Spoils Of War

1 Samuel 5:7
“And when the men of Ashdod saw how it was, they said, ‘The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is harsh toward us and Dagon our god.’”

The Philistines mustered all their courage as they confronted Israel on the battlefield. They soon overpowered the Israeli army and took the spoils of war. In this battle, the spoils included the Ark of the Covenant. Upon returning to Ashdod, the Philistines placed the Ark in the their temple, and found themselves facing an interesting predicament; they now had two gods. As night fell, so did Dagon the Philistine god. When morning’s light appeared, they discovered the image of Dagon had fallen before the Ark of Jehovah. Their reaction was to help Dagon back to his feet. However, the next morning, they found Dagon had once again fallen, and this time, been destroyed. Realizing Jehovah would not share His position as God, the Philistines had a decision to make. Which God would they serve? Sadly, they rejected the true and living God and selected a man-made god.

Matthew 6:24
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

We all face the same decision. We have before us the true and living God, who loves us, and will set us free from the bondage of sin and death. We also have countless other things demanding our worship, service, devotion, time and hearts. We must decide who we will choose to serve and follow. The Philistines not only made the wrong choice, they made a foolish one. They saw the folly of Dagon, yet chose him anyway. Their decision was no doubt influenced by many things, including the fact that for generations their fathers had worshipped Dagon.

For some, the strong tie that keeps them from coming to Christ, is the realization that in accepting Christ, they are admitting they have been doing things wrong in the past. Don’t be so foolish as to let your pride keep you from surrendering to the One who will forgive your sins and transform your life.

Pastor Jim


Let’s Worship

Leviticus 9:23-24
“Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”

IMG_1485Worship is important in the life of the believer, and in the function of the church. When we gather, we should have an atmosphere where people can encounter the Lord. While there are a variety of worship styles, the heart of worship is to encounter the Lord, offering praise, and surrendering all. I think there are a few things we can learn about corporate worship from Israel’s example, on the day of a dedication.

First, notice that the people gathered in accordance with the Word of God. It is clear, their time was not a free-for-all. The Word of God determined how the people would gather, and what was to be done at their gathering. God has always revealed Himself through His Word. When we keep the teaching of the Word at the center of our worship, we will encounter the God of the Word.

Second, the people did not come empty-handed. They brought offerings to present to the Lord. Worship, to them, was not a spectator sport where the priests worshipped and the people watched. Too often, when we gather for worship, we spend our time watching the worship team worship. We enjoy the music, but fail to use the time to enter into the presence of the Lord, and encounter Him.

Third, they bowed down before God. Their bowing was symbolic of what was taking place within them. They saw the glory of God; that is, they more fully understood who He is. They realized that He was a holy, righteous, majestic God who loved them, and was establishing a relationship with them. It was in response to realizing who God is, that they bowed themselves before Him in surrender. This really is the goal of worship. That our lives would be consecrated to the Lord.

When we gather for worship, we should come with expectant hearts. Expecting that we will offer ourselves and our praise to God, and expecting that He will reveal Himself to us as we seek His face.

Pastor Jim


Worshipping Jesus

Matthew 2:2
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b9a/30989304/files/2015/01/img_1287.jpgThose ancient travelers who went in search of the Child Jesus, form a valuable illustration of true worship. Their worship included at least five ideas we would do well to imitate.

First, their worship was Spirit led; we read they followed “His star”. These men, who spent their time observing the heavens, were amazed that a star, which had not existed before, appeared in the sky and directed them to Jerusalem.

Second, their worship was Biblically founded. The leading of the Spirit brought them to Jerusalem. Once there, they searched the Scriptures to find the Child. Jesus said, those who worship Him must worship in “spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-240). If we want our worship to be well pleasing, we must search the Scriptures to find out who God really is, and what He desires from us.

Third, they worshipped with “exceedingly great joy.” In other words, their worship was a celebration. We all vary in personality: some are quiet, others quite loud. When we are not trying to mimick someone else in worship, there is an element where we are celebrating. What could be more amazing than God sending His Son into the world to save sinners?

Fourth, their worship included giving. They took of what they had and offered it to Jesus. When we see the value of Jesus, we are willing to give our valuables to Him. Perhaps it is time to give your time, talent and treasures to the Lord.

Finally, they were changed by their worship. We are told they departed another way. The way they came was not the way they left. These men who had been star gazers were now witnesses of Christ.

Let’s take some time today to worship Jesus in Spirit and in truth.

Pastor Jim