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Remember & Celebrate: God Made Me

Equip 1.13 from TRU

Old Testament Significance

Several times a year the Israelites gathered for a festival. In Leviticus 23, the Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed feasts … which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.’” These seven annual festivals are Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of First Fruits, the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths). In addition, the Israelites celebrated the Festival of Jubilee on the 50th year following seven cycles of seven Sabbatical years. They also gathered weekly to celebrate the Sabbath. During these celebrations, the Israelites took time to remember what God had done for His people and to celebrate His goodness. The entire faith community gathered without the burden of work to simply worship and celebrate. They ate, danced, sang, played instruments, prayed, and offered sacrifices to God.

New Testament Significance

The Feast of Passover was fulfilled by the death of the Messiah, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by His sinless sacrifice, and the Feast of First Fruits was fulfilled by His resurrection. The Feast of Harvest began with a great harvest of three thousand souls by the coming of the promised Holy Spirit, who continues to harvest souls today. The Feast of Trumpets will announce Christ’s return, the Day of Atonement will usher in His judgment of the nations, the Feast of Tabernacles will begin the journey to our new home in a new heaven and earth, and the Feast of Jubilee symbolizes our eternity in heaven with our Lord and Savior—living in perfection, free from the debt of sin.

Unleavened Bread

The Feast of Unleavened Bread celebrates God’s miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt and, ultimately, His deliverance of our bondage to sin. Beginning with the day after Passover, the Israelites were to take seven days to eat bread without yeast and to cease working on the first and seventh days. The unleavened bread represented their quick departure from Egypt, not having time for the yeast to make their bread rise. In the New Testament, Jesus speaks of yeast (or leaven) symbolically, as sin. Jesus broke unleavened bread with His disciples and said, “This is My body.” Jesus was without sin as His body was “broken” during His crucifixion.

Further Resources

Read about Jewish festivals at: www.maranathalife.com/teaching/jew-hol.htm

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God Is Worshipped

Equip 1.12 from TRU

God is worshipped. All of creation was made to worship Him. What does this mean? Why would God demand our praise? When C. S. Lewis was exploring Christianity, he found this one thing about the Christian faith most disturbing. What Lewis later came to understand is that God’s revealing of Himself to us, accomplished most clearly in our praise and worship of Him, is the most loving act God can do for us.

But the most obvious fact about praise—whether of God or anything—strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise … The world rings with praise—lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside…. I had not noticed … that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: ‘Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious?’… The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. … We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.

Our delight of God is only partial until it is voiced in praise. Our praise of God deepens, completes, and even consummates the joy that we have in Him.

God’s desire that we praise Him serves to expose to us the most profitable, valuable, and desirable object that humanity can experience. He has revealed Himself to us and requires that we praise Him. God is worshipped, and in this worship, our joy is made complete.

Further Resources

Frame, John. 1996. Worship in Spirit and Truth. Phillipsburg: P & R  Publishing Company.

Lewis, C. S. 1958. Reflections on the Psalms. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World. (“Desiring God” by John Piper, The Mission Statement of Bethlehem Baptist Church) (www.desiringgod.org)

“All you people of the earth, tremble when you are with him. The world is firmly set in place. It can’t be moved. Let the heavens be filled with joy. Let the earth be glad. Let them say among the nations, “The Lord rules!” Let the ocean and everything in it roar. Let the fields and everything in them be glad. Then the trees in the forest will sing with joy. They will sing to the Lord. He will judge the people of the world. Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good. His faithful love continues forever.” ¬—1 Chronicles 16:30–34 (NIrV)

God is worshipped, for He is worthy. Read Job 38—42:6 (NIrV)

“Jesus came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives. There the whole crowd of disciples began to praise God with joy. In loud voices they praised him for all the miracles they had seen. They shouted, ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ (Psalm 118:26) ‘May there be peace and glory in the highest heaven!’ Some of the Pharisees in the crowd spoke to Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘tell your disciples to stop!’ ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’”

—Luke 19:37–40 (NIrV)

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God Is Worshipped

Equip From Tru

The life of David is an amazing example of someone who worshipped God in spite of his circumstances. Through David’s part in The Big God Story, we are immersed in the depths of the human experience. We see an example of a person who was fully aware of God and responded to Him.

David’s response was often worship. He recognized that worshipping God was the path to healing and restoration. David understood his special relationship with God—who he was as a child of God. He was a man who always ran to God. He was a man who, even in failure and adversity, found his identity in God. David was “a man after God’s own heart.” He desired to glorify God with all that he was.

“Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:2–4).

David wrote poems and songs as a form of worship. The Psalms are filled with different postures of worship: singing, dancing, shouting, offering thanksgiving, lamenting, praising, and bowing down … Psalm 30:11—mourning into dancing; Psalm 149:1—sing to the Lord; Psalm 27:6—shouts of joy; Psalm 95:2—come to Him with thanksgiving; Psalm 98:5–6—make a joyful symphony; Psalm 95:6—worship and bow down.

Worship literally means to “give worth to something.” Worship starts by simply thinking about God—taking time to appreciate who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing. Worship is our way of responding to God. When we worship we are able to give a voice to our deepest thoughts and feelings. Romans 12:1 says, “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” Worship is a sacrifice of our time, treasure, and talents. It’s taking our everyday lives and placing them before God as an offering.


 

Support From Tru

Read Psalm 103:1–14.

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;

he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

Read this psalm of blessing once again. As you do, change your physical posture. Try kneeling before God—maybe in a whispered prayer or maybe even shouting. The literal meaning of the word bless is “to kneel.” When we bless God, our souls kneel to Him—in worship or gratitude.

Consider your daily activities: sleeping, eating, going to work, etc. Choose one activity. What would it look like to place that activity before God as an offering of worship? What would you do differently? How would you think differently about this part of your life? Would the frequency, method, or other details of this activity change? This week, take this and lay it before God. Offer it to Him as an act of worship as you offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God.

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God Speaks

Story: The Calling of Samuel, 1 Samuel 3

As a young man, the prophet Samuel lived in the temple studying with Eli the priest. One night as Samuel was sleeping he heard someone call his name. Thinking it was his teacher, Samuel went to Eli. Each time, Eli sent the young man back to bed. The third time, Eli realized it was God’s voice Samuel was hearing. He told Samuel to tell God that he was present and listening. When God called to Samuel, He did just as Eli instructed. Samuel grew up hearing God’s voice and served as a priest, prophet, and judge.

 

Inspire from TRU

After following Jesus for 50 years, I like to think I can recognize God’s voice in my life. However, He has been teaching me to resist the urge to put words in His mouth. I’ve been learning to discern the difference between His voice and my own internal voice.

A couple of years ago, I was praying for God to give me a word to guide me during the coming year. This had been my custom on New Year’s Eve for about three years, and God had always clearly given me a phrase or a verse that helped me navigate the following year. Unfortunately, I thought I would help the process and decided for God what the word would be. As I read 1 John 4 that New Year’s Eve, I told God His word for me was, “There is no fear in love” (v. 18). I smugly closed my Bible, thanked Him, and went off to bed.

That night I slept just fine, but when I woke up on New Year’s Day, a restless heart sent me back to the passage. It turned out that the verse God really wanted for me was 1 John 4:17, and specifically the phrase “in this world we are like Jesus.” That clarification drastically changed how I lived the next year. God was faithful to speak to me and I continue to learn how to listen for His voice in the quiet of my soul.

I’m continually amazed that the Lord speaks to me at all, but I’m so grateful that He does. Knowing and hearing God’s voice brings me joy. Listening to Him gives me peace. Talking with Him lets me know, without a doubt, that I am not ever alone. Knowing that God wants me to hear Him makes me feel incredibly loved. His is the voice that has spoken throughout the ages to children and kings, prophets and fishermen. As I listen, He will guide me and direct my life.

 

Janet Lee

TruBlessings Team