What Can I Say…

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14

Many times Christians read this and think right away of the “bad” things we’re not supposed to say. And, yes. We aren’t supposed to say bad things, tell bad jokes, say bad words, talk badly about others. You know, the whole, “out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing…this should not be” scripture (James 3:10).

Why not take this a step further.  In addition to guarding our tongues in this way, let’s add to that the aspect of our words toward God and about Him. We use our words to Him in prayer, in worship and praise.  What do we say about our God.  In Psalm 19, David speaks of the gloriousness of God. How creation shouts of a Creator, how God’s precepts give him a refreshing and how valuable the Word of the Lord is to David.  He includes an aspect of repentance and a prayer to be kept from sinning. Then at the end of all that, David utters the verse I posted above: “may these words of my mouth…” David probably knew he was saying great things about God, but at the end of it all he asked God to be pleased them.  His beautiful and poetic words were an offering. 

I want my words to be a pleasing offering to the Lord all day long, not just during Sunday worship.  I imagine that David could have written this Psalm on a Tuesday…

Blessings for a happy weekend!

 

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More Undignified

worshipdancer2 Samuel 6:14, 21-22“David danced before the Lord with all his might…I will become even more undignified than this…”

The Ark of the covenant had been brought back to Jerusalem (with a wee bit of drama, but back, nonetheless). The Presence of God – and His favor – was back with His people. That was something truly worth celebrating! What represented their faith and the Spirit of God had been restored to Israel. David, as the King of Israel, led the charge in times of war and now he was leading the charge in this time of worship…a worship done on equal footing. The prompts in Scripture regarding worship and praise aren’t just for certain groups at certain times. It’s for all, at all times.  David gave the best example to his people.  After all, if the King would worship the Lord with such abandon, they certainly could.

Matt Redman said that “true worship burns through any inhibition and pride.”  We find it very easy to cheer for sports teams, Olympic events, even our friends who are singing or performing in some form or another. Why is that? Because we know them, or we admire them for what they’ve done, or we’ve seen them do incredible things or overcome fierce battles in life. Well now, doesn’t that just make sense for making a clamorous fuss over the Lord Jesus? Let’s take a look at David’s example:

Psalm 28:7 – “…my heart leaps for joy and with my song I praise Him.”
Psalm 35:27 – “Let them shout for joy and be glad…”
Psalm 47:1 – “Oh, clap your hands, all you people! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!”
Psalm 63:1 – “…my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You…”

There are countless entries, too many to count, but not too many to understand their implications. We are to praise and worship the Lord with every fiber of our being. And why shouldn’t we? God has been radical with His methods of expressing His love, mercy and compassion upon us all. Jesus was the visual means of that.


For I Am Undone…

love-god-purse-holiness-slideHoly.

That’s a word that completely describes the Lord and seems to be the antithesis of mankind. When I am in the presence of a holy and powerful God, I can’t help but examine myself.  I look at all that I am, all that I have to offer and I cry out for more of Him to fill me to overflowing and remove all that is unholy. The presence of the Lord will do that…or it may do the opposite.  I’ve found that there are generally two responses to the manifest glory of God:

1. a drawing in – those who are seeking seem to long for more and are drawn towards His glory
2. a retreat – some who see or feel the presence of the Lord are either frightened, ashamed or defiant and will turn away.

Take a look at what the prophet Isaiah records for us:
“…I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of His robe filled the temple.  Above Him were seraphim, each with six wings: with two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.”  At the sound of their voice the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”  And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:1-8 NIV)

How great and terrible is the presence of God. He reveals His glory but at the same time reveals those not-so-great parts about us. His Spirit searches our hearts and exposes our frailty. Isaiah’s resopnse to the glory of God was just that. But even better, an angel carries down this hot coal, touches Isaiah’s mouth and declares his guilt wiped. And with that, God right away asks who is available to be His mouthpiece.  Isaiah then boldly declares, “Here I am, Lord!  Send me!  You can send me!”

Jesus by his sacrifice has taken away our guilt so we can be called righteous. We can be called set apart.  We can be called worshippers. And when He calls for reinforcements, we can boldly stand up and be counted in His army.

As you spend time with the Lord this Sunday, in your daily devotions or even your worship team practice, allow the Spirit of God to search your heart and make adjustments.  Our imperfections are a reminder of His perfectness and of what He has done to make us qualified to enter His presence and share in His glory.

That is the best part of all.


A Song in the Night

“But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.”
(Psalms 42:8 NLT)

Love. It’s what the world needs now. It’s a many-splendored thing. It’s a second-hand emotion. It’s all we need…

There are an unending supply of songs about love. Some are timeless and some are time wasters. One thing to know for sure, human love is fickle and imperfect.

Enter God. His ways and thoughts are higher than our ways. His love is faithful and unending. The psalmist David shares his emotions with us, letting us peek inside his heart to see what the unfailing love of God does to him. It causes him to sing and pray! Our songs and prayers pour out of us because we have experienced His love being poured out on us!

If you feel you have no song in your heart, I encourage you to grab your Bible and look up as many verses about God’s love for you. Start with the most basic: John 3:16 – “for God so loved the world that He gave…” and go from there. Memorize and meditate on a verse each day/week. Begin to thank the Lord daily for His love and soon enough you’ll begin to notice that song rising from your heart.


Focus and Distraction

This morning I read an article that discussed the pros and cons of technology being incorporated into our worship expressions in church.  It got me thinking…

Now, while technology and the integration of social media into our church culture has many benefits, it has also pointed out (or developed) some very bad habits.  The internet and social media outlets like the ones I mentioned above are extremely useful in getting the message of Jesus Christ to the world at large and connecting people of like faith across cultures and countries.  I absolutely love that there are new friends I meet from other parts of my state, country and planet.  I’ve got friends in Barbados, Germany, Australia, Canada, England…you get the picture. There are so many ways to connect with people and I’ve been so blessed to become “friends” with other worship leaders and music directors in churches world-wide. It helps me see the bigger picture of what God is doing outside of my small portion of the world.

However, this instant access to information and media has led to many of us developing a short-term attention span – meaning we can’t seem to go too long without consulting our phones for the latest information, even when there’s information to be had.

In the church setting, there’s an obvious push and pull in our use of social media. We see churches use Facebook to advertise events, outreaches and encouraging Scriptures/thoughts. We see people tweeting profound statements made by the Pastor or speaker. We see pictures of worship team’s music charts or a sweet face of a child worshipping with arms raised.  We see clever video segments that remind us to mute our mobile devices so we don’t disturb the service. We see that people have posted picture from their vacation onto Facebook during the message. We can hear the faint chuckles of teens as they read each other’s tweets.

We’re in a new era, and one that we’ll have to navigate through for years to come. But as much as I may want to hide my head in the sand and say, “why can’t it be like it used to be!” I know in my heart that it will never be like it used to be.  My job is to figure out how to keep myself in balance between useful and wasteful technology when it comes to my spiritual growth.