Preparing for worship ~ Sight

This is the opening prayer I wrote for worship this morning and I share it with you as you prepare for worship.

So…

Let’s come before God with thanksgiving and praise; holding nothing back. Let’s come before God in all humility. May God’s name be lifted up and honored. See and believe. Hear and receive. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Let’s pray together…

Sovereign God, giver of life, giver of peace, giver of sight; accept our praise here this morning, even though it is still not sufficient; for You are worthy of so much more than what we give.

Oh God, we are so filled with sin that we can not see Your beauty. And because of our dimness of sight, we get distracted by the powers of this world and seek after other gods, blindly following them. When Satan presents to us the kingdoms of the world, we don’t turn him down as your son did in the wilderness. Rather, we joyful accept the offer thinking we will be happy and fulfilled, but it doesn’t take long to realize that that too is not sufficient.

But only You, oh God, through Jesus Christ, can fill our hearts to overflowing and bring us a peace that surpasses all understanding. So may you grant us the sight to see Your son as our Savior, and not the gods of this world. May we see in Jesus the gateway to eternal life and may we have the faith to turn Satan’s offer down. And not only the faith, but the strength to stare down Satan and send him away.

Father God, restore in your children, here, the joy of falling in your arms and resting in your love. Grant us humble hearts to hear and accept that we are sinners, and grant us the determination to turn away from sin in order to glorify you to the max and to see Your beauty.

Holy God, we worship your holy name and lift our praises to you. Hear us, receive us, restore our sight. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Filling the hole

And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” [Luke 4:8]

Jesus was offered power and prestige and influence and fame. Jesus was offered the world.

But there was a catch (isn’t there always)…

…Jesus had to bow down and worship the prince of this world, Satan. He had to give away his heart and soul for something that would never last. Simply pledge his allegiance to the worker of death and Jesus would have “his heart’s desire”. The problem is that Jesus’ heart’s desire is YOU, not this world and so Satan was spinning his wheels with Jesus, but he gets plenty of headway with us.

As sinners, we seek after that which only leads to death. Satan offers us the world and we take the deal. Satan offers us pleasures now and we take the deal. Satan offers us peace now and we take the deal. The problem is that our true heart’s desire is not in this world. We were made for God but with sin in the picture we have a God shaped hole in our heart that we try to fill with other pursuits. And Satan is more than glad to help you fill that hole with anything and everything that is not God.

But the hole NEVER gets filled.

Sometimes a deal comes along that seems to fit pretty well, but not perfectly. But it’s better than nothing so we follow the giver of this gift and pledge our allegiance. We give our souls to the pursuit of money and more money. We put vicarious living into that God-shaped hole; thinking our children’s athletic success will satisfy; but it never does. We listen to Satan’s sales pitch that includes fame and success and power and we’re intrigued; not putting any consideration into the price of the deal. We give our hearts away to the gods of this world, through sin, hoping and hoping that the hole gets filled.

But the hole NEVER gets filled…that way.

Jesus says, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.

This command is a gift.

This command is one that turns our attention to God; who is worthy, because of what God does to fill that God-shaped hole in your heart. Jesus’ death and resurrection is what is takes to fill that hole, anything else will leave gaps that will ooze and drain life and peace out of you. Nothing that Satan offers will fill the gaps. Nothing that this world promises will stop the follow of life and peace out of you.

Nothing, nothing, nothing!

If you want that hole in your heart completely and totally filled, then Jesus is it. So when the too-good-to-be-true deal comes your way, simply look Satan in the face and say:

You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.

Praise be to God and Amen.

The Pastor -|—