Tuesday, August 31, 2021

What Does It Mean To Worship in Spirit and Truth?

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire.  (Luke 24:32)

What does it mean to worship in spirit and truth?

Jesus said to worship in spirit and truth, but it’s so mysterious.  What did He mean?

I don’t have all the answers, but let’s look at the context.

In John chapter four Jesus was talking to the woman at the well.  At one point she tried to pull a fast one and told Jesus, “I have no husband.”

This is important.  When we come to God, we must come to Him in truth.  This woman did not.

She was quibbling.  She was being deceptive while not outright speaking lies.

But Jesus called her out on it:  “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

Boom.  You don’t come to Jesus quibbling, being evasive, being deceptive.

Then she took another strategy.  Change the subject.  

She said, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

Then Jesus said, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.”

So we are looking at the question, what did Jesus mean when He said we must worship in spirit and truth.

I said look at the context, and the context is that the woman at the well was asking about the proper physical location on earth where we should go to worship God.

But Jesus didn’t give her a physical location.  Instead, He gave this mysterious answer, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth…”

I take that to mean that we don’t have to go to some specific physical location to worship God, because worship is our spirit rising up in worship and adoration to God, and that can be done anytime, anywhere.

That seems simple enough, right?  Sometimes we think of worship as singing in a congregation at a church service in a church building, and that certainly can be worship.

But worship can also be at home, at midnight, lying in bed, in silence, not uttering a single word out loud, but worshiping “in spirit.”

Now what about “in truth”?  He said to worship “in spirit and truth.”  What does it mean to worship “in truth”?

It probably has layers of meaning, but back to the context.  The woman did not initially come to Jesus “in truth.”  She was quibbling.  She was evasive, and for a lot of good reasons. 

But we are told to worship God “in truth.”  I think that means we come to God with no guile, no falseness, no ego, no pride, no hidden motives.  

I think of the old Billy Graham altar call song, “Just as I am…oh Lamb of God, I come.”

So what does it mean to worship God in spirit and truth?  I think it means we don’t have to go to some certain place to worship God.  We can worship Him anytime, anywhere, in spirit, from our hearts.  And we come to Him in truth, wide open, in honesty and humility, because He knows it all anyway, and that’s just another reason to worship Him.  He knows us, and He loves us.

Praise God.

May God bless you today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Friday, August 27, 2021

There's a Whole Body for That

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire.  (Luke 24:32)

You can’t do everything.

You aren’t even supposed to.  You weren’t designed to.

There’s a whole body for that.

I’m talking about the church, which is the body of Christ.

Jesus is the head, and all of His followers make up the body.

Yes, Jesus has humongous plans for His body, such as reaching the whole world and loving every person and teaching them everything He taught.

But that doesn’t mean that YOU have to do all that.  You are just ONE PART, one cell in this body of Christ.

You know, there’s a difference in your physical body between brain cells and white blood cells.  They are different organisms with different purposes.

If you watch white blood cells under a microscope, they might not appear to be doing much, until some attack takes place and they rush into action.

Now imagine the brain cells coming along and trying to talk the white blood cells into abandoning their jobs and helping out the brain cells for a while.

It would be a disaster.  White blood cells have a design and a purpose, and the body works best when they stick to their job and do it to the best of their ability.

The same is true with the individual parts of the body of Christ.  We have callings and giftings.  We are each unique parts.  

Now suddenly the call goes forth that such and so needs to be done.  The trumpet is sounding!  Will you answer the call?

Wait a minute.  There’s a whole body for that.  

The lesson here is, every single body part doesn’t respond to every single call to action.  

This is where guilt comes in, and burnout.  It’s why some people leave the local church altogether, because they can’t do it all.

Of course they can’t do it all.  There’s a whole body for that.

Pastors can’t do it all.  Deacons can’t do it all.  No one can do it all, and they aren’t supposed to.

I love what it says in First Corinthians 12:11.  It is the Spirit of God who distributes all the gifts in the body of Christ, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines.

Ephesians 4:16 talks about the body of Christ and uses this phrase, “…as every part does its share.”

What is your share and my share in the body of Christ?  We each need to do our share with all of our might.  No laziness.  No excuses.

But what about all the duties and callings and missions that aren’t our part in the body?  Who’s going to do them?  Things will be left undone!

You can’t worry about that.  Don’t be guilted into leaving your post to go do something else.  Don’t shirk your own part in the body to go elsewhere.

I have some good news today!  You don’t have to take on the whole burden of the worldwide work of the church, and here’s why.  

There’s a whole body for that.

May God bless you today.

I’m Doug Apple.


Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Gas on the Grass

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire.  (Luke 24:32)

Not keeping your word is like pouring gas on the grass.

Have you ever accidentally spilled gas on your lawn?  You’ll know if you did because the grass will die a terrible death.

Right now I have a big dead circle in my backyard, and I’m blaming the grandkids.

When we moved into our current home, the previous owner left a lot of random stuff in and around an old shed in the backyard.

One day the grandkids were exploring and dragged an old metal gas can out from under the shed, and proceeded to empty its contents…where?  Not in the dirt, of course, but right on the beautiful grass, and now it’s dead, dead, dead.

That’s the way of gas on grass.  It’s a killer.

I remember the first time I learned this lesson.  We were renting a house and the owner was proud of the lawn.  He fertilized it and gave me just two instructions, “Keep it mowed, and pull any weeds that come up.”  What he forgot to say was, “And whatever you do, don’t try to gas up the mower while the mower is sitting on the grass.”

I mean, it was only like a drop or two of gas, right?  But it still left a distinct dead spot in the middle of his luxurious lawn.

Now imagine this.  The lawn is your reputation, and the gas is when you don’t keep your word.

Not keeping your word is like spilling gas on the grass.  It puts a dead spot in your reputation.

Now imagine what happens if you break your word multiple times.  The lawn of your reputation starts to look spotty.

Now you have to start saying things like, “I PROMISE I’ll be there,” “I SWEAR I’ll do it,” “You can count on me.”

You know what?  People who keep their word don’t have to promise and swear because their word IS their promise.

Let me say that again.  Your word IS your promise.  You should never have to say, “I promise,” because your word IS your promise.

And the bigger the promise, the bigger the dead spot if you break it.

When someone breaks their wedding vows, for example, it’s like pouring gas on the whole lawn.  And then you wonder why it takes so long for people to trust you?  The more gas you pour, the longer it takes for the grass to return, if it ever does.

And remember, gas doesn’t just kill the grass.  It also contaminates the soil underneath.  

When you break your word to someone, it sinks in.  They counted on you, and you let them down, and it sinks in.  And if you do this repeatedly, you aren’t just killing the grass of your reputation.  You are contaminating the soil underneath your reputation, and that’s really bad.

In Matthew 5:37 Jesus said let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no,” “no.”  “For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”

Proverbs 10:19 says that the more we talk, the more likely we are to sin.

If you find yourself having to talk a lot to convince people to trust you, it’s probably because you have killed your reputation by not keeping your word.

The old timers used to say it this way:  your word is your bond.

And the thing is, you don’t have to say it.  You don’t have to make a commitment.  You don’t have to announce, “I’ll be there at 7 p.m. sharp,” or whatever.

You don’t have to say it, but once you do, you better move heaven and earth to keep your word, because not keeping your word is like pouring gas on the grass.

May God bless you today.

I’m Doug Apple.