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Monthly Archives: July 2012

God-Centered Worship: Songs

 

In my previous post, last week, I began discussing God-centered worship. Today, I would like to continue by looking at God-centered worship in the songs we sing, especially, in the service of worship.

Songs are one of channels which man uses to worship and glorify God; however, we need to be very careful because songs can also easily do the opposite. Songs that are not God-centered draw our focus away from God to other people or things.  Although such songs might contain some elements of Christianity, in reality, they take our attention from God and do not honor Him at all.

For instance, there is this chorus, in Chichewa, which goes:

Zungulizunguli pamakwelero anzanga

Aye, ena adzatsala popita kumwamba.

Eeh, ena adzatsala ayee

Ena adzatsala popita kumwamba

(Meaning: Going around the rudder to heaven, some won’t make it to heaven)

This is one example of songs that are not God-centered. The beat of the chorus sounds great but the message is not God-centered.  In the chorus, the singer seems to rejoice that some people won’t enter heaven. Does this honor and glorify God who doesn’t want anybody to perish (1 Peter 3:9)? Now imagine singing that song as part of your worship.

The above example illustrates how some of our songs can defeat the purpose of honoring and glorifying God. All Christian songs should lead us to focus our attention on God not on ourselves or anything else. This is what it means to have God-centered worship in songs, hymns and choruses.

 

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Christianity and theology

 

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God-Centered Worship

 

Question number one of Westminster Shorter Catechism asks: What’s the chief end of man? The answer is: the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

This is indeed the summary of the Bible’s teaching concerning us. God created us to glorify him or to worship him (1 Corinthians 10:31). But here we need to guard against a certain teaching which suggests that if we don’t worship God, God is incomplete. This is a very serious fallacy.

God is still glorified even if we don’t worship him. In theology, the glory of God is categorized into two namely intrinsic and ascribed glory. Intrinsic glory refers to the glory which God has always have had from eternity past and will always have forever. Even if we don’t worship him, God is still glorified. Ascribed glory refers to the glory we give him through our worship.

Therefore, we should never think that God needs our worship for him to be complete. Never! He is complete even without us worshipping him. Our worship is a response to His intrinsic glory.  When we truly know God, we always marvel at his glory and His glory leaves us with no any other choice but to bow down in adoration.

But sadly sometimes, in our churches, we have ‘worship services’ that are not God-centered hence don’t qualify to be called ‘worship services’ in the first place. God willing, in a couple of weeks coming,  I will take time to cite  examples of some  activities  in our worship services which are not God-centered.  To God alone be the glory!

 

 
 

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God Opposes the Proud…

The Bible is very clear on the sin of pride. God hates pride. One of the reasons why God resists pride is because it blinds ones eyes to the fact that only God deserves all the glory and honor. This fact is demonstrated clearly in the life of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

The detailed account of King Nebuchadnezzar’s life is recorded in the book of Daniel chapters 1 through 4. As you ransack these chapters, you will find out the devastating consequences that pride can bring in ones life. Nebuchadnezzar was too proud to acknowledge that God is exalted above his creation and has no equal in this world.

God, at first, showed his greatness to Nebuchadnezzar when the Lord, through, Daniel was able to tell and interpret the dream which Nebuchadnezzar had one night. All the magicians in Babylon who were also the servants of the gods of Babylon failed to tell and interpret the dream. But Daniel after praying to his God, the Lord revealed the dream and its meaning to Daniel. After seeing this, the king acknowledged; “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings.”

However, due to pride, Nebuchadnezzar failed to live according to his confession. Some time later, he set up an image which he forced everybody in Babylon to worship. But the three friends of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, refused to worship. Nebuchadnezzar was furious with what the three did; he ordered them to be thrown in a fiery furnace. But the Lord saved them; they never got burnt by the fire. Nebuchadnezzar again acknowledged that The Lord is the most high and great are his signs and wonders.

But pride was still at work in the king’s life, and God send a warning to him in a dream (Daniel 4:4-17). In interpreting the dream, Daniel advised Nebuchadnezzar to repent of his sin of pride. The king was, further, advised to swallow his pride and admit that there is no one like the Lord in the whole world. Contrary, to the warning, Nebuchadnezzar continued to be puffed up with pride.

Then came a pay day for the king. A year after Daniel’s advice to the king, Nebuchadnezzar was walking on the roof of his palace and was praising himself for setting up a great kingdom. “What a mighty and great kingdom I have built with my own hands,” he thought. As he was doing that, a voice came from heaven and told him that because of his pride, God would humble him by driving him away from the people to live with wild animals. He would eat grass like cattle until he would acknowledge that God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.

This really happened. For seven years Nebuchadnezzar ate grass like a cow, his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird. After the seven years, God restored sanity to Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar’s kingship was restored too.

Nebuchadnezzar then praised God and admitted: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the king of heaven, because everything he does is right and his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble,” (Daniel 4:37).

One major lesson stands out in this story of Nebuchadnezzar. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). May we learn from Christ the Savior true humility.  May God’s grace be sufficient for us to know our place and humble ourselves before him for all the glory and honor belongs to Him and Him alone.

 

 
 

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TAMING THE TONGUE

There is one part of our body that has always proved too difficult to handle. This part has dipped some of us into hot

English: a pierced human tongue Deutsch: gepie...

A tongue used without the grace of  Christ is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body

soup before. It has often brought great remorse in our lives. Even the Bible agrees that this is indeed a part that many of us have failed to master its proper use.

The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.

Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.

It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and it is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt flow from the same spring? (James 3:5-11).

For sure, a tongue can be a great problem at times. It can destroy in seconds that which took many years to build. It can turn best friends into worst enemies. It can bring regrettable divisions to a once united and harmonious people. It can shatter into pieces the long-held hopes inside our hearts. The list is endless.

However, there is only one man who can help us use our tongues graciously. This man used his tongue for 33 years here on earth but never sinned in his words. In fact, he used his tongue to heal broken hearts and bring hope to the hopeless. Above all, this man has transforming power that can change us from bad users of the tongue to better ones. The man is Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Tips can be shared on how best we can control our tongues, but without the transforming power of Christ, the tips will prove to be useless. Therefore, let’s acknowledge our failure to tame the tongue; then, we should turn to Christ for mercy and help, and we will be amazed with what Christ can do with this small part of the body.  Of course, the transformation will not only be concentrated on the tongue. It will be a total transformation that will eventually see the tongue being tamed like never before.

So, taming the tongue is  impossible without Christ.  Without Him,  our tongues will continue to be the world of evil that sets the whole course of our lives on fire.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Reformedontheweb's Blog

But woe to those ministers who do not feel the weight of this charge-and woe to those wincing hearers, who (having itching ears that will not endure sound doctrine, heap to themselves teachers that prophecy smooth things, and say peace, peace to the wicked, when God hath declared that there is no peace for them. Against such preachers and hearers the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke, and all the curses that are written in this book shall be upon them, and the Lord shall blot out their names from under heaven. If ye cease to warn the wicked, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine hand. Mark: the consequence of withholding the warning, is the destruction of both the preacher and the hearer.

Asahel Nettleton-The Destruction of Hardened Sinners

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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Reflections on Independence Day

Today, we celebrate 48 years of independence in Malawi. As we celebrate this day, I am also  reflecting on ‘spiritual independence.’  It has dawn on me that, spiritually, independence from God is not the  best thing because the Bible encourages us to lean more and more on God than on our own.

God in Proverbs 3:5, 6 puts it: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

Christ also says: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me,” (John 15:4).

Therefore, while in other areas of our lives independence is encouraged, in our spiritual life, it is otherwise. Whilst in other areas of life independence is a sign of progress, in spiritual life, independence from God is a sign of troubled and miserable life.

So, as we celebrate that  Mother Malawi has been independent of its former colonial masters for 48 years, as individuals let’s ensure that we are not independent of Christ but that we are leaning  more and more on him . Only then can we count ourselves as wise and successful people indeed. God bless Malawi. Long Live Mother Malawi!

 
 

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