Your morning cup of joe with Pastor Joe: September 15th, 2018

Your morning cup of joe with Pastor Joe: September 15th, 2018

Join Pastor Joe each morning for a time of devotions. Today we start week four in the New Testament book of Ephesians. We are looking at Ephesians 2:11-22. Today we look at verses 21-22 where we see that the church is special because it is where we can give God worship and where we experience a greater sense of God's presence. Grab a coffee and your Bible and let's dig in!

BELIEVE: week eleven: Worship

“Come, let us song for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” Psalm 95:1-2

I love to hear my father share memories of his days as a US Air Force staff sergeant in Morocco during the Korean War. His duty started at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and sixty years later, I made a point of taking my dad back to that base for a visit.

An active lieutenant colonel graciously offered to provide us with access to the base and to give us a personal tour. We saw restored fighter planes, from WWI to the present. When we came to the Korean War plane, the lieutenant colonel stopped us, looked my father straight in the eyes, and said these heartfelt words: “Al, as an officer and representative for the United States Air Force, I want to thank you for your dedication and service to our great nation.” He finished with a strong salute.

Overwhelmed by this display of honor and respect, my dad saluted back, his eyes filled with tears.

Do you think our heavenly Father becomes overwhelmed, his eyes filled with tears of joy, when we salute him with our heartfelt worship?

"I worship God for who He is and what He has done for me."

[Excerpt from Believe: 31-day Devotional by Randy & Roxanne Frazee]

All creation worships God...


Today's thought:

Psalm 148:3-4 & 7-10, "Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies... Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds..."

All creation worships God. We rarely stop to think about that. Ever go for a walk in nature, slip into a deep mysterious woods, cast your line into a bubbling brook, look upon a meadow desert of sequoia cactus, hear the distant roar of a misting waterfall, watch a sea of grass roll and wink in a gentle breeze, be lulled to sleep by the rhythmic lapping of salty waves? There is a sense that comes over us. Many interpret that as a closeness to God. Perhaps what we sense is the worship of creation, worshipping its Creator for creating it. There is a sound to creation as it operates as it was created to. It is called bioacoustics.

Research in the field of bioacoustics has revealed that every day we are surrounded by millions of ultrasonic songs. Did you know, for instance, that the electron shell of the carbon atom produces the same harmonic scale as the Gregorian chant? Or that whale songs can travel thousands of miles underwater? Or that meadowlarks have a range of three hundred notes? Supersensitive sound instruments have discovered that even earthworms make faint staccato sounds! Arnold Summerfield, the German physicist and pianist, observed that a single hydrogen atom, which emits one hundred frequencies, is more musical than a grand piano, which only emits eighty-eight frequencies.

Science writer Lewis Thomas summed it up it this way: "If we had better hearing, and could discern the [singing] of sea birds, the rhythmic [drumming] of schools of mollusks, or even the distant harmonics of [flies] hanging over meadows in the sun, the combined sound might lift us off our feet." [Adapted from Mark Batterson, All In (Zondervan, 2013), pp. 118-119]

All creation worships it's Creator. When we lift our praise to God we join a larger song of worship. We are the only aspect of that song that is voluntarily offered. God is seeking those who will join the song. Jesus said, "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks" (John 4:23).

What creation does best for us is to point our attention to the Creator. Then we can worship Him. Makoto Fujimura, Christian artist and thinker, said, "Perhaps the greatest thing we can do as a Christian community is to behold. Behold our God. Behold his creation. The church has exiled beauty from its conversations, and I think that we need to rediscover the beautiful in order to recover ourselves—our humanity. Jesus seemed to indicate that beauty is a door into the Gospel."

Prayer: Mighty Creator, when we consider the works of Your hands, we bow in awe before You. Your power, majesty, imagination, knowledge and love etched into Your creation calls us to praise Your name and join the song of what You have made. We praise You! For You alone deserve glory, honor and praise, forever! In Jesus name, amen.

Here I am...send me

Today's thought:

Isaiah 6:1-8, "In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,

The whole earth is full of His glory.”

And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined!

Because I am a man of unclean lips,

And I live among a people of unclean lips;

For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (New American Standard Bible).

In a recent TV commercial a young man is struggling with whether to go through with an arranged marriage. In his home country arranged marriages were the norm. But after living in America, he was having second thoughts about adhering to this ancient custom, especially since he'd never met his wife-to-be.

Still, when she flew into the airport, he dutifully waited for her, flowers in hand, and a gloomy expression on his face. But when she stepped through the terminal, everything changed. She was beautiful! Suddenly his glum demeanor disappeared. The thought of marrying this woman was no longer a dreaded duty; it was a delight. What had changed? He'd seen her.

Often we serve God out of obligation. We drag ourselves to church, force ourselves to serve others—but our hearts aren't in it. We're like that guy at the airport, grudgingly holding flowers for God. We're trying to live holy lives because we know we should, but it's burdensome, joyless.

What can change this? Seeing God. When we get a vision of who God truly is, suddenly we're energized to do his mission. Once we gaze upon his grandeur and glory, obedience ceases to be arduous. Once we grasp his great love, serving is no longer a duty—it's a joy! [Drew Dyck, Yawning at Tigers (Thomas Nelson, 2014), page 54]

Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up and by seeing God he recognized who he was and who God is. He then was not just willing to serve God but eager. It was no longer an obligation, a "have to," but a privilege, a "get to." Though we may not have a vision like Isaiah we still can come into the presence of the Living God through worship and hear His voice call out through His word, the Bible. If we turn our eyes upon the One high and exalted, if we keep our vision on Him, then serving and submitting to God go from duty to delight. Catch a glimpse of God today. See Him. It changes everything.

Prayer: Our Holy Father, though we cannot look directly upon your face, Your glory is all around us. As we worship You we get a true vision of You and serving You becomes our pleasure, our delight. Here we are. Send us! Show us Your glory. In Jesus name, amen.