So Amazed By You (Worship Series Part 9)

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The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.

Psalm 24 in it’s entirety. God is magnificent and worthy to be praised. He created the world with His words. He spoke and it was. As you look around the earth you see the glory and splendor of God. How awesome are His works. How glorious are His deeds. How beautiful is His heart. How excellent is His creativity.

He created mankind in His image, formed Adam from the dust and breathed His life into Him. We are unlike all other animals because we have God’s breath in us. God formed Eve out of the side of Adam.

God gave all creation natural order and beauty.

God knows and calls all the stars by name. There are approximately a septillion stars… “And so, if you multiply the number of stars in our galaxy by the number of galaxies in the Universe, you get approximately 10^24 stars. That’s a 1 followed by twenty-four zeros,”~universetoday.com.

We can’t recall probably a thousand or ten thousand names. God can recall them all!

God knows every hair on our heads and has collected every tear in a bottle.

How awesome is our God? He’s beyond awesome.

There’s nowhere we can go that’s hidden from His Presence. There’s nothing more powerful than His love. There’s no one who stands above Him. He is great, powerful, good, holy, awesome, and amazing.

This is the God we worship. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God who led the Israelites out of captivity. The God who performed many miraculous signs and wonders to free His people. The God who fed the multitudes manna from heaven. The God who spoke to Moses through a burning bush. The God who overshadowed a virgin to conceive His Son. The God who raised Jesus and Lazarus from the dead.

Everything and everyone else pales in comparison. In order to be fully free of idols, we must glorify the only One worthy of worship. It is God alone that we worship. Nothing and no one created is worthy of worship.

Only God can save.

Only the power of God can heal and deliver.

Only the love of God can radically transform a life; give people true, unshakable identity and a completely new nature.

Only God can hold the world together and cease to fail.

So I ask, who and what will you worship?

The church can’t save people. Spouses and friends can’t make another person whole. Money can’t purchase lasting joy. Ministry cannot provide sustaining life. Politicians, pastors, and mere men/women can’t save anyone and deliver the world from all evil. Earthly pleasures cannot replace the goodness and pleasure of God.

Since the beginning of time, the war has been over worship. For we become like the object of our affections. Lucifer wanted the worship given to God. It got him thrown out of heaven. We were made in God’s image to worship Him. As we worship Him, we become more and more like Him.

What’s stealing your worship? What do you love or want more than God? Whatever it is, it leads to destruction. Idols don’t give life; they take it.

Father whatever we worship other than you, may it be laid at your feet. You alone are worthy of worship, adoration, and pure devotion. You are good and your steadfast love endures forever. Thank you for loving us. Please forgive us for the sin of idolatry. Help us to glorify you in all things. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

Believe, Know, Listen, & Follow (Intimacy with God)

This is from my book website ithoughtiknewwhatlovewas.com. I posted it this morning. I try not to post the same thing on both sites but felt led to. There are different followers on each site. I hope this encourages you to plunge the depths of God’s heart. He loves you!

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Photo credit: Son of God movie

John 10:25-30.

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

I recommend reading all of John 10. In this passage Jesus refers to Himself as the good Shepherd. Shepherds were overseers of flocks. Sheep are not the brightest animals. They will fall into ditches, see another sheep in a ditch and fall in…they can wonder off and be destroyed because they are not wise. Shepherds protected their sheep. They were invested in keeping them safe. They’d lay at the gate to prevent them from escaping. They spent time with the sheep. They rescued wayward sheep.

Jesus is the good Shepherd. We are like the sheep. He’s responsible to care for us, reveal who He is to us, and we are to know and follow Him. We are not an obligation to God. We are His dearly loved children.

In the verses above Jesus is responding to the questions of the Pharisees about who He is. Is He the Christ? I love His responses. He stated, “You do not believe, therefore you are not my sheep. My sheep know and follow me.

Intimacy with God starts with faith. It starts with belief.

Do you believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do?
It is not enough to simply believe there is a God or Jesus is the Son of God. Even the demons believe and tremble. (James 2:19), yet they are not saved. There’s no salvation for them. There is for humanity.

If you’re reading this and you’ve never confessed your sins before God, repented (made a decision to turn from sinning and turn to God), asked God to cleanse you of your sins, placed your faith in Jesus Christ as the appropriation for your sins, and asked Him to be your Lord and Savior, I invite you do so. There’s no salvation apart from Him. There’s no entrance to heaven without going through the Son. We can’t do enough good works to earn holiness or righteousness. Jesus did it for us. We by faith, receive what He’s done and accept His righteousness as our own.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” John 14:6.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith,~Romans 3:23-25a.

If you invited God into your life, I would love to hear from you and provide more information to you.

The second step in intimacy with God is being with Him.

Sheep spent their time with the shepherd. They learned his voice, his smell, his mannerisms. It’s impossible to have intimacy (knowing) with someone and you never spend any time. If Sunday morning is the only time you spend with God, well your level of intimacy is not going to be high.

I am not stating you attend worship services all week, lock yourself in a room to pray and read the Bible all day. I am saying we can commune with God every day, as much as we’d like. One of my morning activities is to start the day with worship and thanksgiving. “Good morning God! I love you. Thank you for who you are and all you’ve done. I invite you to be a part of my day. What do you want to do? Who do you want to bless?” And there are days where I’m just listening. What is God doing? What is He saying? It’s not a ritual, it’s relationship.

Intimacy with God involves listening and knowing His voice.

The Bible says God speaks. There are some who teach He doesn’t and that does not align with scripture. God speaks to His children. If you had children and wrote an instruction manual for them, would you then say, “I refuse to speak to you. Go read the book I gave you.” That would seem insane. Yet some teach God only speaks to us through the Bible. God spoke to people in the Bible through dreams, visions, directly, through prophets, even through a donkey. Before you get too excited, let’s lay down some ground rules.

1. When God speaks He will not tell you to sin or violate His already written word.

I had someone tell me once the Holy Spirit told her not to read the Bible ever and only to listen to the voice she was hearing. That’s wrong and violates scripture.

I heard someone say God told them to leave their spouse for someone else. That’s wrong. It violates many scriptures.

Our culture says do whatever feels good for you and if it’s “love” or feels good, God must approve of it. That’s wrong. If there’s no place in scripture where God is condoning a behavior, you can’t condone it either and claim it’s God. There are some verses that seem to contradict each other which is why God gave His Holy Spirit to teach us.

We can’t toss out the Bible and rely on feelings, human wisdom, angelic visitations, or voices we believe are God.

2. All prophecy (speaking God’s word) is to be tested. Meaning the following:

Does it align with God’s word? Example, there are many false prophecies about when the world will end. Well, the Bible states the following:

“No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows,”~Matthew 24:36.

Does the prophecy fit the character of God?

I’ve had destructive words spoken over me. There was no life in them. God does give warnings. He also provides redemption. Those who repent can find hope and life in Him. Jesus came to save, not destroy. If people are destroyed, it will be because they refused the gift He offered and refused repentance.

Finally intimacy with God involves following Him.

We are called to obey God. It’s not a popular teaching, yet Jesus taught it often. Christianity is not simply praying a prayer, it’s following a person. That person is Jesus. We cannot claim to love God and live a life where we refuse to do what He says. He gives us grace and His Spirit to enable us to do His will. If we cease to obey, we will eventually cease to hear from Him. If He continues to speak, we are held accountable for what we know. So if you feel super disconnected from God, one thing to ask is , “Has He told me to do something I have not done?”

I will continue this series because I truly believe we perish for lack of knowledge of who God is. We are called to know Him, to be loved by Him, to love Him, and enjoy Him. God is not boring, cold, stern, a kill joy, or mean spirited. He is good, holy, exciting, adventurous, overflowing with love and joy. He’s beyond amazing. He’s generous, faithful, merciful, and forgiving. The evil one doesn’t want the world to know who God is and how good He is. Once you know Him, it’s almost impossible to resist Him.

Will you join me on this relentless pursuit of God’s heart? I hope so.

You’re continually in my thoughts, prayers, and you are deeply loved (John 3:16).

Love,

Erin

The Idol of Serving God (Worship Series Part 8)

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You might think this post is strange. Aren’t we supposed to serve God? Yes we are! Like anything in this world it can become an idol or source of identity.

The picture at the top of this post was my status for today. Many people don’t realize I’m internally motivated. I’m not driven to do things based on outside influence. God has helped my heart for serving Him to remain pure by placing me to serve where there’s been no love, honor, reciprocation, appreciation, or validation. I’m not talking short seasons either. I’m talking years. And sometimes love was met with persecution. What I learned is that God never wanted serving to be an idol or source of identity. I love loving on people and blessing them. Love, love, love! However, service met with opposition or apathy forces us to rely fully on God for identity. If my motives for serving were to be loved by people, I would’ve stopped when they didn’t reciprocate or even say thanks.

God is interested in our hearts, why we do what we do. Is it out of love or fear or selfishness?

My life is about loving God and knowing Him. Our relationship isn’t built only on serving… It’s Father to daughter. It’s love. Out of relationship flows service. I don’t serve to gain relationship or love. I worship God, not what I can do for Him or others. Often we are just hanging out together, talking, and listening. I journal what He speaks. He’s my Father. Being with Him is more important than doing for Him. Though being with Him causes me to grow to love people more and to serve.

Our true identity is child of God. It’s not about the other titles that come along with serving God. God doesn’t love a pastor more than a lay member. They may have different things they do for God, yet the love He has for them is the same.

Truth : there’s nothing you can do to make God love you more or less.

You can serve all day every day and not earn more love.

Not only is love not earned, neither is righteousness.

We are not to serve to gain the applause of people or to win their love or approval, that’s a selfish motive.

Our service to God and others is a response to His great love for us. If we are serving Him to try to win His love or approval it’s pointless. Approval is given through relationship with Jesus Christ. He’s the only way we obtain righteousness (right standing with God).

Does this mean we don’t have to serve God or others? Does this mean we only serve when we feel loving towards God or people? No.

Obedience is better than sacrifice. If God calls us to do something we submit to His Lordship. Love is not simply a feeling, it’s also a choice.

We don’t make serving our source of identity, security, a means to feel good about ourselves, or for selfish gain.

Sweet friends, it’s great to serve. Yet God invites us into His family. We are no longer slaves, but friends. He’s not bossing us around. He invites us to know Him, to love Him, and to enjoy Him! May God alone be the center of our worship. He’s worthy. May our satisfaction be in Him, not what we do for Him. May being with Him be the highest priority!

Love in Christ,

Erin