You Are What You Worship

“The idols of the nations are silver and gold,  made by human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,  eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,  nor is there breath in their mouths.
Those who make them will be like them,  and so will all who trust in them.” [Psalm 135:15-18 NIV]

Although in some cultures, people still worship idols, in our western civilization, we worship different man-made idols. It might be our career, it might be our house and car — our material possessions, or it might be our lifestyle. Whatever is most important in our life is what we worship.

The problem is that most of these things can’t do much for us. They can’t speak to us and give us advise on life. They can’t hear or respond to our troubles and struggles. They can’t intervene when we are about to make a bad decision. These things have no life of their own. they are things.

According to these verses, those who make their idols will become like them. Our lives become less than they can be. We can lose  our voice, our heart, our ability to see clearly (in the sense of wisdom). We can become less effective, frozen, shrivelled up.

We  need the life-giving breath of God moving in and out of our lives to have truly abundant life. When we worship God, we become more like Him. That is an image worth heading for, I think. I would rather emulate the living God than bricks and mortar. How about you?

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Published in: on 27th May, 2013 at 10:00 am  Comments (2)  
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Days Without Number

“Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number.” [Jeremiah 2:32 NIV]

Photo by Patrice Dufour

When I read through the later prophets, the ones just before the exile and even during the exile of the Jews, I feel a sense of brokenness. God loves His people with an everlasting love, a love that goes beyond every treachery they can dish out. But, I cannot say, after reading these prophecies, that their rejection does not hurt Him. Indeed this one chapter of Jeremiah is filled with frequent ‘whys’.

In the same way our heart cries out when we are betrayed, or if we lose someone we love, the Father’s heart says ‘why’. When He had done everything possible to win her heart, why did she still turn to others? Why did she find wood and stone more interesting than the Living God? There’s even a ‘where did I do wrong?’ Are all His efforts in vain?

As I think about it, how often are we the ones asking ‘why’ of the Lord? Why do You put me through this? When are You going to heal me, or fix my problems? How long do I have to wait for You to answer me?

Do we ever stop to listen? Perhaps He is saying the same things of us? Why do you continually turn your back on Me? Why do you forget Me, days without number, and only turn to Me in times of need? How long do I have to wait for your love? Does a Holy and perfect God deserve to be treated with disdain?

As for me, I will worship Him today, with all my heart, and all my soul, and all my strength. You?

Published in: on 13th August, 2012 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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People

Recently I was driving to work and the car was filled with the strains of worship music. A song came on which repeated the words “let me love You more” over and over. I found myself wondering why this song was not connecting with me as once it might have.

You see, fifteen years ago that would have been my song. I would have been on my knees singing it from the bottom of my heart. That was my desire — to get closer to God. I loved to worship and thought that was the most important thing in life — even over ‘the great commission’.  I figured that soon enough we would all be in heaven and there would be no need for evangelism anyway, there would only be worship. The sum of my life as I calculated it was: Me + Jesus + worship = forever.

No wonder I couldn’t seem to get closer to God. I was wrong. God is about community. God is community. He loves everybody and wants everybody with Him. Three times Jesus asked Simon-Peter if he loved Him. Three times Peter answered “I do.” And three times, Jesus told him in slightly differing forms “Take care of my sheep.” See John 21:15-18

To love God, we must love people. For a task-oriented introvert this realisation gave way to a fundamental change, a whole personality shift in me. I no longer try to avoid people, my focus is not solely on the act of worship, and yes I feel closer to the Lord. So, if you have a desire to love God more — love people. It’s that simple.

For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” [1 John 4:20 NIV]

Published in: on 13th July, 2011 at 8:50 am  Comments (4)  
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Make it Loud

AFL Grand Final, MCG, September, Every Year

  • All of Australia is watching, including over 100,000 people in the stadium.
  • There are so many flags, balloons and streamers, they cannot be counted.
  • The roar of the crowd is deafening. People chant, scream, whistle, and wave their arms & flags around.
  • The atmosphere is electric.

The Dedication of Solomon’s Temple, Jerusalem, the seventh month, 1005 BC.

  • All of Israel were there to celebrate.
  • So many sheep and cattle were offered to the Lord, they could not be counted.
  • 288 musicians plus 120 trumpeters played praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, joined by all the singers – it was deafening.
  • The atmosphere … the presence of the Lord came down and filled the temple with a cloud, and the priests could no longer perform their service.

Imagine what could happen if we praised our Lord in Heaven just as well as we cheered for our favourite football team? Could we see the glory of God fall in our churches? Personally, I’d rather see that than who wins the Grand Final … what about you?

“Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” [Psalm 150 NIV]

Published in: on 17th May, 2011 at 9:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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What scent do you wear?

Dogs seem to have a perverse joy in rolling around in dead things. I can remember a dog of ours once found a dead bird and rolled around in it, rubbing the decayed flesh into her fur. Then she happily trotted home and tried pouncing on us for cuddles. Ewww! Yuck!

The Lord used that incident to speak to me. This world is full of death — it has been decaying since sin entered thousands of years ago. Now, as Christians, we are washed clean, we are made alive to Christ. Death is no longer in us, but it is all around us.

Jesus offered to wash the disciples’ feet. Peter didn’t like this idea, but when Jesus insisted, he said, “Wash my whole body, then.” Jesus responded with: “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.” They walked around in sandals on dusty roads — of course their feet got dirty. (See John 13)

The same goes with us. No matter how carefully we walk in this world full of death, it will cling to our feet, and we need to be washed clean before we can enter God’s presence. Like a daily foot-washing ceremony, we need to ask Him to cleanse us before we can really commune with Him, because after all, He is holy.

Now, here’s where the Lord really spoke to me. Knowing this truth, why would we willingly roll around in the death and decay of this world, just for entertainment — do we think it makes us smell nice (look good)? Then we come happily before God, ready for His embrace. What would His response be? Ewww! Yuck!?

Just a thought. 🙂

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” [Philippians 4:8 NIV]

Published in: on 3rd May, 2011 at 5:54 am  Comments (2)  
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Heaven’s Least

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” [Ps 84:10a NIV]

There is nothing that compares to the presence of God. As the Rev Frederick B Meyer put it, “earth’s best cannot bear comparison to Heaven’s least.”

And that’s all about I have to say about it, because words cannot portray it effectively. Listen to this song linked below–Casting Crowns did a good job at describing what I feel.

“At Your Feet” by Casting Crowns

Published in: on 1st March, 2011 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Puppy Licks

The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. [Rev 4:10 KJV]

 I love worship. It is my favourite part of the church service. A time when I forget the world around me and bask in the love of God and the magnificence of who He is. Everything else just fades away into nothingness before Him. Ahh, so refreshing…

But, I digress. I have, over the years, done some study on worship and today I want to share with you one of my favourite discoveries. When I learned this, it made me love to worship even more.

One of the words for worship in Greek–indeed it is used in this verse as well as many others–is proskuneo. Proskuneo means to fawn, crouch or prostrate oneself before the Lord. But, it has the essence of kissing–like a dog licking its master.

Everyone who owns a dog knows just how affectionate they are, without reserve or without inhibition. They just pour out their puppy love all over us, whether we ask for it or not, and you cannot help but smile at them.

That is a great picture of how we can love and worship God.  Here is my challenge for the day–try to let down your guard, your inhibitions–free yourself to worship with a little less restraint.  He is worth it and He cannot help but respond with His love in return. 🙂

Published in: on 15th November, 2010 at 7:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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Inspiration at dawn

I love to go for early morning walks. There’s something stimulating about the freshness of a new day. The sun is just coming up, splashing colour across the sky. The birds are singing their morning song, and the trees reflect the golden glow of the rising sun. This is when I feel closest to God.

Perhaps it is that my mind is not yet crowded with the day’s demands. Perhaps it is the still-quiet state of the neighbourhood–apart from the distant hum of traffic and the occasional car passing nearby. But maybe, and I think most-likely, it is that Creation around me is praising the Lord along with me.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about the earth spinning with joy, but the Bible also mentions the trees clapping their hands, the oceans resounding, the heavens singing and much more. Just as the earth spinning seems a natural process to us, but is actually the earth’s response to the Creator, perhaps the crashing waves, the splendour of sunrise in the skies, the rustling of wind in the trees, the song of birds–perhaps they are all creation’s way of praising their Maker.

And walking amidst this vast choir of celebration, I cannot help but join in and lift my voice and thoughts to my Heavenly Father above, and give Him all the glory.

Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel. [Isaiah 44:23 NIV]

Do you find being in the middle of nature inspires you to worship?

Published in: on 6th September, 2010 at 8:21 am  Comments (1)  
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