You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Oh, Jesus, you’re my God!

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

Morning devotions

I’m a big believer in morning devotions.

Until about 2 months ago, I had been waking up just as the sun was coming up and going for long leisurely walks through the neighborhood. Getting fresh air and exercise, rediscovering and re-committing myself to Jesus… by the time I got home I was ready to work with a re-calibrated attitude toward my savior and purpose.

I experienced a huge difference when my work schedule changed. I stopped doing my morning devotions because  I was now forced to wake up at 4 am. Get up and take a prayer walk at 3:30 am? Not so practical I daresay.

Yup, this pretty much sums it up

Not only had I stopped reading my bible before work, but several situational changes came at me fast. These were things I had no control over like moving into a new place, having a relationship become long-distance, and commuting to the office (I had worked from home before).

The shift seemed subtle to me; the last thing devil wants us to realize is that we are slipping. We want to believe we are doing just fine and are in no need of help. The fact is, God was no longer a top priority in my day. I was slipping back into old patterns of depression and isolation.

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:1-2). I was certainly giving in to my inclination to giving up. But by God’s grace, and a little bit of nudging, my dear friends who know who they are helped me out of my hole.

And I know that this is the truth: that desire for God does not come from myself. It is impossible for me to want Him unless the Holy Spirit gives it to me to want Him. The fact that I’m sitting here now reflecting and praising is proof of God’s faithfulness and goodness. He has already begun giving me what he promised he would!

I know I must content myself with a max of 15 minutes before I leave for work. I can read a little chunk of scripture and spend my commute meditating on it. It’s not much but it’s God-given so who could complain about that?

True worship, Part II

O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous,
who sees the heart and the mind,
let me see your vengeance upon them,
for to you have I committed my cause. ~Jeremiah 11:12

All praise and glory be to our Father who sees our hearts and our minds, who knows us so thoroughly. In His wisdom he lifted us up when we were still sinners, and brought us closer to Himself, who is the truth and beauty. For all the religious things I’ve done, and all the time spent “serving” you, I pray that through Jesus, you help me always worship and love you with my heart and mind united as one in your cause. Not only for the sake of Bible doctrine, but in everyday living.

Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and exult,
because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you. ~ Jeremiah 60:5

You looked down on Saul persecuting your followers and saw that in all his zealous piety his heart was aflame for You. You bent down to reveal yourself to him, and when he saw the truth, he dropped everything and went to tell the world about it. God, I was pious too, my heart was in the right place, but I did not truly understand who You were. In your love you also bent down to reveal yourself to me too.

And the man said to me,“Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel.” ~Ezekiel 40:4

True worship

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. ~John 4:23

This quote is from the passage from John where Jesus stops and talks to the Samaritan woman. When she asks him where the correct place is for worship, Jesus responds in an unexpected way: he says that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and truth.

At that time, Jews were to worship before God in the temple, where the tabernacle was. They were to travel to Jerusalem to make offerings for thanksgiving and sin, as prescribed by the law. When Jesus came to take care of our guilt for good, worship to God was no longer restricted to the temple law.

Some people take this as an argument against the need to go somewhere to worship with others, like church on Sundays or a fellowship group, but that’s not what he’s referring to. Corporate worship should still be very much a part of a believer’s life. Here, Jesus is talking about our attitudes when we worship.

When we worship in spirit, we bow down to our creator with reverence and humility, acknowledging who He is, and who we are because in Him, through Jesus. When we worship in truth, it simply means that there is only one valid way to the Father, and that is through Jesus Christ. “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” ~John 14:6. Only true believers can worship God correctly, in spirit AND truth; all other worship, however sincere, is ultimately futile.

That’s a big pill to swallow!

I used to think that God was content to accept my worship offering, as long as I showed up on time to church and stayed awake. Sometimes I’ll be at church, and they’ll play some of my favorite worship songs. I’m in a good mood and feeling the love from my friends. The announcements were short, and today they had a delicious pie with coffee after the service. “Church” in all its outward appearance and experiences, all feels good and right — but how much of that time was I actually focusing on Jesus? And how much of that time was I filling my satisfaction with earthly comforts?

Looking back, I realized that most of my life, my worship (even my most heart-felt, sincere worship) has been in vain. And that’s not just before now, it’s absolutely possible for me to keep on going to worship in vain.

When you worship, friends, how aware are you of what you are doing? My mind tends to wander a lot, so I have resolved to start with a prayer to keep focused. I encourage you to do the same! If you pray to him and ask for help (James 1:5), he will be pleased because he can see your heart’s desire to worship him correctly.  Ask and trust that He will teach you to keep the right spirit, and the truth in mind.

You might even take a second to evaluate yourself. How did you do the last time you were praising God? Was your heart in it? How might you fight the temptations to focus on other things.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. ~1 Corinthians 15:58