May 31, 2013

Having a Heart of Worship

Crashing waves
          Thrusting against the rocks
                     Weathering the reefs of coral
                                  Molding each into the depths of the sea
                                              Behold the beauty of our Father’s creations
                                                          He commands each wave
                                                                       He calms each gust of wind
                                                          Each grain of sand smoothed by His hands
                                                                       Every pearl accounted for
                                                                               His greatness endures forever


My greatest desire is to be consistent in having a heart of worship.

You might ask, “What does that mean?”  Let’s look at some definitions from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and some scriptural references and see what the Lord says to us. 

I looked up the definition for heart, its always fun to read definitions because they can be quite comical when you are looking for a meaning that fits the context of your research.  So for heart:
  1. A hollow muscular organ of vertebrate animals that by its rhythmic contraction acts as a force pump maintaining the circulation of blood. 
  2. A playing card marked with a stylized figure of a red heart
  3. Personality/disposition
  4. The emotional or moral as distinguished from the intellectual nature as generous disposition; compassion, love affection (won her heart), courage/ardor (never lost heart).
  5. Ones innermost character, feelings, or inclinations (knew it in his heart).
  6. The central or innermost part, the essential or most vital part of something.

I want you to ponder more on the sixth definition, The central or innermost part, the essential or most vital part of something. 

But before we do that (since we are laying a foundation here) lets look at our other definition, that of worship:

  1. Chiefly British, a person of importance-used as a title for various officials.
  2. Reverence offered a divine being or super natural power, an act of expressing such reverence.
  3. A form of religious practice with its creed and ritual.
  4. Extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem.
  5. (verb) To honor or reverence as a divine being or super natural power.
  6. (verb) To regard with great or extravagant respect, honor or devotion.

Notice the last two both apply to our Lord?  The noun definitions could apply to almost anything-anyone.  However, the act or verb as some may call it of worship truly depicts what we are doing when we say we are worshiping our Lord.  But for arguments sake, I am going to just pick one and that is the last definition on the list, to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor or devotion. 

I believe that what the Lord truly wants from us when He asks us to worship Him is to worship Him by using the central or innermost part, the essential or most vital part of ourselves-our heart, to what? To regard Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior with great extravagant respect, honor and devotion. 

I looked up the word worship in the Vines Complete Expository Dictionary and this is what it said:

For the Old Testement: 

Sahah “to worship, prostrate oneself, bow down”.  Saha is used as the common term for coming before God in worship.  The act of bowing down in homage was generally done before a superior or a ruler.

For the New Testement: 

There are five different translations to worship, proskuneo “to make obeisance, do reverence to” from pros, “towards” and kuneo “to kiss” is the most frequent word rendered “to worship”. It is used as an act of homage or reverence to God, to Christ, to man, to the Dragon, to the Beast, to the image of the Beast, to demons, and to idols. 

Sebomai “to revere”, stressing the feeling of awe or devotion to God or to a goddess.

Sebazomai “to honor religiously”.

Latreuo “to serve, to render religious service or homage”.

Eusebeo “to act piously towards”.

I found this interesting though, in the notes it states:

The worship of God is nowhere defined in scripture. 

I found this relieving because in all of this searching of the text, I was struggling to find any scripture that truly defined worship.  However, there are several great examples of worship and encouragements in having a pure heart of worship. Let’s take a look. 

Gen 24:48
And I bowed my head and worshipped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the way of truth to take the daughter of my master’s brother for his son. 

Gen 24:52
And it came to pass, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, that he worshiped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth.

Ex 4:31
So the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Josh 5:14
So He said, “No, but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”

2 Chron 7:3
When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord saying, “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever.”

1 Chron 16:29
Give the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him.  Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!

(what can we bring as an offering to the King? Our lives perhaps?)

2Chron 29:28
So all the assembly worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. 

(notice that it does not say that everybody sang or that everybody played an instrument)

Psalm 66:4
All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You; they shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah

Matt. 2:21 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.  And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

(giving God our best)

Luke 24:51-53
Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven and they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.

(worshiping the Lord causes us great joy)

John 4:23-24
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Matthew Henry says:

Spiritual affections, as shown in fervent prayers, supplications, and thanksgivings, form the worship of an upright heart, in which God delights and is glorified.

Eph 6:5-8
Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ, not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men. Knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 

Some of us learned in a recent study by Cynthia Heald that a servant does not go beyond their obligation, they merely do what was their duty to do, however, a bond slave or doulos is willing to do whatever He (our Master) asks. 

**excerpt from Becoming a Woman of Strength**

Oswald Chambers provides a good summary of this chapter:

To have a master and to be mastered is not the same thing.  To have a master means that there is one who knows me better than I know myself, one who is closer than a friend, one who fathoms the remotest abyss of my heart and satisfies it, one who has brought me into the secure sense that he has met and solved every perplexity and problem of my mind.  To have a master is this and nothing less-He wants us in the relationship in which He is easily Master without our conscious knowledge of it, all we know is that we are His to obey.

Col 3:23
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men. 

Okay, so what does having a heart of worship look like?

I love my husband.  He says, “It’s simple honey, the Bible says in Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.”

I had to get out our Matthew Henry’s Commentary to further explain to me this scene I was looking at in Psalm 2.

The story starts back at vs 10 and says…”Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed you judges of the earth.  Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. 

Matthew Henry states this:

Whatever we rejoice in, in this world, it must always be with trembling because of the uncertainty of all things in it.  To welcome Jesus Christ, and to submit to Him, is our wisdom and interest.  Let Him be very dear and precious; love Him above all, love Him in sincerity, love Him much, as she did to whom much was forgiven, and in token of it, kissed his feet in Luke 7:38 and with a kiss of loyalty take this yoke upon you, and give up yourselves to be governed by His laws, disposed of by His providence, and entirely devoted to His cause. 

Having a heart of worship is so much more than bringing gifts to our King, singing praises to His Name, playing our best for Him. God does not want us to put worshiping Him into a box.  I believe He left it open so that we could see that everything we do with our whole hearts unto Him is worship.  We are so uniquely different, from the center of our being all the way to the outer core, that it is impossible to say this is worship or that is worship.  It really boils down to the heart.  And only the Lord truly knows what is in the heart.

 So when we do something as unto the Lord, even if it is just scrubbing toilets, making beds, doing the laundry, remember all of this is a sweet fragrance to Him when our heart is directed toward pleasing our Master.  It’s in the having of that intimate communication with the Lord while we seek His face.

Kiss the Son.  Be intimate in everything.

May 3, 2013

The Christian Parenting Handbook ~ A Heart Based Approach to Parenting

Can I say that I am just so amazed by Jesus!  He gives us the tools we need right when we need them.  This week I have been posting on facebook and Life As We Know It about the new book out by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller called The Christian Parenting Handbook.  This week is their launch week for the new book.  The National Center for Biblical Parenting has been offering a special deal to all of those interested in helping give The Christian Parenting Handbook some extra attention, by purchasing the book this week you can also receive $400 of parenting resources for free.  Yes, that's right folks, free :)  The authors provide real life examples of a heart based approach to parenting.  Rather than reacting to the situation at hand, full swing, ready to fight, step back, think rationally and see how you might creatively approach the infraction committed so that instead of getting the stubborn mule look from your child you hit the heart of the matter and are able to work towards change and lasting results. 

So here I was reading a few chapters of this great new book available in stores now at or at this time other stores are sold out and I run into a parenting moment that causes me to want to react and I seriously mean react.  It is hard to give your child the benefit of the doubt and ask them calmly to explain what I see before me.  This instance happened to just be a note with vulgar language on it.  However, to me, this is big because the child is only eleven!  But in reading just a few chapters of The Christian Parenting Handbook and with the Holy Spirit knocking on my heart, I am able to see that this particular child is very stubborn and will not respond well to an outrage due to their discretion.  I am coming to know that if I want the whole story and I want the true whole story not a made up one, I must absolutely must be as nonchelant as possible and ask for our child to explain what we see before us.  There could be a logical explanation.

I know that some may read this and think, it was just a misuse of language, no big deal.  However, it is a big deal in our home because we are firm believers that "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" which means something else is going on or this child doesn't fully understand the meaning of the words they were using.  Either way, it needs to be addressed.  I won't be doing the addressing.  My wonderful, patient, and loving husband will speak with our kid about this because I am a matter of fact person and though that can work with some children, it will not work with this one.  But I do know that the tools that I have gleaned from the aforementioned book have helped me to rethink my parenting.  I do want to be an effective parent.  I do not want my kids to close off from me and hide what is really going on.  I need a new approach.  I believe that with God and the tools offered in The Christian Parenting Handbook, we may see some change yet.  And it may be more in my heart than in anybody Else's but where is a better place to start? 

If you are a struggling parent just trying to figure out how to keep communication open with your young school age child, pre-teen, teenager, or even young adult, I suggest you give this book a thought.  And this week you get free resources to go along with it if you email a copy of your receipt.  The free resources are this week only, but the benefits of a new mindset are life long :)