Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Lord, I love the house where You dwell, the place where Your glory resides. Psalm 26:8 HCSB
Without worship, we go about miserable. A.W. Tozer*
I’m sure this never happens to you, but I have days when I feel like I just want to kill somebody. I walk around, tired and angry, snapping at everyone who even comes near me. I bark at my wife, snap at my coworkers, and even frown at young children and pets. Often, on the days when I go about in this rotten, miserable state, I realize that I haven’t spent any time in the presence of God.
When you spend time worshiping the Lord, troubling situations in life are put back into their proper perspective. God’s presence lifts you above your circumstances and helps you understand the next step of your life’s journey. If that isn’t enough, the Holy Spirit then helps you remember all that the Lord has done for you and as a result you begin to smile or even weep with joy.
With this in mind, what reason could there possibly be for me to ever neglect His presence?
Thank You, Lord, for the restoring, rejuvenating power of Your presence.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
There was a man named John who was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. John 1:6-9 HCSB
I have always admired John the Baptist, living in the desert, eating locusts and honey, and baptizing people left and right. John preached that someone was coming who was far greater than he could ever possibly be. And when he saw Jesus, he proclaimed loudly, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 HCSB) Later, John told his followers, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 HCSB)
John uniquely prepared the way for Jesus to come, boldly announced the arrival of Jesus, and then quietly humbled himself as Jesus took center stage. We have the same responsibility today, no matter if we are leading in worship or witnessing to our friends and coworkers.
Lord, help us prepare the way for You, testify about You, and then get out of Your way.
Monday, March 22, 2010
The one who searches for what is good finds favor, but if someone looks for trouble, it will come to him. Proverbs 11:27 HCSB
Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house. Fran Lebowitz*
As a sensitive artist in the church, I am sometimes guilty of making issues out of statements that were not really meant to be issues. I have been known to walk around with a big chip on my shoulder from time to time. I sometimes plunge into despair over the smallest amount of negative feedback that I receive. Even though God created me to be a tender person, He didn’t mean for me to walk around angry or offended all of the time.
Sometimes, negative criticism comes to us because we go out looking for it. We wake up and wait to be dumped on by the world. I’m tired of always looking for the bad in everything. I want to see what is good. I want to find favor and hear positive feedback. If I allow myself to be offended by every little thing, there’s too much good that I could possibly miss.
Lord, help me to search for what is good.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?" Nehemiah 6:3 HCSB
He who has why to live can bear almost any how. Friedrich Nietzche*
When Nehemiah was coordinating the building of the wall around Jerusalem, Satan used those who opposed him to distract him from the work he was doing. Sanballat and Geshem sent Nehemiah a message asking him to meet with them in another part of the country. He refused to do so because that would take him away from the work that was taking place.
Often, when we try to do something great for the Lord, Satan tries to distract us however he can. Sometimes, he uses other people as he did with Nehemiah. At other times, he may tempt us with some sort of secret sin. However he comes at us, we must strive to remain true to the Lord and to His calling for us.
Lord, show us what great work You want us to be a part of. Help us stay committed to You and to what You’ve called us to accomplish.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Jeremiah 1:5 NIV
Once, when I was in Indonesia, I went to a Bible study where I noticed a young boy sitting by himself. I asked his name and was surprised when he answered, “John.” I smiled and told him that we shared the same first name. John must be a teenager by now, but I still pray for him when he crosses my mind.
During that same trip, I noticed a young girl on a downtown street begging for money. Her face was dirty, her clothes were torn, and she looked sleepy. I turned away, not knowing what to do. When I regained my composure and turned back, she was gone. I never had the chance to learn her name, but I still pray for her.
Fortunately, God knows the name of that little girl. He knows the names of all the children, teenagers, and adults who have ever lived and ever will live. He cares about children in Indonesia and he cares about our neighbors and family members who are hurting.
Lord, thank You for loving us so much. Thank You for knowing our names.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat, so that I won’t cause my brother to fall. 1 Corinthians 8:13 HCSB
Growing up, I had to ride the bus to school. The ride didn’t bother me, but the Parsley brothers did. They threw paper, smashed sandwiches, and thumped ears. Once, as the oldest Parsley boy thumped my ear, I decided to publicly embarrass him. The next morning, as he was running down the aisle, I tripped him. He hollered, fell to the floor, and smashed his own sandwich. Everyone laughed, he was humiliated, and I was glad. But when I saw his tears, I apologized.
Those of us involved in worship arts have the tremendous responsibility of leading people into the presence of God. Therefore, our actions and words offstage are just as important as our actions and words onstage. Wherever we go, people see what we do and hear what we say. We must be careful not to be the cause of them falling into sin.
Lord, help us to live for You at all times so that we do not cause our brother to stumble.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your faithful love, because of Your truth. Psalm 115:1 HCSB
How quickly we forget what it’s all about. We can get so strategic that we worship so our church will grow, not because He is worthy. But we’re doing this because God is worthy and we want to worship Him. Tommy Walker*
I hate to admit it, but sometimes I have to evaluate my motives for the times of worship that I produce. Do I secretly want people to engage in worship so they will invite all of their friends so that there will be bigger crowds so that everyone will give more money so I will get a really nice raise? Engaging in worship is necessary, inviting friends to worship is a good thing, and bigger crowds and larger offerings are great. There’s not even anything wrong with pay raises. However, when we see these items as the main reasons for worship, something is out of balance. The glory doesn’t belong to us, but to the Lord.
Forgive us, Lord, for the times when we selfishly try to steal your glory.