Several years ago I was asked to write a weekly article for our church "e" bulletin. After starting this blog the Lord brought to my remembrance about those articles, so I am going to reprint some of them here from time to time. Some will be split into 2 articles because I have discovered in reading these again, I can be VERY long-winded at times! I hope you enjoy reading them and that they minister to you in some way.
Please note that these are my personal writings and I hold all rights to them, so please do not copy or use them in any form without my permission!
As a teacher, all words fascinate me… their layers of meaning, origins, etc. But lately the word “worship” has drawn my attention. WORSHIP may be either a noun or verb. As a noun, the dictionary definitions may be these: “reverent love and allegiance; a set of ceremonies, prayers, and other religious forms by which this love is expressed; ardent, humble devotion.” But I think the verb form draws me…” to honor and love as a deity; venerate (to regard with respect, reverence, and deference); to love or pursue devotedly.”
Pursue… now THAT deserves defining also. Pursue – to follow in an effort to overtake or capture; chase; to proceed along the course of; follow. (This reminds me of the Tommy Tenney books, God Chasers, God Catchers, etc. I highly recommend reading them!)
OK. Enough defining. Now let’s get to the HEART of the matter, for truly, WORSHIP is a heart activity! For most of my Christian life I participated in the very lowest level of worship, following the “set of ceremonies, prayers and other religious forms”, but I expressed very little “love, ardent, humble devotion.” While attending a traditional denominational church, I sang hymns and songs without ever letting the words do more than roll off my tongue. It was a time of seeing how well I could harmonize with the person next to me, of singing even louder and better than others in the choir… it was about ME! I’m truly embarrassed to admit it, but now the ugly truth is out. Shout “hallelujah” or raise my hands? “It’s just not done here… That’s for those Charismatics!” This is what I was told and what I came to believe (although I never really felt the desire to do those things!). Am I knocking denominational churches? DEFINITELY NOT! Keep reading!
What changed me? It’s a HEART thing. I love the song that says, “I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus!”
Have you ever used words that you really did not know the meaning of? I have… I have during worship! But the Holy Spirit called my hand on it… at times I could feel Him asking me, “What did you just say? What does that mean?” I had to confess that I did not really grasp what I was saying, but everyone ELSE said it during worship. Shouldn’t I? Worship by rote does not involve the heart, and is NOT worship! This sent me on a search for understanding of words often used in worship.
HALLELUJAH! (Alleluia, the Greek form of hallelujah is used in Revelation 19:1, 3,4,& 6. ) means “praise ye Jah!” Jah in Hebrew is Jehovah, the Lord. PRAISE THE LORD!
Holy… Lord, You are holy! The Greek word, “hagios”, meaning sacred, pure, blameless, consecrated one.
Glory! All glory to You, Lord! The Greek word, “doxa”, meaning glorious, honour, praise, worship.
Honour! We honour You, Lord! The Greek word, “time” pronounced tee-may’, esteem (especially of the highest degree).
Worthy! You are worthy, Lord! The Greek word, “axios”, meaning deserving.
I hope I have not bored you with too many definitions, but getting to the HEART of worship is important. Worship must be a personal expression of love toward our God. It amazes me that now when I attend that same denominational church when visiting my family, the hymns I took for granted for so many years now often bring tears to my eyes as my heart really offers them up in worship rather than a rote activity. Worship was in the words all these years, but I did not see it or feel it! Why? It was a matter of the HEART. Now I can see (with my heart) the sacrifice of praise writers of the old, traditional hymns (many of them written over 100 years ago!) must have been pouring out in their songs of love, adoration and worship.
We are so blessed that we have been set free of the rituals and given liberty to worship with abandon! There is so much to worship and praise God about! The Psalmist declares several times in Psalm 107, “O, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” I love to read the Psalms now, remembering the words we have just defined. It gives a whole new understanding and appreciation for the praise contained there.
Psalm 95:6 (KJV) O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
Psalm 145:21 (KJV) My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.
Psalm 29:1,2 (KJV) Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength.  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
Oh Lord, I offer up the sweet-smelling sacrifice of praise to You today. HALLELUJAH! I give You all the glory, honor, and worship, for only You are holy and worthy of my praise. Watch over my worship, Lord. Holy Spirit, reveal to me when I am not giving the Lord an offering of love and devotion, but merely going through the motions. I repent of not esteeming You as highly as I should, of not giving You the reverence that You deserve. Lord, bring me to the place of abandon in worship. The place where I can reach out to You with all that is within me. The place where I will not concern myself with what others think, but only with what You desire and deserve… true HEART WORSHIP. Lord, make me a true worshipper! I declare unto You my love, and daily I will pursue You with all my heart. Amen.