has lots of children, but no favorites. 

So . . . what’s more valuable than gold or silver?

My brothers and sisters in Christ