**I am posting this message again. The first time something went wrong with the links & I tried to post another message with all of the appropriate links… anyway, not sure it came across like it should have. So, I am posting it again & hopefully everything will work properly this time. :) **
The following is the the message the Lord gave me for Common Grounds on Thursday, February 16, 2012:
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord & He will give you the desires of your heart.” When I think about this verse I think that if I will read my Bible, if I will pray & live a life that is mostly pleasing to God then in turn He will grant the things I desire in my life – peace, happiness, perfect children, perfect spouse, perfect marriage. What about a new car, new house, shoes, clothes, bags, etc, etc? The peace & happiness sound ok – maybe not perfect kids & spouse & marriage – I would settle for just almost perfect. (grin) But when we start adding in the material things it starts to seem a little selfish. However, these things are what we consider when we ask God to grant the desires of our heart. These are the things we feel are the desires of our heart, & to an extent, they really are. We all desire to have these things – especially peace & love & happiness, right?! But what if we really considered GOD to be the desire of our heart? What if HE was all that really mattered to us & our relationship with Him? Then when we go back to look at Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord & He will give you the desires of your heart” – then when we delighted in the Lord, in essence, that would be the same as receiving the desire of our heart – which is God! After we delight in Him & we receive Him – the rest of it falls into place. We receive peace – because God grants peace. We receive happiness – because God doesn’t wish for us to be sad. We receive love – because God IS love! We start being faithful to Him in everything we do – the way we think, act, speak & in turn, God blesses us far beyond our wildest imagination! He wants so much to just pour out blessings that we can’t even contain! Obviously, this is not to say that life won’t be life. We have all been born into sin & with a sin nature. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned & fallen short of the glory of God”. We must still live out the consequences of our life in sin. Sometimes they are great & carry a great weight with them. Sometimes not. Nevertheless, God wishes for us to become totally dependant on Him & the provision He can make in our life. Joyce Meyer says in her book Woman to Woman that “there is potential for greatness in us. But having potential isn’t enough unless we are willing to take a risk, to step out & let God go to work in our life. When God becomes the complete desire of our heart then we can develop the gifts He has placed within us. It takes some time, determination & hard work to develop potential into the manifestation of that potential.”
The Lord has been speaking to me very clearly about my potential in Him; about my potential in the way I worship Him & what my worship actually looks like. Usually when we say or hear the word ‘worship’ we automatically think about corporate worship, such as our song service at church or maybe praying. The fact of the matter is that there are so many other forms of worship. Think about when you maybe felt led by the Spirit to write a note or card to a friend that you had on your heart or you felt prompted to give away one of your favorite devotional books or pick up the phone & call. Maybe cooking a meal for someone who lost a loved one or said an encouraging word to a co-worker. All of these things are forms of worship… I will give some definitions of worship in just a minute, but for right now, think about these statements. I found this on a blog by Bob Kauflin all about worship. He says this:
“By the third song, I was really worshipping.” (Who or what were you worshipping before the third song?)
“Worship gets me to the place where I don’t have to think about anything.” (Worshipping God actually requires thinking very clearly about the Word, works & worthiness of God)
“Will there be worship at the meeting?” (Definitely. The question is of who or what.)
“With only 20 minutes, we really didn’t have time to worship.” (As though we “warm up” to worship God, rather than seek to honor him with our every thought & action.)
“Fred is doing the worship this morning” (Hopefully, everyone else will join in)
“I really love your worship” (This is a comment I sometimes get after leading God’s praise in song. I usually respond by saying, “I hope you worshipped too!”)
“Susie’s a real worshipper!” (This probably means that Susie is physically expressive when she sings songs of praise to God. Whether that means she’s a worshipper of God or not requires a little more information.)
Bob continues with this:
Harold Best, in his book Music Through the Eyes of Faith defines worship like this “acknowledging that someone or something else is greater – worth more - & by consequence, to be obeyed, feared & adored… Worship is the sign that in giving myself completely to someone or something, I want to be mastered by it.” Warren Wiersbe, Real Worship says it like this “worship is the believers response of all that they are – mind, emotions, will, body- to what God is & says & does.” Bob finishes by saying “Worship is 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 these gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable & therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin & the source of all actual sin.”
Worship through prayer is a way that we all know we can stay connected to God. But when you actually think about prayer what are your views on prayer? This is what I am really asking… when you think about praying, do you think of it as you going to God or God coming to you? (We usually say “let’s go to the Lord in prayer”) But consider for a minute that is God beckoning you! Cynthia Heald in her book Becoming a Woman of Prayer starts it off like this:
What if God does not demand prayer as much as gives prayer? What if God wants prayer in order to satisfy us? What if prayer is a means of God nourishing, restoring, healing, converting us? Suppose prayer is primarily allowing ourselves to be loved, addressed & claimed by God. What if praying means opening ourselves to the gift of God’s own self & presence? What if our part in prayer is primarily letting God be giver? Suppose prayer is not a duty but the opportunity to experience healing & transforming love? – Martin Smith
In this first chapter Cynthia also says “it is not our prayer which moves the Lord Jesus. It is Jesus who moves us to pray… Desiring intimacy with God ought to be the delight of my life & a choice gladlyKim Walker Smith of the band Jesus Culture. I will be telling you a little more about Kim after the video.
As I said, Kim sings with the band Jesus Culture & is also the worship leader for Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Having said that, I would like to talk a little bit about our worship through song. This might just be the type of worship most familiar to us – except for prayer – of course. Our praise & worship time at church – I love this time! It is such a special time for me, personally. Most of you know how much I love to sing & this is my way to express myself & glorify God & worship Him. Jesus Culture has an amazing ability to be free in worship when they are ministering in other places (I don’t want to use the word ‘concert’, it is so much more that that!) I actually watched another interview with Kim that talked about how she developed her ‘spontaneous worship’. She said when she finally got to the place where she realized she needed to seek God to be able to feel His presence at all times around her was when things started to change. (check out this video) When she wasn’t working or in school or running errands she would come home & immediately spend time with God. She didn’t let anything get in her way… she just shut herself in with HIM. Seeking Him at every moment possible. She says that her spontaneous worship is an overflow of her private time of worship. You can’t be overflowing unless you have first been filled to the brim… the filling comes when you are seeking God in your private time of worship. Then when corporate worship time comes, you are already full & out comes the overflow of that worship. We must be careful not to allow our ‘self’ to come into play – even during the corporate worship. We must be totally focused on God & the Spirit He wants to reveal through us.
A couple of weeks ago God asked me a series of questions. Questions like “how free are you willing to be?” “How much are you willing to let go of?” “What is the worst that can happen?” “What does your daily worship look like?” “What are you afraid of?” He then says to me “I am only as present as you will allow me to be!” WHAT??!! So I asked myself a series of questions. They sounded a little like “what will others think of me? What will my husband think of me? My pastor? My friends? How do I just let it all go & worship spontaneously? What does my intimate time with God look like? Am I allowing every fiber of my being to be wrapped up in the arms of Christ?” Thinking about my answers to these questions… I wanted to just cry!! I want it to be that way. I don’t want to worry about what others think of me, I want to allow myself to just be completely engulfed in the arms of Christ. I want to worship spontaneously when I feel the Spirit move me. I want to be so full during my private worship that it can’t help but spill out & overflow! But I must be willing to move my ‘self’ out of the way & let God take over. As Joyce Meyer said – we must be willing to take that risk. Psalm 40:3 (AMP) reads “And He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many shall see & fear (revere & worship) & put their trust & confident reliance in the Lord.” This says to me that when others see my confidence in my worship to the Lord, they too will put their trust & confidence in Him. Instead of judging me for the “way I worship” they, in turn, will begin to worship maybe in a similar fashion. With confidence! It’s contagious!! It has to come straight from our hearts. John 4:24 (AMP) “God is a Spirit (a spiritual being) & those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit & in truth (reality)”. This is not to be taken lightly. Let’s give Him our ALL!!! Everything we have – let’s surrender ourselves – not part of ourselves, but our whole selves – to Him. Listen to this song by Kim Walker Smith– I surrender – don’t just listen, but worship right along with her. Let God pour His love on you. Lay everything down at the feet of Jesus & offer up your heart, mind, body & spirit. Surrender to Him & worship Him now.
Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Emphasis mine)