Tag Archives: worship

Mary, Martha And Judas

Recently we were driving somewhere and our son said he had a question for us. I turned down the radio and asked what it was. He asked, “Which are y’all: Mary or Martha?” I laughed that such a question would come from a 9 year old. His question is in reference to Luke 10 where Martha is busy serving Jesus while Mary just sits at His feet listening. My wife responded, “Sorry, son. You were born into a family of Martha’s!” He asked if that was a bad thing. I explained that it wasn’t because we need both Mary’s and Martha’s. The Martha’s of the world simply need to learn to not be so anxious when things don’t get done perfectly and they also need to take time to sit at the feet of Jesus and recharge. Both types are important to the Church.

We see Martha and Mary two more times in Scripture. The next time we see them is in John 11 after their brother Lazarus had died. When Jesus showed up four days later, it was Martha who ran out to meet Jesus while Mary stayed in the house. Martha expressed that if Jesus had been there, her brother wouldn’t have died. She also expressed that He was the Messiah and could raise him up. After their conversation she went to get Mary to take her to Jesus. Mary expressed the same things. It was the other people who doubted and accused when they implied that Jesus gave sight to the blind, but couldn’t keep Lazarus from dying. After that, we read that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

The last time we meet them is in John 12, about two months later, just before Jesus is crucified. Martha was back to serving everyone while Lazarus ate. Verse 3 says, “Then Mary took a whole pint of a very expensive perfume made of pure nard, poured it on Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The sweet smell of the perfume filled the whole house” (GNT). Immediately Judas saw this as a waste of money and criticized her act of worship. In these stories, there are three types of people: one who worships with service, one who worships at His feet and those who criticize. I’ll ask my son’s question to you. Which are you? It’s all right to be a Martha as long as you’re not so busy you miss hearing Jesus. It’s all right being a Mary as long as you share what you learn at the feet of Jesus. It’s not ok to stand back from afar and criticize the way other people worship while never drawing near yourself. Each of us must worship in our own extravagant way and take time to hear what Jesus is saying to us.

Photo by Richard Burlton on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

True Worship

Worship is one of those Christianese words that we use, but struggle to define. You can look it up in the Hebrew, the Greek or in the Webster’s dictionary, but it won’t quite define what true worship is. In the Bible times, the Jews believed God resided in Jerusalem, so they would come to Jerusalem to worship and go through the motions of worship. Worship became a ritual and an act rather than a response to God’s presence. Many times the God rejected their worship because it was hollow or meaningless. They didn’t understand the worship He desires from us. I’m not so sure we’re that different these days. We’ve contained worship to a set of songs we sing on Sunday at church. We’ve made it about a certain place and practice as well.

The woman at the well asked Jesus who was right about where to worship God. Jesus told her that it wasn’t about the place or the act, but the heart. Our worship is expressed in many ways when we have a holy reverence for who God is. It can be expressed in bowing down, singing, crying, serving others or sitting silent in His presence. Worship is an attitude as much as it is an action. Remember that God looks at our heart- our intent- rather than our actions. He’s not interested in worship that is merely going through motions. He wants us to respond to His majesty, His goodness, His kindness, His might, His sovereignty and His presence. When we see God for who He is, we will worship Him in Spirit and Truth from a heart that honors Him.

Here are some Bible verses on true worship.

1. From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.

John 4:23-24 TPT

2. Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; Tremble [in submissive wonder] before Him, all the earth.

Psalms 96:9 AMP

3. Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of “sacrifice”—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.

Hebrews 13:16 MSG

4. And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

Romans 12:1 NLT

5. Let us be thankful, then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe.

Hebrews 12:28 GNT

Photo by VICKIIDO on Unsplash

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Acts Of Worship

One of my favorite authors says that he takes off his shoes when he sits down to write because he considers that place holy ground. He says that he worships God with each keystroke. I’ve often thought of that and wondered, “What are my acts of worship? Do I take them as seriously as He does?” I don’t think we have to remove our shoes for every act of worship, but I do think we need to recognize when we are worshiping God. Worship is more than a slow song at church. It’s an act of love done to honor God that’s often a sacrifice of some kind. It requires a conscious effort on our part to put God’s needs ahead of our own.

When’s the last time you worshiped God with your life? Any act of obedience with the right heart is an act of worship. Consider all that God has done for you. There is nothing you can do to repay Him, but you can thank and honor Him by living your life in a way that pleases Him. You can rescue those who are perishing spiritually and physically as a way to worship Him. We don’t worship to earn our salvation though. It is the response of a grateful heart. Each act of worship is different because each of us have different skills and burdens that drive our worship. The important thing is to make sure we offer these things consciously as worship to God. Whether you’re working to end human trafficking, giving your tithe, serving the homeless or staying home to raise your children, do it as an act of worship and God will bless it.

Here are some Bible verses about worshiping God.

1. Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.

ROMANS 12:1 AMP

2. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.

John 4:23 NLT

3. Worship GOD if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness.

Psalm 34:9 MSG

4. Therefore, I encourage the men to pray on every occasion with hands lifted to God in worship with clean hearts, free from frustration or strife.

1 Timothy 2:8 TPT

5. Let us be thankful, then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe.

Hebrews 12:28 GNT

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Praise Break

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

I don’t know about you, but there are times I just want to spend hours praising God while listening to praise and worship music. I set my Pandora to Jesus Culture, and then let it play. I love how so many songs put words to how I feel and what I want to say to God. Right now, one of my favorites is “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons and Daughters. The part that resonates with me says, “It’s your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to you only.” I find myself repeating just that phrase over and over.

I learned a long time ago how important it is to be in God’s presence, especially when I’m under attack. I can find peace and clarity in times of chaos by praising God. Psalm 22 tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. I’ve found that God shows up when I praise Him. I find that if I sing to Him, He gives me strength when I’m mentally and physically exhausted. I know i don’t sing in tune, but thankfully, He hears my heart over my pitch. He just enjoys it when we take the time to invite Him into our busy day and to praise Him.

Sometimes I feel like the psalmist in Psalm 106:2. He wrote, “Who can tell all the great things he has done? Who can praise him enough?” (GNT) Several years ago, Sonicflood sang a song called, “I Could Sing of your Love Forever”. I believe we could do that and still not be able to praise Him for all He’s done. I don’t know that we can praise Him enough. I do know that He is worthy of whatever praise we give Him because if He never did another thing for any one of us, He’s already done more for us than we deserve.

Today, I challenge you to think of things God has done for you and to praise Him for them. Make a list and watch it grow. We get so good at asking Him for things, but we rarely stop to thank Him when He does. Take time to praise God from your heart. If you don’t know what to say, search for your favorite worship song, play it, and sing along. Don’t worry if you don’t sound good to human ears. You aren’t signing for their approval. You are worshiping the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. When you do this, watch how your day changes. It’s amazing how praising God shifts our perspective and how His presence gives us peace.

Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Heartfelt Worship

I was twenty years old before I attended my first liturgical style church service. I was raised in a church at the opposite end of the spectrum. The songs seemed to be all from before the 1700’s, and we had to do responsive readings throughout the service. I remember thinking, “This is crazy! How can anyone get into this?” It was then that God directed my gaze to a woman across the church. I could tell she was enjoying it and was worshipping God through the service. God was saying, “There’s more than one way to worship me because worship comes from the heart.”

In Matthew 26, Jesus was close to the end of His ministry. He was having dinner with a man he had healed when a woman came in with a perfume worth a year’s salary. She broke it open and poured it on Jesus. The disciples flipped out and called it a waste because they could have sold the perfume and given the money away. But Jesus responded in verse 13, “I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed” (NLT).

I’ve been like the disciples and have complained about other styles of worship. Because God gave us different personality styles, we express our worship differently. God is looking for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth with our lives, not just at a church service. The woman in this story worshipped with all she had and we are still talking about it two thousand years later. Imagine what the Church could do if we quit worrying about how each other worship God and focused on our own worship. Remember God is looking at our heart, not our outward expression.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Unlocking God’s Goodness


I don’t carry a key to my own home. There is almost always someone home so it isn’t necessary. The problem is that recently I was hanging with a friend, and when they dropped me off, it was one of those rare times that the house was empty. I checked all the doors and windows, but they were locked. I walked around the house a few times, but couldn’t get in. It was about thirty minutes before anyone got home who had a key and let me in. It was hot outside and all I wanted was to get inside, sit in the air conditioning and have an ice cold glass of water.

Many times I have that same feeling of being locked out of God’s presence and goodness. I want to be in it, but I can’t seem to find the door or a window to get in it. I know God’s desire is for me to spend time in His presence, but some times it just seems to elude me. It’s like I’m locked out and all I want is to just be in it and to enjoy all the goodness that He has to offer. Do you ever feel that way? Ever wonder what the key is?

In Psalm 34:9, the Psalmist wrote, “Worship GOD if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness” (MSG). Worship is the key. The problem is that many of us only associate worship with music, but the truth is that worship is more than a slow song. In the original meaning of the word, it means to submit yourself. In plain English, it means that you and I have to live a life of putting God first.

The key to opening the door to all God’s goodness is not in singing a song to Him, but in living a life of submission to God. It’s not just what we do on Sunday morning at church, but rather how we live the rest of the week. If we want access, we’ve got to give Him more than one day a week. Worshipping God is an incredible thing that keeps God on the throne of our lives.when He is at the center of who we are and why we live, the doors to His goodness and presence will remain unlocked. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

True Worship

  
Worship is one of those words that we, as Christians, lose the meaning of. For many Christians, when they read or hear the word “worship”, they immediately think of their favorite church song that they sing during praise and worship, which is lead by their worship pastor. In our modern Church, we’ve singularized what the word worship means. We’ve narrowed it down to singing and lifting our hands, but it’s more than that.

Worship is any action that flows from the posture and attitude of our heart towards God. Serving the least of these, giving your tithe and offerings, helping the widows in your town, praying with someone in need, cleaning up after a church event, and so much more are acts of worship. When our hearts are bowed before God, it pours out in our actions as acts of worship. You don’t have to be able to carry a tune in a bucket to worship, you simply need an opportunity to serve God.

Here are some of my favorite verses on worship.

1. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.
John 4:24 NLT

2. Worship GOD if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness.
Psalm 34:9 MSG

3. I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
Romans 12:1 AMP

4. When you said, “Come worship me,” I answered, “I will come, Lord.”
Psalm 27:8 GNT

5. You must worship only the LORD your God. He is the one who will rescue you from all your enemies.
2 Kings 17:39 NLT

6. Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear, revere, and worship You, goodness which You have wrought for those who trust and take refuge in You before the sons of men!
Psalm 31:19 AMP

7. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
Psalms 29:2 ESV

8. But the time is coming and is already here, when by the power of God’s Spirit people will worship the Father as he really is, offering him the true worship that he wants.
John 4:23 GNT

9. God-friendship is for God-worshipers; They are the ones he confides in.
Psalm 25:14 MSG

10. Behold, the Lord’s eye is upon those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe], who wait for Him and hope in His mercy and loving-kindness.
Psalm 33:18 AMP

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Walk With The Wise Men

Matthew 2 tells the story of the wise men coming to visit Jesus after He was born. Over the centuries, we’ve put crowns on these men and called them kings. We’ve also narrowed down the number of them to three. The Bible doesn’t tell us how many there were. It just says, “Men.” The Greek word used for them is magos. It’s interpreted as wise men, teachers, priests, physicians and astrologers. Debates can go on about who they were, how many there were and where they came from, but that’s not what I think we should focus on.

One of the main things I think we should focus on is that they were seeking Him. They traveled a great distance to find the King. They weren’t even afraid to ask for help. They stopped in Jerusalem and asked King Herod where the newborn king was. They kept searching until they found Him. You and I tend to quit seeking Him after we’ve found Him, but I think that our lives should be lived in pursuit of the King. We should search to know Him more each day. We should spend time seeking out who He is and what He says. Our lives will be fuller for it.

The next thing I noticed is that they said in verse 2, “We saw His star as it rose, and we have come to worship Him.” They were face to face with the king of the country and told him that they had come to worship another. Their priorities in whom and what they worshipped were in order. Too many times, we let Jesus take a back seat to who or what we are worshipping. We allow sports to dictate whether we go to church or not. We allow other things to occupy our minds when we have designated time to spend with the King of Kings. We treat our worship as a spiritual box than can be checked off as part of a requirement. We would be wise to follow the precedence set by these wise men.

Finally, they brought Him gifts. They opened up their bags and presented Him with what they had. They prepared ahead of time to give Him things that were most precious to them. They didn’t offer Him something that had no value or that only cost them a little. They were all in so they went all out with their gifts. You and could learn a lot from their sacrifice. God isn’t interested in our leftovers. He has always wanted our best and our first fruits. The gifts we bring to Him should have value and be meaningful to us. These gifts don’t just have to be monetary. They can be our talents and abilities.

I’ve always been intrigued by the wise men who visited Jesus. God chose not only the poor of this world to celebrate the arrival of His son, but He also chose men of stature to share in it. These wise men had their priorities right so God chose them to share in this history changing moment. I wonder what moments in life that God wants to include you and I in if only we would get our priorities right and be willing to offer Him our best. The great news is that is a decision you and I can make today. If you want to be wise, walk in the steps of the wise.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized