THE BIRTH OF REVIVAL

By Bill Murphy,  June 2020

Uncle Jordan’s breathing grew more labored.  His hospital room was filled with family and friends, all calling out to God on his behalf.  The man himself felt that his end was near, although he assuredely was not ready to go, not now anyway.  What I’ve fool I’ve been, he thought.  I’ve wasted my life.   His heart had failed him, just as he’d failed God.

There was not a dry eye in the room, as everyone cried out to God.  “Lord forgive me… please,” they heard him say in a weak and trembling voice.  “I don’t want want to died, not without you!”  Then he closed is eyes in resignation.

The family’s anguished cries could be heard halfway down the hallways.  

Two nurses rushed into the room.  The old man lay still, as if in death.  They checked the monitors and gasp.  “This can’t be possible,” one of them said to the other.  “Look, all of his readings are now normal… his blood pressure, heart rythm, temp, everything!  This can’t be possible!  It’s like he’d never been sick a day in his life!”

Uncle Jordan stirred.  He opened his eyes.  “I must have dozed off,” he said.  “I feel so much better now!”

The hospital room erupted in shouts of joy!  Uncle Jordan was back!  He was alive!  And his revival was nothing short of miraculous!  The family was so filled with thankfulness and gratitude that their joy could not be contained.

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The above story illustrates two points: the spiritually sick and dead have no desire or reason to praise – Therefore, praise has no place for the unrevived.  However, worship brings the spiritually sick and dead to a place of recognition of their need of God.  Worship brings us into a relationship with Him where He has been given the approval and welcome to revive us!

Revival, like nothing else, best illustrates the spiritual differences between the concepts of worship and praise.  Each has a place of uniqueness, where one does not and cannot fulfill the role of the other.  

Worship comes before revival.  Worship is admitting to and expressing our surrender to God.  Praise come after revival.  We don’t express humility and surrender thru praise.  We express thankfulness through praise, thankfulness for being revived by Him! 

We cannot praise our way into revival.  Think about it.  The spiritually dead cannot praise, they don’t know how to praise, and they feel neither the need nor the longing to praise.

God has a reason for everything He’s ever done or will do, just as He has a reason for every word He’s spoken or will speak.  Our place is to align ourselves with His Holy Will.  When we seek to follow His leading, and when we strive to see things His way (which we cannot always do!) we stand a far better chance of understanding where the direction of His instructions are leading us. 

Revival surely highlights the differences between worship and praise, clearly illustrating their unique purposes.  Worship leads us into a recognization of our need for revival – and praise is the glorious fulfillment and aftermath of revival!

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THE BOX

Preface

The small community church was anything but a large church.  Yet it was a blessed church.  Never had a church been pastored by anyone who loved God and His flock more than this pastor.  He thought of himself as only the ‘assistant pastor’ saying that God Himself was the pastor.  He was there only to follow God’s leading.

The previous Sunday his message contained several references to the Hebrew Temple.  He mentioned numerous points of temple practices and customs, focusing on the altar.  

That night, the pastor dreamed of the temple.  And in his dream, God instructed him to select two individuals from his flock who were of strong spiritual character.

He was told that each was bring to church the next Sunday, a symbolic offering which they considered to be a gift fitting to be laid at the altar.  He was to give each of these individuals a box measuring around twelve inches by nine by six.  These boxes they were to be the focus of next week’s service and message, as those chosen ones described what their boxes contained, and why.

The following day, the pastor’s first order of business was to secure two suitable boxes.  He found them at a local craft store.  Then, for effect, he spray painted both boxes gold… to represent a treasure box of gifts fit for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Selecting the two who would be given these boxes was a no-brainer.  One went to Abe, and the other to Zed.  The pastor could trust both of them with his life… and with his pulpit.

On Tuesday, he delivered the boxes to Abe and Zed.  Both were rather shaken by the pastor’s proposal.  Neither felt comfortable taking on such a serious spiritual mission.  “Pray about it,” the pastor told them, “I already have.  God will reveal to you what should go into your box.”  And they did.

We’ve all know people in our lives who, as they say, march to the beat of a different drummer, and who watches are set to another time zone.  It’s as if God is that way too.  But honestly… He’s the One who owns the drum and the One who designed the watch… He does what He does when, why, and where He elects!  Behind the scenes, God constructed the following week’s service and message, in the tender hearts of Abe and Zed.

The Service

Abe’s Golden Box

The first part of the service was much as any other service, although rather abbreviated.  The pastor felt deep within his heart that this service would need more time than most of his flock were accustomed to.  He kept the ‘preliminaries’ to a minimum.  He knew in his heart that the boxes would preach the real sermon, the sermon that should be heard and experienced. 

He stood behind the pulpit and gave a brief story about God’s instructions to have two individuals receive boxes, what those boxes were to represent, what they where to contain, and why.  He then motioned for Abe to bring his box forward.

The pastor took a seat on the front row as Abe walked to the altar and laid his box down.  Abe then stepped up to the pulpit.  Abe looked across the congregation nervously.  It was as if he were once again in third grade, standing on stage in the school’s auditorium, awaiting to recite the Pledge Alliance to the Flag.  

Abe began.  “Ours is a small church in a small town, and I am just one of this congregation, one with you.  But I’ve never felt like a ‘just’ anything or anyone.  I know that I am blessed… blessed beyond measure… far above what I may believe that I need… or want.  I have a loving wife, healthy children, a good job, and a happy home.  Yes, I’m a blessed man.  I’m not ‘just’ blessed, I’m blessed with the best… and I say that humbly and gratefully.” 

His knees shook, and yet he was not afraid.  Abe lifted his head and eyes upward, as if to behold the face of God, and he stammered,  “I’m not a wealthy man, Lord.  I don’t possess much of this world’s goods.  But what I have are blessings far too numerous to count, and all of them from you.  I have so much to be thankful for.  Lord, I praise you for all these rich and wonderful blessing.  And so Lord, I thought, what gift is worthy of you… and Lord, only You are worthy of all my praise!”  

The pastor shouted, “Amen!”

“Lord, Abe continued, “I praise you for the million upon million of rich and wonderful blessing you’ve allowed me to enjoy.  I praise you for a billions things, countless people, places, events, and special moments you’ve allowed me to know and experience.  I praise you for my health, my happiness, for a good job, a wonderful church, a great neighborhood in which to live.  I praise you for happy, healthy, well-adjusted children too. I thank you and praise you for giving me wonderful parents… who reared me in such a blessed and happy home.  I have so many things and friends and family members that I can praise you for and be thankful for!  So Lord… I’ve taken all that praise, praises for a million and one things, for thousands and thousands of cherished experiences, and for hundreds of family members and friends… and I’ve placed all of my praise into this box before you!  They are Yours Lord… all of my praise belongs to You!”

God was pleased.  He was very pleased!  God Loves our praise.

Never had the pastor seen the congregation totally immersed in a message.  Everyone was on their feet, their hands in the air, lifting their praises toward heaven.  The organist took note and quickly began a lively bring-the-glory-down hymn of praise… as if it was needed!  Abe had now long since walked away from the pulpit, but the pastor remained, now on his feet, still on the front row.  He too was lost in praise and thanksgiving.  God Himself was in control of the service.

How long did this last?  Who knows.  No one was keeping track of time. Finally, the electric atmosphere of the place slowly settled, and the pastor walked back to the pulpit.  “Today would have been a grand day to have had this place filled with visitors!” he said.  “This is church the way church ought to be!  Now, everyone kindly take a seat, if you can.  We want to hear from Zeke.” 

Zeke’s Golden Box

Zeke reached beneath the pew and pick up his golden box, then slowly walked to the front.  He placed his box on the altar, next to Abe’s.  Then slowly, he walked to the pulpit, and began. “These boxes are, of course, symbolic,” Zeke pointed out.  And mine, like Abe’s, also appears to be empty.  And yet, in a very real sense, it is or rather was, quite empty.  You see, once I was nothing, and now… I’m a child of the King.  Let me explain.”

Zeke took a deep breath.  Both hands grasp the podium.  His face took on the look of deep sorrow and despair.  Then he began.  “My life was once a useless pile of trash, a heap of worthless rubble.  My life was a mess.  I was lost.  I was as lost as if I’d be dropped into the frozen arctic or deep into a sweltering jungle.  I had no hope, no plan, no dream, no life.  I once saw death itself as a welcomed relief and a blessing.  I was a worthless crumbled heap of trash at the bottom of a pit of my own digging.”

The congregation sat in stunned silence.  This didn’t sound like the Zeke they all knew and loved.  They hung onto his every word.  “And then, miracle of miracles… a light shined down into that dark, dank pit.  It was the radiant smile of the Jesus.  He extended His welcoming hand to me, beckoning me to come out of that pit.”

Abe paused and looked toward heaven.  Tears flowed down his cheeks.

Once again I crumbled.  But this time it was not collapsing into myself in regret and despair.  This time I crumpled in His presence in total surrender.  How could One so Holy stoop so low to find one so undeserving as me?  How?

Yet He had!  He’d looked into my heart and seen that I had given up.  He saw that I now recognized my sorry wretchedness and shame, and He reached down and He gave me what I knew not what to ask for… His forgiveness.  As we sing in my favorite hymn, ‘I once was lost, but now I’m found.  Was blind, but now I see.’  He did that for me!

My Savior washed away those grimy stains of filth, rot, and sin, and make me whole.  Yes, He washed me, heart, mind, hands, and soul…and made me clean again, as fresh and clean as a newborn!  I was reborn afresh in Him!

He took me in His arms and into His heart, and He called me ‘His son.’  How could this be?  What had I done to deserve such favor?  Why me?My heart was filled to overflowing, and yet, at the same time, I felt so empty, so undeserving.  What did I have to give Him in return?  He must h  ave read my thoughts, for He placed both arms around me, and in the sweetest, kindest voice I’d ever hoped to hear, He softly whispered… All I want is you!

The congregation was silent.

“None of us are worthy of His love, no, not one.” He paused for a long moment.  “I was the most unworthy of the unworthy, and yet, He stooped to save me.  He accepted me as I was, and forgave me, and loved me, and began making me what I should be and could be!  And I praise Him for that.  You see, praise is something we give.  And by definition, we must have something in order to give something.  When He found me, I was nothing, and I had nothing.  I had no praise to give.  I had only dirt, and filth, and sin.  And He took that away!  

Today, I have His forgiveness, and I have His love.  Today, I have something to give.  I can give Him my praise.  But I will never, not to my dying day, forget the agony of that heavy burden of sin and shame which once weighed me down.  And I’ll never forget the unbelievable joy of having those heavy sin-stained chains lifted off my soul.  It was not praise that lifted those heavy chains, but my surrender, and my worship unto Him!  When I had no praise, I gave Him my total worship.  And now, I make it my goal to surrender, in bowed worship before Him daily.  I know from where I came.  And I know who brought me out.  And I know what lifted me out… it was surrendering myself to Him.  You see, I could not praise Him until I worshipped Him.  

The sad thing is, I think we sometimes think that praise alone is enough.  Do we even confuse worship and praise?  They’re not the same.  Yes, I have everlasting praise for what He’s done and for who He is!  But let’s face it, praise is cheap.  Praise is something we’re encouraged to spread around!  We praise our choir’s singing, our pastor’s preaching, and when I get home for dinner I’ll praise my wife’s home-made biscuits!  But I won’t be worshipping any of those people or those things.  Worship is reserved for the The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  If we worship anything or anyone else, that’s the vilest of sins!

Praise is a celebration.  Worship is surrender.  God delights in our praise.  He demands our worship.  Praise is a celebration of victory.  Praise is fun!  Praise is most often a group activity.

But worship costs us.  Worship comes with a price to be paid.  Worship is surrender. Worship is deeply personal, between you and God alone, heart to heart.  The price we pay to worship Him is… self!  

My box represents my worship.  My box is empty, because it represents the emptiness that I am without Him.  It represents that I once was in the box, but I’ve given my life, heart, mind, body and soul to Him!  What was once in my box is now in Him!  That’s why my box is empty.  Think about it.  Abe’s box is full… of something fantastically wonderful…  his praise.  God loves that.  But my box is empty, because I’ve emptied it through my worship unto God.  The truth is, we all need to bring two boxes to God’s altar.

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I SURRENDER ALL

If you’re as old as dirt like me, then you probably remember that old gospel favorite ‘I Surrender All.’  

All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at his feet I bow,

Worldly pleasures all forsaken, Take me, Jesus, take me now.

I surrender all, I surrender all,

All to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

The question is, are the uplifted hands a sign of surrender?  Absolutely, you say.  Don’t the police scream, “Hands up?”   Of course they do! 

But we’re not talking about surrendering to modern law enforcement.  We’re talking here about surrendering to our Lord and Savior… surrender of our heart and soul to God.  And we’re not talking about modern day practices and customs.  We’re talking about things that pertain to God’s written word, and how it is and should be understood IN THE CONTEXT in which it was written.  Jesus wouldn’t have talked about tazers… because people in His day would never have understood that!  

Today police use uplifted hands so that they can get a quick view that suspect has no weapons at the ready.  Unless you can fire a gun with your feet, this police move is highly effective.  We have a tendency to carry this modern day reasoning into the House of God.  We think: surrender is surrender, huh?

Is surrender to the cops, the same as surrender to God?  Of course not!  Because there is a difference, consider that there is also different sign of surrender then than now.  We want to get surrender to God correct, don’t we?

Scripture was written so that people could understand the meaning of what that written word says.  Jesus taught in parables so that it would be difficult not to understand!

In those days, warriors fought with knives, swords, bows and arrows, and spears.  Battle was up close and personal.  Today, armies (and police and villains) battle it out with pistols, rifles, and machine-guns… usually far removed from one another.

The sign of surrender in Jesus’ day was to drop down to your knees and on your face.  One cannot yield a sword or shoot and arrow while down!  Today, it’s the opposite.  Any marksman will tell you that your body is much steadier, and your aim much better, when kneeling, or lying prone!

When a common citizen in Jesus’ time was taken before the king, the person never raised his hands to show his surrender, subservience, or devotion to that person of royalty.  No, it was always bowing down, on the knees, face toward or on the ground!  And so it was with defeated armies before their victor.

Hands were lifted when heroes were cheered and celebrated when they were being praised for their victory.

But that was then, now is now you say.  True.  But let’s go back to a modern-day police arrest.  The hands in the air is only the first step!  Yes, the hands are told to go up to reveal that they are empty.  But ‘small arms’ can and are all too often still being carried!  The prisoner is next told to turn around, with hands on their heads, and to walk backwards toward them.  Then told to get on their face, prone on the ground, hands behind their backs, and are handcuffed.  That’s the completion of the modern-day surrender process.  The hands in the air was only the initial step.

Going back to the original question: Are the uplifted hands a sign of surrender?  The answer can only be no.

As scripture says, and as that beloved old gospel song says,

All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at his feet I bow. 

Praise is a celebration of victory, both then and today.  Worship is reverence and submission to our God, both then and now.   

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GOD SPEAKS

© 2020 Bill Murphy

     God has never spoken to me in an audible voice.  He’s never spoken to my heart in words  saying, “Bill I need to tell you something.”  But He does speak to me.  He speaks through other people and through events… ways that I’d be an idiot not to understand.

     I began to question my quest to tell anyone who’ll listen of my sincere belief that there’s a fundamental, scriptural difference between the terms WORSHIP and PRAISE.  People said that I should basically ‘give it up,’ that my quest was a ‘hopeless cause.’  It was disheartening.  Was I wrong?  Was I wrong to believe as I do?  Was I stupid for trying to explain?

     And then, five times with ten days, God spoke, through others.

     The first three occasions came during a single church service. The preacher said, “WE NEED TO ADJUST WHAT WE BELIEVE.”  Hey, that’s what I’ve been trying to say!  Then he made two other statements:  “SHARE THE TRUTH IN LOVE.”  And… JESUS DID NOT BACK DOWN FROM THE TRUTH.”  Wow.  I heard that, God.  Thank you!  I’m on it!

     That week I began my study once again.  In my original search of scripture, I came across an Old Testament reference to Worship found in the account of the giving of the Ten Commandments.  I re-read this, taking note that in the story, the ‘worship event’ of the golden calf was referred to as a feast.  Intrigued, I did a study on Hebrew feasts.  The very next week, the minister’s subject topic was, you guessed it, FEAST.  God, does this Old Testament event really hold a clue to what you showing me?  It sure looks like it. (That sermon message also tied in ‘having fun’ with feasts.)

     The following Tuesday night I attended my bi-monthly writer’s club meeting.  I really tried to find an excuse not to attend.  But I went.  I’m thankful I did, otherwise I’d have missed message five.  

     One of our members usually writes prose, but dabbles a bit in poetry.  That night she brought three short poems to share.  The third poem was titled HOLY MOSES.  It was a whimsical ditty about the disgruntled Hebrew Children in the wilderness.  Wow!  

     Yes Lord, I heard You. 

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HYMN SUNDAY

©2019 Bill Murphy


This past Sunday was ‘Hymn Sunday’ at our church. With the exception of the first ‘greeting’ song, all of the music was ‘ole time’ hymns straight from the pages of the hymnals I sang from growing up. Please turn to hymn 341. Remember? Needless to say, I for one, enjoyed it immensely.

The thing which most amazed me was that every one of the hymns sung that morning was solidly on the side of worship music, as opposed to praise music. Hint: A general rule of thumb is that if you can clap your hands to it… it’s praise.

I was born into the Methodist Church. At age nineteen I joined the Baptist Church. At age thirty three, I became a member of the Pentecostal Church. Now, still a regular church-goer, I consider myself non-denominational. This life-history gives me experience in a broad range of church beliefs and practices.

Let’s face it, you and I aren’t particularly fond of listening to the opinions of others. That said, I respect your stance on the subject of church music. Therefore – let’s call what I have to say, honest observations… observations based upon seventy-eight years of church experience.

I’ve already mentioned praise and worship, alluding to my belief that these are different areas of church music… ‘knee music’ and ‘hand and foot music.’ While in the Pentecostal Church, many times I heard the Baptist and Methodists referred to as ‘old dead churches.’ If you put that remark into secular perspective, it would be like saying that Methodists and Baptist services were funerals, and Pentecostal services were birthday parties. Today, the Pentecostals no longer have sole ownership of loud and lively praise music.


This got me to thinking.


Birthday parties and funerals are simply a part of life. Both are celebrations in their own unique way. Birthday parties are celebrations of another year of life lived. Traditionally, these are joyous, lively occasions. Cake, ice cream, fun.

Funerals are end-of-life celebrations… where we remember and laude the life well lived of the individual. Although grieving because of our personal loss, we can also rejoice with the departed that they are now in their glorious heavenly home! Yet still, especially in American practice, funerals are a usually solemn, low-key, low-volume affairs. I offer the words dignity and reverence to best describe it.

So… what made this past Sunday’s ‘Hymn Sunday’ music service so special for me? It took me back to yesteryear, to the quiet, solemn and reverent worship of God in services that I enjoyed as a youth.

None of the hymns sung yesterday compelled you to clap your hands or tap your feet. Instead, all of them brought tears to your eyes. They made you want to drop to your knees in respect, reverence, and surrender to our Lord God Almighty!

So… what’s the big difference between this music service, and a typical one of the previous week?

The difference was in the focus. Yesterday’s focus was on worship. It is usually on praise. This difference, made a huge difference, to me. As for me, it made me feel much more closer to Him… who we were honoring in song.

So, what is the difference between praise and worship? Perhaps you disagree that there is a difference! Is there a difference between giving and tithing? And does it really matter? And – is there anything ‘wrong’ with praising Him? Doesn’t scripture tell us to praise Him? YES it does!

In His teachings, Jesus compared us to ‘little children.’ His point is that we have to be led, guided, and directed toward that which is most beneficial to us. A responsible parent doesn’t ask a 4 year old what he wants for dinner… they serve the child the healthy, nourishing foods the child needs. Otherwise, the child would eat dessert for every meal. Praise is a group activity. Praise is contagious. Praise is joyous, uplifting, happy affair. Praise is enjoyable. Praise can be fun! Praise is like dessert! Remember the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, just hours before His crucifixion and death? The crowds went wild with… praise!

Remember also, the story of His birth? And the shepherds and wise men came to visit Him… and they bowed and worshipped Him? You envision this as a solemn occasion, right? It was.

The very word worship comes from the word bow. It speaks of reverence, of submission, of deep respect, of awe. There’s nothing in this which in any way alludes to leaping in joy and merriment. It is bowing in deep gratitude. Worship is the nutritious meal which is necessary for health… spiritual health!

Praise is the desert… which inspires a tap to our feet, put a grin on our face, joy in our heart, and lifts our spirits. Praise makes us happy! Praise makes us want to jump for joy and run the aisles!

I love my ice cream. I really do. But I don’t want ice cream for every meal. I certainly don’t need ice cream for every meal. Nor do I need (or want) only praise in every church service.

Praise has its place. Praise is a normal, natural, desirable, necessary, and commanded part of loving and serving Him. God loves and desires our praise.

But praise can never take the place of worship… for worship is much deeper, and far more personal than praise also can ever be. Just as praise can readily be a group activity, worship is far more personal… more one-on-one with you and God. Yes, one can worship within a group – but one does not worship as a group. True worship is just that personal!

Compared to the wall-shaking, chandelier swinging, eardrum busting services I have attended, those quiet and solemn times at Grace Methodist Church on Winter Street in Jackson, MS really would ‘appear’ like a funeral service to many. But to me at least, those times of quiet reverence, especially on Sunday Nights, were like being in the manger where the baby Jesus lay. I felt His holy presence. I was awed by His closeness to me – and my closeness to Him! I was humbled. I was wonder-struck to feel this nearness, this communion with Him. Bowing at that altar was like bowing at the very throne of God!

One very forgets those precious, life changing, heart directing moments. I miss them. I really do.

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I Miss Reverence

Call me ‘old fashioned, but in today’s church, I miss good old fashioned REVERENCE.  I’ll clarify that by saying, it can be missing from many churches.

I worshipped my first 20 years of life in Grace Methodist Church of Jackson MS.  Sadly, like calm and respectful reverence, Grace Church is no more.  Where I learned to grow close to God is now but an empty lot.  I feel that emptiness today.

But that’s me. 

I make no apology for the following ‘old fashioned’ definitions. They’re necessary for you to understand what I’m attempting to say -and the true meaning and understanding of those words I will use. 

REVERENCE is defined as: honor or respect  felt or shown; profound adoring and awed respect.  Reverence implies that this profound respect is also mingled with love and devotionThat’s heavy – isn’t it?

Synonyms of reverence are: respect, honor, homage, and deference. 

RESPECT means: expressions of high or special regard.

Yes I know – you’ll say that folks express respect differently today.  Differently does not necessarily mean better.  Consider the fact that public school classroom demeanor is different today. 

Generally, most weddings even today are basically respectful and reverent in nature, much as were Sunday church services way back when.  And, most brides today wear white, want order and dignity in their marriage ceremony, and prefer to be the center of attention.  This was how it was in the 50s each Sunday when we honored the ‘Biblical Bride-Groom,’ our Lord Jesus Christ.  Then we better understood a holy respect of and for our surroundings.

But, you say, there are laid-back weddings and laid-back church services today.  Yes there are.  

So I ask – why can we have a reverent marriage ceremony on Saturday afternoon, and in the same church sanctuary it’s a (Christian) rock concert Sunday morning? 

HONOR means respect and esteem shown to another. It can apply to the recognition of one’s right to great respect or to any expression of such recognition.

DEFERENCE implies a yielding or submitting to another’s judgment or preference out of respect or reverence.

HOMAGE adds the implication of accompanying praise.

I mentioned a (Christian) rock concert above. 

At some point in time, ‘praise’ became firmly welded to ‘worship,’ as if the two were one and the same.  This is not true.  (Think about it.)  But that’s another study.

First of all, praise and worship should only be directed toward GOD!  To do otherwise is idolatry – if not bordering on it.  Correct?  Think about this also.

That said, although I well understand that Psalm 100:1 says “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”  I do not believe that every time we direct praise and worship to Him, that it must be at full volume.   1 Kings 19 tells us that God didn’t speak to Elijah in the wind, earthquake, or fire… but in a still small voice.  

Praise and worship cannot be measure with a decibel meter.  Should it be?  The presence of God’s Spirit cannot be controlled through the sound board. 

Because my ‘quiet’ praise and worship is (and should be) directed toward God (and to him only), no other individual has the ‘right’ judge my praise.  (That right and privilege belongs to God’s alone.)

‘But you should be an example to others,’ I hear. 

 I think not.  In most instances yes.  In praise and worship, no.  Why?  If I lift my voice with ‘drummed-up’ vocalizations – when my true praise is more quiet in nature, I’ll be exhibiting false praise – and that would not be good.  Doesn’t God want our true and genuine praise?

This brings up the question –does our Lord really need cheerleaders?  If the ‘fan’ needs a cheerleader, he’s not much of a fan (of the home team – or of God!) True?

We hear a lot about ‘sanctuary cities‘ today – cities set aside and apart from the laws of the nation – cities which harbor illegal aliens. 

The house of God is also a sanctuary.  It is a place set aside for the explicit purpose of instruction, prayer, praise, and worship of God.  It may be a multi-purpose facility, where areas (or times) are set aside from everyday activities.  But during ‘church time,’ when that area is set aside for GOD – it should be a place of focus totally upon HIM.  I like to think of it as barefoot church, where He wants to meet with us on a skin-to-skin personal level, just as He did with Moses at the burning bush, when He instructed Moses to take off his shoes.

Before we have guest in our home, we wish to make them feel comfortable.  We want to present a feeling of both comfort and cleanliness.  We vacuum the carpets. This is done out of our deference to them.  Yet if it is raining or snowing outside, and they take off their shoes at our door, they’re doing so in deference to us.  These are simple acts of shared respect.

Should we not at least show similar respect and deference to the house of God?  In truth, we should show more respect and reverence for HIS ‘house!’ 

Consider funerals, where the deceased is the one being honored.  We EXPECT reverence and respect to be displayed by one and by all, regardless of age. 

Doesn’t the Lord of All, The King of Kings, The Almighty, the living GOD HIMSELF warrant the same honor, homage, deference, respect and REVERENCE as poor ole Grandma in the coffin – or as a daughter at her wedding altar?  Why can we not expect reverence in the house of worship, no matter where/what that might be?

In 1960 we had teenagers, guns and schools.  The difference between 1960 and 2018 is that teenagers in 1960 who had access to guns – went to school and left their guns at home – or on the gun rack in their truck in the parking lot.  Sadly you know what many teenagers today have done with guns at school.

The common denominators in 1960 and 2018 are: teenagers, guns, and school.  The difference is: In 1960 we had self respect, respect for others, respect for teachers, parents, laws, country… and our future.  We had a true reverence for life!

Have we really lost it altogether?  

This is why is miss reverence.  It seems to be so difficult to find today. 

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