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Archive for October, 2009

Worship First

October 31st, 2009

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

Hebrews 4:15

 

A subtle but important insight is revealed in Christ’s temptations. In the temptations recorded in Matthew 4:1-11, Satan’s low opinion of the human race is revealed. The order and priorities of God are reversed, as Satan comes first with the temptation of food, then in his twisted way he appealed in along the lines of the higher thoughts of trust and worship. Christ’s response to each temptation was from Deuteronomy, and revealed God’s proper order of things: worship first, trust in God next, and then the physical needs.

 

To the temptation to turn stones to bread, Christ quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3. To the temptation to leap from the temple, Christ quoted from Deuteronomy 6:16. To the temptation to worship Satan, Christ quoted from Deuteronomy 6:13. Notice that this is the reverse order of what we find in Scripture. So in the Bible God begins to deal with humanity with an appeal to what is lacking the most: the greatest need of human life is spiritual in nature and requires that we worship God. Upon the experience of worship follows the matter of trusting God with all of life, and then our physical desires are submitted to Him in obedience.

 

As it was with Christ so it is with us, that the center of all temptation is to draw us away from worshipping God. Satan says, You need food or money or sex or drugs, though we know such things do not really change us. God says we need to worship Him. God invites us to worship Him not because He is some insecure egomaniac, but because He knows that only by worshipping Him do we become fully human. Worship opens the human life up to the potential of God. Worship requires recognition of the worth of God, His greatness and majesty, His holiness, love, mercy, compassion, and every other aspect of His personality. Worship is the believing heart’s response to God’s unveiling Himself before our eyes.

 

How do we worship God? None of us grasps all the attributes of God at once. We might begin merely with the simplest revelation of God’s kindness and grace, but we should feed that thought and encourage its development. We may worship God by singing a simple tune to Him, whether on pitch or not matters none, by directing our thoughts to Him, by quoting a Scripture back to God in recognition of who He is. To start the day with words of praise and end the evening with thoughts that reaffirm the greatness of God lifts us up to a higher life, to the life that God originally planned we would have. If all we do is pause and say, “What a wonderful God You are,” heaven’s possibilities opens for us and we are lifted to a greater level of life and thought.

 

Do not let Satan ruin your peace with temptations of worry or anger, lusts or pride. Rather focus your heart’s attention on God.

 

Prayer:

 

Lord, You are above all things and we praise You! Amen

 

 

Evening Devotionals

With All Your Heart

October 30th, 2009

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

 

Seeking God is possible because He first sought us, and we responded in repentance and trust. We would all agree that every conversion is a miracle of God’s grace. But if we have backslidden, whether in thought and secret deeds or in a more public display of disobedience, the miracle of restoration is just as great.

 

A real danger is to suppose that returning to God as a backslidden Christian is less costly in terms of personal commitment than coming to God as a lost person.  Both acts require grace and serious repentance. In a heightened sense of urgency David cried to God, “Have mercy on me, O God” (Psalm 51.1) when he repented as a believing person, and the deep conviction to seek God’s cleansing, to seek God’s face, is required for all of us to be restored. If we seek Him at all, we are called to seek God with all our heart. One of the chief ways Satan continues to weaken the Christian heart is to encourage weak repentance and a half-hearted seeking of God, and this just sets us up for more failure in the future. The only proper biblical response to God is seeking God with all that is within you, and turning from sin likewise with all that is within you.

 

Where is your life weak today? Where does sin find expression in your life? Where do you need to repent and turn away from sin, returning to God in faith? Is it in your thought life? Your actions in secret? Does the flesh draw you away from God through appealing to your pride, or to your lusts? You may have lost hope for change and have settled for less in the Christian life than God truly offers you. But seek God wholly, seek Him with all your heart just now. The answer is not to try and shake off the appeals of the world in your strength first, and then come back to God. Turn to Him first, answer the call He has placed on your life and come back as the prodigal did, in rags of failure, and let the Father dress you in the royal robes of His grace.  

 

Perhaps you do not even feel the desire to put aside sin, but turn to God with all your heart and He will work in you, “both to will and to do his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). If you fear at all, fear the thought that it seems so easy for you to sin, so difficult for you to seek after the right things. As long as there is within you the slightest desire to know God, know that desire comes from God, and feed it and nurture it. Seek Him with all your heart and you will surely find Him.

 

Prayer:

 

Lord, we thank You that You have called us to believe, that You have left heaven to die for our sins. Call us to return to You and cleanse us from unrighteousness. Show us how we may seek You with all our heart. Amen.

 

 

Evening Devotionals