WHAT WORSHIP DOES

My whole being, praise the LORD. PSALM 104:35

Worship humbles the smug and lifts the deflated. Worship adjusts us, lowering the chin of the haughty, straightening the back of the burdened.

Worship properly positions the worshiper. And oh how we need it! We walk through life so bent out of shape. Five-talent folks swaggering: “I bet God’s glad to have me.” Two-talent folks struggling: “I bet God’s sick of putting up with me.” So sold on ourselves that we think someone died and made us ruler. Or so down on ourselves that we think everyone died and just left us.

Treat both conditions with worship.

from CURE FOR THE COMMON LIFE

Our Thoughts

Philippians 4:8-9

The popular expression “You are what you eat” is an encouragement to give our physical bodies good food. The idea also applies to our mental wellbeing. The mind’s appetite is much like the stomach’s, which becomes accustomed to the diet we provide and craves more of the same. Dwelling on whatever is pure, lovely, and right develops a hunger to receive more of God’s goodness. But if we take in what our culture calls excellent, we develop a taste for that instead.

The world presents some delicious-looking offerings—TV is one example. But mixed in with some fine educational programming is a lot of junk. Certain believers consider it okay to watch a show that violates scriptural values, since it’s “just entertainment.” However,
everything our mind ingests shapes our views and values. Allowing incorrect teaching and sinful ideas into our thinking can warp our understanding of right and wrong.

If an idea, action, or activity is not true or honorable—that is, if it violates Scripture in some way—then God is not in it. And if God is absent, then Satan is present. The Enemy’s mission is to draw our focus away from the Lord. Once the Devil has someone’s attention, he’ll keep presenting more tasty-looking “junk food” to keep that individual occupied while leading him farther from the Lord and deeper into depravity.

There’s so much clamoring for our attention—entertainment, philosophies, teachings—and whatever isn’t of the Lord has potential to taint our value system. Believers are wise to use discernment and feast only on the things of God.

But When You Sin

“And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1)

There is no suggestion anywhere in Scripture that any person can be sinless. “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23), the Bible boldly declares. “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Repentance toward God (Acts 20:21) and salvation by God (2 Corinthians 7:10) eternally settles the issue of the sinful condition inherent in us (Ephesians 2:1-8). However, even though we have been “made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21), we still commit sinful acts (1 John 1:8-10)!

Hallelujah for the Advocate! What a blessed promise it is that is recorded for us that the same Jesus Christ who died for our sins, who rose from the grave in glorious victory over sin, “is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).

Although our security in the completed work of Christ Jesus is “for ever” (Hebrews 10:12), our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) stands ready to rebut the constant efforts of Satan to flaunt our sins before the holy throne of God (Revelation 12:10). We have no standing there on our own. Our life, even though forgiven and “rescued” from sin, still is tainted with the deeds and consequences of evil choices. Even the body in which we live houses “no good thing” (Romans 7:18).

Were it up to us to “be holy,” we would quickly be defamed by the reality of our life. The child of God, though redeemed by “the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19), has no ability to plead Christ’s work in person before the throne. “Wherefore he [Jesus] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). HMM III

and the wall of the city shall fall down flat

“And when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.” (Joshua 6:5.)

THE shout of steadfast faith is in direct contrast to the moans of wavering faith, and to the wails of discouraged hearts. Among the many “secrets of the Lord,” I do not know of any that is more valuable than the secret of this shout of faith. The Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.” He had not said, “I will give,” but “I have given.” It belonged to them already; and now they were called to take possession of it. But the great question was, How? It looked impossible, but the Lord declared His plan.

Now, no one can suppose for a moment that this shout caused the walls to fall. And yet the secret of their victory lay in just this shout, for it was the shout of a faith which dared, on the authority of God’s Word alone, to claim a promised victory, while as yet there were no signs of this victory being accomplished. And according to their faith God did unto them; so that, when they shouted, He made the walls to fall.

God had declared that He had given them the city, and faith reckoned this to be true. And long centuries afterwards the Holy Ghost recorded this triumph of faith in Hebrews: “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. —Hannah Whitall Smith.

“Faith can never reach its consummation,
Till the victor’s thankful song we raise:
In the glorious city of salvation,
God has told us all the gates are praise.”

Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have

“Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have.” Leviticus 19:36

Weights, and scales, and measures were to be all according to the standard of justice. Surely no Christian man will need to be reminded of this in his business, for if righteousness were banished from all the world beside, it should find a shelter in believing hearts. There are, however, other balances which weigh moral and spiritual things, and these often need examining. We will call in the officer to-night.

The balances in which we weigh our own and other men’s characters, are they quite accurate? Do we not turn our own ounces of goodness into pounds, and other persons’ bushels of excellence into pecks? See to weights and measures here, Christian. The scales in which we measure our trials and troubles, are they according to standard? Paul, who had more to suffer than we have, called his afflictions light, and yet we often consider ours to be heavy—surely something must be amiss with the weights! We must see to this matter, lest we get reported to the court above for unjust dealing. Those weights with which we measure our doctrinal belief, are they quite fair?

The doctrines of grace should have the same weight with us as the precepts of the word, no more and no less; but it is to be feared that with many one scale or the other is unfairly weighted. It is a grand matter to give just measure in truth. Christian, be careful here. Those measures in which we estimate our obligations and responsibilities look rather small. When a rich man gives no more to the cause of God than the poor contribute, is that a just ephah and a just hin? When ministers are half starved, is that honest dealing? When the poor are despised, while ungodly rich men are held in admiration, is that a just balance? Reader, we might lengthen the list, but we prefer to leave it as your evening’s work to find out and destroy all unrighteous balances, weights, and measures.

I will; be thou clean

“I will; be thou clean.” Mark 1:41

Primeval darkness heard the Almighty fiat, “light be,” and straightway light was, and the word of the Lord Jesus is equal in majesty to that ancient word of power. Redemption like Creation has its word of might. Jesus speaks and it is done. Leprosy yielded to no human remedies, but it fled at once at the Lord’s “I will.” The disease exhibited no hopeful signs or tokens of recovery, nature contributed nothing to its own healing, but the unaided word effected the entire work on the spot and for ever. The sinner is in a plight more miserable than the leper; let him imitate his example and go to Jesus, “beseeching Him and kneeling down to Him.”

Let him exercise what little faith he has, even though it should go no further than “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean”; and there need be no doubt as to the result of the application. Jesus heals all who come, and casts out none. In reading the narrative in which our morning’s text occurs, it is worthy of devout notice that Jesus touched the leper. This unclean person had broken through the regulations of the ceremonial law and pressed into the house, but Jesus so far from chiding him broke through the law Himself in order to meet him. He made an interchange with the leper, for while He cleansed him, He contracted by that touch a Levitical defilement.

Even so Jesus Christ was made sin for us, although in Himself He knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. O that poor sinners would go to Jesus,
believing in the power of His blessed substitutionary work, and they would soon learn the power of His gracious touch. That hand which multiplied the loaves, which saved sinking Peter, which upholds afflicted saints, which crowns believers, that same hand will touch every seeking sinner, and in a moment make him clean. The love of Jesus is the source of salvation. He loves, He looks, He touches us, WE LIVE.