Encountering God through Worship - First15 - September 20, 2017

Encountering God through Worship

Weekly Overview:

Having consistent and transformational encounters with God while on earth is meant to be foundational to the Christian life. Our God has not left us. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we’ve been filled with the very Spirit of God who longs to reveal to us daily the nearness and love of our heavenly Father. We are never alone. There is nowhere we can flee from the presence of our God. May this week be filled with transformational encounters with the living God as we learn what it is to seek the face of the one who has formed us, knows us, and loves us unconditionally.

Scripture:“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” Psalm 29:2

Devotional:

Jesus taught us in John 4:23, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”Your heavenly Father is seeking your worship. He longs for it. He so values your love and adoration that he would send his Son to die that the path to encountering him would be made available.

You were first and foremost created to worship. You were created to receive the love of your Creator and in response give him your heart. You will never feel as whole as when your heart is connected to your Father’s and you are giving and receiving love in worship. Colossians 3:14-17 says,

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The Christian life is to be marked by heartfelt, genuine worship: worship filled with God’s presence and nearness and that responds to a true encounter with the heart of God. If that type of worship is new to you, that’s okay! If the idea of encountering God in worship is new to you, there is joy and grace at the place of new beginnings. Don’t allow your past to dictate the possibilities of your future. Don’t allow past experiences where worship might not have been filled with encountering Jesus make you believe that future times of worship won’t be marked by intimacy and God’s presence.

There is a new season of worship on the rise. Psalm 29:2 says, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” It’s time for the people of God to worship in the “splendor of holiness.” It’s time for us to receive in faith our new position as children seated in the heavenly places with Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). It’s time for us to seek encounters with our God that are unveiled and filled with God’s presence (2 Corinthians 3:18). It’s time to worship in both spirit and truth, with our hearts and our minds fully engaged and responsive.

Isaiah 12:5 says, “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.” May the world around you change as the result of your worship. May your declaration of God’s goodness lead others into restored relationship with the Father. May your life be marked by intimacy and encounter with the living, active God of love who is nearer to you than you have ever imagined.

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on the goodness of worshipping God in spirit and truth. Allow Scripture to fill you with a longing to encounter God through worship.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” - John 4:23

“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” - Hebrews 13:15

“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” Psalm 29:2

2. Ask the Lord to reveal to you his heart for intimacy in worship. Take time to seek out the desires of God that you might live to satisfy his longings for your worship.

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” - Deuteronomy 4:29

“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” - Lamentations 3:25

3. Take some time and worship. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you praise from your heart. Engage your heart and mind with the lyrics of your favorite worship song. Worship and receive God’s presence.

“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” - 1 Chronicles 16:11

“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” Psalm 73:28

Romans 12:1 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” We are created to worship through our lives. Every word, thought, action, and emotion can be done as worship if we will seek to commune with God in everything. God never leaves us; he never forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:6). If we will keep our hearts open, we can live in the presence of our Creator, filled with the knowledge of his love and nearness in all we do. May we as God’s people pursue with greater fervor what it is to truly worship.

Extended Reading: Psalm 33

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