Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What barriers?

This is something I shared as an introduction to worship last week. This was a God inspired piece of teaching and I just love it!

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Psalm 103
(By David.) With all my heart I praise the LORD, and with all that I am I praise his holy name! With all my heart I praise the LORD! I will never forget how kind he has been. The LORD forgives our sins, heals us when we are sick, and protects us from death. His kindness and love are a crown on our heads.

Each day that we live, he provides for our needs and gives us the strength of a young eagle. For all who are mistreated, the LORD brings justice. He taught his Law to Moses and showed all Israel what he could do. The LORD is merciful! He is kind and patient, and his love never fails.
The LORD won't always be angry and point out our sins; he doesn't punish us as our sins deserve. How great is God's love for all who worship him? Greater than the distance between heaven and earth! How far has the LORD taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west! Just as parents are kind to their children, the LORD is kind to all who worship him, because he knows we are made of dust.
We humans are like grass or wild flowers that quickly bloom. But a scorching wind blows, and they quickly wither to be forever forgotten. The LORD is always kind to those who worship him, and he keeps his promises to their descendants who faithfully obey him.
God has set up his kingdom in heaven, and he rules the whole creation. All of you mighty angels, who obey God's commands, come and praise your LORD! All of you thousands who serve and obey God, come and praise your LORD! All of God's creation and all that he rules, come and praise your LORD! With all my heart I praise the LORD!


I don’t know about you, but in the past, sometimes I’ve felt a bit apprehensive about coming into the presence of God. Almost fearful. Why? Well when you are stunk off or have an attitude, or have been a bit naughty aka sinned – approaching God is the last thing you really want to do. Sometimes it’s easier to sort of “hide” from him by not worshiping and not talking to him for a while. It's easier not to attemp to approach God, just in case... Sound familiar?
I am sure God laughs at our attempts. We can’t hide from God. God knows exactly what the deal is, what’s going on inside you even when no one else does. And that’s cool. He’s cool with it. He doesn’t condemn you for being human, he isn’t deeply disappointed in you – his love is unconditional, and he’s just stoked that you are going to spend time with him.

This Psalm does not say, “Worship God when your world is perfect”. Or “Worship God when I haven’t sinned in the last 48 hours.” Or “Worship God when I feel like it.” Or “Worship God when my attitude is Godly.”

The Psalm says With all my heart I praise the LORD, and with all that I am."
All that I am.

What are you?
You are human. You are just how God created you to be.

So you are called to praise God, with ALL your heart and with ALL that you are.
Attitudes, snotties, grumpies and all.
Besides, God doesn’t focus on WHAT we are anyway – he doesn’t care WHAT we are. We could be aliens for all he cares. He focuses on the fact that we belong to him. We are His kids. We are his people. He delights in us and is besotted with us.

Then the Psalm goes on to show us that God accepts us and loves us and wants us just as we are.

Psalm 103:8 - 9 The LORD is merciful! He is kind and patient, and his love never fails. The LORD won't always be angry and point out our sins;

God isn’t going to condemn you when you come to Him to worship. He just wants to love you.

Psalm 103:10 he doesn't punish us as our sins deserve.

We have nothing to fear, God is waiting, arms open, ready to receive you and your worship.

Then the Psalm goes on to remind us just how much God loves us:
Psalm 103:11-13 How great is God's love for all who worship him? Greater than the distance between heaven and earth! How far has the LORD taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west! Just as parents are kind to their children, the LORD is kind to all who worship him,

Then it goes on to say that God knows exactly what we are and how we are:
Psalm 103:14-16 because he knows we are made of dust. We humans are like grass or wild flowers that quickly bloom. But a scorching wind blows, and they quickly wither to be forever forgotten.

Even though God knows what we are and how we are it goes on to accept that anyway and pour out a blessing on us.
Psalm 103:17-18 The LORD is always kind to those who worship him, and he keeps his promises to their descendants who faithfully obey him.

I don’t know about you, but I think this wipes out any excuse to not enter into worship. We don’t have a leg to stand on. God doesn’t care what you have been up to, what your attitude currently is, if you are in a grumpy mood or not. All he wants is for you to come and worship him and allow him to love you. Our sins are not a barrier to keep us out of the presence of God. All barriers from God were destroyed when Jesus died and the curtain to the Holy of Holies was torn. There are no barriers between you and God – only barriers in your mind that YOU create. Nothing seperates us from the Love of God. Nothing stops God wanting you to come to him. Nothing stops God from wanting to bless you, love you and wanting to hang out with his kids.

Then finally we have the call:

Psalm 103:20-22 All of you mighty angels, who obey God's commands, come and praise your LORD! All of you thousands who serve and obey God, come and praise your LORD! All of God's creation and all that he rules, come and praise your LORD! With all my heart I praise the LORD!

Do you serve and obeys God?
Are you God’s creation?
Yes??

Then you have been called! Called to COME and praise your God, with ALL your heart!!

It’s time to break down those man-made barriers and enter in with all our heart and worship God with ALL our hearts with ALL we are!

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