June 15, 2016

Psalm 26:8 I love the house where you live, O Lord,
the place where your glory dwells.

I first became particularly aware of this verse when a friend of mine, missionary Nils Olson, put it on a t-shirt he made for his church. I got one, and I think about the verse every time I wear it. David was talking about the Tabernacle, because it was his son Solomon who built the temple, or perhaps he was thinking about the tent he himself put up for the Ark of the Covenant. In any case he was definitely talking about a physical location, but not a building as we think of one. Today we generally associate churches with buildings, calling the buildings themselves churches, when actually that is pretty shaky from a Biblical standpoint. The term “church” in either Hebrew or Greek refers to an assembly, gathered people, rather than to a structure. As I point out from time to time, Christians didn’t have dedicated buildings for worship until at least the 3rd or 4th Century. However, as the Bible makes abundantly clear, God chooses to dwell with His people, and under the New Covenant, He dwells even in individual hearts by His Spirit. Lest we get all individualistic and think we don’t need anyone else to be God’s house, we need to remember that Jesus said “Where two or three come together in my Name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20) Loving “God’s house, the place where His glory dwells” means loving to gather with His children to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Too often we are so distracted by other things when we gather that we don’t recognize God’s presence, much less experience His glory. What a waste! We need to eagerly anticipate God’s attendance at every service, because only then will we experience all He wants for us.

I will never forget my most intense experience of worship to this point. It was extremely personal, but I was not alone. There were three other men who likewise loved the Lord, one American, one Japanese, and one German, representing both Catholic and Protestant traditions, and we were having a prayer meeting. The presence of the Lord was so strong to me that I literally told the Lord that if He wanted to keep using me on this earth He had better back off a little, because one more drop of anointing and my physical body would give up. That experience has given me an anticipation of heaven that won’t quit, because in heaven I won’t have to worry about a physical body. I desire for the people in my care that they too experience God’s presence and glory even on this earth, because it is certainly life-changing. I cannot force anyone into that, just as the proverb says about leading a horse to water. However, I can seek to make my own worship as real as possible, because that will certainly help. We have experienced the Lord “showing up” various times and in various ways in our services, so I need to be anticipating that myself, to encourage others to anticipate it also.

Father, thank You for keeping me from creating message notes before I had the full Word! Thank You for making it clear that I am indeed to speak on Worship this Sunday, but approach it somewhat differently than I thought yesterday. May I indeed be faithful in worship and in speaking Your words, so that the Body of Christ may be built up indeed, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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