Bow the Knee

Mocking_of_Jesus

Bowing the knee before Jesus may conjure up in your mind one of several images of someone in the Bible; and if you Google the phrase, you’d be surprised at what comes up! Perhaps blind Bartimaeus, or the woman with an issue of blood, or the disciples came to your mind–certainly, they are just a few that physically bowed and worshiped our Lord.

Mark 15:19 says that they bowed the knee and worshiped Him–a beautiful picture until we read the beginning of the verse: Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him;and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him. 

When we see the whole picture, our heart aches.

Mocking_of_JesusAs we approach the most important date on the Christian calendar, it would be good for us to pause and reflect.  How long has it been since I literally bowed my knee to Jesus?  How often do I get on my knees and confess my sins to my Savior, for that IS truly an act of worship? When was the last time that I spent a “sweet hour of prayer” with Him–the One who suffered so much for me?

Do I come into His house to truly worship?  Where is my heart?  Is it on the crowd?  Am I thinking more about what I’m wearing or what someone else is wearing than on worshiping Jesus?  And did I really even think about what to wear as I came to His house of prayer to worship the “High King of Heaven?”  I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus?

As I read Mark fifteen this morning, my heart was broken, because I realize how often my heart is not worshipful. Webster defines worship as:

  1. the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshiping God or a god
  2. excessive admiration for someone

Respect, love, prayer, believing, and excessive admiration.  Those all take time and thought, and so often that is what is missing from our worship. Just a few more questions which I need to ask and answer in my heart:

RESPECT: How do I show respect to my God and Savior as I approach Him?  Amazingly, He WANTS us to approach Him, to know Him (John 17:3).  Admiration, deference, esteem, reverence, veneration,  and high opinion are all synonyms for respect. So, perhaps the question would be: Is my worship thoughtful and focused on God?

LOVE: Love is a choice, act of the will. That may sound heartless in light of the world’s definition and expressions of love, but it lasts and it will be genuine!  I choose to love my Lord, although it was not a hard choice to make!  A lust for blood and a wicked heart drove the Roman soldier to mockingly worship Jesus and bow his knee.  May an overwhelming desperation to express my love and gratitude drive me to my knees in worship!

PRAYER: Working with children teaches me SO much!  Repeatedly, I tell them that even though I am saying the words, God wants all our hearts to be praying together.  That’s a lot for a child to understand.  That’s hard for adults to understand and do!  It takes concentration.  Does your mind wander as the preacher is praying?  Take heart, we all are in that boat!  Continually strive to plug in and take part.  A worship service is not a staged production put together to entertain.  That’s why I have issues with clapping.  When I’ve played an offertory, or sung a special with my heart tuned to worship God, I love hearing a heartfelt “Amen,” which is a statement of agreement, and not applause for performance–I’m not performing, I’m worshiping. Now some may be able to “clap” their praise to God–I just haven’t got there yet! 🙂

BELIEVE:  Mar 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. Oh, how I can relate to this father!  How many of my disappointments, angst, fears, struggles, frustrations are all because of my unbelief?  How much more would my Father do if I only believed?   But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.(22)  Can God or God can?  Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (23)  I can’t say it any better than that!

EXCESSIVE ADMIRATION: Excessive makes it sound like it’s too much, like too much ketchup or Parmesan cheese!  Can we be too excessive or extravagant in our admiration for the One who suffered even mocking worship for me?  And what would excessive admiration look like? I bet it would fill our churches with ardent worshipers, fill our mouths with constant praise, and overwhelm our hearts with gratitude.  It might even overflow our eyes with tears.

 And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted.  Matthew 28:19

I wonder have I done my best for Jesus,
Who died upon the cruel tree?
To think of His great sacrifice at Calvary!
I know my Lord expects the best from me.

Refrain:
How many are the lost that I have lifted?
How many are the chained I’ve helped to free?
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
When He has done so much for me?

The hours that I have wasted are so many
The hours I’ve spent for Christ so few;
Because of all my lack of love for Jesus,
I wonder if His heart is breaking too.

I wonder have I cared enough for others,
Or have I let them die alone?
I might have helped a wand’rer to the Saviour,
The seed of precious Life I might have sown.

No longer will I stay within the valley
I’ll climb to mountain heights above;
The world is dying now for want of someone
To tell them of the Saviour’s matchless love.

Lyrics: Ensign Edwin Young
Music: Harry E. Storrs

How many shades of gray are there in Christian Liberty?

How many shades of gray are there in Christian Liberty?

What do you do when you suddenly find yourself on the wrong side of the argument, arguing for something that just a few short years ago would have been anathema to you? And how did you get there?

Our society is changing so rapidlythat it makes my head spin, and I’m not talking about the world out there – I’m talking about the world within the walls of Christianity!

Every generation finds itself testing the bounds of limitations placed upon them by the preceding generation.  Every young person, at some time or another, will be challenged to defend or reject his or her beliefs.  Sometimes they may seem like small, inconsequential issues; however, those are the times when Song of Solomon 2:15 become a vivid reality:  it is “the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

More than ever the challenging argument: “but everyone is doing it,” comes into play.  Social ills that where not even considered a possibility of having a place in our Christian society are now flaunted all across Facebook, and the world is right there at our elbows cheering us on!

“Why you old fuddy-duddy,” the young person says.  “What business is it of yours  anyway?  I’m not hurting anyone!”

Oh, how wrong you are, dear one!

First of all, you are hurting yourself.  You are placing yourself in harm’s way – in the enemy’s camp. (That would be Satan!)

“Sin will always take you further than you wanted to go, and cost more than you wanted to pay.”

If only you could see where you may end up because of that attitude!

Second, it will hurt your future spouse and children.  Oh, the regrets that people carry with them all through life because of wrong choices – choices they will not change, often because of pride more than conviction.

Thirdly, it has hurt the ones you love the most: a parent, a grandparent, a friend – the one who gave you good council and you threw it to the wind!

Most of all, it hurts the One who died for you!  There is a constant challenge to balance the love of God and the holiness of God.  When either attribute is stretched out of proportion, there will be trouble.

If we over stress the holiness of God, life becomes tedious and difficult.  We start to feel more like slaves to a taskmaster than children of our heavenly Father.  However, when we over stress God’s wonderful love, we become lax in our walk, pulling down the protective walls of holiness; and in so doing, our actions pull down the image of God which we are to be displaying to this wicked world!

Instead of “screwing up our courage” to break out of God’s conforming image, life would be so much sweeter if we would surrender our wills to that of our heavenly Father, forsaking sin in all its shades of gray!

And parents, don’t hide behind the old adage: they’re just sewing their wild oats!  Why would you ever allow your loved ones to sew weeds of sin that will only choke the Word out of their lives, causing so much grief and pain?

I beseech you [urge you with every threat of my being!] therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans 12:1,2

 

 

Deep Deep Love

Are you ever amazed when you learn a new truth about our Heavenly Father that you never thought of before?  I was just listening to abidingradio.org (which, if you haven’t found it yet, is a wonderful place to find GOOD God-honoring, holy, beautiful Christian music) and a song came on from the Steve Petit Evangelistic Team’s album  Come Boldly.  The song was called Deep Deep Love  and spoke about the Father’s love to send his Son to die.  But the line that really spoke to my heart said this:

 Deeper than the thorns that dug into his brow

is the love of a Son that died for everyone. 

Love so amazing, deep deep love, Love so divine, deep deep love;

Love never failing to hear my call, demands my soul, my life, my all.

I often think about the Father’s love, perhaps because I am a mother and can comprehend in some small way the sacrifice that it would cost to give my son.  I don’t know if I ever thought of Jesus’ love in this way – that he resigned Himself to His Father’s will to die.  He could have rebelled, but He didn’t, He surrendered.

We are all guilty of rebellion in our lives, but I’m especially thinking of any teens that are out there in webland and may read this.  Are you rebellious when your parents ask something of you that is not to your liking?  Think of Jesus.  It seems to take SO LITTLE for our hearts to rebel – how sad.  Can we ever comprehend the love of Jesus?  You may say, dear teen, “but Mrs. Mac, you’re old as dirt.  Of course you understand it.  I’m just a teen.”  Don’t believe Satan’s lie, my friend.  Think of your favorite subject: a sport, a hobby, a girl or guy.  Think about how much you know about that.  Why?  Because you love it or him or her! And the more you know about that subject or person, the more you love it.  (Hopefully :)) It’s the same with Jesus.  Learn all you can, because someday, maybe sooner than you think, you will be seeing Him face to face; and the love that you see in those divine eyes will break your heart, and mine too!

 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;

I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.Mt 11:29