Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [10 Ways to Worship]

I wrote this introduction around the time I started the 40 Day Challenge because I realized that I desperately needed to focus on the things of God, rather than the things of this world:

When I hit chapter 12:1-2 in Romans I thought I "got" it, but decided to see what John Piper and John MacArthur had on file for sermons on these particular verses. I am so beyond grateful I did. The verses came alive in a way that I couldn't wait to share with you. John Piper has 8 sermons on these two verses alone (John MacArthur has 3)! I highly recommend you check them out for yourself, but I wanted to venture a tad further and reach out to mommy's and wives:

What does worship look like in your home?

According to Paul all of life is worship because once we understand the mercies of God poured out in our lives (the first 11 chapters of Romans) and acknowledge that by faith in Christ alone we are made righteous (the entire purpose of the book of Romans in chapter 1:16-17), our lives should exude CHRIST. I love how John Piper pieces this together in his sermon, What is the Will of God and How do We Know It? He argues that our "... thoughts, attitudes and actions are spontaneous. They are just spillover from what's inside." When I read that I asked myself, what is my spillover? I truly hope my spontaneous thoughts, attitudes or actions reflect CHRIST. That's what all Christians want right? How can we make that happen? How can our day-to-day living (everything we say and do) be an act of worship? Well, Paul explains that in these verses.

I'm trying so hard to organize my thoughts because my mind is reeling with the significance of Romans 12:1-2, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Let's break these verses down. We cannot truly present our bodies as a living sacrifice (our spillover: everything we do and say) to spiritual worship unless we understand the "mercies of God" which are explained in the first 11 chapters of Romans:
  • Chapter 1 - Why we need the Gospel, we are ALL SINNERS! Dirty. Rotten. Filthy.
  • Chapter 2 - Stop playing God. God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus because HE knows their heart (2:16), so Paul wants the Jews to understand that God knows the heart, they do not, therefore, stop judging, because the very sins you condemn others for are the ones you practice. (What a great lesson for us all, right?)
  • Chapter 3 - ALL of us are under sin (Jews AND Gentiles) and we ALL fall short of the glory of God, and we ALL deserve death, which is why we need God's gift of salvation given to us in Christ!
  • Chapter 4 - Using Abraham as his example Paul explains that we are justified through Christ by faith alone.
  • Chapter 5 - Because we have been justified by faith, we are constantly surrounded by God's grace! In other words, we cannot out-sin His grace. "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!" (5:8) and where "sin increased, grace abounded all the more!" (5:20b) What an incredible statement to assure us of our security in Christ.
  • Chapter 6 - If we can't out-sin grace, why not keep sinning?! Well, when Christ died on the cross for our sins, our old self died with Him. "How can we who died to sin still live in it?" (6:1) Sin no longer has dominion over us! (6:14) and we must understand that the "wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (6:22)
  • Chapter 7 - Using the law of marriage (something the Jews would know and understand) he explains that God is faithful to His Word. He knew that in order to offer salvation to Jews and Gentiles the old Law had to die (like your first husband) so that you are free to serve the second husband. The Jews no longer serve the old husband (the Law) but now belong to another, "to him who has been raised from the dead..." (7:4) The Law points us to Christ because the Law shows us our sin and drives us to our knees. We cannot keep the Law perfectly! We fail it everyday because the Law reveals GOD's perfect character. We are called to the Law, not to be saved by it, but to be judged by it. Who can save us from the Law? JESUS!
  • Chapter 8 - "There is therefore now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus." (8:1) We have absolutely nothing to worry about in this life if we belong to Him! The only thing we owe Him IS OUR LIFE. That means we will suffer on this earth, but this suffering, prepares us for an eternity with the man who suffered the most. There is NOTHING that can separate us from His love (8:28-39)! 
  • Chapter 9 - If all of us are sinners and there's not one person on the face of the planet that seeks Him (chapters 1-3), and all we need is faith alone in Christ alone in order to be justified before a holy, blameless and perfect God, and if there's nothing that can separate us from His love, if we are constantly standing in the midst of His grace, and if the Law does not make us righteous before God (because we fail in keeping it), how can we resist God's sovereignty? We can't. We must understand that God giving His son to die on the cross was the only way to salvation! "...it depends not on human will or exertion, but ON GOD, who has mercy!" (9:16) It's not up to us, we should not question His sovereign choice (9:20-29).
  • Chapter 10 - If we cannot resist God's sovereign choice why do we preach? Why go on missions? Why do we spread the gospel message? Well, 1. Jesus commanded us to. and 2. How are God's chosen to believe in Him if they've never heard of Him. And you do not know who is chosen and who isn't (only God judges the secrets of man by their heart, chapter 2, remember?) So we must not pick and choose because ALL have sinned, ALL fall short of the glory of God and ALL must hear about His mercies. 
  • Chapter 11 - Don't get cocky Gentiles! "So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off." (11:20-22) This chapter is a warning and should also lead us to humility. He will welcome Israel back because He is faithful to His Word, but not "...until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in." (11:25) How is this a mercy of God? The Jews were unfaithful to His Law, right? It proves that God keeps His Word and if He keeps His Word to the Jews He will keep His Word to the Gentiles as well. That should put us in an extreme place of thanksgiving and praise!
Which is a perfect segue for chapter 12! "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (12:1-2) Now that you know the mercies of God you are fully able to present yourself as a living sacrifice! You are able to give your life to Christ! If you are transformed by the renewal of your mind and are constantly discerning what is the will of God, you will exude Christ, thus worshiping Him! 
Consider the first 11 chapters that describe the absolute sovereignty of God and understand that all of life should become spiritual worship, you'll whole heartily serve Christ with fervor. But how do you know the will of God? How can you constantly renew your mind? How can you not be conformed to this world? Saturate your life with GOD'S Word! The mind of God is revealed in Scripture and in order to focus and worship HIM, our minds and hearts and bodies should EXUDE HIS WORD.

I think that was the longest introduction to any top ten I've ever written and I hope you read it in it's entirety because you won't fully understand my list unless you do. This list, I believe, is critical for mommy's because our day is centered around our families needs, which doesn't allow for much else.

Melany, I am 100% positive will give you further insight from a student's perspective; as she goes through the daily grind of homework, chores, and day-to-day life as a 16 year old. She continues to blow me away and I have no doubt her list will inspire me. So don't forget to check out Melany's list as well!
If worship is a daily act of service where we show God's worth in all that we do and say, we should be worshiping God every second of every day. Here's a few suggestions:
  1. Prayer - We were created for prayer because God wants an intimate relationship with His children. We were meant to come to Him and because of Jesus we can fearlessly and confidently enter His presence. One of the best ways to worship Him is by talking directly to Him! Use what you learn about Him in Scripture to praise Him! How? Here's a few suggestions that should give you a good start:
    • Read the story of how He saved the Israelites from the Egyptians, it's saturated with His sovereignty. Praise Him for it. (Exodus 1-15, pay close attention to 3:14, 4:11-12, 6:1-8, 7:5, 8:10, 8:22, 9:14-16, 9:29, 10:1-2, 11:9, 12:36, 13:3 & 8, 14:4, 14:13, 14:17, and the song of Moses in 15, another thing that will help you understand God's sovereignty is counting how many times you see, "... the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart...", in fact, pay attention to every time you see "the Lord" and then praise Him for what He does.)
    • Read what God says about Himself to Job in Job chapters 38-41. He is rebuking Job for questioning Him and complaining (read Job 6:8-9, 7:11, 10, 1-2, 13:3 & 15 & 17-18, 23:1-4, 31:35-37). The climax of this book is when Job finally shuts up in 40:3-5 and by the end of God's discourse Job falls to his knees in repentance (42:1-6). I promise that by reading how God describes Himself, you will praise Him for all that He does and is capable of doing! He is powerful. He is sovereign. He is mighty.
    • Use this 30 day calendar that guides you through 30 names and attributes of God according to Scripture. Each day you read the description of God and the correlating Scripture; then pray and praise God for who He is! 
    • Use a praise Psalm to read, pray and praise. I wrote an example of how to do that here.
    • Use verses like 1 Thessalonians and Romans 12:12 as inspiration to pray and praise all the time. The audiences in both of these books were experiencing persecution in the most extreme ways (losing lives of loved ones, torture, losing their possessions) and yet they were called to be in thanksgiving in all circumstances. If they were called to be thankful how much more should we be in a state of thanksgiving?! Do you feel blessed? Thank Him! Did He do something miraculous in your life? Praise Him! Did He answer a prayer? Praise and thank Him! Be constantly mindful of how He is working in your day to life.
  2. Scripture Memorization - Scripture is the only source of truth and encouragement in this world. Paul tells us in Romans 15:4 that the strength to endure comes from the hope in Christ. "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." How are we to be encouraged in this truth if we don't read the Scripture? How can we keep on hoping? Through Scripture. What keeps our hearts and minds focused on Christ and all that He has given us? Scripture! Romans 15:4 should be the role of the Bible in our lives because it is in times of trials and tribulations that we tend to forget the absolute sovereignty of God. What better way to remind us that we need to let go and let God do His great and mighty work than through Scripture. Since it's impossible for mommy's to sit down and constantly read it, we need to have it at the forefront of our brain continually through memorization. Here's 10 more reasons why mommy's should memorize scripture.
  3. Music - Another way to focus on God is through music. I've created many playlists like, "God is Great" and "God is Faithful" and "Christ Alone" to help me worship while sweeping the floor (for example). Some of my favorites are Faithful by Chris Tomlin, Blessings by Laura Story, Give Me Jesus by Jeremy Camp, Great is Thy Faithfulness by Fernando Ortega, In Christ Alone by Keith & Kristyn Getty, Indescribable by Chris Tomlin, Keep Making Me by Sidewalk Prophets, Our Great God by Todd Agnew, Praise You in This Storm by Casting Crowns, Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keyes, Word of God Speak by MercyMe &etc. I purposeful in picking songs to help me focus on HIM and who He is according to Scripture. If the words are contrary to Scripture I toss it.
  4. Home Management - The way we manage our home needs to be God glorifying. The way we serve others is a form of worship. The way we maintain our home, the way we speak to others, what we do and how we do it is vital in our role as manager of our home. God is calling us to manage our home for His glory, so that our home reflects Christ and is a witness to the people God put in our life to serve: our husband and children. 
  5. Worship Service - Find a church that offers sound Biblical teaching where your pastor gets paid to study the Word of God and share what he's learned and how to study it rightly with you. By learning how to study God's Word your mind will be refocused, renewed, and energized. 
  6. Bible Study - Find time every day to read a chapter or more from Scripture. Remember it is through Scripture alone that we sustain our hope found in Christ and find encouragement to persevere. Plan to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Once you finish, start over! If you forget why Scripture is so important to our daily worship see #1 and #2.
  7. Time with Others - (focused mainly around your husband and discipleship) Building a deep relationship centered around Christ will do so much for the renewal of your mind. These people will help you stay focused! Staying focused on Him helps you worship Him in any and all circumstances.
  8. Service to Others - In order to be Christ-like, we must live like Him. He came to serve, obedient to the point of death. Blessing others through our service can be rejuvenating, if we do it for the glory of God! More importantly, serving others offers a beautiful platform for worshiping Him!
  9. Journaling. Whether you write in a thankful journal or a prayer journal, focus on Him all that He has given you, I promise, it will change your life because it will change your mindset.
  10. Mediate on God's GREATNESS! John Piper stated that the key to praising Christ is prizing Him! How can we prize Him if we don't know the great and mighty things He has accomplished? How can we prize Him if we don't His character traits? How can we magnify Christ unless we know Him? Where do you find all of this? In the Bible when you read it from a God Centered perspective. The Bible is all about the redemption of sinners FOR THE GLORY OF GOD! Prize Him above ALL ELSE and tell Him so as often as you think of Him.
One more, because it's the most important. Focusing on the gospel daily puts us in a place of humility, praise and thanksgiving. The gift of salvation given to us through Jesus Christ helps us savor God's love and glorify Him as a result. In Milton Vincent's A Gospel Primer, he describes the effect of preaching the gospel to himself daily and one of those ways he titles, "To Him be the Glory". It's in this section (#31, p. 53) that he writes, 
"To the praise of the glory of His grace ... to the praise of His glory ... to the praise of His glory."* These refrains fly as banners over the gospel truths parading through the early verses of Ephesians. They herald the ultimate motive of God in all His gospel acts on behalf of those whom He has saved. They also announce the effect which the gospel will most certainly wield upon those who experience its fullness. It is no surprise, then, that the Apostle ends his gospel review in Ephesians 3 by bowing his knees in worship and ascribing all glory to God.* "Unto Him be the glory," he cries after his gospel meditations through Romans.* "To the King ... be glory," he urges in 1 Timothy after speaking of God's merciful saving of him.* Clearly, the gospel generated in Paul an enormous passion for God's glory; and the gospel does the same in me as I make it the meditation of my heart each day. 
Understanding that I am not the ultimate end of the gospel, but rather that God's glory is, actually enables me to embrace my salvation more boldly than I would otherwise dare to do. For example, when my timid heart questions why God would want to love one so sinful as I, I read the answer, "to the praise of the glory of his grace." I figure, then, that my unworthiness must actually be useful to God, because it magnifies the degree to which His grace might be glorified as He lavishes His saving kindness upon me. This line of reasoning makes perfect sense to me and convinces me to embrace the gospel with greater passion so that God might glorify Himself through me, an unworthy sinner. 
Indeed, the more I embrace and experience the gospel, the more I delight in the worship of God, the more expressive my joy in Him becomes, and the more I year to glorify Him in all I say and do.*" (bolded mine)
I could not have said it better myself. I encourage you to read this book because it is not only a useful tool to help us digest the truth in the gospel daily, but it reminds us what is important and encourages to continually praise God for his gift of salvation.
There is no better way to praise and glorify Him than to understand what the gospel is continually doing in our lives because of the work of Jesus Christ!

* Ephesians 1:5-6, 10-14
* Ephesians 3:14, 20-21
* Romans 11:33-36
* 1 Timothy 1:15-17
* 1 Peter 1:6, 8-9 & 1 Corinthians 10:31

No comments:

Post a Comment