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Posts Tagged ‘Exodus 34:6’

 

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Eons ago when I was in seventh or eighth grade, Mom, Dad, and I made our way one evening to the shoe store downtown. As we trudged up the slight incline toward the entrance, I ended up walking behind them, in order to leave room on the sidewalk for pedestrians coming from the other way.

Imagine my mortification when my parents clasped hands.

“Please! Not in public!” I begged.

After all, they were old—in their mid-thirties. And at age thirteen, I was embarrassed enough to be seen in public with them. But to be in the company of parents showing affection? That was too much.

As adults we smile at the immature and almost comical responses of most young teenagers toward their parents. They like to pretend Mom and Dad don’t exist, in support of their burgeoning, highly exaggerated independence. They conveniently forget who pays the bills, helps with homework, does the chauffeuring, and provides care in countless other ways.

Some of those teens never lose that sense of highly exaggerated independence, even as they grow into adulthood. They conveniently forget who still provides care for them in countless ways: God. To ignore him as if he doesn’t exist is to behave like a middle schooler.

God deserves not only our attention but our worship. Think of it this way: If an Olympic gymnast out-performs the competition with a nearly flawless performance, she deserves applause from the crowd and that shiny gold medallion. We do not scorn the adoration and accolades she receives; she’s earned it.

 

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Hasn’t God earned the same, only more so?

“OK,” we say. “So God deserves to be worshiped. But does he really need it? After all, he is completely sufficient within himself. Doesn’t it seem rather self-serving for God to want our worship?

Far from.

God knows: if our worship is not centered on him, we easily fall into the worship of other things: career, material goods, leisure, adventure—any number of pursuits that can consume our attention. Not that it’s wrong to enjoy these things, but they will never provide deep down soul-satisfaction.

God made us with that deep-down place; it’s reserved for him. That’s why the first of the Ten Commandments is about worship (Exodus 20:3).

 

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In addition:

Worship determines what we become.

 

“What we worship determines what we become.”

— Harvey F. Ammerman

 

Ammerman further explains: “If we worship material possessions, we become more materialistic. If we worship self, we become more selfish still” (1). If we worship the adrenalin rush of exciting pursuits, we’ll continually look for more exhilarating thrills.

God wants us to worship him so we’ll become more like him—gracious, good, compassionate, and kind (Exodus 34:6).

 

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Worship communicates God’s presence to men.

 

“It is in the process of being worshiped

that God communicates his presence to men.”

–C. S. Lewis

 

Adoration, praise, and gratitude create an atmosphere in which we can meet with God almighty (Psalm 89:15-17). And such encounters always result in joy (Psalm 16:11). Sometimes that occurs in a glorious, public celebration with other worshipers; sometimes it occurs in sweet, private communion.

Worship is a necessary outlet of the spirit.

C. S. Lewis also wrote: “Enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise.”

When we hear superbly good news, our natural inclination is to tell others about it. We’re social beings, after all. Research has suggested that when we share a positive experience with someone else, we are essentially enjoying it again as we relive the moment in the retelling and savor the experience once more (2).

It’s the way God made us – not only to expand our enjoyment with family and friends, but with him, our Heavenly Father.

 

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We need to worship.

To know him and be known by him, to experience him is a God-given pleasure that nothing else can satisfy.

 

*    *     *     *     *   *     *     *     *     *

 

Notes:

(1) from Quote, Unquote, compiled by Lloyd Cory, Victor Books, 1977.

(2) http://www.psycnet.apa.org

 

Photo & art credits:  www.pinterest.com (5).

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on worship.  Please leave a comment below!

 

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As I set the dish washing soap down on the counter, a small cluster of bubbles burst from the open top.  Playfully they danced upward in front of the window.  And I didn’t just smile; I giggled.

Memories associated with bubbles floated through my mind as I watched those drifting bubbles—memories of our children, and now our granddaughter–gleefully capturing bubbles that family members provided for their popping pleasure.  As they grew older, the children took on the challenge of slow and steady blowing, to make the biggest bubbles possible.

 

 

But it’s just a pocket of air surrounded by a film of soap.  Why is it that a bubble grabs our attention?

First, no one can refute their beauty:

  • Bubbles reflect light and sparkle with iridescence.
  • Bubbles refract light into brilliant pastel hues.  Ever-changing ribbons of color pirouette over the surface in rainbow swirls.
  • Bubbles gracefully glide across space, undulating on the air currents.

Each of these aspects can also draw attention to another form of beauty: the beauty of the Lord.

 

 

(“One thing I ask of the Lord,

this is what I seek: …

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.”

–Psalm 27:4)

 

But what does the beauty of bubbles (of all things) have to do with God?

Bubbles remind me that:

1)  God is light (1 John 1:5).  Ezekiel saw him “as if full of fire…Brilliant light surrounds him” (Ezekiel 1:27).  “The Lord is my light” is also a symbolic statement, referring to his truth and goodness.

2)  The refraction of light into glorious colors is reminiscent of the first rainbow (Genesis 9:15-17).  God told Noah that never again would he send a flood to destroy all life on earth.  The rainbow was a sign of this promise.  To this day, a rainbow—even a rainbow on a bubble—is a reminder that God keeps his promises.

 

 

3) The grace with which bubbles move brings to mind the grace of God.  He, too, moves in gentle ways within our spirits, like a loving shepherd tenderly gathering the lambs to his heart (Isaiah 40:11).

Perhaps God’s whole intention for creating bubbles (and many other phenomenon in nature) was to grab our attention and turn our thoughts to him.

So the next time bubbles escape from the bottle of the dish soap, you may wish to send up a prayer of praise, as they merrily bob through the air:

 

You are resplendent with light, O God (Psalm 76:4)!

You are faithful to all your promises (Psalm 145:13c)!

You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger,

abounding in love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6)!

 

But why wait for serendipity bubbles?  Take some of that dish soap and create your own!

 

 

Revel in the sparkling light, the whirling rainbows, the graceful dance…

 

…and worship!

 

(photo credits:  www.flickr.com; http://www.pixabay.com;  www.dailyverses.net; wikimedia.com; http://www.pixabay.com.)

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