Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 6, 2011

"The Lord is my Light and my Salvation--whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, [even then] in this will I be confident."  Psalm 27:1-3

This idea that discipline is a vital part of worship is a new thought for me and perhaps to you as well. So, I want to spend more time elaborating on it because I think it has powerful potential to improve your worship.

The Psalmist declares the Lord is his "Light and Salvation" and the Lord is the "strength of his life".  As he glorifies God in that state he also indicts himself. By acknowledging God as his light he also admits that he is darkness. When he commends God as His salvation he implies that he is lost without that salvation. With God he lives in light. Apart from God he dwells in darkness. Believing in God he has salvation but without God he is lost.

Therein is the need for discipline! To enjoy worship and to know God's light and His salvation you must discipline yourself to resist the darkness and come out of your lostness. You will only do that if you choose to believe what His Word says about you and choose to act upon it. That requires a conscious decision that goes against your human nature. That is faith! Faith takes discipline because it is not natural.

Discipline may have taken a negative context in your thinking because it usually is associated with punishment. When you were failed to discipline yourself as a youngster and did something bad, your parents had to do the disciplining for you. That was not pleasant for you or them. But let me give you another way to think of discipline - "discipline is saying no to one thing in order to say yes to something better".

So, if you want to become a better worshipper you must say "no" to your darkness and come to His light! That means putting down the TV remote, or the newspaper or the magazine or the video game control and pick up your Bible. It means saying "no' to the selfish desires and the destructive thoughts and "yes" to His Spirit.

Is your lack of discipline hindering your worship? Are you choosing His light above your darkness? Are you saying "no" to self to say "yes" to His Spirit. What should you pick up in order to worship better? What do you need to put down in order to worship well?

July 5, 2011

“The LORD is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident"  Psalms 27:1-3

Since many of the Psalms are written by men who knew how to worship well and how to lead others in worship, it is no surprise that there is much to be learned about what worship is and how it happens. Psalm 27 is one of those Psalms that could serve as a textbook for worshippers.

Sunday I will be preaching on it and commenting on it in this blog all week. If you follow me through this week you will see worship is so much more than four hymns, prayers, Scriptures, an offering and a sermon.

Verses 1 through 3 show a very important but often overlooked aspect of worship. There is a discipline required to worship well. You don't worship in a vacuum. To worship well you have to seek God through the distractions and diversions that life can bring.

David wasn't always a worship-leader or a king but was always a worshipper. He was determined to never allow anything come between him and his God. His single-minded passion to worship his God was the driving force of his life.

We first see the evidence of that discipline when he confronted the giant Philistine, Goliath. While the battle-tested warriors of Saul's army (including King Saul) were quaking in fear over the taunts and threats by the not-so-gentle giant, David was zealous for God. This obscure shepherd boy who came to the camp on a mission from his father, Jesse, but soon took on a mission for his Heavenly Father. When he arrived to deliver the goodies from home to his older brothers, he was grieved to hear the blasphemy from Goliath. Even more troubling to him was the lack of response from God's army. All the others saw a giant threat, David saw a giant target.

In David's world, anything that came between him and his God had to go. Goliath did and Goliath fell. Worship was a big deal to David. For David worship was a way of life. I wasn't something he did, it was something he was. He was not content to live outside the presence of God.

Worship requires discipline because worship requires God's presence. Coming into God's presence demands a determination to fight through the daily diversions and distractions. Sometimes you may feel your way into God's presence but most days you must fight your way there.

For you, your lack of discipline may be that giant! What are you willing to do to win that battle?