EXCITEMENT AND CELEBRATION!

What excites you?  What causes a sense of celebration and joy for you?

 

A child at a birthday party anxious to see what the package holds?

Excitement
Excitement at a birthday party!

 

Watching fireworks at the park?

Fireworks 2
Fireworks after baseball game!

Going on a vacation?

Cruise ship at distance
Cruise ship at a distance.

Going outside?

Okay, that question is really related to our MinPin daughter, Snickers, who cannot stand at the door to go outside.  In her exuberance for getting outside, she, in all her 8 inches of height, will jump higher than the doorknob while she waits for us to open it.

 

 

What makes you glad?  What excites you?

 

Scripture tells us of a time when David exhibited extreme excitement and joy in 2 Samuel 6.  The cause of his excitement was that the ark was being returned to the City of David, and it had just arrived from the house of Obed-edom.   Scripture says that David “danced before the Lord with all his might” [ESV] or “with great enthusiasm”. [Amplified Bible]   When his wife, Michal, saw him dancing, she became angry because she thought his actions were undignified.  She confronted him with his conduct and David responded, reading from the Amplified Bible:

So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord that I did this, who chose me above your father and all his house, to appoint me as ruler over Israel, the people of the Lord.  Therefore I will celebrate in pure enjoyment before the Lord.”

2 Samuel 6:21.

 

In the New Testament, Jesus talked of His joy:

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

John 15:11.

 

And then also we read what Paul says gives him joy:

I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

2 Corinthians 7:4.

This same verse is translated as follows in the Amplified Bible:

“Great is my confidence in you, great is my pride and boasting on your behalf.  I am filled to the brim with comfort; I am over flowing with joy in spite of all our trouble.”

Having joy in spite of the troubles that confronted him.  Wow!

 

The disciples, at the ascension of the Lord, watched Him go up into the clouds after He blessed them.  Then we read, in the Amplified Bible, at Luke 24:31-32:

And they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy [fully understanding that He lives and that He is the Son of God], and they were continually in the temple blessing and praising God.

 

Worshipping with great joy.

  • That doesn’t sound like being the “Frozen Chosen” on Sunday Morning, sitting in the pew with dour faces, never smiling and singing through clenched jaws!

Rather that description sounds like:

  • people who are thankful to God, and to Him alone, for their salvation, who recognize how great the mercy was when the Holy Spirit touched their hearts through His grace alone!
  • people who put God at the center of worship and not their own feelings and opinions.
  • people who celebrate and praise God for His goodness through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
  • people who want to spend time with each other, who speak to and encourage one another!

 

So, I ask you, how do you worship the Lord and the Father Almighty?  With great joy or with a sense of obligation or dread?  Do you love meeting with other believers and fellowshipping with them because of your common bond in Christ, or do you spend the smallest amount of time possible at church because other “more pressing matters” are calling to you!

 

Worship is exciting because in it we are ushered into the throne room of God.  Because of Jesus’ atoning work on the cross, and the work of the Holy Spirit in illuminating our hearts to the reality of our sin and to the blessing of His mercy.  While in our own strength and power we would be cast out from before His presence because of our abject sin and spiritual poverty, because we stand before God in the righteousness of Christ, we can call the Holy One, the Creator of all things and the Lover of our Soul, “Abba, Father”.

 

I pray that we would have a renewed appreciation of worship and fellowship in the life of the Christian Church.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:34-35.

 

Worship and love – they go hand in hand.  Worship denotes the reverence of and for God, stressing the feeling of awe or devotion. And, our devotion to the Lord should be evidenced in the love that we have for one another and for the world around us.  Indeed, worship and love of one another are means of grace given to us through the Holy Spirit … let us not ignore them!

 

This week, may we remember that the worship of our God is exciting and is a joyful experience.  Then, when we leave the worship service, may we continue in an attitude of love toward both our fellow believers as well as each person that the Lord puts in our path.  Love one another — surprise them by your love and then point them to Jesus.

 

Father, forgive me when I have approached worship with a sense of obligation rather than with excitement about being in your presence.  May your Holy Spirit touch my heart and may I come with reverence and awe at your majesty, power, omniscience, glory, and love.  May I be accepted before You as I stand covered in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, my Savior.  May I love You with my whole heart and may I worship You daily.

 

BIRTHDAYS – THE CELEBRATION OF … US!

The Birthday Princess
The Birthday Princess

I was thinking about birthdays the other day. Children long for the day that is theirs, they can be the Princess or King for the day. Often the family lets the “birthday boy/girl” pick what the family will eat for dinner, what movie or television show the whole family will watch, etc.

Of course, there are also the decorations, streamers, balloons, and banners …

 

Birthday decorations
Birthday decorations
Birthday Banner
Birthday Banner

… and the birthday cake (or pie or cookies or whatever special treat the birthday child orders) …

Dinosaur Birthday Cake
Dinosaur Birthday Cake

.. or enjoys!

Yummy Birthday Cake
Yummy Birthday Cake

We celebrate birthdays when the child is growing into a youth.

Youth Birthday Boy
Youth Birthday Boy

We celebrate when the youth is racing toward adulthood.

Skateboard Birthday Cake for Youth
Skateboard Birthday Cake for Youth

And adults enjoy birthday recognition, even while recognizing that age waits for no person!

Adult Birthday Party
Adult Birthday Party

Additionally, for some of us who are animal/pet lovers, we may even celebrate the birthday of our domesticated children.   Here is Goldie, one of our greyhounds, whose birthday happened to fall on a “Meet and Greet” Saturday – so she put her Birthday Princess hat on and provided all the other hounds with treats for her “party”.

Doggie Birthday Party
Doggie Birthday Party

We celebrate birthdays in our culture because we believe that recognizing the day of our birth is important. For one day in the year, we are important just because we exist. We celebrate that we were born to do whatever destiny lies ahead of us. No matter where on the chronological chart we may fall, young or not so young, we all have a job to do for all of our days. (Even Goldie who was a therapy dog at a nursing home.)

Birthday celebrations are not limited to our culture or to this century, or even this millennia!   In the Old Testament of the Bible, in Genesis 40:20, we read that on “Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants.”

In the New Testament, we read of Herod’s birthday celebration which, unfortunately, turned into a drunken mess that ended up with the beheading of John the Baptist.  Matthew 14 and Mark 6.

Interestingly, there is no indication from Scripture that Jesus ever spoke of birthdays … rather, when He speaks of birth, it is our spiritual birth that is important.

In John chapter 3, Jesus talks about entering the kingdom of God and expressly states that:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.   So not marvel that I said to you, “You must be born again.’”

So, when was your spiritual birthday? Do you remember when you were born again; when the Spirit touched your heart and entered your life? When Jesus Christ became your Lord and Savior?

Celebrate! Jesus said “I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7.  Even the heavenly beings celebrate when one becomes a new person in Christ, when he/she is born again.

Celebrate!  You are God’s and He has you in the palm of His hand. While there may not be a physical present you can open, rest assured that you have been given the gift of spiritual blessings in Christ including eternal life. Ephesians 1:3. And, that, my beloved, is a gift that will not be returned and will never wear out!

Celebrate! May my life/your life be a celebration of my love for my Savior, Redeemer and King, the Lord Jesus Christ.