7 O nations of the world, recognize the Lord;
recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.
8 Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!
Bring your offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.
Let all the earth tremble before him.
10 Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.
He will judge all peoples fairly.
11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
Let the trees of the forest sing for joy
From: Our Daily Journey
Few us of spend enough time paying attention to beauty, especially in our times of worship. But when we do, it speaks to us like few things do.
Perhaps this explains why God placed a heavy emphasis on beauty when He called for the construction of the tabernacle—the first structure of public worship recorded in the biblical story (Exodus 25:1-9). Building the tabernacle was no mere intellectual endeavor. God called for people to offer items they were “moved” in their “hearts” to give—beautiful things they could deeply appreciate through their senses of sight, touch, and smell.
In fact, God values beauty so much that He placed His Spirit within the designers and craftsmen tasked with constructing His beautiful tabernacle (Exodus 35:30-35). He not only wanted them to excel in building the structure He came to dwell in as His people journeyed to the Promised Land, but He also made sure He picked those who possessed “the ability to teach their skills to others” (Exodus 35:34).
God planned for beauty to remain an important focus of His people long after the building of the tabernacle. Centuries later, during what could be likened to an outdoor church service, Jesus directed the attention of His audience to the beauty that surrounded them. “Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow,” He said sitting on the side of a mountain. In other words, notice them. Pay attention. “They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are” (Matthew 6:28-29).
May you intentionally include the beauty of music, art, and nature in your worship. Allow it to draw your full attention toward the One who created beautiful things.
Determinedly Discipline Other Things. This is another difficult aspect of the strenuous nature of sainthood. Paul said, according to the Moffatt translation of this verse, “…I take every project prisoner to make it obey Christ….” So much Christian work today has never been disciplined, but has simply come into being by impulse! In our Lord’s life every project was disciplined to the will of His Father. There was never the slightest tendency to follow the impulse of His own will as distinct from His Father’s will— “the Son can do nothing of Himself…” (John 5:19). Then compare this with what we do— we take “every thought” or project that comes to us by impulse and jump into action immediately, instead of imprisoning and disciplining ourselves to obey Christ.
Practical work for Christians is greatly overemphasized today, and the saints who are “bringing every thought [and project] into captivity” are criticized and told that they are not determined, and that they lack zeal for God or zeal for the souls of others. But true determination and zeal are found in obeying God, not in the inclination to serve Him that arises from our own undisciplined human nature. It is inconceivable, but true nevertheless, that saints are not “bringing every thought [and project] into captivity,” but are simply doing work for God that has been instigated by their own human nature, and has not been made spiritual through determined discipline.
We have a tendency to forget that a person is not only committed to Jesus Christ for salvation, but is also committed, responsible, and accountable to Jesus Christ’s view of God, the world, and of sin and the devil. This means that each person must recognize the responsibility to “be transformed by the renewing of [his] mind….” (Romans 12:2).
The death of the Christian
By: Charles Spurgeon
“Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season.” Job 5:26
Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:1-8
Wait a little, beloved. In a few more years you and I shall be carried through the heavens on the wings of angels. When I die, the angels approach. I am on the wings of cherubs. Oh, how they bear me up—how swiftly and yet how softly. I have left mortality with all its pains. Oh, how rapid is my flight! Just now I passed the morning star. Far behind me now the planets shine. Oh, how swiftly do I fly, and how sweetly! Cherubs! What sweet flight is yours, and what kind arms are these I lean upon. And on my way you kiss me with the kisses of love and affection.You call me brother. Cherubs; am I your brother? I who just now was captive in a tenement of clay—am I your brother? “Yes!” they say. Oh, hark, I hear music strangely harmonious! What sweet sounds come to my ears! I am nearing Paradise. Do not spirits approach with songs of joy? “Yes!” they say. And before they can answer, behold they come—a glorious convoy! I catch a sight of them as they are holding a great review at the gates of Paradise. And there is the golden gate. I enter in; and I see my blessed Lord. I can tell you no more. All else were things unlawful for flesh to utter. My Lord! I am with thee—plunged into thee—lost in thee just as a drop is swallowed in the ocean—as one single tint is lost in the glorious rainbow! Am I lost in thee, thou glorious Jesus? And is my bliss consummated? Is the wedding-day come at last? Have I really put on the marriage garments? And am I thine? Yes! I am.