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May is an exciting month. It is the month we celebrate Mother’s Day. This is the time of the year we get to recognize all our mothers did for us. Mothers have an important role in each of our lives. Mothers teach us so many things that will influence us for the rest of our lives. I know my mother, like many of yours, was dedicated to teaching me the importance of knowing the Lord. My dad often traveled, so my mom was instrumental in making sure I was taken to Vacation Bible School, read to, and talked to us about the Lord.
Times have changed but the importance of our mothers has not. Today, many of us are mothers and in many cases, those that are grandmothers. Mother’s influences carry not only through our children’s years but also our grandchildren’s years. When I think of mothers, there are many stories that reflect a mother’s importance. One of those is the story of Hannah. Hannah was not able to have children in the beginning of the story. She was married to a man named Elkanah. Hannah prayed and prayed year after year for a son and promised if she were able to have a baby, she would dedicate him to the Lord. God eventually answered her prayers and she was given a baby boy. She named this baby boy Samuel. After the boy became a little older she took him to the place where she had prayed. 1 Samuel 1:27-28 says this:
“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.
This passage teaches us that children are a gift of God. We all know this but when you think of the miracle of life, not only has God blessed us and He has also given us a responsibility. The child God gives us should be given the chance to understand who God is and taught the importance of Him in their lives. We often understand the importance of our children and grandchildren are to us, but do you believe they are also important to the Lord?
We must begin to realize that our children and grandchildren need us to lead them in their relationship with the Lord. It requires more than taking them to church in their early years but discipling them throughout their entire life. It means that we must pray not only for them but with them. It means showing them that God does not change, but He can change us. Our society has neglected the importance of this and we all realize that our culture often stands opposed to God’s word. We have also bought into the lie that it is more important to make sure our children are in sports, drama, dance and rodeo than actually learning what will last them the rest of their lives and even through eternity. Our kids and grandkids are being exposed to things we would have never imagined, so there has never been a more critical time for us to stand for what is right.
I challenge you this month of Mother’s Day to make a special effort to take your God given responsibility to a new level. It begins with praying for them. Next it begins with reaching out to them and showing them the importance of a relationship with Jesus Christ. It also means that you do whatever God given talents you have to help in the discipling of them, as well as other children that need to be shown the love of Christ.
The next generation will be the group that will lead our country and even your family back to where God wants you to be. If you feel uncomfortable in discipling your family that is the reason for church. We all need to be taught, encouraged, and share our talents. I hope when you hear me say “when you’re not here, church just isn’t the same,” also means that a mother or dad that steps out in faith can also make your family never the same.
WORSHIP IS NOT JUST MUSIC?
“Good morning, let us begin our service this morning with some
worship.” This is a phrase that I usually say when I begin our Sunday
morning services. What does it mean when the phrase “let's begin
with worship” is spoken? Is it a reference to the music? In today's
modern churches, when the word worship is mentioned, automatically
it is associated with music.
Many churches are known by their “awesome worship”. When they
leave church, people walk out refreshed because the “worship” was
great. Again, what does it mean when someone in a church says
“let's begin with worship?” Is it a prayer? How about the slow songs?
Maybe it's the service. The answer is yes, yes and yes. The word
worship is meant to represent the entire service. Every part of the
service from the welcome to the songs and even the offering are all
acts of worship unto God. Each part must be done with respect and
reverence to the Holy Father.
If worship is not just music, then what is it? Worship is defined as
reverence offered to a divine being; extravagant respect or
admiration. The Greek word for worship is shachah which means “to
bow down.” Words like extravagant respect, admiration and “to bow
down” all refer to God. Are these words that congregants use to
describe their churches relationship with God? How about their
personal relationship with God? If not, something must be done so
that God can be seen in such a high esteem. Worship is not
something that occurs only on a Sunday morning, or inside a church.
Worship is a way of life, a habit. In his book REAL WORSHIP by
Warren Wiersbe, he says “Worship is supposed to be at the center of
everything that the church believes, practices and seeks to
accomplish.” Worship needs to be the most important part of the
daily life of believers.
Worship is a lifestyle. Much like eating healthy every day is the
best way to keep a human body in healthy form, worship is necessary
for a believer to live a healthy spiritual life. How can one worship?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your strength and with all your mind” LUKE 10:27. Jesus
instructs believers that they must love God with their physical
body(strength), their mind(mentally), heart(life) and soul(being). The
heart is the most important muscle in the human body, without it
comes death. If a believer is without Jesus and death comes, an
eternal damnation awaits in hell for the soul. Worship is an action, an
act. There are numerous ways that believers can express worship
towards Jesus Christ. Prayer, service and celebration are some ways
to worship to God.
The goal of worship is Christlikeness in our character and
conduct. Worship transforms a person to be more like Christ. This
process is ongoing, never ending. Every day is a struggle to be more
like Christ. The best way to be more like Christ is to have a deep,
intense, relationship with Him.
Symphony conductors are the hardest people to follow when they are
conducting. The musicians sitting in front of them don't really look to
the conductor for the beat, but they look at him for the cues. This is
very much like Christ and believers following Him. Christ doesn't
necessarily give a believer specific instructions; believers simply must
listen for the cues as to what to do in their lives. The symphony
musicians are so well trained in their craft and so “in tune” with the
conductor that they are following him perfectly even with his crazy
conducting patterns. It's part of the mystery of Jesus Christ that He
doesn't always tell followers exactly what to do, but He really does, if
they listen hard enough and are well prepared for the task of serving
and being obedient to Him.
I was a worried child. I was an anxious teenager. I was a fretful young adult. Worry and anxiety are still things I struggle with, often daily, even though I've been living this Jesus-life for decades. In my case, some of it is sin and some of it is biological. Even though I take medication to correct the chemical insufficiencies in my body, sometimes I still just don't trust God to do what He says He will do. I think we all do at one time or another...it's a part of being human.
I recently was faced with a loved one having an anxiety attack. I felt like I had been specially placed there to help this person through the difficult time. Maybe you could benefit from the thoughts God laid on my heart.
I can really identify with Joshua. I'll bet Joshua was a worrier. Over and over in the Old Testament book of Joshua, God reminds Joshua to "be strong and courageous." When Moses prepares Joshua to take over for him he uses this phrase as well. In Deuteronomy 31:6, Moses says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
It's tempting to think God treats us like we sometimes treat others...that He supports us when we do things that make Him happy but then withdraws His support when we disappoint Him. Joshua refutes this theory. You see, ole Josh was pretty much human just like us. He has a victory and is so confident that he steps out in his own power on the next task....and fails miserably. So, he repents and is God's man again in the next chapter. Just like us, Josh needs to be reminded to a) rely on God and b) trust God with the outcome.
Dear One, God has not left you. You may have walked away from His path and you may have tried to forge your own way. But God has never stepped away from you. He's telling you to be strong and courageous, to rely on Him and trust Him with your whole life. He knows your brokenness and your victory and loves you equally through them both!