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Friday, October 11, 2013

Daily Worship

Is worship a special part of your day?....How so? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1328).

I have several tools for worship every day. I use devotionals from three books and then short lessons from a book on qualities of leadership. All the devotionals reference Bible verses, and sometimes I additionally read scripture that I felt led to read. Typically I use the NIV or NLT translations.

I will list all the books. However I must stress with a 92 year-old Methodist minister (Marvin Sweat) that the book by Jimmy Carter is #2 next to the Bible. I generally start with A Year With Jesus: Daily Readings and Meditations by Eugene H. Peterson. This book was given to me last Christmas by my brother Bob and his wife Linda. They also have a copy of the book and we have the satisfaction of knowing that daily readings is a family practice as we proceed together throughout the year. Next I read Through the Year with Jimmy Carter. As the previous book was a gift from my family, I gave the Jimmy Carter book to them in early January and also later to my son in state prison so that this book also represents a concerted daily family participation in worship. For anyone who is a seeker in the ways of God, I highly recommend these books. I also read daily devotionals in T.D. Jakes’s Strength for Every Moment. A young twenty year-old extended family member had read this book and had extensively written in her copy. I got a copy of the book as soon as I realized its superb quality. The final book I saw offered for sell next to the Publix deli. It is by Stan Toler: Minute Motivators for Leaders. Each short daily reading deals with a different quality of leadership. Mr. Toler is a general superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene.

How is worship a special part of my day? I think of the quote that one can’t be a Christian without reading the Bible. I think this is largely true. One might be Christ-like in many ways and in some ways out-Christian Christians in charity and love. However, being a Christian must involve a more or less systematic mapping out of Christian beliefs and thought processes. Without engaging in legalism, we nevertheless have a duty to be able to state the main tenets of the faith and their Biblical sources. This need not be highfalutin stuff. For example, the Christian belief in charity can be sourced at least in part in the parable of the Good Samaritan—a parable readily understoond by children.

The function of worship in many ways is to be a daily reminder of fundamental beliefs and convictions. Telling the “old, old story” is no more passé than enunciation of the principles of a democracy. For like freedom of speech, we must constantly review the manifold facets of meaning and actual life application regarding our beliefs and convictions. When one contemplates the parable of the Good Samaritan, a story profound in its elegant simplicity, we affirm our convictions and stimulate thought involving principles and vital application dynamics. That is why the Bible will always be relevant to human affairs. Mankind given his “hound of heaven” ethical component must always ask what should we not do that we are doing AND what should we do that we are not doing?—forever grappling with the sins of commission and omission.

This gets to the second major purpose of devotions and Bible readings—they put us on the spot. They review the nature of man and the ways of God and say “What are you doing TODAY about it?” Daily readings after all have an immediate focus on the given day. As someone has said “Now is all you have.” Devotions help remind of this as in the background play strains of mortality contrapuntally interspersed with immortality. Nothing, God willing so long as I ever shall live, will ever keep me from daily devotions.

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