Amen As the song says Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door. The one thing we can rest assured of, His plan is always better than ours. There is no book thick enough, no list long enough to hold how blessed we who know and love Jesus are.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and all who may stop by.
"These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me." Mark 7:6
"The great thing, and the only thing, is to adore and praise God."
Throughout Scripture, God says He takes pleasure in the praises of His people. Regardless of whether those praises come from the mouths of babes, the songs of the assembly, or the stones crying out, God enjoys worship. But there is a prerequisite. It's not every form of praise that He enjoys. It's every form of genuine praise. It must be heartfelt. If it doesn't spring forth from an overflowing heart---or at least a heart repentant from its lack of overflow---it shouldn't spring forth at all. Lip service has no place in His kingdom.
In spite of this verse---it is, after all, a quote from Isaiah, and a new piece of information for Jesus' hearers---the Pharisees and teachers of the law didn't get it. We often don't either. We frequently sing our songs of worship with no real passion, read our responsive readings with no real sense of appreciation for them, and hear our Pastors with no real appreciation for their words. It isn't that we're non-worshipers; we just slip easily into lukewarm worship.
It's a short step from the warmth of interior fellowship with God to the coldness of outward expressions, even when the warmth was once vibrant and genuine. At those times, the outward expressions were the delight of God. But they easily become empty shells. Our hearts wander far from Him, while our actions remain in place. And when our hearts are far from Him, He seems far from us.
Do you want the presence of God to be revealed in your life in a powerful way? Worship Him from your heart. Read your Bible with a passion for His fellowship. Sing your congregational songs while meditating on each word. Fellowship with other believers with a thankfulness for the Spirit that works in and through them. As Paul instructs, "sing psalms hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God" (Colossians 3:16). The warm, welcoming presence of God will be as real as the praises of your heart.