In Revelation’s 404 verses . . .

by Eugene Peterson

And here is something that never ceases to astonish me.  The Revelation has 404 verses.  In those 404 verses, there are 518 references to earlier scripture.  But there is not a single quote; all the references are allusions.  Here was a pastor and writer who was absolutely immersed in scripture andsubmitted himself to it.  He did not merely repeat, regurgitate, proof-text.  As he wrote, the scriptures were re-created in him.  He assimilated scripture.  Lived scripture.  And then he wrote what he has lived…

~ ’The Pastor, p 245

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Biblical Worship: Lifestyle-Oriented

I just came across this blog and found a very good article that is worth us all reading and pondering. It has much good instruction. The words of the song really capture “worship”. It can be played and listened to with the link at the end (ti shows the words as the groups sings. Might be a heavy beat for some of you, but the message is worth the listen. There are links to other parts of the series at the end. I have not checked them out yet, but if they are as good as this one, it would be worth your time.

Written By Ben, 27 December 2011

A few years ago, the band Casting Crowns released an anthem that really gets to the heart of worship.  It was called “Lifesong” and part of the lyrics said this:

Empty hands held high,
Such small sacrifice;
If not joined with my life,
I sing in vain tonight.

May the words I say,
And the things I do,
Make my lifesong sing,
Bring a smile to You

Let my lifesong sing to You;
Let my lifesong sing to You;
I want to sign Your name to the end of this day
Knowing that my heart was true.
Let my lifesong sing to You

What I love about that song is the fact it captures so beautifully that true worship is a 24/7 thing, which leads to our next essential:  biblical worship is lifestyle-oriented.

One of the great temptations in the life of a worshipper is compartmentalizing.  We tend to think that worship is that hour we sit, sing, and soak on Sunday mornings, and we often measure the quality of our worship by how high the emotion got in the service.  You hear people say things like, “God really showed up today.  Brother Luther ran the aisles, Sister Doo fell out in the floor, and I just couldn’t quit crying.”  Is that the measure of biblical worship?  No way!  Is biblical worship confined to just that hour?  No way!  That hour should spill over into and be a continuation of the other 167 hours in the week.  Biblical worship is a lifesong!

God through Paul speaks of this very thing in Romans 12:1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  Every second of our lives reflects how worthy and valuable we think God is.  Therefore, we must live accordingly.  Worship is more than a song.  It’s a lifestyle.

The high stakes of every second of our lives being worship is why Paul is so strong here.  He “urges” us.  He’s begging, pleading, entreating, beseeching, encouraging.  He’s saying, “This is urgent!  This is serious!”  I believe Paul knew well our tendency to compartmentalize our lives:

  • When I’m with my spouse, I put on my spouse hat.
  • When I’m with my kids, I put on my parent hat.
  • When I’m at work, I put on my work hat.
  • When I’m at school, I put on my school hat.
  • When I’m with friends, I put on my friend hat.
  • When I’m at church, I put on my church hat.

Sadly, you might get a different person with every hat.  The person you are at church might be grieved by the person you are work.  The person you are with your kids might be disgusted by the person you are with your friends.

The problem isn’t the fact that you change hats because that’s just a part of life.  The problem is that in some roles people often choose to take off their robe of white.  They pull it out when it’s necessary but put it away when it’s inconvenient.  Under one hat, they have on their robe of white and are telling God He is of greatest worth and value; under another hat, they take their robe of white off and are telling God He is of little, if any, worth or value.  God doesn’t care as much which hat you put on as long as you wear the robe of white every second of the day!

That’s what Paul means when he tells us to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.  The picture here that Paul uses is of the Old Testament ritual offerings in the Tabernacle and Temple, the language of the Levitical priesthood. According to the Law, a Jew would bring his offering of an animal to the priest, who would then take it, slay it, and place it on the altar in behalf of the person who brought it.  You see, sacrifices to God don’t compartmentalize their lives.  They are 100% dead to the world and 100% for God.

That’s how we are to be in worship as well.  Our lives in worship should be 100% dead to the world and 100% for God.  We are to be as Paul was in Galatians 2:20I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Obviously, there’s one big difference between an Old Covenant sacrifice and the sacrifice that Paul is calling us to here under the New Covenant.  Paul calls us to be a “living sacrifice.”  An Old Covenant sacrifice required the death of the thing being offered.  God, however, doesn’t desire for us to die in sacrificial dedication to Him.  He wants us to live in sacrificial dedication to Him.  Of course, for one to live in such a way, there must be a spiritual death—a death to self-will (Mark 8:34).

Friend, every second of every day you live, you are worshipping something.  You are either worshipping God, or you are worshipping something else.  As some of you read this, you truly want to worship God every second.  Therefore, you are making plans to quit your job, sell your home, and join a monastery so that you can concentrate on God all day long and do those cool monk chants.  Please don’t!  Rather, expand your idea of worship.  It’s a lifestyle!

Listen to Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:31Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  That means you can turn a wrench and worship God.  You can drive piece of machinery and worship God.  You can punch those keys and worship God.  You can teach those kids and worship God.  How?  Do it all to the glory of God in the spirit of Christ.  That’s being a living sacrifice.  That’s worship that is lifestyle-oriented!

Links to previous posts in this series:

The Church – A Pillar of Truth

by Gary Gilley

One of the things that separate the church from all other organizations is that it is to be the pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). The congregation not functioning as the support and dispenser of truth falls short of the biblical criteria for a local church; therefore the assembly which does not major on truth does not fit the definition of a New Testament church. Its attendance may be “mega,” its programs prolific, its enthusiasm contagious, and its motives honorable, but if it is not the pillar and support of truth it fails in its job description as a church. Call it a club, a social gathering, a political awareness group, a socially concerned assembly, or an entertainment center, but don’t call it a church.
Think on These Things, November 2008

We are His fingers and muscles

by CS Lewis

Christians are the physical organism through which Christ acts. We are His fingers and muscles, the cells of His body.

Your Real Power is in Christ

by Octavius Winslow

There is one truth connected with our subject fraught with the richest encouragement to God’s people. It is this- Christ is so Almighty that He knows how to stoop to, and to sympathize with, the weakest strength of His saints. Listen to His recognition of this- “You have a little strength.” Who speaks thus? The almighty God, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last. What! does the Almighty One, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, take cognizance of my little strength? Yes, beloved, He despises not the day of small things, and overlooks not the little strength of His saints, yes, even those who have no might. How should this encourage you to use the little that you have in working out your own salvation, in making your calling and your election sure, and in laborings to bring souls to Christ! Jesus regards with ineffable delight your little faith and love, your little knowledge and experience, your feeble endeavors to serve and honor Him, since that little is the divine fruit of His Spirit, and the free gift of His grace. But do not be content to remain where you are. “Let the weak say I am strong.” “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

All your real power is in Christ. In His strength you can do great things for God, and suffer great things for Jesus. Bring your strong corruptions to His grace, and your little strength to His omnipotence, and your very weakness shall turn to your account by drawing you into a closer alliance with the Lord in whom you have righteousness and strength. Thus you will be taught to understand the apostle’s sacred paradox- “When I am weak, then am I strong.”

Emmanuel, or The TItles of Christ

A 300 Year Old Prayer for The Difficult Seasons of Life

Got this from the Itching Ear blog

The following  prayer was first offered back in the   1700′s.  It is from the largely forgotten deposit of the Puritan Movement of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  These people knew God and they knew how to pray.  We can learn a lot from them. They are written in old english.  I have updated  a few outdated words and changed the Thee’s and Thou’s to make it more 2011.  However, they still have the feel of that era.   This prayer, titled ’The Valley of Vision’,  along with many others, can be found in a book titled “The Valley of Vision”, by Arthur Bennett.

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,

You have brought me to the valley of vision,

where I live in the depths but see You in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Your glory.

Let me learn by paradox

that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;

Let me find Your light in my darkness,

Your life in my death,
Your joy in my sorrow,
Your grace in my sin,
Your riches in my poverty,
Your glory in my valley.

HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE IN A NUTSHELL

Here is a link to a good blog article on Bible study by  at Credo House blog.

The following is a practical guide to biblical interpretation following a three step process that I have used for years. The Bible is two-thousand years old and often seems very archaic. This makes it hard to know how it applies to us. It can be very frustrating as all Christians are encouraged to read their Bible daily but often are at a loss as to how to understand it and apply the message to their own lives. This process has served me well and I believe it is representative of the best way to interpret the ancient word of God and apply it to today. I hope that it will alleviate some of the “Bible interpretation anxiety” that is out there, allowing the Bible to become real and relevant to your life.

 

To see the charts and much more information you need to go to his site at

http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2011/12/how-to-study-the-bible-in-a-nutshell/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+ParchmentAndPen+(Parchment+and+Pen)