Sunday, September 25, 2011


The greatest pleasure of the Christian life is WORSHIP, though we scarely realize it until we've dived in wholeheartedly. We approach it at first as an obligation. We're fairly self-focussed, and it's hard to turn our hearts toward God. But if we do, in spirit and in truth (i.e with zealous inspiration and according to who God really is), we find inexpressible delights. Jesus seeks to turn us, like the woman at the well, into WORSHIPERS with substance rather than WORSHIPERS of ritual. How do we make that change?
Many of us ask God this question: "What is my responsibility toward You?" While not a bad question, there is a better, more heartwarming question: "What can I offer You to show my devotion?"
Do you see the difference? The first question presuppose a requirement we must meet. It almost assumes that there will be a minimum standard, and after having met it, we will cease our God-ward activity and resume our self-ward obsession. The second question presupposes a desire to express love and devotion. It assumes that there can never be enough we can offer Him, but whatever we can find to offer, we will. There is no self-focus in it at all; it is entirely enarmored with God.
JESUS would have us not ask which requirements we are to fulfill, but what more of ourselves we canoffer Him. When we look for our required obligation, we do not worship in spirit, because the SPIRIT OF GOD would not inspire us to fulfill quotas of devotion. And we do not worship in truth, because we underestimate God's worth. He is worth all we are, and more.
Blessed is the WORSHIPER who can truthfully - and with pleasure - say to the LORD: "What can I do for You? You name it, it's Yours. Whatever I can offer You, please let me." This is the kind of worshiper the FATHER seeks.
(an extract from At His feet Devotion by Chris Tiegreen)

Saturday, September 17, 2011


The blessing JACOB gave his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh is significant as a demostration of FAITH. The content of that blessing is also important. For one thing, it defied all normal expectation.
"Then Israel stretched out his rgiht hand and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the first born ... Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father's hand to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. And Joseph said to his father, 'Not so, my father. for this one is the firstborn; out your right hand on his head.' " (Genesis 48:14-18)
When Joseph pointed out the irregularity in the blessings, "his father refused" (Genesis 48:19) to stop. What was going on here? JACOB was himself a younger son who maneuvered to take the birthright of his brother Esau. Look what had resulted becuase of his action! Had JACOB not learned his lesson?
Now, the two reversals were different, however. Rather than reversing the usual custm through trickery, JACOB did so through his TRUST in God. Earlier in the conversation he had expressed his acceptance of both grandsons by proclaiming, "[They] are mine" (Genesis 48:5). When he gave the right hand of blessing the younger child, JACOB answered Joseph's reproach by saying he was certain of God's plan.
"I know, my son, I know: [Manasseh] also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multiude of nations." (Genesis 48:19).
JACOB knew this blessing was God's will, and he stood squarely upon that knowledge - even though, given his past, he may have thus laid himself open for criticism. Nevertheless, JACOB "blessed them that day ... and he set Ephraim before Manasseh" (Genesis 48:14-20).
Centuries later, this prophecy of God through JACOB was proven true. The descendants of Ephraim became the leaders of Israel's ten northern tribes, while the tribe of Manasseh divided.
The writer to the Hebrews records, finally, that JACOB blessed Joseph's grandsons "and WORSHIPED." (JACOB's act of WORSHIP actually preceded the blessing. Nevertheless, the two events occurred close together during the pariarch's final days.)
"When the time drew near that ISRAEL must die, he called his son Jospeh and said to him, ' Now if I have found favor in yoursight, please put your hand under my thigh'. So ISRAEL bowed himself on the head of the bed." (Genesis 47:29, 31).
His physical strength had waned. He needed help to sit up. He was so weak, apparently, that he had to lean on his staff (Hebrews 11:21) even to sit on the edge of his bed. He could no longer imagine it possible to do any mighty deeds to impress God and gain His favor. In fact, his life was nearly over. Yet as JACOB leaned on his staff, he did the best thing any man could ever do. In his heart, as in his body, he was prostrate before God. This is the attitude of TRUE WORSHIP, that of a heart that is humbled in complete submission before God
The New Testament's HALL of FAITH records this scene because, even for us today, it is a powerful lesson and a great encouragement. At one time this man had acted and schemed as if all success depended on him. But in the end, JACOB humbled himself before God. He had learned to TRUST God instead of himself. Lovingly, the LORD had allowed JACOB to experience many trials and blessings in order to bring His child into a vibrant relationship with Him. God does the same for us TODAY! If we TRUST Him fully, as JACOB did, we will naturally WORSHIP the Object of our TRUST until the end of our days.
(an extract from True Worship by David Whitcomb and Mark Ward, Sr.)

Sunday, September 11, 2011


By faith Jacob, when he was dying,
blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped,
leaning on the top of his staff
Hebrews 11:21

After September 11, 2011, the thought of being in a doomed aircraft became all too real to contemplate. On that horrific day all America was grieved by stories of men and women who called loved ones for a final farewell. Yet amidst the awful devastation, an entire nation took heart from the heroism of a man named Todd Beamer. "Let's roll!" he urged his fellow passengers, leading them in charge against the terrorists who had hijacked their plane. His action saved possibly hundreds of lives on the ground, though he and all others aboard the airplane were lost when it crashed in a remote area.
Experts who investigate air disasters have long known that flight recordings can reveal a wide range of human  emotion. When the black box is recovered and the recording analyzed, voices from the last moments before the impact are often heard shouting vile and profane curses against God and fate. Other voices, however, pray to that same God for deliverance, whether in this life or the next.
How would we react in a similar situation? Although the scenario is almost too horrible to consider, the answer would say much about our relationship with God. It would say much about how we lived our lives in the years preceding our end. We all will face physical death someday. It may come in a traffic intersection, on an operating table, or in our own bed. But the day of our death will come. How will we meet it? What will our last actions and words say about us?
JACOB WORSHIPED GOD THROUGH FAITH, evenwith his last breath. His WORSHIP WAS TRUE and  CONSISTENT. When the New Testatment writer to the Hebrews was inspired by God to write the chapter we call the "HALL OF FAITH," he penned just one verse to illustrate the FAITH of JACOB. Fittingly, he chose an example from the patriach's last days when JACOB by FAITH "blessed both the sons of Joseph; and WORSHIPED" (Hebrews 11:21).
Why was this action significant? Why did it demostrate such FAITH that, alone among all the deeds of JACOB, this final action is cited by the writer to the Hebrews? Read on.

Ironically, this honored member of the "HALL OF FAITH" bears a name that actually means "supplanter." The name of JACOB literally means "heel catcher," and it describes someone who will snatch you down by the heel if you are not alert. Sadly, JACOB spent most of his years living up to his name and practicing many deceptions. Yet the LORD later changed his name to ISRAEL (Genesis 32:28), which means "GOD PREVAILS." God made the name change after a long process that brought JACOB to a deep trust in Him.
Given the importance of JACOB's new name, it seems odd that the WORD of GOD, as conveyed by the writer to the Hebrews, would list JACOB in the "HALL OF FAITH" under his old name. Perhaps this name is a reminder of God's great work of sanctification in JACOB's life. Thus JACOB serves as an Old Testament example of the same sanctification God  wants us to experience today. We would do well, when we enter into WORSHIP, to remember how far God has brought us since the time we placed our trust in Him for salvation. Maybe JACOB was remembering the same thing as he lay dying; perhaps those thoughts were the cause of his WORSHIP.
Indeed, JACOB had much to think about as he recalled the 147 years of his life (Genesis 47:28). In his first fifty years, JACOB's life was characterized by sinful scheming. During the next eighty years he reaped the evil he had sown. No wonder, then, that when Pharaoh asked JACOB, "How old are you?" the patriarch replied, "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years: few  and evil have been the days of the years of my life" (Genesis 47:8-9). At that time, seventeen years before his death, JACOB still had trouble remembering how God had forgiven and blessed him.
As a youth, JACOB deceived his father Isaac and sinned against his brother Esau by taking Esau's birthright. Because of his deed, JACOB was forced to leave his family and flee to a foreign land (Genesis 27:41-28:5). Yet even then, God was working to bring JACOB into a trusting relationship with Himself. Even as JACOB left home, the LORD provided guidance and encouragement through the counsel of his father Isaac. He blessed his son, urged him not to take a heathen wife, and advised JACOB where he should go (Genesis 28:1).
During JACOB's journey, God met him in a dream. The LORD not only confirmed the blessing Isaac had given, but made JACOB an uncondtional promise that He will bring JACOB and his descendants back to the land. (Genesis 28:13-15).
JACOB did not throw himself on God's mercy when he heard this promis. But his response to the dream indicates that he was thinking seriously about his relationship with God. "Surely the LORD is in this place; and I did not know it," JACOB exclaimed when he awoke. He then piled some stones into an altar, poured oil upon it, and called the place BETHEL, which means "HOUSE OF GOD." Yet JACOB did not trust God completely to provide for His needs, and he continued to put God to test. (Read Genesis 28:20-22)
After JACOB arrived at his destination, God provided him a wife - although ironically, JACOB obtained two wives after enduring the trickery of his uncle (Genesis 29). In the years he lived with Laban, JACOB reaped the consequences of the actions he had sown earlier. . But he also received much blessing from God and learned of His care and mercy during a difficult time. Through difficult circumstances JACOB's FAITH in God grew. When at last he had to face Esau, the brother he had wronged, JACOB anticipated trouble and realized that he might be killed. Yet the night before their meeting, God came again to JACOB.
This time JACOB wrestled with God. In spite of an injured leg, JACOB hung on and said, "I will not let You go, unless You bless me" (Genesis 32:26). He longed for God's blessing more than anything, for he finally trusted God to provide . So the LORD said to him, "Your name shall no longer be called JACOB, but ISRAEL: for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed" (Genesis 32:28). When JACOB received the blessing he had requested, he gave God all the credit: "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved" (Genesis 32:30).
God brought JACOB to the end of his rope once again when he was compelled in his old age to make a journey to Egypt. Just as JACOB had once tricked his own father, his own sons had deceived him into believing his favorite son Joseph was dead. Yet now, after many years of grief, his sons had changed their story. Joseph was alive, they said, and ruling Egypt! What? Such a thing was impossibile! Yet JACOB learned to trust God even in this strangest of situation. When father and son were reunited, JACOB's first utterance was to credit the promise God had given to preserve his children.
"Then JACOB said to Joseph: 'God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and said to me, 'Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make you a multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession' " (Genesis 48:3-4).
Now at the end of his life, JACOB's trust in God was complete. As the writer to the Hebrews recalls and the Old Testament relates (Genesis 48:5-20), the patriarch gave a blessing to the two sons of Joseph, Epharim and Manasseh. They, too were now included in the promise God had given first to Abraham and had confirmed in turn to Isaac and JACOB.
Why did the writer to the Hebrews view JACOB's blessing as so significant? Simply put, IT WAS BECAUSE JACOB ACTED BY FAITH. Consider his situation. Although he had  once lived in the Promised Land, JACOB had been a nomad there. Now his sons and their households were in Egypt, a long way from Canaan. Yet JACOB fully expected that God would someday give the Promised Land to his descendants. Fulfillment of God's promise would have seemed impossible; in fact, it would ultimately take centuries. But JACOB HAD FAITH. He trusted God. He was so certain God fulfill His promise  that he instructed his sons to make sure he would be buried in Canaan (Gensis 47:29-31, 49:29-32).
JACOB saw in advance something thatothers would see only in hindsight. And it was because of this faith that he could give his LORD TRUE WORSHIP, even with death closing upon him. Thus did the writer to the Hebrews say of JACOB and his forefathers, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them" (Hebrews 11:13).
(an extract from TRUE WORSHIP by David Whitcomb and Mark Ward, Sr.)

Saturday, September 03, 2011


Therefore, whether you eat or drink,
Or whatever you do,
Do all to the glory of God
1 Corinthians 10:31

It is one thing to say that GOD'S GLORY is our purpose in life, but it is quite a different thing to understand tehstatement we have just made. What is GOD'S GLORY? GOD'S GLORY can be briefly defined as His awesome spupremacy and divine mode of being. Yet because God is the everlasting, self-exisitng, Almighty Creator, His full glory must escape our complete comprehension. He is infinite, but we are not.
In fact, GOD'S GLORY is so immense thatit would be deadly for us to see it's fullness. Moses asked the LORD, "Please, show me Your GLORY" (Exodus 33:18). God agreed to "make all My goodness pass before you" and "to "proclaim the name of the LORD before you," but He warned Moses, "You cannot see My face: for no man shall see Me and live" (Exodus 33:19-20). God could reveal only small portions of His GLORY to His creation.
In the Bible we read scores of accounts in which God reveals His GLORY through His mighty works: the Creation, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Exodus, the Conquest. It is no wonder that David recalling such awesome displays of love and might wrote,
"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours: Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all" (1 Chronicles 29:11).
The classical Greek word from which we derive our English word glory denotes an opinion. We, as God's created beings, should have a right opinion of God. This concept of glory is evident often in the Old Testament as the Israelites revere YAHWEH (or fail to revere Him) in recognition for what He had done.
In the New Testament, however, the concept of glory as an "opinion" regarding God's past works is completely superseded. GLORY becomes in the New Testament a term to convey recognition of His intrinsic divinity. We read that God is "worthy ... to receive glory and honor and power: for You have created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created" (Revelation 4:11). Since God intends for all His creation to glorify Him, glorifying Him should be the burning desire of those who claim to be His people. "Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My GLORY: I have formed him, yes I have made him" (Isaiah 43:7).
(An extract from True Worship by David Whitcomb and Mark Ward, Sr.)

God reveals His GLORY in the hearts of His people who are tender and sensitive to hear Him. Paul expressed this truth when he expressed his desire "that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Philippians 3:10). The Greek word thatis translated "know" means to learn through intimate experience. A person first believes God in his heart, then learns ofGod in his heart, and at last comes to know God in his heart. WHen that happens, we know God initmately, we can truly honor His GLORY.
So it follows that if God tells us to do everything for His GLORY, it must also be true that anything e do - if done in the right way, for the right reasons - can GLORIFY Him. That applies even to eating and drinking, as in the passage 1 Corinthians 10:31.. In other words, anything can become AN ACT OF WORSHIP.
In theory, we have no problem believing that, but in practice it's hard to grasp. For example, how does it GLORIFY GOD for someone to keep doing the same menial task in a dead-end job? How can we go shopping to the GLORY OF GOD or study history to the GLORY OF GOD? How do we eat for His GLORY or dress for his GLORY? Is GLORIFYING GOD just for ministers and missionaries, or can the daily grind of average people be honoring to Him?
Intellectually, we know the answer. If the Bible tells us that anything we do can be AN ACT OF WORSHIP, then we can approach anything with that ATTITUDE. The same menial task may demostrate to others that we have an otherworldly source of fulfillment. The stewardship of shopping and the dignity of dressing may demostrate otherworldly values. Our studies, our habits, our interests, and our relationships are all able to reflect some aspect of His character. And reflecting Him is critical; making the invisible in this world is what GLORIFYING Him is all about.

The most important question to ask yourself in any decision, no matter how small, is whether it will reflect GOD'S GLORY or deflect it. Is your lifestyle a distraction thatobscures a clear view of Him? Then take Paul's words to heart. Learn to live them. Remind yourself daily until they become part of the fabric of your life. WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT FOR HIS GLORY!
(An extract from: Worship The King by Chris Tiegreen)