Note 12 – Part 1 (Links to previous notes at end of part 3; Navigation forward and backward to other notes at bottom of screen)
Months after writing these notes which have been waiting to be posted, last Friday I felt like I was supposed to begin rereading the next portion and making final edits to get it ready to share. God’s timing turned out to be evident again. There were things in it that spoke to a recent situation we’d just encountered, but also, the very next day we attended the R.A.W. Worship Conference and were repeatedly amazed by hearing many more specific confirmations of what we’d just reread here.
God Wants You ~ ALL of You
(Coming to the Place of Total Surrender)
Several days after posting note 8 (pts 1-3), we felt led to read the next chapter in a book that we both felt God told us (separately) to read last year during the same few days of seeking. We’d had a copy for years and had never read it; but suddenly, I felt like we were supposed to read it. I didn’t mention it to Jesse, yet within a day or two, he came to me suggesting the same thing! That was all the confirmation we needed ~ so we began. At times weeks or more have passed between when we’ve read one chapter and the next. This time it had been months. Yet, as we’ve seen Him do repeatedly throughout the years, His orchestration has been astounding, with each chapter perfectly timed to contain confirmations of things He’d just been speaking to us. That was certainly the case again this time. When we finally read the next chapter that Friday night in March (3/28/14), we couldn’t help but recognize the confirmations of things He’d just led us to include in note 8 (as well as other confirmations of previous notes).
Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind and with ALL your strength. Mark 12:30
“GOD WANTS ALL OF YOU. God doesn’t want a part of your life. He asks for ALL of your heart, ALL your soul, ALL your mind, and ALL your strength. God is not interested in halfhearted commitment, partial obedience, and the leftovers of your time and money. He desires your FULL devotion, not little bits of your life.” (from the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren)
After rereading this last Friday, when we heard some of these same statements word-for-word the next day at the worship conference, I knew God was confirming it was time to post this note. Linda Ransom was especially graphic with this analogy of the total commitment the Lord’s looking for in our relationship with Him, stating that “Jesus does not make booty calls;” He’s looking for a permanent relationship ~ a committed relationship ~ a place to abide. (There were so many other excellent points that I know went along with this that I’d love to share, but until I can hear the message again on CD, I’ll just have to share the bits I recall.) In the past few days we’d also heard Joyce Meyer echo these same sentiments, asking, “Are you just wanting to have a date with Jesus for an hour on Sunday or are you married to Him?” This also brought to mind a couple of Rick Renner’s devos based on James 4, which reveals God’s jealous love for His bride and hostility for anything that takes us away from Him:
“This is something you can be sure of: If you commit more of your heart, soul, and attention to worldly things than you give to the Spirit of God, He will not take it lightly. Never forget that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Lover. He is preoccupied with you. He wants to possess you totally, and He desires that your affection be set wholly on Him. That’s why the Holy Spirit feels like a lover who has been robbed if you (live) like an unbeliever or give your life to the things of this world. He jealously desires His relationship with you to be restored. He has divine malice toward the worldliness that has usurped His role in your life.
Entire devo: A Guaranteed Way To Infuriate The Holy Spirit
See also: The Holy Spirit Earnestly Yearns For You and Is It Possible For A Christian To Become The Enemy Of God (which have powerful confirmations of things He’s been emphasizing to the church the past several years)
In the chapter we read of the Purpose Driven Life, Warren also talked about how Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman revealed that when and where we worship are not as critical as why and how we worship ~ including how much of our lives we have surrendered to God. He wrote, “There’s a right and wrong way to worship. The Bible says, ‘Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please Him.’” He discussed four characteristics of this life of surrendered worship that God desires. The first of which immediately jumped out as something briefly touched on in note 8…
Worshiping God in Spirit and Truth
God is looking for those who worship Him in spirit and in truth. Over the years we’ve heard various interpretations of what “in spirit and truth” means, but Warren’s words confirmed the interpretation we believed God had just been re-emphasizing to us. Not only do we need to divide soul from spirit to receive counterfeit clarity in the area of discerning which dreams/desires are truly from God, but how much more vital it is for us to do so in this area of knowing God and walking in relationship with Him.
Under a section entitled,“God is pleased when our worship is accurate,” Warren discussed how many in our day have created their own version of God that is “comfortable” or “politically correct” and then worship their invention and idea of God, even though this god they have formed is not the God of the Bible. He rightly identified this as idolatry. This is one of the most concerning forms of idolatry that God’s been emphasizing as a critical issue in the church/nation for the past several years. It’s more concerning than other forms of idolatry because it’s cloaked in spirituality, masquerading as “light” and “right” that can cause it to be more difficult to recognize. Thankfully Warren reminds his readers:
“Worship must be based on the Truth of Scripture, not our opinions about God. Jesus told the Samaritan woman, ‘True worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.’ To ‘worship in Truth’ means to worship God as He is truly revealed in the Bible.”
He then talked about how worshiping “in spirit” refers to God’s desire for our worship to be authentic, emphasizing the importance that the words we say to the Lord in prayer and praise be genuine since God looks past our words to our hearts. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7) This theme of authenticity vs. “illusion” was highly stressed at the worship conference too, through powerful messages from Lisa Edmonds and B.C. Ellsworth. (Hopefully can share more quotes later from their messages)
After highlighting how God wants us to love Him passionately and worship Him sincerely from our hearts, Warren also made sure to bring balance by emphasizing that sincerity alone is not enough ~ since people can be sincerely wrong. This is why God calls us to worship in BOTH spirit (authenticity) and truth (accuracy). “Worship must be both accurate and authentic. God-pleasing worship is deeply emotional and deeply doctrinal. We use BOTH our hearts and our heads.” I’m sure that in stating this, he didn’t intend to say that we must agree on every minute debatable matter in order to worship together as brethren or to worship God in a way that is pleasing to Him, but I believe he was intending to say that we must take care that we are increasingly coming to know and worship the true God Who is revealed in His Word, rather than an imitation of God (Jesus) society has formed according to their design.
These points about worshiping God in truth were powerful confirmations of things we felt the Lord was stressing again through the “SALT” notes (and many previous messages the past 3 1/2 years). Again, this is such a critical message for the church/nation, as God has been putting His finger on “idolatry.”
to be continued… (see part 2 here)
(Navigation forward and backward to other notes also at bottom of screen)