To declare something is to openly align oneself with a person or thing. To announce one’s intentions or identity. It is about acknowledging possession of and expressing love for.
When we are in that quiet place, communing, talking, and focusing on God and His Word, He brings comfort and instruction to our hearts and lives. It is as much about speaking to God as it is about listening to God. Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Prayer is the highest expression of our dependence on God.” It is a big, big part of our worship.
David Roper says, “Prayer is about asking for understanding and wisdom. It’s the means by which we comprehend what God is saying to us in the Scriptures.”
The act of listening and being quiet is not always easy. It requires our attention, being alert, being in the moment, ready, eager, and willing to hear. In our busy lives and world, this is hard to do. Our minds take us in a million different directions, and the tyranny of the urgent floods in and distracts.
Proverbs 1:33 tells us that “Whoever listens to me will dwell in safety, and will be secure, without fear of evil.”
Wow! Anyone want to dwell in safety, be secure and to live without fear of evil? How do we do this? Isaiah 55:6-11 tells us:
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
If I could summarize Isaiah 55 into one sentence, it would be: Seek, call, and return to the Lord. Listening diligently to our God, delighting in Him, and obeying what He says. Then and only then will you know how to live.
Worship is so much more than appearing at church once a week! It is a heart attitude that should encompass all that we think and do. What might this look like in our daily lives? Philippians 4:4-7 gives us the answer. We are to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand, do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Rejoicing and worshiping our God during this season of life is not easy! It is an act we have to purposely and intentionally do. Seeking, calling, returning, rejoicing, praying, and being thankful is exactly the opposite of what Satan wants us to do. And guess what? He is doing everything in his power to keep you from worshiping God our Father, seeking Him, calling on Him, returning to Him, rejoicing in Him, thanking Him and praying.
Paul wrote Philippians while waiting for trial. He had been put under house arrest and could not go anywhere. Earlier in Acts 16 we know he had been illegally arrested, beaten, was placed in stocks, and humiliated before the people. Yet those experiences brought joy to Paul. Why? Because his joy was grounded in his relationship with his Lord and Savior, not the circumstances surrounding him.
You see, our inner attitudes do not have to reflect our outward circumstances. True joy comes from a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. If you love someone, you want to spend time with them, to talk to them. Our Father God desires, longs, and yearns for our worship.
You see, it did not matter to Paul that he found himself in difficult circumstances; his joy was his Savior. Christ is mentioned 18 times in the book of Philippians and the gospel six times. “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21)
Paul had a singleness of mind, which defined who he was and how he was to live. It was an attitude that said, “It makes no difference what happens to me, just as long as Christ is glorified and the gospel is shared with others.”
Warren Wiersbe says that Paul rejoiced in spite of his circumstances, because his circumstances strengthened the fellowship of the gospel (Phil. 1:1-11), promoted the furtherance of the gospel (Phil. 1:12-26), and guarded the faith of the gospel (Phil. 1:27-30).
Thoughts to ponder:
David Jeremiah: We worship whom we trust, and we trust whom we know.
A.W. Tozer: God wants worshipers before workers; indeed the only acceptable workers are those who have learned the lost art of worship.
Jack Hayford: Worship changes the worshiper into the image of the One worshiped.
A.W. Tozer: Without worship we go about miserable.
Oswald Chambers: Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other.
Prayer: “Lord God, may you find each of us worshipping and seeking You each and everyday all through the day! Thank You for working in our lives. We love You sooooo much! Amen.”
Kathy Niswender is the wife of our pastor.