Categories
Christian Living worship

The Kind of Worshippers God Seeks

Sally, from Theology of a Newfoundland Housewife shared a post yesterday, Praying Twice, about an enthusiastic singer at her church who was regularly off key. As often happens here on Word Press, this brought to mind a similar circumstance. One that God used to teach me a valuable lesson.

As a singer in my church’s choir, I always keep my eyes and ears open for potential members. One Sunday, as we walked in to the sanctuary (singing the first hymn), I noticed a man on the second row—singing and praising God with great fervor. “O boy, we’ve found ourselves a new member!” I said to myself. But when I passed by the gentleman, he was TERRIBLY off key. “How embarrassing,” I thought.

I know, that wasn’t very nice of me. God didn’t think so either. Because after we got to the choir loft, the Holy Spirit said to me, “David, just who do you think you are?” The worst angel in my heavenly choir can sing circles around you! Do you think I’m looking for perfect notes? I seek perfect hearts.”

Ouch!!

You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.

Luke 16:15 (NIV)

Jesus said this to some Pharisees who were sneering at Him, because He told them they couldn’t worship God and money at the same time.

Which brings to mind the following thought: when it comes to the Kingdom of God, people don’t naturally know how to keep score.

Many churches take pride in their buildings, budgets and baptisms. Yet God looks for humble and contrite hearts (Isaiah 66:2). We worship to the music of professional level praise bands and choirs, but are we TRUE worshippers—in spirit and truth? (John 4:23-24)

Of course, God is the ultimate judge of such matters. However, my encounter with the enthusiastic off key singer was a wake up call. The Lord is most interested in right hearts; all the other trappings of our worship are secondary.

As Sally concluded (in her post I mentioned earlier): God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3)—even when they don’t get the notes right.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Note to Doris, my choir director: right notes ARE important—if you have the ability to sing them.😃

Categories
Christian Living Diligence

Peace Without Falling to Pieces

Photo by Michelle Leman on Pexels.com

Gabriel Cross wrote recently on the site, Pure Glory about Sleeping in Heavenly Peace. According to him, the “peace that keeps us from falling to pieces” comes only from God. And this divine tranquility cannot be disturbed, because it keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

When Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you,” (John 14:27) He wasn’t speaking hypothetically. Christ has the power to deliver such peace and He does!

But as Gabriel’s next statement points out, there is still danger for a child of God: “Therefore, all the devil can do is con you out of what already belongs to you.”

So watch out for the old “Slew Foot.”

Photo by Matthieu Petiard, on Unsplash

“A Slew Foot in hockey is an action where a player comes from behind an opposing player and trips him using his leg or skate, while, oftentimes, using his upper body, or arms, to further knock the opposing player off-balance.“

Source: Hockeymonkey.com

In other words, the devil and his demon buddies, resort to foul play in order to trip us up spiritually. They know the “peace that passes understanding” (Philippians 4:7) is guarded in our hearts by Christ Himself. So their best strategy is to sneak up behind and knock us off balance. The goal is to convince us that what Jesus says isn’t true.

And the enemy of our souls is an equal opportunity tripper.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)

When the Apostle Paul said, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… (Hebrews 12:2a), he wasn’t speaking hypothetically either. Failing to abide in Christ can have serious consequences! (John 15:4-6)

En Garde, my friends!

Prayer:
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the peace that passes understanding. Please help me to keep my eyes fixed on You and to be aware of the Devil’s tricks (2 Corinthians 2:11). May I always abide in Christ, the Prince of Peace. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Categories
Christian Living

Falling out of the Nest

I was doing some yard work the other day when I noticed what looked like a little black ball underneath the mimosa tree. As I came closer, I realized it was a baby bird. I looked up and could see the nest–about 10 feet high in the fork between two branches. Mom, a yellow billed cuckoo, was sitting up there with two other hatchlings visible beside her.

My wife and I debated about what to do. The chick on the ground seemed no worse for wear. Should we put it back in the nest? A quick internet search told us that birds have a poor sense of smell and don’t normally reject a chick handled by humans. But we also found a warning to not disturb migratory birds or their young. Well, our apologies to the wildlife service, but we decided to intervene.

I grabbed a six foot step ladder, put on some disposable gloves and waited. Before too long, mother bird decided to run some errands, and that’s when I sprang into action. Positioning the ladder under the tree, I gently picked up the baby bird, and put him back in the nest with his siblings. Mom returned a few minutes later with some food and all was well.

This whole scene brought to mind a promise from Psalm 91: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge (vv. 1, 4a).”

Obviously, the little hatchling didn’t fall out of the nest on purpose, but his predicament also reminds me of something Jesus said when he arrived in Jerusalem before that last Passover.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.

Matthew 23:37

The application to the body of Christ is clear. In the nest (fellowship of believers) we are safe in God’s care. However, outside the nest, we are vulnerable to predators.

Satan and his demon goons are like lions on the savanna–waiting to cull one of God’s children from the herd (1 Peter 5:8). The enemy seeks to separate Christians from each other, because he knows this: when we stray from the fellowship, we are alone and defenseless (Matthew 9:36).

To enjoy God’s best, we must stay in the nest!

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

Psalm 133:1

“Bird’s Nest” by Rugged Lens is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0