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 Blog resilience

This Thorn

A recent post by CG Thelen, from 140 Character Christian, entitled Humbled by Pain spoke of Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). “Thorns can come in all sorts of things that cause us constant pain,” wrote CG

These words brought to mind a godly woman who once lived in my little town. She was twice widowed and confined to a wheelchair, yet had the sweetest Christian spirit. Most days she never ventured outside her home. But friends and neighbors lined up to see her or called her on the phone. People flocked to this dear sister because she had the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

Each of us can probably think of a fellow believer who trusted God despite challenging circumstances. This leads one to ponder the unshakeable faith found in God’s holiest servants.

What’s the secret?

I never asked Mrs. Frieda, but she surely would have pointed me to passages such as Colossians 3:1-3, about the life that is “hidden with Christ in God.” Or Psalm 91:1, where David rested in the “shadow of the Almighty.”

One of another friend’s favorite quips is, “Opinions are like belly buttons. Everybody has one and they’re all different.” It’s the same with thorns. And like Paul, any experience that draws us closer to God is a good thing.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:8 (NIV)

Another favorite blogger, who speaks in power by God’s grace, is Ruth Kirk, of Seeking God’s Face Together. Her daily poems (complete with related scriptures) are like signposts along the narrow road to heaven. Please read her offerings. They are a blessing!

By God’s grace may we say in our weakness, “Lord, thank you for this thorn.”


Photo by DAMIANUM CASTRUM on Pexels.com

Portions of this post appeared in It will Keep, which was published on July 13, 2019.

Categories
Christian Living grace

#shareHisgrace

Photo by Gary Fultz on Unsplash

After I posted recently about the importance of being kind to others, Barb, from My Life in Our Father’s World , commented with the following hashtag: #shareHisgrace.

While my piece spotlighted the usefulness of people cultivating the good, Barb shined a floodlight on where to find it in its purest form.

Thank you, friend, for bringing the focus back where it belongs—on God. You added to the value of my thoughts exponentially.

I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have nothing good besides You.

Psalm 16:2 (NASB)

This collaborative experience with a fellow believer jogged my memory about a true story of two people who showed uncommon grace to each other. It happened at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

Sueo Oe (left) and Shuhei Nishida – source Wikipedia, copyright unknown

Shuhei Nishida and Sueo Oe were two Japanese pole vaulters tied for second place at the summer games. However, as good friends and teammates, they declined to compete against each other (in a jump off) to decide between the silver and the bronze. So the silver was awarded to Nashida and the bronze to Oe, based on the fact that Nashida cleared the height in fewer attempts.

However, when they returned home to Japan, the two athletes did something extraordinary. They had a jeweler cut each of their medals in half and splice together two new ones—half silver and half bronze. They called these creations “Medals of Friendship.”

Source, Wikipedia – copyright unknown

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in it’s various forms.

1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

A Few Observations

  • It’s God’s gift, not mine — the two athletes valued their friendship more than competition.
  • It’s not MY grace, either — they demonstrated this by committing to something larger than themselves.
  • God’s grace comes in different flavors — the Medals of Friendship were a unique way to show the true depth of their relationship.

My collaboration with Barb (and other believers, on and off-line) reminds me that our life in Christ is a shared experience. We are many members, but ONE body (Romans 12:4-5).

I like to call this interconnection “3 Makes 2”

You and me, with Jesus at the top of the triangle.

Walk in the wisdom of God as you live before the unbelievers, and make it your duty to make Him known. Let every word you speak be drenched with grace and tempered with truth and clarity. For then you will be prepared to give a respectful answer to anyone who asks about your faith.

Colossians 4:4-5 (TPT)

#shareHisgrace