God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.

John 4: 24


Sometimes we think of worship as something that takes place at specific times and in specified places. It is something that we do on our day of gathering and it happens in church. Yet, that is not even remotely how God intends for us to view this aspect of our relationship with Him. Worship is an expression of the way that we view its object, in this case God, and it is a means of taking the beliefs and the feelings that we have regarding God and making them known. God commands us to worship Him, but His heart desires that these commands would be fulfilled by us out of a sincere desire and even from a need to let out what is contained within us. The Lord wants for us to respond to His love, grace, mercy, and the rest of His character and nature by entering into this thing that we refer to as worship.


The character and the nature of God are much too large, great, and all-encompassing to be confined to a specific time or to be considered as a part of what happens in a designated place. God is not an object that we can place on a shelf, pedestal, or the wall and come to when we decide that we should engage in religious practices. His nature as spirit makes God impossible to contain or to curtail in this manner. The Lord is present and is sovereign ruler everywhere on this earth and in the universe. There is no place where He is not present and there is nothing over which He does not have final authority. This means that we can bring all that is before us in life to Him and that we can trust God with our most precious and deepest aspects of our minds, hearts, and souls. God rules over all with the sort of Creator’s love that seeks after the healing for all that is broken and for the redemption of all that is lost.


So, worship is something that takes place everywhere and in all of the circumstances where God is present, which means that for a follower of God, worship in its true form is a part of the totality of life. As we breath, so, also, we can worship the Lord who gave us each of those breaths. The realization of God’s total sovereignty and also of the absolute totality of His presence is the foundation for entering into God’s truth. There is only one author of truth in the universe, and the Lord is also the sole place to go to test the veracity of what we hear, how we are thinking, and the conclusions that we are forming about the conduct of life. Thus, seeking after truth is a form of worship, and doing this in submission to God’s Word and His Spirit is an expression of that worshipful heart. The Lord values truth as much as He does love, and He is blessed when we worship Him with lives that are dedicated to love, grace, mercy, justice, and truth.


And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and plea for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him as one weeps over a firstborn.

Zechariah 12: 10


We like it when things are easy, when everything is going well and everyone around us is happy and content. Yet, that is really not the reality that most people get to deal with. Life is not smooth, and the path that we travel through it is frequently interrupted by detours that are caused by broken dreams and failed aspirations. Although we would like to point to the condition of the world as thee cause for our troubles or hold up others as the problem, if truth is to be told, each of us needs to take ownership of our own contribution to the way that things are today and for the place that we occupy in our world. We have all sinned, and each person has done things, thought thoughts, and carries attitudes that diminish the quality of life in the space that we inhabit. There is no one alive who does not need the grace that God has to give to us, and none of us are too far gone to receive the mercy that comes our way through Christ.


Zechariah is describing a time when his entire nation would be overcome by the need for repentance and a desire to return to being focused upon worshiping the Lord. I fear that this sort of national transformation is highly unlikely short of Christ’s return, and even then, it will not be the existing nations that turn in full to Christ, but rather, He will replace all that is here with His singular restored holy and just kingdom. In the interim, each of us continues to dwell in this land, and we are asked by Christ to push on in our journey of faith, hope, and trust. This is where the same grace and mercy that the prophet describes are so vitally important to us, for I believe that without God’s grace and His mercy it is essentially impossible to continue to live out our days with faith as the foundation for each step that we take, with hope as the reason for going forth, and with trust in Christ as the source of strength for the journey.


For me, this all starts with repentance. When I consider all that God has done in order to draw near to me, a person who has too often pushed Him away or attempted to keep the Lord at a safe distance from the most personal and closely held aspects of my life, my knees collapse and my heart fills with tears of remorse as I seek Christ’s forgiveness. Yet, this is something that I already possess, and as I recognize my need for grace, I also see that it has been poured out over me as an anointing with the holy oil of forgiveness. It is here, where my sinful life meets Christ’s cross of redemption, that my penitent’s tears are wiped away and are replaced by a strength and an understanding of purpose that are provided to me by Christ, Himself. The hope that I have for the land where I live and for the world where we reside is found in the power of Christ as He leads His people to live righteously and to engage directly with the various issues and concerns of our day while pouring out upon others the same grace that we have received and  by approaching everyone and each situation with open hands that are filled with mercy and with love. This is how we can take Christ into the center of the Jerusalem in which we dwell.



And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.

Zechariah 2: 11


There are many things that divide and that separate people in our world. Some of these differences are superficial and others come from deep within. Sometimes it is rather easy to get beyond the separation makers and to let go of the things that tend to hold us apart, but at other times, this takes real and sincere effort to accomplish. We all can identify some of the differences that exist between ourselves and other people that we have encountered, and most of us can tell stories of greater or lesser success in bridging these gaps. One of the most commonly used means of defining people and of grouping us into collections of seemingly similarly oriented individuals is nationality. The nation of our origin tends to give each of us cultural identity, language, appearance, and even in many cases religion. Nationality is one of the most commonly used means that we have for differentiating and for separating people.


It is something that the Lord seems to be very interested in, too. God cares about the diversity that exists in our world. He also gave us the various forms of civil governance and societal organization that have come to be known as the numerous nations that have existed in our world throughout history and that are with us today. The rich variety of languages, races, cultures, and other aspects of identity that are with us in our world are gifts that God has granted to us. Each of us knows our world in ways that are determined by who we are and by where we have come from. Although these differences can and do become barriers to our understanding and to our communication, they do not need to be so, for all people can know commonality and be in communion in Christ. When we are aligned in our relationships with Christ, the things that otherwise can be divisive can also be transformed into real blessings and so become sources for great joy.


God has made it clear in His Word that at the end of time there will no longer be many nations on this earth as all people will come to dwell in the restored creation that is all contained within the Kingdom of God. At this time, when we are still awaiting Christ’s return, we can seek to make the relational promises of that time a part of our living reality. When we encounter people whose skin color, language, customs, and other practices are different from ours, we can seek to get to know them. We can listen to their stories of life, enter into their dreams and desires, and share the same aspects of our lives with them. In so doing, we will learn that the person who might seem to be so different from us is, in fact, very much more like us than otherwise in that we all have been created in God’s image. Nations and the barriers to relationship that they may cause in our world should not stop followers of Christ from coming together with each other so that we can serve our Lord together in His call to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the corners of our world.



Are not five sparrows sold two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.

Luke 12: 6


The details matter. Just ask an airplane pilot or a surgeon, and they will confirm this fact. The details of life matter to God, too. Some of these details are formed out of attitudes and from intentions; while others are defined by the way that people live out their days in pursuit of God or in attempted escape from Him. Still, without regard to what we do, where we go, or even what masters we serve, God knows it all and Christ seeks to enter into every aspect of each day of our existence with us. You see, the point that Jesus was making when He brought up sparrows was that they were truly the poor person’s sacrifice. They were so cheap as to be completely disposable; yet, to God, their Creator, each of those throw away birds was known and considered as a valuable part of this world’s beauty and balance of nature. They all had a purpose in God’s plan for this world.


So, if that was true about humble birds, how much more so does this same Creator God care about and fully comprehend each of the people that He has set out in this same world? We matter to God; so, we matter to Jesus Christ. God’s intent and desire for us is to be in close relationship with us; thus, Christ comes into our lives in order to redeem us from the separation of sin and to restore us to the glory of God that is our greatest and truest potential. We can fight against God’s intent and His desire. In fact, to various degrees most people do struggle with and against God for parts of our lives and throughout all of our days to some extent. However, these times of departure, rebellion, and disaffection with our Lord are futile. Those sparrows have more power to set their own direction and destiny than we do, for in the end, we all face the reality of our lives as our days on this earth end, and we go before Christ as the purveyor of truth and final justice.


There is no escaping this day of reckoning, and we should not be living in fear of it, either. God’s desire is that He would be greatly pleased to welcome each person on this earth home into His eternal presence. Jesus literally poured out His blood in order to buy each of us that outcome to the life that we have been given by God. This is a good day and this hour is the perfect time to consider my life in light of God’s view of those precious sparrows. Although the world may have viewed them as throw aways with no real usefulness or value, God sees the unique design and infinite depth of quality in every feather on their bodies. So, it is with each of us. God sees us as vitally important to Him, and He grants to each of us the talents, skills, and gifts that we will need in order to follow His will and to live out our days in service to our Godly calling. Our lives are filled with those details that matter so greatly to our Lord, and He will not overlook or forget anything that truly matters as we live out lives of service to Him.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 12: 18


This statement is about as conditional as Paul ever gets, for he rarely leaves this much to our own discretion and understanding of the situation. Yet, here in this proverbial saying that is placed within a string of similar expressions, we are told to do something “If possible.” So, whose possibility is to make that determination? If it is mine, then there may be very few times when I am really going to live peaceably with people who rub me the wrong way, or hold views about issues that differ from mine, or come from a different cultural background than mine. The possibility for exception to that directive to live peaceably gets to be very long quite quickly, and the list of people with whom I am living in peace becomes short enough that I can readily handle it on my own.


Perhaps that is really the point. God’s desire for us in all aspects of life is that we would let go of control and surrender all of it to Him. So, in this very challenging area of relationships with other people, God is giving us the option of releasing our grip upon the rules for acceptance or rejection of others or of holding onto them so that we manage the way that we interact with the human elements of our world. To me, this places the idea of possibility into an entirely different light. It says that my relational boundaries and barriers can be either as narrow as my own definitions and comfort or they can be as expansive and inclusive as are God’s. This is the real choice that Paul is proposing to us, and it is one that he had entered into, himself, as a significant aspect of Paul’s coming to Christ involved the reordering of his view of God’s mission for him in relation to accepting or persecuting people who viewed their relationship with God differently than did Paul, the Pharisee.


It seems to me that entering fully into the possibilities in connecting with and caring about and for others is predicated upon surrender to Christ. The more of myself that I give over to my Lord in submission to His will, the more likely it is that I will see the lovable and the beautiful in people who would otherwise make me uncomfortable or worse. There is no one on this earth who Christ cannot love. There are no people for whom He did not die in order to redeem them from the death that belongs to all who are born into this world. So, there should be very few people who I am unable to care about and to love with a similar passion and redemptive desire. Now, I am not Christ, and all of this depends upon the response of others in order for me to be able to live peaceably with them, but, in so far as I am able to impact the outcome of the interaction, I can yield my attitudes, actions, and responses to Christ with my heart and mind set upon doing all that I can to enter into productive life together with all of the people that God grants me the gift of encountering during my days.

Since all these things (the heavens and heavenly bodies) are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought we to be in lives of holiness and godliness!

2 Peter 3: 11


Most people spend a very great amount of time and energy on building up our world. This is not a bad thing to do. In fact, there is much about this effort that is both commendable and in conformity with God’s stated desire and will for us. Yet, there does come a time when we need to realize that everything that we do for the sake of this world and to improve its environment is headed for final destruction. In other words, we are a bit like the proverbial doctor who has spared no cost in working to save a patient who simply dies of old age at about the same time as the cure is effective. It is all a noble yet futile effort. Again, caring about and for creation is not futile and following God’s will in this matter is true obedience to our Lord; yet, in the end, Christ will return, and all that has been infected and corrupted by sin will be wiped away and then made new.


So, it seems to me that the point of our care for this world is about something other than the dirt, trees, and waterways of our planet, and the purpose behind these efforts needs to be aligned with a heart and a desire that is focused on something other than clean air, clear water, and the preservation of species. The very nature and character of God is reflected in the minute details of His creative handiwork. Although some will disagree with me on this, I state uncatagorically that God, Himself, made all of this world and every one of the other ones that proliferate across the heavens. He not only made them, the Lord fashioned them down to the smallest of details in and upon them, and He did all of this in order to set the context and the place for His engagement and relationship with the highest form of His workmanship in the form of people. I do not pretend to understand the whys of it all, and I certainly do not comprehend God’s methodology; however, I do accept that all that surrounds me is important to my Lord and that He desires that I view it in this same manner.


Yet, in so viewing creation, I am to maintain a balance and a set of priorities that holds God’s greatest desires as foremost to me. As much as the Lord is pleased by the care that we give to our physical world, He is even more delighted when we reach out to care for other people who dwell upon this earth. God does want us to protect our environment; yet, His intent in imploring us to do this is that there would be safe and sustainable places for humanity to dwell and so that people who do not know Him would see a tangible demonstration of Christ’s love for them in the sacrificial efforts of His followers. God calls upon His people to be holy and godly. We are to walk through our days as women and men who are neither afraid nor are we concerned about what it means to be viewed as different by our co-inhabitants of this world. We become god-like as our thoughts and actions reflect a form of care that will give our all for the sake of other people and that does surrender everything that we hold as dear or precious to serve Christ and to enter into living out His will. Thus, we care for creation with hearts and minds fixed upon the fact that the only thing that actually matters to God in the end of days is the souls of His beloved people.

These things we have heard from Christ and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

1 John 1: 5


It has been my experience that darkness is sneaky. It can overcome a perfectly bright day with a suddenness that is disorienting. At other times it just slowly and subtly moves into my mind and my heart until all of the clear vision that was present has been obscured by its dark curtains of ambiguity. Ideas that were solid, actions that appeared to be righteous, and a path that seemed to lead me along sound footing can become distorted and shrouded with doubt. This is the effect that Satan wants to have on us, and this process of bringing darkness into our lives is one of his favorite devices.


Yet, when the path through life starts getting murky and doubts about what is good and righteous begin to swirl in my mind, this is a true sign that I am trying to figure it all out on my own and that I am not fully seeking God’s will and His desire as I set my course through my day. As I head out into the dark corners of this world, places where there is great need for Christ and for His true light, forces that are oriented toward darkness do attempt to cause confusion and distress in my mind and in my heart. Still, I cling to the fact that where God is, there is light. When Christ is leading, the path is well lit. If I am seeking to know and understand Christ through His Word and by the revelation of His Spirit, the Lord’s glory will surround me.


Based upon this fact, I should examine each and every aspect of my life where truth and love do not overcome fear and anger, and I need to continue to look for that truth in God’s Word until all of the thoughts and the actions that I engage in conform to His righteousness. For the closer I am to Christ, the more I will be standing in the center of the source of all light; and the longer I stay in this light, the more my heart will be transformed into a light filled vessel, which will lead me confidently into the way of the Lord’s brilliant truth.


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