The Shema has formed the foundation of Jewish prayers for millennia: “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God will all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:4, 5 ASV). When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus quoted the Shema.
He is one Jehovah. It is here we find that Jehovah is the only true God. There is no other. He alone is worthy of full devotion.
Some translations, like the Lexham English Bible, translate it like this, “Yahweh is unique.” He stands alone among all so-called gods as supreme. He alone is worthy of full devotion. Continue reading “Jehovah or me”
Paul instructed the church that whatever we do we should do it to the glory of God. He would also write that to sacrificially live for God constitutes our spiritual act of worship.
Have you ever started to list what we can do and say in order to serve God on a daily basis? It is a long list.
We might then begin to wonder – if we worship God through daily activities and we gather on the first day of the week to worship, are daily worship activities proper within the assembly? After all, if it pleased God on Friday why would it be offensive on Sunday? Or might the worship assembly be a sacred space shaped by specific parameters? Continue reading “Sacred space”
When Hezekiah became king he reversed what his father Ahaz had been doing and started to lead the nation of Judah back to worshipping God. He was 25 when he became king and his first recorded act, in the first month of his reign, was to put God’s temple in order. This required quite a bit of work in several areas.
First there was the physical building of the temple. Through many years of neglect it was in need of repair. Following this it needed to be consecrated, cleansed of anything that would make it ceremonially unclean. Hezekiah’s father Ahaz had set up idols to be worshipped in the temple and had even moved God’s altar from its central position to be replaced with one to a pagan god. Anything that had been associated with idolatry needed to be removed. What they hadn’t been doing – offering incense and burnt offerings to God – needed to begin to happen again. Continue reading “Restoring what was missing”
“Church.” Religious ideas vary in the extreme. Religion is nothing more than human approaches to God. Man assembles a jumble of concepts and prejudices about religion and throws a mixture of practices into the bowl, with a heap of emotion for dressing.
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil, Ecclesiastes 5.1 ESV.
When you talk about, deal with, seek after God, you had better get your head down and your ears open. Religious buildings are full of fools who ignore what God wants and follow their own lights. Continue reading “The sacrifice of fools”
The worship of God requires careful attention to our motives and thoughts. Many people don’t realize that God knows everything we think. God knows if we are sincerely showing our love and respect in worship or if we are just going through the motions.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned his listeners about their giving and praying in Matthew 6:1-8. The first two words in the first verse of that chapter are “be careful.” Continue reading “Be careful”
Meeting together is a part of who we are as Christians. Church means assembly or meeting. Without the physical assembly of saints, we are not church.
The assembly appears everywhere in the New Testament. One commentator describes some of the elements of the church’s worship in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, in his comments on chapter 4, verses 7-18: Continue reading “A beautiful picture of worship”
Back in the early days of our work in Brazil, we did research into the culture and religion of the area where we worked. Among other things we did, several of our mission team visited different religions and denominations for a better sense of their teachings and practices.
One day several of us visited a large denominational church near the downtown area of our city. I think I sustained permanent hearing impairment there.
At one point, I recall all of the denomination’s adherents praying at the same time. Four hundred people speaking simultaneously — and most of them did not speak in a low volume — made it impossible to understand anything. Continue reading “One at a time, please”
Has worship become stale? Do Sundays sometimes leave you wanting? The solution is not to jazz up the worship assembly but to reassess your attitude toward God. Perhaps you just want to get more out of worship. An adjustment in action may be warranted.
Worship is primarily about God. But in His wisdom, God made worship beneficial to us as well. We should all want to make worship mean more. But how?
Worship begins far from the meeting place. Every day helps to shape the next. Every decision informs the subsequent choice. Weekly worship of God is modeled after our daily devotion to him.
Continue reading “Bring a big bucket”
The Lord’s church met one Lord’s day in a grand city in Greece. They sang together, prayed together, opened the word together, and did not commune together.
Paul told them, “When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat” (1 Corinthians 11:20 ESV). The first-century church came together every week in order to eat the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2). How is it that Paul could say that they did not eat the Lord’s supper when they gathered?
Continue reading “Worshiping intentionally”
It is unfortunate that for some people their view of God and worship is a long list of what they cannot do. Scripture provides us a long list of how God’s people are empowered to act. Consider these representative ideas. How many biblical texts can you attach to each item? Continue reading “Tell me what I can do”