VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

WORSHIP IS TO PLEASE GOD

7/18/2016

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-2-32-11-pmI’m certainly proving that I can do nothing without the LORD. I survived the last three weeks of daily socializing by looking forward to these next two weeks of setting at my desk researching, organizing and writing in the LORD’s presence.

Today I start. I will spend it alone—totally with Him but I am quickly realizing I’m not prepared. I’m lonely; I’m out of practice using my mind. I’m remembering that desk work is work, and the work is overwhelming with papers from the last three weeks piled high.

And then there is music. I’m pursuing songwriting yet have no desire to play and sing anything. My body is in pain, my mind so very sluggish, and I have no desire to pursue what GOD is calling me to. Looking forward to this day for the last three weeks has kept me going but it has arrived and I’m disappointed. How much this situation screams that I can do nothing without GOD.

Thus I chuck my plans and go to the prayer closet to sit. Though I feel it not, I know there is unending joy for me embedded in the privilege of His attention. And I have proof in my memory that His covenant promises to me will never be broken. Just the promise of eternal life with Him—someday being free of these earthly struggles… These things are enough to find the needed strength to face this day with energy.

Suddenly I’m on the mountaintop. I don’t necessarily feel it but these thoughts have given me enough gumption to begin. I can walk out of this prayer closet—put one foot in front of the other with anticipation. Here I go, and the first step is toward the piano.

As I approach I am thinking two thoughts about the piano: (1) all I see behind and ahead of me is failure: no progression in talent, no opportunity to preform. I feel I should give it up and concentrate my expression of worship with just words and not song.

The other thought is just the opposite: (2) I should continue with songwriting and piano, remembering how GOD, periodically over 30 years, has encouraged me at the piano. Yet…

30 years He has strung me along. My flesh wants to quit. I, with pleasure, will admit defeat instead of taking more embarrassment, but my heart cries with just the thought of ending. I’m in the valley with my mind’s logic to quit yet my heart refuses to listen to common sense.

Before I arrived at the piano I picked up the guitar and sang with a three-week, out-of-practice voice. My ears heard something unpleasant but the LORD heard not my voice but my heart. I had forgotten this songwriting desire was for the pleasure of GOD not that I might get good and please others or myself.

All my writing has been to help me draw close to GOD even though it is available to the public. And so my music should also be to help me draw close to GOD. Is there anything better than to be close enough to sing Him praise?

I do love to express my love for GOD in music. I love to please Him in song—magnifying Him. Song is certainly a higher way to magnify Him than words.

Seeing that my spiritual gift is encouragement, it makes sense that it should spill over into my interaction with the LORD through song.

“…the great object of…worship is to please God…” William S. Plumer (ref#183). From GOD’s perspective: He waits for me to bring Him joy. He created me that I might bring Him pleasure (Rev 4:11).  Now I’m really on a mountaintop!

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SABBATH

PRIVATE LORD’S DAY ACTIVITIES

“The time for performance of individual and family religious duties is before or after church….Private Lord’s Day observance includes prayer, Bible reading, meditation, and follow-up teaching after church” John Owen (ref#176).

“The Sabbath must be a day of spiritual improvement—improvement which comes in…families having time around the Lord Jesus, His Word, and His purposes” Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

Spiritual improvement comes from religious reading. (It’s possible to read through the Bible in a year by reading approximately 18 Chapters each Sunday.) Improvement also comes from secret prayer and holy meditation. (ref#165, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

“Church history informs us that after their private devotions, the members of the family in primitive times met for united prayer, the reading of the Scriptures, the recital of doctrinal and practical sentiments and mutual edification generally. This indeed, to some extent, was done every day. Each day was also closed by similar devotions. But, the Lord’s Day abounded in them” William S. Plumer, (ref#183).

Another LORD’s Day suggestion would be praising God for His mercies. But, this and the ones above are only suggestions. Though our desire would be to have a list of steps to follow, there are many temptations present in simply checking off a list.

Trouble happens when we simply follow lists—no manner how good the list is. We can fall into the category of sacrificing instead of obeying—just acting and not feeling.

God’s Word binds us only to Him and to His Word. We are free in matters of faith and worship from every man-made list. CHRIST has purchased the right to be our only Master. (ref#165, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon#: 2097, “The Delight of the Sabbath” July 18, 1999).

So, we must ask Him directly. We should ask Him every Sabbath what our agenda should be for the day.

SABBATH

THE SABBATH DEFINED

“…the Sabbath was God’s first act after the earth had been made fit for human habitation,…This day, from the beginning, was a holy day…for the purpose of teaching man that whilst he might lawfully spend six days in worldly employments, he must rest on the seventh day” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).

“The Sabbath is a sign. It points to a truth that we are never to forget. The truth is that God (and not we ourselves) has sanctified us. He has chosen us and set us apart and worked to make us distinct among the peoples of the earth” John Piper (ref#169).

“…the Sabbath is a gift of love to meet man’s need, not an oppressive burden to make him miserable or proud….It should not be governed rigidly by narrow definitions of what is work and what is not. It is a day to focus on the Lord. And now Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath…so it is a day to focus on Jesus. And it is impossible that a day focused on Jesus should be a burden to the believing heart…” John Piper (ref#169).

“As the great object of all religious instruction and worship is to please God and secure His blessing, so let great care be taken that whatever is done be sincere, humble, and fervent” William S. Plumer (ref#183).