Weekly Devotions

What Matters to God … Final Thoughts

“Among the gods there is none like YOU, O Lord; neither are there any works like YOUR works.  All nations whom YOU have made shall come and worship before YOU, O Lord, and shall glorify YOUR name.  For YOU are great and do wondrous deeds; YOU are God alone.”
~ (Psalm 86:8-10)
 

 

Worship always begins in the heart as a direct response to God’s mercy and moves towards physical actions.
 

 

Here are some ways that we can glorify our God:
 

 

  • Through our thoughts. The psalmist said, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.”  In contrast worshipers realize that God is always aware, (Omniscient).  HE is always involved, (Omnipresent).  HE is always working things out for our good, and HIS glory, (Omnipotent).  God needs to be a preeminent in our thought processes.  Remember, HE is the great “I AM.”  HE is unshakable, unchanging, and an ever-present reality.

 

  • Through our love. True worshipers do more than just think about God.  They love HIM, (Mark 12:30).  What we love most will determine what we genuinely worship.  Love speaks of the desires and motives behind our relationship with God.  It means you want more of God.  You enjoy HIS presence.  You treasure your relationship with Christ.  You long for the move of the Holy Spirit in your lives.  When we love something we attach worth to it.  We are saying this is worthy of our time, our thoughts, our labors and our affection.  When we truly love God it persuades others that God is desirable, good and satisfying.  Loving God means you exalt HIM.

 

  • Through our faith. Faith is not only a doorway into the Christian life but an ongoing expression of our trust in God.  The purpose of faith is not to secure health and wealth in the hear and now but to remind ourselves that in Jesus Christ, God has already given us everything (1 Cor. 3:21-23; Eph. 1:3).  Exercising faith puts both power and wisdom on display.  I love this verse from Job’s experience and conversation with God when life was going wrong for him.

 

“I know that YOU do all things, and that no purpose of YOURS can be thwarted” ~ Job 42:2
 

 

This list of how we can exalt and magnify God can go on and on.  I trust that this is just the beginning of your own personal worship revival. 
 

 

~ Pastor Greg


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What Matters to God … Part IV

“The Lord is great in Zion; HE is high above all peoples.  Let them praise Your great an awesome name – HE is holy” (Ps. 99:2).
 

“For YOU, O Lord, are Most High above all the earth; YOU are exalted far above all gods”

(Ps. 97:9).
 

 

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, may YOUR glory be above all the earth” (Ps. 108:5)
 

 

These verses above tell us of God’s exalted position above all peoples; above all the earth and even the heavens.  He is God, the exalted head above all (1 Chron. 29:11).
 

 

Too often we as Christians can contend with God for worship.  But God is a jealous God and He will not dispute this matter with us.  Through His forever mercy He opens our eyes to see what we have missed.  HE is God and we are not!
 

 

In the nineteen seventies we would sing the beautiful chorus of worship …
 

 

            “I exalt thee …
                        … I exalt thee
              I exalt thee … O, Lord.”

 

This powerful worship focused our eyes on God.   I was moved to devotion.  But can I tell you singing isn’t the same as doing.  It’s like me saying to my wife, Reba, “I hug you,” as I pass by her … thinking the words will be a sufficient replacement for an actual physical hug.  My words are meaningless without action. 
 

 

God wants us to worship HIM not only in song but also with our lives.  That’s why Paul would write to the Roman Christians
 

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship”  (Romans 12:1, MEV).

 

 

In response to God’s mercy, we’re to worship God not simply with our words, but with our bodies, our lives.  Worship to God can’t be confined to what we do in the sanctuary on Sunday morning.  Our worship includes the ordinary things in life.  It’s an exaltation of God in every area of our lives.  It’s an all in response to His amazing grace.
 

 

~ Pastor Greg


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What Matters to God … Part III

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.  Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”  ~ Psalm 34:1-3
 

 

Last year I began a new journey in which I traveled through the dark valley of depression, anxiety, disconnectedness, tension and a profound, incessant hopelessness.  I can’t tell you why, other than I believe it was a definite spiritual attack.  Added to this attack was the fact that I was physically out of shape.  There were physical abnormalities in my blood work that had to be addressed.  This compounded the impact of the darkness.  Things looked bleak.  All I knew to do was continue to approach God.
 

 

The above scripture came to mind in this difficult moment.  “I will bless the Lord at all times.”  Too often we complain about life’s uncertainties, problems and discomforts.  When God desires we worship Him in good times and in bad.
 
 
Job said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21, MEV).
 
 
I don’t think it was a lack of worship that took me down the dark valley.  It may have been worship in the wrong direction.  That’s when we look in the wrong direction for anything other than God to bring ultimate satisfaction, comfort, security or even joy.  This kind of worship is idolatrous.  It’s as if I’m saying, “Fulfill me.  Console me.  Protect me.  Rule me.  You are worthy of the strength, time, energy and affections.”  We may not bow down to idols physically, but the truth is we do it with our hearts.  We make worship about us.
 

 

Instead of trusting God’s sovereignty it is easy to begin to trust our own abilities.  Instead of magnifying God’s mercy, we promote our own efforts.  Instead of exalting God, we exalt ourselves over the situation.  And when things don’t work out like we want them to … darkness pervades. 
 

 

In Job’s story he accepted both the good with the bad.  He knew ultimately that God would bring about good.  “In all of this Job did not sin with his lips” (Job 2:10b, MEV).
 

 

What God wants and what matters to Him is our continual worship.  Sometimes it’s a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15; Psalm 27:6; 50:23; Isaiah 42:8).  Sometimes it’s a Holy Roar! 
 
~ Pastor Greg

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Seeking What Matters to God … Part II

“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”   ~ Ephesians 2:4-5
 
 
Something wonderful and miraculous and life-changing takes place within the human soul when Jesus Christ is invited in to take His rightful place in our lives.  That is exactly what God intended and anticipated when He worked the plan of salvation into the fabric of humanity.  2 Samuel 14:14 found David challenged by the woman of Tekoa regarding his own mercy and grace towards his son Absalom.  Here we see in the God’s ultimate design taking shape again.  “All of us must die eventually (she says).  Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.  But God does not just sweep life away; instead, He devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from Him(NLT).
 
 
God intended to make worshippers out of rebels.  He wanted to restore men and women to the place of worship planned from the beginning of creation. 
When we know the transformative power of God, bringing us back into fellowship with Him, into His presence, and how blessed we are on a daily basis, then we do not wait until Sunday to go to church and worship … our lives become full of worship daily. 
 
 
True worship is constant.  It is the consistent attitude and mindset of the follower of Christ.  We live out of a sustained and blessed acknowledgement of love and adoration for the One who delivered us from darkness and brought us into His marvelous light (John 8:12; 12:46; 1 Peter 2:9; Ephesians 5:8). 
 
 
We have been made in the image of God with the capacity to know God and that which is intrinsic within us is the desire to worship.  When the Holy Spirit has quickened us to the life of regeneration, our whole being senses our kinship with God and joyful exuberance is the result.  We are thankful that it is God’s desire to lead all of us into the depths, widths and heights of who He is.  God wants to take us deeper into Himself.  That’s what matters to Him.  He wants to cultivate within us the adoration and admiration that He is worthy.
 
 
The living God willingly revealed Himself to us, and in our worship of Him we find unspeakable pleasure.
 
 

~ Pastor Greg


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Seeking What Matters to God … Part I

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.” ~ John 4:23

 
 
  1. W. Tozer (1897-1975) was a man who encountered the living God and made his highest goal in life to worship Him in spirit and in truth. His main goal as a pastor and writer was to help people love and worship the God who created them.
 
 

As your Lead pastor I would trust in the coming weeks that we together would have a transformative rendezvous with our God in such a way that we would approach Him with a new passion.  Worship is the chief reason we were created.  God is, or should be, the object of our greatest affection.  He is far greater than we could ever imagine.

 
 

A.W. Tozer himself said, “Yes, worship of the loving God is man’s whole reason for existence.  That is why we are born, and that is why we are born again from above.  That is why we were created, and that is why we have been recreated.  That is why there is a genesis at the beginning, and that is why there is a re-genesis, called regeneration.  That is also why there is a church.  The Christian church exists to worship God first of all.  Everything else must come second or third or fourth or fifth” (Whatever Happened to Worship).

 
 

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was a French existentialist philosopher who turned away from what he termed “the secularistic church” and lived in hopelessness.  He made this statement, “I did not recognize in the fashionable God who was taught me, Him who was waiting for my soul.  I needed a Creator; I was given a big businessman!”  Wow!  When I read that statement I thought to myself, what an indictment against the church.  We are not a business, we are the body of Christ, drawn into a pursuit of God, led by the Spirit of God, to show forth the love of God that this world needs.  This world is drawn to a worshipping Church. 

 
 

In the coming weeks through the leading of God’s Spirit I will address the subject of worship through the series, HOLY ROAR: The Transforming Power of Biblical Worship.  We will focus essentially on the question,

 
 

            “What are we going to do about this awesome, beautiful worship             that God calls for?”

 
 

I want you to know this …  I would rather worship God than do any other thing that I know of, in all the world.  

Pastor Greg

 
 

“God made us to worship Him, and when we’re not worshiping, we’re stars without light, sun without heat, clouds without water, and birds without song.”  ~ A. W. Tozer

 

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Defeating Job Stress

“So I decided there is nothing better than to … find satisfaction in work.  Then I realized that this pleasure if from the hand of God.”  ~ Ecclesiastes 2:24

 
 

Peter Drucker, Leadership guru, said the four hardest jobs in America are the President of the United States, a University President, a CEO of a hospital, and a pastor.  Now there is no doubt there are heightened stress levels in all of these positions of leadership.  But I cannot think of anything more difficult and less paid than our active enlisted military personnel or emergency service responders, as in police and firefighters.  Need I say more?

 
 

But here is the truth.  There is job stress, like never before, on every level.  Here are some job stressor statements:

 
 
  • I don’t know what to do with my life.
  • I feel like a failure when I don’t succeed at my job.
  • I hate my job.
  • I work too much and I’m burned out.
  • I don’t feel like my job matters.
 
 

All of these statements create a defeatist attitude that emboldens stress in your life.  Here’s what we need to do:

 
 

To stressor statement # 1 above, here’s the remedy.  ASK GOD!  Ask God what to do with your life.  “If you want to know what God wants you to do – ask Him, and He will gladly tell you” ~ James 1:5. 

 
 

Stressor statement # 2 reminds us of the words of Solomon; “So I turned in despair from hard work.  It was not the answer to my search for satisfaction in this life” ~ Eccl. 2:20.  Your true value comes from who you are in God.  The ultimate purpose of your career is not to fulfill YOU!  Your greatest satisfaction and fulfillment come in your relationship with God.  What must happen is that you separate your identity from your job.  Many times that’s where the stress comes from.  We cannot not separate who we are from what we do.  That causes tremendous amounts of stress. 

 
 
Or how about this stressor statement … “I hate my job!”  Can there be anything more stressful than being in a job that you don’t like and working with people you can’t stand?  Here’s the solution:  Do what you love and love what you do!  In Ecclesiastes 9:10, God’s words of wisdom tell us, “Whatever presents itself for you to do, do it with all your might.”  And the Apostle Paul reminds us, “Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord Himself and not merely for others” ~ Colossians 3:23, TPT.
 
Remember:  “It is not that we think we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves.  Our only power and success come from God”  ~ 2 Corinthians 3:5.
 

~ Pastor Greg


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