Bouquet

bouquet

We make associations based on what is familiar to us. As such it would not be uncommon for most of us to think of flowers, when we hear or read the word “bouquet.” For the wine connoisseur, the owner of a vineyard, or someone who makes perfumes however, the association made is likely different. These individuals may associate the word “bouquet” with fragrance, for “bouquet” is also “the characteristic scent of a wine or perfume.”

Speaking of scents … the psalmist-king, David, implored God, “Let my prayer be counted as incense before You; the lifting up of my hands as the evening offering” (Psalm 141:2). And I wonder, does worship have a “a characteristic scent,” a fragrance? If worship does have a fragrance, what does our wholehearted worship smell like to Elohim? Similarly, what does our dutiful, obligatory worship smell like to Him? I wonder.

Let us accept the invitation to worship issued in Psalm 95:6-7 (AMP):

O come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker [in reverent praise and prayer].

For He is our God
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand…(Psalm 95:6-7 Amplified Bible (AMP).

May our worship be a sweet fragrance to Him.

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31 Days of Loving Well: Worship

To worship is “to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission” (Webster’s Dictionary, 1828).

“Come, let us worship Him. Everyone bow down; kneel before the Eternal who made us.” (Psalm 95:6, VOICE). “Come, let us honor Him with extravagant love and extreme submission. Everyone bow down: kneel before the Eternal who made us.”

The Bible records the story of how the people of Israel would respond when they saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent where Moses met with God. The Bible records that each person would stand and bow in worship at the entrance of their own tents” (Exodus 33:10, VOICE).

And I reflect on the fact that true worship is first and foremost a posture of the heart. We worship Him first in our hearts. And then from the worship of our hearts, we worship Him with our lives. With the daily choices we make.

Abba, I acknowledge that I have not worshiped You in this way. Help me to honor You with extravagant love and extreme submission. Help me Abba, to love You well.

This post was written for Day 1 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. The prompt is, “Worship.” To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here or the image below.

Loving well

 

Five Minute Friday: Sing

sing

Joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday community (on Saturday) for our weekly writing adventure. To learn more about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is “Sing.”

GO

 “How shall we sing a song of the Lord; in an alien land?
(But how can be sing a song to the Lord, in a foreign, or a strange, land?)
(Psalm 137:4, Wycliffe Bible)

“Oh, how could we ever sing God’s song in this wasteland? (Psalm 137:4, Message)

I can almost feel their heartbreak, the heartbreak of the children of Israel who had been led captive to Babylon because of their sin, their prolonged disobedience to God. They were asked by those who had captured them to sing one of the songs of Zion. They felt unable to do so.

And there are seasons in all of our lives when the idea of singing, of singing a song of the Lord, of singing a song to the Lord, in the place where we are, seems inconceivable. For where we are seems like a “wasteland,” “a foreign place.” But it is in those places and in those seasons that we must sing; we need to sing a song of the Lord, of His goodness and His unending grace of His mercy and of His faithfulness. Of His love and His promise to always be with us, when He seems most far away. It is then we must sing a song to Him.

STOP

Declaring to Him, “You are faithful. You are gracious. You are full of compassion and plenteous in mercy. There is no one like You. Your loving-kindness endures forever.” Because singing songs of praise and thanksgiving, worshipping Him focuses our attention on Him. Reminds us Who He is. And when we remember Who He is, we are reminded of who we are in Him, and of His promise to be with us always … in the fire, in the water, in the flood, in the wilderness. And work everything together for our good. He gives us the strength and the grace in the wasteland. And sometimes He transforms the wasteland, the wilderness, into a place where flowers blossom. Sometimes He transforms us in the wasteland, in the foreign places. Sing.

Those who are wise worship Him

Matthew 2_1-2, AMP.png

“To worship Him.” This was the reason the Magi (wise men) came. Travelling from their homes in the East to Jerusalem then to the place where Jesus was residing. It is estimated that their journey lasted several months to over one year. It was not an overnight trip or a spontaneous one. But it was a journey they deemed worth the time, distance, and effort, “to worship Him.”

We too come to the Messiah, the Word made flesh. We come and do so at His invitation. We come for various reasons because our needs are varied and numerous and only He can meet them all.

But when we come, let us first worship Him.

Worship:

An active response to the character, words and actions of God, initiated by His revelation and enabled by His redemption, whereby the mind is transformed (e.g. belief, repentance), the heart is renewed (e.g. love, trust), and actions are surrendered (e.g. obedience, service), all in accordance with His will and in order to declare His infinite worthiness.”1

 “… the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His Beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.2

Dr. Michael L. Williams, pastor, author, Christian Educator and Biblical counselor notes, “Every decision is an act of worship. Worship is based on our salvation and reflects the Spirit and truth of God and His Word. Worship reminds us of our position before God and His worthiness and position above us. Worship is for God’s glory, praise, and honor.3 

May we end this year in a place of worship and begin 2017 in a place of worship. And remain there all year long. For those who are wise worship Him.

****

In 2017, may you and those you love experience prosperity as God defines it.

Blessings,

Esther

Worship: More than what we do on Sunday Morning

On Monday, I shared Psalm 95:6-7 and a contemporary version of the classic hymn “O worship the King.” I am continuing my focus on worship in this new post, beginning with the J. B. Phillips translation of Romans 12:1-2:

“With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give Him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity” (emphasis added).

It is not unusual for worship to be associated with that time during a Christian gathering, such as a Sunday morning service, or during private moments with God, when songs are sung and words of praise and exaltation are offered, with varied levels of expressiveness, e.g., hands lifted. Romans 12:1, however, informs us that worship is more than what we do during an appointed time. It is what we do with our lives. It begins with us offering ourselves to Him without reservation, and then living, what The Message translation refers to as our “everyday, ordinary life” our “sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life,” for Him alone.

For us, His children, there is no true division of the secular and the sacred. It is all sacred. All for Him. An example of this “life-as-worship” is seen in the story of the prophet Samuel. In a nutshell, Hannah, his mother, was the favorite of his father’s wives, but she had no children. In answer to her fervent, anguished prayer, God blessed her with a child, Samuel, whom, after he was weaned, she kept her promise to give him to God, literally. This is such a rich story, I encourage you to read it in its entirety again or for the first time.

Hear Hannah’s words to Eli, the priest, recorded in the last two verses of 1 Samuel 1, followed by a pointed notation: “’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”* (emphasis added). “There” for Samuel was the temple where he lived.  May each of us give our whole life to the LORD and worship Him with our lives, day by day, wherever our “there” maybe. This is worship in its truest, most complete rendering.

* New International Version

Post edited on 9/9/2015

Monday Vitamins: Worship

psalm 95 v6-7 AMP

At the start of this new week, let us begin from the position of worship. Worship focuses our attention on who He is and we need to know that God is greater than whatever we may face. We. Need. To. See. Him. As. He. is. Then and only then, will we see everything and everyone, including ourselves, clearly.

Monday Vitamins: An invitation and a reminder

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.” (Psalm 95:6-7, NKJV)

sheep in pasturePhoto Credit