Got behind and couldn't post this early in the AM. Anyone can feel free to start the day's thread (using the above example as the thread title, Day # - Title) if it's not online when you start in the AM.
I'll catchup this afternoon on Day 3, but wanted to get the thread going!
Yesterday I wrote about my need for recognition, and today the lesson is about humbling ourselves before God. A hard, but needed pill to swallow.
"You and I will never be more exalted in God's eyes than when we are plain, ordinary servants -- of the Most High King."
O, God, take this prideful, glory-seeking heart of mine, and change me into a plain, ordinary servant. If you then choose to exalt me, good; if you choose never to exalt me, --let me be okay with that as well. No other name but yours is worthy to be exalted. Amen
Maybe our song for today should be Matt Redman's "Heart of Worship".
I'm coming back to the heart of worship,
And it's all about You,
It's all about You, Jesus.
I'm sorry, Lord for the thing I've made it,
When it's all about You,
It's all about You, Jesus.
Humble Thyself was the song I was warming up with before the reading for today. The tie in was amazing and surprised me at the same time.
Facedown is the song that has been stuck with me for a great part of this study - and, the deeper I get into this study, the more often I find myself on my knees, these days.
Any surprise I am feeling more focused in on Him?
Oh, Father, help me to live in the patience of YOUR time.
Maggie in Vt
Hey Guys and Gals,
It kinda looks like this study is only down to a handful of us! I anticipated a decline in participation, but hoped we could keep the fire going.
I think "Divine Elevation" is classic for God - because no matter how much we give to Him, He always gives us more and better in response - it's his reciprocal nature.
The dilemma for me, is to eradicate that voice in the back of my head that wants to say "if you do this now, God will elevate you" ... it's still that nasty, prideful desire to be elevated. That's not true humility.
O God, help me to be humble.
Good to know we can start the thread - thanks for the FYI Fred! I'm a day late now, but I stopped by yesterday morning.
Knowing that God will elevate each of us in His time - regardless of what we may try to do - is such a relief. we don't have to strive to be the best, the greatest, the brightest - we just have to worship Him in all things.
In all honesty, however, I'm a little afraid of being elevated, even by God's design. But I have learned that He gives us a little more and a little more - only as we can handle it - if we put our trust in Him. When He raises us up, yes, it can be scary, but He also gives us everything that we need to do the task that He has placed before us.
This was a good reminder for me - just worship Him, just point others to Him, just do what He has called you to do when He has called you to do it - and He will take care of the details.
I don't like the terminology "in His timing" because I think sometimes, we use that as an excuse to be mediocre and inactive. I know that is pretty provocative language, and I do indeed believe that God has ordained things to take place according to His will, and in His order. HOWEVER, I think if we were 100% seeking the Lord, we'd find His time to be a lot more accelerated than we seem to think it is. I think we'd hear Him saying "What are you waiting for? GO!!"
I believe in a simple reality that God is always working in the Earth, and you can either be a part of what God's doing, or you can try and do your own thing, and you can do both of those in the church! And, they even look somewhat alike and are often mistaken for one another! But the heart is really different, and we should constantly be examining why we're doing what we're doing. If your heart is to be a minister and to truly lead people in worship, that's different than seeking the next plateau of "success" in ministry, or the next better-paying, more cushy worship gig. And I think we should all have this kind of healthy drive: to become extremely competent, intentional, excellent worship leaders who can transcend styles, trends, church doctrinal differences, etc., and to have the singular focus to engage and lead congregants in participatory, exciting, life-altering worship which contributes to the health and growth of the Kingdom of God.
So, in short(and this is probably all I needed to say,) there is selfish ambition, which gives no respect or glory to God, and which goes directly against everything worship is, and there's what I call "Holy Drive", which, out of a heart of reverence, awe, love, and passion for the things of God, does whatever is necessary to engage people to engage God, whether it's writing songs, books, organizing concerts, creating websites, or simply developing skill on an instrument, etc. for the purpose of ministry. It's taking whatever you've got, refining and preparing it, and, fueled by a passion for His Kingdom, doing whatever it takes to accomplish His purposes in the Earth.
I believe Paul had this heart. The minute he got to Athens in Acts 17:16, the first thing he notices is the thing that grieves God the most: Idolatry - the true polar opposite of God-focused worship. We always think of Paul being zealous for converts, but here, he was zealous to fix their worship! He made a passionate defense for Jesus in the middle of their idolatry - a true picture of the invasion of the Kingdom of God into darkness. He took the time to create an illustration for them using one of their idols, to the "unknown god". When you read that passage, you don't see a passive response. You see him light up with Holy Drive to set things straight. He went about to make disciples and to lead them into proper worship, and it says "some" of the people heard him and believed. Even in hostile place where Paul had NOBODY, he fought the battle and made a big dent in an idolatrous culture.
My point is Paul wasn't making a name for himself. He never was. He passionately and tirelessly worked every day to build the Church and grow the Kingdom. He is THE example of "divine elevation", in my opinion. And because of that one man, who thought nothing of himself, but placed the Kingdom first and worked tirelessly for it's growth/health, the whole known world was changed forever. And God's exaltation of the work of Paul is clear. 2000 years later, he is still one of the most famous men to ever walk the Earth.
I know this can come off as very commanding, but please understand my heart is not to admonish or presume that I could teach any of you anything. I never want to come off as being authoritative, especially among you guys. Having said that, I think a lot of the idea in killing selfish ambition and recognizing/living in God's promotion plan is to make sure the motive of your heart is the growth/expansion/health of the Kingdom of God. If that is your drive and passion, you pray to see where the Father is working, and you're tenacious about being used by Him to accomplish His will. You stop thinking and daydreaming about the stuff you want to see or do, but instead you live every day with a sense of purpose and passion that His Kingdom would further invade and impact the reality of where you live. "Que sera sera, whatever will be will be..." is not in the Bible. "Go and make disciples" is. We already have the "Go" order and the "Green Light" from Jesus Himself. God's timing for His Kingdom to expand and move in the Earth is RIGHT NOW!
Please forgive me for the long post, and for perhaps coming off a little forceful. Y'all hear enough preaching/teaching. Consider this more of an honest "gut-level" response to what I believe God has placed on my heart.
That's all I got. See you tomorrow.
Last edited by hisfirewithin; 02-20-2009 at 01:17 AM.
When, I finished today's lesson - all that is on my mind is a song that the praise team sings. "Just Say Yes!" and this song sums it up for me. I just want to live the best I can being humble and say "YES" to my Lord and Savior.
I was sick last week, and I'm just now catching up on last week's lessons.
I don't know about the rest of you... but I need a call to humility every now and then. It's something that I really struggle with.
This really stuck out to me. I try to do so much to generate my own success, but it's all fruitless. Only God gives real success.No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges:He brings one down, he exalts another. (NIV)
Also, the thought that we are exalted for the sole purpose of bringing God glory. Not for our own glory. Not to be rich. Not for anything else. If we fail to bring glory to God when we are elevated, God's probably not going to leave us there for very long.