Worship, Our Present and Our Future

In the apostle John’s vision that he is given on the island of Patmos, he sees people from every nation singing praises to Christ. This is a picture of what it will be like in heaven. God’s message of salvation through faith in Christ is not limited by race, ethnicity, culture or national origin. What a beautiful picture of eternal life!

All these people are singing to praise the work of Jesus. He was killed so that he could pay a ransom for our souls with his own blood. He gathered us into a kingdom. He turned all of us into priests who serve him. And one day we will reign with him in the new heavens and the new earth.

Worship is a beautiful privilege. It’s something we get to enjoy now, and by God’s grace, something we will enjoy forever in heaven.

Jesus makes all of that possible. More than that, actually. Jesus makes it all a present and future reality.

And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10, NIV).

Lord, thank you for redeeming me and giving me every reason in the world to thank and praise you. I will worship you now, and eternally, for all that you have done for me.

Our Bible reading for Monday, December 14, is Esther 9:1 – 10:3, Revelation 5:1-14 and Proverbs 30:11-23.

Header image based on "Worship" by Ashley Campbell, CC By 2.0

Trading Pain for Praise

What’s impoverishing you these days? What’s making you feel needy, or captive?

When I think of these questions, I can’t help but be reminded of our Resilience and Recovery Ministry at CrossWalk. This ministry has been a huge blessing to our congregation.

And I think I know why.

As David says here in Psalm 69, all of us are going to deal with feeling poor and needy and captive at times. If you know David’s life, then you know he certainly did!

In our Resilience and Recovery Ministry, we use different terminology, but we mean the exact same thing. We call them “hurts, habits and hang-ups.” There’s really no difference — other than the words we use to describe the situation.

And we all have hurts, habits and hang-ups, don’t we? This is no specialized group of people. This is not just someone who by some weird situation in their life has been afflicted. This is the human experience. And we all deal with it, to one extent or another.

Which is precisely why David writes about it. And why he states so clearly what we are to do with our hurts, habits and hang-ups — with our poverty, our need and our captivity.

Seek God. Because God has the most powerful medicine for our souls. It’s the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we find Christ in his words and promises, when we locate our Savior in the very sacraments he instituted, when we walk to the cross and the empty tomb — our hearts will live!

As David writes so poetically (and so factually), we will see our gracious and merciful God and be glad. We can be assured God loves us.

David reassures us God has not lost his hearing either. Not one of our prayers or pleas for mercy slips past him.

So, in faith, joy and gratitude, let’s trade in our pain for praise!

“The poor will see and be glad—you who seek God, may your hearts live! The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people. Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them” (Psalm 69:32-34).

Our Bible reading for June 4, 2015 is 2 Samuel 5:6 – 6:23, Acts 1:23 – 2:21 and Psalm 69:29-36.

One last thing. If you haven’t checked our Resilience and Recovery Ministry on Saturday nights at 6 at Cesar Chavez High School, let me recommend—strongly—you give it a shot! It’s for you, it’s for me, it’s for all of us.

Header image based on "A Need" by Richard Camacho, CC By 2.0

The One to Focus On

Have you ever suddenly gotten a compulsion to worship someone or something? Maybe you didn’t think of it as worship. But you knew you were drawn to them and admired them–whatever (or whoever) it might be.

Whenever this occurs, we tend to sink ourselves into seeking. Or we invest major time and energy into pursuing. In John’s vision in Revelation, John himself gets a sudden compulsion to fall down at the feet of an angel. Maybe you’ve at some point, literally or figuratively, fallen down at the feet of someone or something.

The angel’s response is instructive. “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you.” To paraphrase, “As amazing as I may seem to you,” the angel tells John, “Jesus is the one to focus on. I’m nothing more than his servant.”

That’s why Jesus is the one we talk about. He is the one we glorify. He is the one we praise and worship. He is the one we testify about and he is the one for whom we bear witness. Everyone and everything else is designed to serve him: “Then I (John) fell down at his feet to worship him (the angel), but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.’ For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10, ESV).

Lord, as the angel reminded John of who is at the center of our worship and our proclamation, please send your Spirit through your word to remind me of the same!

Our reading for Monday, December 29, is Zechariah 10:1 – 12:9, Psalm 149:1-5, Proverbs 30:32-33 and Revelation 19:1-21.