It starts with Jesus! We need to receive Him into our lives as our Lord and Savior. This is the beginning of the transformation. It opens up a world of options and opportunities and removes limits and restrictions. Our lives become living sacrifices and as such how we live and what we do are all acts of worship to God! We start to put things into perspective by first loving God and second loving people. Our priorities get aligned so that we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness rather than being selfish or self centered. By making God’s purpose our purpose, we start to live lives that can be bless. By delighting ourselves in the Lord, He gives us the desires of our heart!
Ever considered what is it that caused you to stop laughing as much?
Children laugh, on average, 150 times a day. Adults laugh, on average, only six times a day. Jesus tells us to be more like children. — from Day 319: Bible in One Year 2017
The Bible speaks to having childlike faith. What is it that kids know that we have forgotten?How can we live compassionately? Being able to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn? Being able to live a joy filled life because the joy of the Lord is our strength while also being able to be solemn.
1When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,
it was like a dream!
2We were filled with laughter,
and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
“What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”
3Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!
4Restore our fortunes, Lord,
as streams renew the desert.
5Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
6They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest.
–from Psalm 126
It’s a matter of perspective! We need to see the world from the perspective of all Jesus did for us. He is Emmanuel, God with us, and so we can worship Him everywhere! So let’s take hold of what God has done for us thru Jesus and how He is working in and thru our lives via the Holy Spirit and demonstrate that truth in how we live!
Let’s reflect on today’s devotional which closes saying…
Like them, your response should be one of worship: ‘Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy’ (vv.2–3).
There are plenty of tears in the Christian life. If life is tough for you at the moment, pray that God will restore your fortunes. If you are sowing in tears right now, there will come a time when you will begin to reap with songs of joy (vv.5–6).
—from Day 319: Bible in One Year 2017
Don’t be arrogant! We need to walk in humility!
We need to allow the work God has started in us to finish its work! It’s not because of us that we are holy , it is because of Jesus that we can be holy . We are saved by grace through faith! It’s not by works so that none of us can boast!
Today’s devotional starts this topic with a quote…
‘More spiritual progress can be made in one short moment of speechless silence in the awesome presence of God than in years of mere study,’ wrote A.W. Tozer. —from Day 319: Bible in One Year 2017
It then goes on to speak of holiness as follows…
Worship is coming into ‘the awesome presence’ of a holy God on his holy mountain. Our God is ‘a consuming fire’ (v.29). You are called to be like him: ‘Make every effort… to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord’ (v.14b). As Mother Teresa said, ‘Our progress in holiness depends on God and ourselves – on God’s grace and on our will to be holy.’ You can decide to let Jesus make you holy.
Relationships really matter: ‘Make every effort to live in peace with everyone’ (v.14a). Don’t do anything that could cause you to miss out on the grace of God (to miss out on his holy presence). ‘Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time’ (v.15, MSG). Pull out the roots of bitterness as soon as you detect them.
We have a responsibility for ourselves and for each other: ‘see that no-one is sexually immoral’ or ‘godless like Esau’, who, in a moment of madness, threw away so much for instant gratification: ‘trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite’ (vv.16–17, MSG).
Look at the contrast between the physical mountain where the Law was given in the Old Testament, and the heavenly Mount Zion where you now come to worship God. Think about the extraordinary display of God’s holiness, which accompanied the giving of the law and which left even Moses terrified (vv.18–21).
Every time you worship, you are surrounded by thousands upon thousands of angels (v.22b) and the very presence of the living God (v.23b). All those who have died in Christ join in the heavenly worship (v.23c). You join with billions of Christians alive now and those in heaven.
Supremely, every time you worship ‘you’ve come to Jesus’ (v.23, MSG) who makes all this possible (v.24b). ‘The murder of Jesus, unlike Abel’s – a homicide that cried out for vengeance – became a proclamation of grace’ (v.24, MSG). The blood of Christ brings a message of cleansing, forgiveness and peace with God to all who place their faith in him.
As you come to worship Jesus, ‘do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God’ (v.28, MSG).
—from Day 319: Bible in One Year 2017
Based on today’s reading from Hebrews 12
A Call to Listen to God
14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. 16 Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. 17 You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.
18 You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. 19 For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. 20 They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
22 No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. 23 You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
25 Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! 26 When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” 27 This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.
28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire.
–from Hebrews 12
And it closes speaking to the importance of humility. This is linked to holiness. Our natural tendency is to focus on ourselves. Holiness help us to find humility and to live humbly!
Pride comes before the fall. When we start to put ourselves higher than we aught to we are setting ourselves up for a fall. Instead of putting God first we try to put ourselves in His role and then eventually get tripped up in the sin of pride and fall. The higher we put ourselves, the greater the distance we fall. Even if we get put into leadership, we need to ensure we live it out as servant leaders, humbly serving those who we have been put over. We shouldn’t be trying to manipulate or position ourselves as higher allow pride to drive us! pride comes before the fall, do you really want that?
So let’s take hold of Jesus’ example. He came down humbly into this world not to be served but to serve that we could learn the truth that sets us free and give us a road to holiness and salvation. Let’s follow His example! Let’s make a difference in the world around us before it is too late.
Today’s devotional concludes with the following…
According to the biblical world-view, behind the evil in the world there lies the devil. The Greek word for devil, diabolos, translates the Hebrew word satan. We are not told very much about the origins of Satan in the Bible. But this passage is one of the few that might give some hint of the origin of Satan.
Although the original context is the fall of the King of Tyre, it seems that Satan, the ruler of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), was behind the ruler of Tyre.
Read alongside Isaiah 14:12–23 and Revelation 12, it appears that both humans and Satan were created good: ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God’ (Ezekiel 28:12–13). It appears that Satan was an angel: ‘You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God’ (v.14). Satan had access to the throne of grace and to the presence of the Lord. He was blameless in his ways (v.15).
Instead of worshipping God on the mountain of God ‘his heart became proud, going around saying, “I’m a god. I sit on God’s divine throne, ruling the sea”’ (v.2, MSG). He was ‘trying to be a god’ (v.3, MSG). ‘By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud’ (v.5).
Just as great skills and wealth can lead to pride, so can good looks: ‘Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour’ (v.17).
This is a description of self-worship, which happens when we put our success down to our own wisdom, skill and abilities (v.4), without realising that these things come from God and that we should worship him alone. Instead of worshipping the Sovereign Lord, the temptation is to worship success, wealth and beauty – the gods of our culture – they are ‘god-pretentions’ (v.7, MSG).
God brings down the proud and exalts the humble. As a result of his pride and sin, Satan was expelled from the presence of God: ‘you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you’ (v.16), ‘So I threw you to the earth’ (v.17; see Isaiah 14:12; Luke 10:18). Satan’s final destruction is assured (Ezekiel 28:18b–19). Jesus defeated Satan by his death and resurrection.
The attitude of Jesus is the complete opposite to that of Satan. He took the opposite path: ‘Who, being in very nature God… made himself nothing… he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (Philippians 2:6–11).
Worship Jesus today. As you draw close to him throughout your lifetime you will experience these benefits – happiness, holiness and humility.
—from Day 319: Bible in One Year 2017
Why and How to Worship
- Happiness … Psalm 126:1-6
- Holiness … Hebrews 12:14-29
- Humility … Ezekiel 28, Ezekiel 29