December 23, 2014

The story of the “wise men from the East” is intriguing. Matthew tells us in his gospel that these men made an effort to see the King who was born. They spent time and money to make the trip and take gifts to honor Him. It was a big deal for them! When they saw the young child, they fell down and worshiped Him. I wonder why.

The wise men didn’t have half the reason to worship Jesus that we do. They were pre-Christ’s death and resurrection, and didn’t know Him as their Savior and Lord. They didn’t experience His forgiveness, His grace and salvation. They didn’t have His promises to cling to. He didn’t promise them that He would be with them every day till the end of the world, or that He would come back to take them to live forever with Him.

But they worshiped Him. They fell down and worshiped Him.

As we approach Christmas Day, let’s worship Jesus as King, just as the wise men did. Then let’s worship Him for a myriad of other reasons that we have, especially because He is our Savior!

W            “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12)

O             “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”  (Psalm 95:6,7)

R             “Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth…” (1st Chronicles 16:12)

S              “Sing to the Lord, for He has done excellent things…” (Isaiah 12:5)

H             “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8)

I               “ I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.” (Rev. 1:18)

P             “Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 106:1)


March 24, 2013

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless you while I live. I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied…
and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips
Psalm 63:3-5

When he wrote this, the Psalmist David was not peacefully strumming on his harp, gazing on his satisfied sheep in lush green pastures. Nor was he reigning from his throne, oblivious to pain and suffering of the masses. In fact, when David made the declarations of Psalm 63, he was running for his life. King Saul’s plan was to kill David for fear that this young, popular warrior would take his throne.

This Psalm finds David in the desert, after he escaped from hiding in a cave. Even in this wilderness of Judah, David did not let his seemingly hopeless situation eclipse his worship. Here’s how David worshiped in that “dry and thirsty land

Your lovingkindness is better than life” … even life in this dry and thirsty land.
My lips shall praise You” …even though they are parched in this dry and thirsty land.
Thus I will bless You while I live”…even in this dry and thirsty land, You are worthy.
I will lift up my hands in Your name”….trusting You in this dry and thirsty land.
My soul shall be satisfied”…because I know You are with me in this dry and thirsty land.
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips”…You created me to praise You, even in this dry and thirsty land.

Your “dry and thirsty land” isn’t a wilderness; neither is mine. You are not running from the authorities to save your life; neither am I. But our “dry and thirsty land” might look like pain, disappointment, grief, uncertainty, fear, loneliness, loss. When we have to deal with those issues, like David, we must focus on the fact that God’s “lovingkindness is better than life.” Believing that, we will be motivated to worship Him…even in a dry and thirsty land!


May 3, 2012

Moses. Old. Experienced. He had heard God’s voice on numerous occasions…but he also heard – more often than he wanted to – the complaints, the murmuring, the grumbling of the rebellious, stiff-necked people he was chosen to lead. Moses had seen God’s glory! He knew the Lord face to face (Deut. 34:10)…but he also saw the spiritual corruption in the people’s hearts when he saw them worshiping the golden calf. Moses was a godly leader…but first he learned to follow his God who said “I will send you.” (Ex. 3:10). Moses was an encourager….but only because he trusted in the words of his faithful God: “I will certainly be with you” (Ex. 3:12). As a young man, Moses was overly enthusiastic and took justice into his own hands…as an older, experienced leader, we see a mellowed Moses, who learned to wait and trust God’s plan; but it took years.

However, in one foolish act of impulsive disobedience, Moses was denied entrance into the Promised Land. After striking the rock to get water when God instructed him to speak to it, Moses heard God’s sentence: “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” (Numbers 20:12) Moses was told that instead of entering the Promised Land, he would die on Mount Nebo.

Moses. Old. Experienced. He knew he messed up; he didn’t blame anyone. He didn’t pout, whine or wallow in self-pity. Moses understood that he would view the Promised Land from afar, but not enjoy it. Before he went up Mount Nebo, where God, in His mercy, allowed Moses to see the land of Canaan from afar off, he called one last assembly of God’s people. There he shared with them a song he had in his heart; a song of praise to God, who was faithful every step of the way. His song, in part, went like this:

“…for I proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.” (Deut.32:3,4)

Moses. Old Experienced. He couldn’t enter the Promised Land, yet his last words were words of praise. Then he went up Mount Nebo.


January 29, 2012

“Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”  John 9:2,3

The disciples wanted to figure this out. Who was responsible for this man’s blindness? They had already convinced themselves that someone was at fault; someone had sinned, now they just had to find out WHO. With His reply, Jesus corrected their theology and re-directed their thoughts. Instead of “who?”…He answered a question they DIDN’T ask: “WHY?” The answer was simple: he was born blind so God would get the applause.

Jesus showed up, the blind man’s life was changed, and God got the glory. This blind man was chosen to show Jesus’ power…but before experiencing His transforming power and glory, this man lived through years of blindness, darkness, helplessness, and perhaps even discouragement and despair. But just at the right time, Jesus entered his life and changed everything…the blind man’s life was transformed, and God got the applause!

There were – and are – situations in my life that I don’t understand, don’t like, and didn’t choose. Like the blind man, I have groped in darkness. Looking back, I realize that God allows those events and orchestrates every detail so that He can work in me to transform me, so that in the end He would get the glory.

The last we read about the ex-blind man is that he believed in Christ, “and he worshiped Him.” (John 9:38) The lesson from the blind man is simple: let Jesus do what He wants to do in our lives, no matter how dark the circumstance, then worship Him.

After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?


September 16, 2011

Once Moses was convinced that God’s plan was to free His people from slavery in Egypt and that he was to be their leader, (with his brother Aaron as the spokesman) things started happening.  Moses met with Aaron and told him about God’s plan. Together, they gathered all the elders of Israel “And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses.” (Exodus 4:30) As a confirmation, and by God’s power, Aaron did signs (God-inspired miracles), by which the people believed. Knowing that God heard their cries, saw their affliction and started to execute His plan of deliverance was the best news they had ever heard! “Then they bowed their heads and worshiped.” (Exodus 4:31)

This event in the history of God’s people is a pattern for true worship. We read in Exodus 4:30-31:

  • The people heardall the words which the Lord had spoken” when Aaron related the plan to them. They understood what God had planned.
  • The people saw that God is Almighty, through the miracles Aaron performed as a confirmation.
  • The people believed.
  • The people worshiped.

The pattern was plain and simple. They heard. They saw. They believed. They worshiped. They were totally unaware of the fact that they laid out an example of true worship, but it is one that sincere believers in Jesus follow even now, thousands of years later. Can we truly worship God if we don’t hear – or read – His word? Can our worship be sincere if we don’t see how He has worked in the past, and is working right now? Can we genuinely worship God if don’t believe that He hears our prayers, sees our affliction and has a plan in place for our lives?

Let’s follow the simple example they unknowingly left for us. Let’s hear God’s word. Let’s observe His works. Let’s believe Him with all our hearts. True worship will be the natural result!


April 4, 2011

Recently one of my co-workers told me that her four-year old, TJ, asked her: “Mommy, is God a cloud?”, and she related more of the questions TJ had in the course of their conversation: “Why can’t we see God?…Where is He?…Who made God?…” The concept of our all-present, eternal, invisible God was quite mind-boggling to little TJ….in fact, sometimes it is for us, too! An answer that the Bible gives us is that “No, God isn’t a cloud, but sometimes He used a cloud to represent His presence to His people.” Here are a few examples from the book of Exodus, when God’s people were heading towards the Promised Land:

GOD’S PRESENCE IN A CLOUD FOR GUIDANCE: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way….He did not take away the pillar of cloud…from before the people.”(13:21-22)

GOD’S PRESENCE IN A CLOUD FOR PROTECTION: As they were “stranded” between the pursuing Egyptian army and the Red Sea, God moved that pillar of cloud to protect His people: “And the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud of darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near to the other all that night.” (14:19-20)

GOD’S GLORY REVEALED IN A CLOUD:  “Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days…” (24:16-18)

GOD’S PRESENCE IN A CLOUD MOTIVATED WORSHIP: “…when Moses entered the tabernacle…the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. And all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped…” (33:9-11)

No, TJ, God is not a cloud, and today we don’t have a special cloud to guarantee God’s presence with us; but like thousands of years ago, God’s presence still guides us and protects us; His glory is revealed through His presence. We don’t see a special cloud with our eyes like His people did back then, but by faith we believe His words: “…He Himself has said ‘I will NEVER leave you or forsake you.’ “ (Hebrews 13:5) …and THAT motivates our worship!


October 3, 2010

Our reporter traveled in time from her interview with King David around 1000 BC to the time of Christ. The next person who was interviewed was a woman named Mary. Randomly chosen for the interview from a group of people in the small town of Bethany, just outside of Jerusalem, Mary had a sister named Martha. They were privileged to entertain Jesus in their home. It was an unforgettable day for the sisters, and the reporter wanted Mary’s take on the event.

REPORTER: “Mary, you are so privileged to have had Jesus as a guest at your home! What an honor! I can’t imagine what I would have done for such a special occasion. What is the ONE THING you and your sister chose to do when Jesus was with you?”

MARY: “Well, while my sister was scurrying about, working frenetically to have everything just right, trying to give her best to serve Jesus, I chose the ONE THING that my soul needed – that good part that will not be taken away from me.” (Luke 10:42)

REPORTER: “Really? What was that ONE THING that was more important than preparing a gourmet meal for such a guest of honor? I can’t imagine!”

MARY: “You see, I chose to sit with Jesus and just listen to Him. That’s all. Just to be with Him. That is the ONE THING that is most important. That’s what is lasting; that is what it’s all about…spending time with Jesus. Performance isn’t all He wants. He wants our heart; our undivided attention. He wants us to listen to Him…”

REPORTER: “Hummmm…”

Tomorrow, we’ll take a peek at our last “Interview From the Past”. Log on!

So…What Do You Do All Day?

August 11, 2010

“I work in the office of a manufacturing plant.” “Oh, that’s nice.”

“What do you do?” the next person was asked.  “I’m a teacher.” was the response.

Our retired friend got the same question: “What do you do all day?” “I’m working on a special hobby I wanted to do all my life. Now I have the time. Grandkids are pretty important, too…”

When asked the same question, the busy mom didn’t know where to start. Her list was very long!

“I go up and down ladders and try to do the best paint job ever.” That would be my husband’s reply.

“That’s all important, but what do you REALLY do?” You work, you enjoy life, hobbies and family. But what do you really, REALLY do? … Like, all day?

Fanny Crosby, blind hymnwriter (1820-1915)

I’ve always liked to read biographies. I’m finishing the autobiography of Fanny Crosby. (1820-1915) She was blind from her infancy and wrote around 9,000 hymns in her lifetime. Many of them are still sung around the world today. Reading her autobiography, I realized that she didn’t just write words. She lived them. She experienced them. Fanny could have been asked: “What do you do all day”, and she could very well have said “I write poetry.” But she didn’t! She expressed what she did all day so well in an old favorite hymn, “Blessed Assurance”. In that song she wrote: “This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior, all the day long”. Please take a few minutes to click on the link at the end of this post to see Third Day singing that truth in a live concert.

Yes, I work in the office of a manufacturing plant. You might be that retired person working on your hobby, or the teacher, or the busy mom who doesn’t know where to start. That’s what we do all day. But what God REALLY wants us to do is to praise Him while we’re doing what we’re doing. Fanny Crosby got it. The psalmist got it. He prayed in Psalm 71:8: “Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day.”  When we make this prayer our prayer, then we will be doing what we were created to  do… praise Him all day long!



March 7, 2010

Undercover = Performed or happening in secret. Generally (but not always) used in reference to secret investigations or espionage, it basically and simply means, something “performed or happening in secret; clandestine.”

In John chapter 12 we read the account of an interesting dinner, where Jesus was present. Lazarus, who Jesus brought back to life after being dead 4 days, was also there, as well as his sisters Martha and Mary. Because Jesus was getting a large following, the religious leaders sent out a command to seize Him. They were plotting to kill him. (see Chapter 11:45-57) Unfazed by the campaign against Him, Jesus and some of His friends were doing life as normal. In this case, they were in the house of Simon the leper, according to Matthew 26:6-13.

Martha was serving; seems that was her specialty. Mary, the one who sat at Jesus’ feet to hear His words in another occasion that Luke related about, took a pound of very costly oil, anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. What can we learn from Mary’s act of worship?

  1. Jesus was being tracked by the authorities. It wasn’t “politically correct” to show devotion to Him, especially in the home of a social outcast like Simon! It didn’t matter at all to Mary. She didn’t care what others thought, or worry about the potential danger. She simply worshiped!
  2. She chose the best, and poured it all out. It was planned; it was a priority. She withheld nothing! It was all about Jesus, and all for Him! She knew He deserved the best, and sincerely worshiped!
  3. She chose to do it publicly. SHE WAS DEFINITELY NOT UNDERCOVER! Everyone present knew that they were in the presence of a Christ-worshiper, because John reported that “the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.” Not only that, but they knew they were in the presence of Someone – the Only One – worthy to be worshiped….Jesus!

God’s Word is like a mirror. As I read this account of Mary’s public worship, I look at my own life and wonder if those around me perceive that they are in the presence of a Christ-worshiper. Does my attitude reflect that? Is my devotion to Him filling my home, workplace, or wherever I go, like Mary’s perfume filled Simon’s house? God give us His grace to live so that everyone around us knows that they are in the presence of a true worshiper – who worships the Only One who is worthy of all worship!

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