The kids in Lesotho learned a new song recently!
The kids in Lesotho learned a new song recently!
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (NIV) Matthew 2:1-2
The contrasts between the Magi from the east and the Jews of Jerusalem:
Which of the 2 groups do you most resemble? The group which has all the teaching from God, has the Bible readily available? or the group which is seeking after the little that God has revealed to them?
The group which doesn’t have to “travel far” to meet with the King…Church is close by. . .radio and TV Bible teachers are in abundance. . .you have great books on increasing your faith are all around you. . .and yet you don’t go to any great length to draw close to the King.
Or are you willing to go “out of your way” to spend time with the King. . .to be in His presence. . .to worship Him who is worthy of your worship?
Which group are you in?
Written by Marji “Mike” Kruger
When Paul reached Athens he spent time in the synagogue teaching and preaching God’s message. Some of the Greeks took issue with what he said. “Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.) (Acts 17:19-21)
“Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.” (Acts 17:22-23)
Paul goes on to tell the people of Athens that the god they are looking for is the one and only God. . . the God who created the heavens and the earth. . .the God who creates all men and gives each one his life and breath. . .the God who uniquely shaped you in your mother’s womb. . .the God who fashioned your personality, your looks, and your experiences to bring honor to His name. . .the God who determines exactly where and when each one of us should live, who we will be and what we should do. . .the God who delights in you!
Take a few moments today to consider the power of our God. Consider who He is. Think about who you are because of your relationship with Him. And think about what He has done for you, how He has changed you and what He has done in and through you. Clear your mind of all those stray thoughts and focus on God, consider His role in your life. For it is. . .
Because of Him that you live
Because of Him you move
Because of Him you ARE!
God gives Solomon and the Israelites a sullen warning:
“But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. And though this temple is now so imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them– that is why he brought all this disaster on them.'” (2 Chronicles 7:19-22)
What is going on? Why would God indwell the temple and then destroy it? Because God’s reputation is at stake. From Genesis to Revelation we see that God has one central purpose for creation and for mankind. It all comes down to 1 issue – His glory!
. . .”before all the people I will be glorified. (KJV) Leviticus 10:3
“I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.” (NIV) Isaiah 42:8
. . .”that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NIV) Philippians 2:10
“God’s utmost purpose for Israel was that they should spread His fame to surrounding nations. As the people of God lived out the commands of God, other nations would see the character of God fleshed out before them. . . .Israel’s visible lifestyle would spotlight the invisible yet mighty God who reigned over them and over the universe” (Dwight Edwards). Other nations would draw conclusions about God based upon the Jews lifestyle! Think about that for a minute. The Creator of the universe was staking His reputation on the conduct of His children. The Israelites were to be God’s flesh and blood credentials that He alone is God.
How incredible to think that God would use such unlikely material – people like us! And yet, that is exactly what He’s still doing!
Today, God’s presence does not reside in a temple in Jerusalem, it resides within us.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? (NIV) 1 Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; (NIV) 1 Corinthians 6:19
God is still staking His reputation on our lifestyles!
Over 3000 years ago, King David saw how God was working among His people and it was his desire to build a house for God to dwell in. God knew the sincerity of David’s heart. But, He denied David the privilege of building His temple (1 Chronicles 22:8). God lovingly and graciously gave David plans in writing for a dwelling to house His own presence in Jerusalem. David in turn gave the plans to his son, Solomon. After this, David gave his personal treasures of gold and silver for the building of God’s temple (1 Chronicles 29:3). The leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of the army and other officials gave willingly to the work also (1 Chronicles 29:6).
As David passed the torch of leadership to Solomon he gave him the following advice:
“. . . my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever (1 Chronicles 28:9).
Solomon himself gives the order to begin construction of the temple (2 Chronicles 2:1). He tells the people: “The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods” (2 Chronicles 2:5).
It took 7 years to complete the temple. When it was completed it was noted for its lavish beauty and detail. The interior was overlaid with gold. No extravagance was spared . . . it was a dwelling for God. But, Solomon’s magnificent work was overshadowed when the glory of God filled the temple. Fire fell from Heaven (2 Chronicles 7:1). Notice it was not stoked by man, it came from above. And then God’s glory fell and filled the temple, consuming the burnt offering Solomon had laid before God. This signified that God accepted his sacrifice. The ordinary becomes holy ground when it is touched by the supernatural!
The reaction of the people? Flat out worship! They kneel on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worship and give thanks to the LORD, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 7:3)
How do you recognize the glory of God around you? And, what is your reaction? How and when do you worship God as His presence fills your life?
They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (NIV) Revelation 4:10-11
No “thing”. . . no person. . . is worthy to sit on the throne in Heaven, but God.
What is on the throne of your life? your house? your money? your job? a promotion? a car? your body? your health? a position? a possession? power over others? prominence?
Who is on the throne of your life? a spouse? a friend? a parent? a boss? a protector? a provider? a boyfriend? a girl friend? a leader? a boss? a president? a celebrity? a pastor? a pro sports hero? a positive role model?
What or whom sits on the throne that you worship or that your life revolves around? Remember, nothing and no one is worthy of our worship, but God!
How can anyone live a life that is worthy of God? If God is perfect, does He expect perfection from us? No. Our sins don’t surprise God. After all He sent His Son to die for our sins. If anything, the one sure thing that God could expect from us is failure! So if He doesn’t expect perfection, what does God desire from us?
He desires. . .
God gives His Power to us for one purpose, to Glorify Christ. God’s desire for men and women is to clothe them with His Power. The Church in its feeble worship and ministry is faltering because of its lack of Power. The world awaits a display of God’s power to be convinced that God is in the midst of His people, His Church. But the bigger question is: Does the world see the Power of God at work within you?
A Prayer to Pray:
Let me not be content with mediocrity. I want to live as a witness for Jesus Christ. I want to live in sync with Your Spirit living within me. . . For I know that Your will is to fill me with Your Power in order that Your Son is glorified.
Father, keep reminding me that Your Power comes in my weakness. May I learn that Your Power is released through me so that the world will see You. May I allow Jesus Christ to hold the power and do His work in the midst of my weakness. May the Holy Spirit be so present in me that the world will see You in all I do and may You and You alone receive the credit and the honor. Father, I submit my whole being to Your Holy Spirit, let it rule within me.