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A Warm Welcome to Worship

Just want to say huge thanks to the guys here for letting me share in their life groups. Studying 2 Timothy 3 with y’all was good fun, and great privilege as well. As for the session on The Revelation of the Cross, we’ll be spreading the blog version across the months – for a bit of mix, this will also allow enough time for study groups to ponder on it, or to do what they do :)

OK, praise God for a new month. It’s almost a week into September, and it’s back to business as usual as our most cherished summer breaks are over. Well, hope you enjoyed yours? Most of us “speaking for myself :)”, are still trying to cope with the sudden change in weather or even, anticipating the coping process, hahaha. If it is a comfort; there are so many coping anticipations in scriptures, though not much to do with weather, but relevant enough to learn from. Isaiah 56 is one of those scriptures.

Isaiah 56:1-8 [NIV]

1 This is what the Lord says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.
2 Blessed is the one who does this—the person who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps their hands from doing any evil.”
3 Let no foreigner who is bound to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely exclude me from his people.” And let no eunuch complain, “I am only a dry tree.”
4 For this is what the Lord says: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant—
5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever.
6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
8 The Sovereign Lord declares—he who gathers the exiles of Israel: “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”

From the passage: God brings a word to the people through Isaiah telling them to keep doing what is right, as they’re not a long shot from their inheritance: the Lord’s salvation is near (v1-2). One would think the right way to receive that word was with excitement, more like; “mmmh cool, God is coming to help us soon”, right? Well, not quite if you were a stranger. As a stranger doing what is right, what came to mind after this message was: after all my good deeds God would save “His” people (in exile) and abandon me.

God is not partial. In the passage God clarifies that the command and the blessing apply to all. Verse 3-7 is the blessed assurance for doing verse 1-2. God promises:
  • A new anointing, v5: “I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters”. This is a powerful promise. 1 Corinthians 6:19 – Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so the temple and its walls is the totality of our being. A name better than sons and daughters, refers to something new. This is God anointing us with His power, anointing to partner with the Spirit. So we don’t assume His presence in us, but the evidence of His presence in us is seen - the radiance, the manifestation – the anointing.
  • A heavenly inheritance – everlasting name, v5: “I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever” (also see Revelations 2:17).
  • The intimacy of His presence, v7: “I will bring them to my holy mountain”.
  • Joy, v7: “and give them joy in my house of prayer”. The Joy from his presence, the kind that remains; the kind that satisfies.
  • A listening ear/Answers to prayers, v7: “Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar”. And
  • A warm welcome to worship, v8 (then 1-8): “...I will gather yet others to [Israel] besides those already gathered.” [Amplified]
So as we were saying, whether anticipating how to cope with merging the trending busy-ness and God, or maybe; from a summer break from fellowship/presence, need to blend again, or maybe; just doing fine and hoping all continues well, this is just to say: we’re all welcomed by God to worship (v8). Whether in a place of high tone or just need a rest in His presence, once again, welcome.

God bless you this season.

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