Psalm 43:3-5 (MSG)
Give me your lantern and compass, give me a map, so I can find my way to the sacred mountain, to the place of your presence, to enter the place of worship, meet my exuberant God, sing my thanks with a harp, magnificent God, my God.
Worship is the most awesome privilege that we have as believers who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. It is a moment of detachment from every care, worry and burden in this world releasing every title and responsibility into the vastness of who He is and His Great Love for immediate abatement. Worship is a premeditated process. It is deliberate. Praise is more spontaneous. Rising up through our emotions and stimulated by excitement, praise usually has a precursor of some sort. However, worship is all about Jesus. It is all about Who He is. It is defined by nothing we have experienced other than His Love and Grace.
Today is Sunday. In a little while, we will load up our family and head to church for a morning worship service. However, the outcome of that service has already been predetermined by those who are preparing to go. Psalm 43 says, “Give me your lantern and compass, give me a map, so I find my way to the sacred mountain to the place of Your Presence to enter worship.” Just as we must decide what to wear, when to leave, and how to get to church there is a process to prepare to worship the Lord. Many will be too busy bundling up their burdens and carrying their problems to truly encounter the place of His Presence that worship takes us. My hope and prayer today is that they will read this and see that to abandon all that and make the choice to prepare to worship the Lord making their way into His Presence will take care of all the rest of our needs, wants, problems and situations.
All week lives are dedicated to meeting needs, solving problems, responsibilities, fighting up the corporate ladder, or just trying to get by. The enemy will provide as many distractions as it takes to keep people from spending time with God each day. He will make it seem like we are too busy for the Lord when in reality it would impact all those other things we strive for. In worship today, it will be clear the men and women of God who made the journey and those who are uncomfortable during worship. As the Presence of God enters the room, how will you respond? Will it matter what the musicians are doing? Will you be conscious of what those around you might think? Or will it be like David how told his wife it didn’t matter what she thought and he would get even more undignified than this? Worship sacrifices all that we are, want, need and desire for just a moment in His Presence to absorb all that He is. It will change the course of your life from that moment on even if it doesn’t solve a thing.
John 4:24 (NLT) For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:23-24 (MSG)
“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
We are to worship in Spirit and in Truth. Jesus said it so it must be true, right? God is a Spirit. When Jesus died, He released His Spirit. He gave us poured out His Spirit on people during Pentecost and does even today. The Spirit of God is pivotal to worshipping God because He makes sense of the Truth for us. The Truth is God’s Word. Without God’s Spirit which identifies us as His Own (Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30) and guarantees every promise (2 Corinthians 1:22) – the Word holds nothing for us because sin kept it from us. When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, His Spirit becomes our helper. We need His Help. To ignore the Holy Spirit or pretend He doesn’t exist because we are uncomfortable or doctrinally forbidden will hinder our walk with Jesus Christ. You cannot walk in God’s Perfect Will without Him. The Word of God becomes our book of endless promises once we have been called Children of God and guaranteed such by the Holy Spirit. He is our Lantern.
Joshua 1:7-9 (NLT)
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The Word of God is your title and deed to everything that God has promised you. When the enemy comes and says, “No, that’s mine.” You can pull out a promise and shut him up immediately, if you know the Word of God. Too many Christians walk through the battle for faith weaponless. Without a clue of the power and authority given to them in Jesus Christ, they just let the enemy toss them back and forth. Faith and fear are constant opponents. Joshua told the people, “Do not deviate from them (God’s Instructions)… you will be successful in EVERYTHING you do. Study the Book of Instruction continually.” The Word of God helps us understand the Will and Way of God. It defines His Character introducing us to who He really is. It is the pure unadulterated truth. How can we know if what our pastors, teachers and mentors are saying is true, if we have nothing to compare it to? Their teaching should open new conversations with God or confirm that which God is speaking directly to us. Men and women of God are people. We do not go through people to get to God anymore. The Word of God is our compass directly into the Presence of God giving us access by truly knowing Him.
Ephesians 4:21-24 (NLT)
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
To have the Holy Spirit (the Lantern) and know the Word of God (the Compass) but do nothing with it would be such a waste. It is armed with these two necessities that we live a righteous live in the Grace of God to the Glory of God. Righteousness obtained through Christ should be demonstrated in obedience. Faith in action is obedience. It is representative of the trust we have in the Word of God and lead by His Spirit to walk daily according to God’s Plan. It is an act of love and commitment to Christ that is not impacted by the five senses but a heartfelt response to His Spirit and His Truth. We know that He is good and His Way better so we walk in it. This is the map. Righteousness demonstrated in following Christ no matter where it leads knowing you will be an overcomer and victorious on the other side. It is a place of joy. Those who know they can win will always fight the hardest because they feel they have nothing to lose. Every day there is a call to worship by God but not many will enter in. When they finally make it to a church service – it feels foreign and unfamiliar so they fall for the lie that it is somehow not real. But those who carry the lantern, compass and follow the map each and every day will make it into the Presence of God and will succeed in all they do.
Acts 16:25-26 (NLT)
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!
Be encouraged today! It doesn’t matter how hopeless your situation seems to be or how buried you are in problems. Worship will break every chain on your life. It will open doors that you thought were barricaded and locked for life. It begins now in the middle of you darkest night, lowest valley, rough side of the mountain, ready to give up, or in the midst of a raging storm. When you have nothing left to hold on to, abandoned by all and clinging to your last string – yet you decide to seek God anyway. The Presence of God is available anytime we see fit to enter in. Sometimes it requires getting past our situation, being uncomfortable, and the way we think things should be. Saul was a religious man. He knew the Word of God front to back. He followed it to the letter of the law. He benefited from it by living among the elite and highly religious. When he met Jesus, he became Paul. Now plunged to the depths of humility in the same jail cell where he placed so many Christians, he dared to worship God in that place. The doors opened. Chains fell off. Not just his, but every other prisoner in that place. Your worship will make you effective in sharing the Love of God with the world.
Psalm 89:15-17 (NLT)
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness. You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong.
Our strength comes from the Lord. To live empowered by the Lord, one must live in His Presence remaining connected to the Source of Life every single moment of every single day. It is possible. The problem is it means evaluating and changing our way of life to make room for more of His Spirit and His Truth. We must live what we believe rather than having alternate identities that are donned only for church services. To live in the Presence of God means walking a different way. It is foolish to think that it is possible to travel in the same direction and reach a different destination. We need to remap our life using the Holy Spirit and the Word of God as our Lantern and Compass through life. God promises those who answer the call to worship will be happy! They will be successful and live in victory every day! To live in God’s Power is to worship Him each day. It is obvious the Lord has equipped us well to do so!
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.