This 21st century is becoming progressively more interesting in a very bizarre manner. We are living in a time when just about anything goes! We can go almost anywhere and expect to see some of everything! You can see multiple piercings on the ears, lips, forehead, eyebrows, cheeks, neck, and head or just about anywhere on the body. Let’s not even discuss the places that we don’t see.
You can see glitter glam clothes or faces. Pink, royal blue, purple, burgundy, yellow and even green hair on both male and females. It has become acceptable for many to even walk around with their pants sagging below the buttocks! You can go to the shopping mall and see many clad in pajamas and slippers and guess what they are just out shopping; so what does it matter? The old shorter than short “Daisy Duke” shorts are even trying to make a comeback. WOW!
I know everyone wants to be comfortable or they just want to as the ole song says “Express Yourself!” So it has become tolerable to just dress down whenever or wherever. After all we are not hurting anyone.
Think about for a moment or two!
What is the most important event or occasion that you will attend? Is it a wedding, red carpet affair, birthday party, funeral, job interview or perhaps a prom? How do you dress for the occasion? If it is a wedding, you probably want to wear your best? Or maybe not? Why is that; because it has become acceptable to dress just any kind of way; right?
Well, what about going to worship? You should just “come as you are.” If you have not been a part of God’s Church it is understandable. But if you have been a part of the Church for a while you might want to ask; to whom or where do you present your best other than at worship?
Did you know that the Church is the Bride of Christ? The Church has begun to blend right in with the world.
It’s okay if you wear a suit and tie or business casual pantsuit, dress or blouse and slacks to the office if you are a manager or a CEO or CIO! But if I want to wear flip flops and cut offs it should not matter especially since I still get my work done. I just want to be comfortable and I don’t want to wait until casual Friday. What happened to the basic dress code? It really does matter how you present yourself!
Hmm I guess God is not interested in how we dress? “Therefore, I urge you, brothers in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Romans 12. What does this have to do with how I am dressed? A lot! It’s clear here that we are not supposed to conform to the ways of the world. Notice how The Church has begun to pattern its dress after the standards of the world. This has even filtered over into going to worship! I guess we should really just want to hang out. sip a cup of coffee and be comfortable here too?
There is nothing wrong with freedom of expression. But what is proper and improper and who determines when or where? Does it matter that I go to worship looking like I’m on my way to the beach. Or if I look like I just woke up and threw on my most comfortable outfit! Or perhaps I was going to mow the lawn and decided to come to worship first. Or just perhaps I am going bowling after service and don’t want to make a change? It’s okay to wear a suit and tie sometimes if you are a pastor, minister or part of the praise team. Well maybe not because since its March madness everyone can just come in their Jersey’s representing their favorite team. By the way ladies it’s okay to just pull on a pair of leggings because the jersey’s are as long as some of the dresses and tops you wear? Oh my! I have just stepped on some toes! What’s wrong with wearing jerseys? Hmmm tell me when did going to worship have anything to do with your favorite football or basketball team? I am for team JESUS!! But do not penalize me because I do not wear jerseys! Hmmm what happens if I show up in causal dress when everyone else is dressed up for a special occassion or program? I know I am just too ole fashion or just plain judgmental? Maybe so!
Worship is supposed to be about GOD! Worship is supposed to be about us being thankful and grateful that JESUS died on the cross for us! He overcame sin in the flesh, lived a sinless life, died, was buried and rose from the dead with all power and authority! We are to give Him the GLORY! What is so casual about that?
It’s okay to pray at the altar and ask for healing, restoration and or some of our physical, emotional, mental or material needs. Its okay to sit in your seat if you prefer. It is okay to shout, scream, laugh, run around or do whatever? It is the posture of our hearts that GOD is looking at… GOD can and will supply in HIS time whatever is in HIS Will for us! But worship really should not be about us asking for something all the time. It should be more about GOD and us thanking HIM. Worship is devotional time to praise and adore the Lord; for all that He has done, is doing and will do!
Now how should we present ourselves? Look to the Lord and let Him direct you and not to the masses. I know we ought to be comfortable. We want to make everyone else comfortable too. We don’t want anyone to feel like they are being judged or unworthy, or that we are looking down on them? The truth is we all are unworthy. Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross for us all and at least we should make and attempt to put our best foot forward!
His Blood has priceless cleansing POWER!
What if Jesus returned today? Would you want to run home and change?
What if I do not have anything to wear? Well what did you wear to that dance you went to, or to that wedding, or the ballet, or that sorority or fraternity dinner, or to the prom or any other dress up event? Right; that’s different. Think about this for a moment. But you want to “dress down” when you come to worship God!
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The Old Testament gives us a vivid description of the Temple and the clothing that the priest was adorned in. It is clear that they put their best foot forward. Many went through purification rituals to prepare for worship. Leviticus has a plethora of laws and regulations that had to be adhered to prior to worship. There has been a gradual shifting down of the dress code as well as the moral behavior… No wonder sin is abounding and “anything goes!” Just perhaps all this dressing down has put the Church in such a relaxed mode that it’s made many feel that there is no need to change because we are to just “come as you are!” Yes indeed come as you are! But we are not to stay as we are! God is all about transforming our lives from the inside out!
See Part 2
GOD Dwells In The Hearts of HIS People!
Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. We in America have a freedom that you just don’t find in the rest of the world. We have freedom of speech, freedom to vote, freedom to live and go where and when we please. But most importantly we have the freedom to worship. There are many types of worship services but there is only one true God. The only way to worship Him is in spirit and truth. On our many journeys throughout the world the LORD has allowed us to see many marvelous things. On them all the presence of the LORD has been apparent.
On our trip to Athens Greece and Istanbul Turkey I was able to see some of the world’s most exquisite architecture. Turkey is a country that is 95% Moslem. In Turkey there is the renowned Hagia Sophia Cathedral. It was built for the Christian community to reflect the beauty that Solomon’s Temple once beheld. In spite of its elaborate intricate handiwork full of gold mosaic tiles, marble and brick walls, it is now a museum. It also contains various artifacts derived from Greek mythology and its continence is a shadow of it’s once intended purpose. Ironically across from it is the beautiful Sultanahmet mosque. Its known as the Blue mosque due to an extravagant array of blue mosaic tiles. Adorned with its intricate splendor and stately statueous marble columns and stained glass windows. It is scrupulously maintained and it is a place of worship for the Moslem community. Turkey is full of ornately designed mosques and Mohammed is whom they worship.
Words cannot express my gratitude to God for the things my eyes have beheld. The scriptures continuously came to my mind as I walked through the Hagia Sophia. “God does not dwell in a temple made by hand’s” In His time; “God is coming back for a CHURCH without spot or wrinkle.” “It is in HIM we move & live and have our being…” “Where the SPIRIT of the LORD is there is liberty…” We can not confine GOD & HIS majestic magnificent omnipresence to the confines of a structure made by human hands. Yes we can worship Him within the walls… But GOD’S CHURCH consists of HIS people from ALL over this world. God lives within the hearts of HIS people that have accepted HIS SON JESUS CHRIST into their hearts as SAVIOR & LORD!!! Our bodies are the Temple of the living God. We must ask continuously for the infilling presence of HIS HOLY SPIRIT! There is absolutely no doubt in my mind to the unmerited grace the Lord has bestowed upon all of us. Truly the Lord Is patient, loving & kind.
We had a most interesting journey. The one thing the tour guide who was of Moslem decent (in Turkey along with our guide we were required to have a Turkish guide as well) said that stuck with me was “why would a powerful God allow His Temple to turn into a museum?” I could not help but respond and say; “God does not live in a Temple made by the hands of man…” My point is and was God is so gracious and kind that He allows us so much freedom. He even gives us the freedom to choose who or what we want to worship. God wants HIS true worshipers to Worship Him; “In Spirit & in TRUTH!” Whenever or wherever I lift up Holy Hands, to Him and Him only my heart is eternally grateful. It is by His grace and His grace alone are we saved. God is truly worthy of all the PRAISE!
In Turkey is the city of Ephesus. There are miles and miles of ruins. Original artifacts, columns etc. and remains to testify to the fact Ephesus existed. To this day approximately only 10% of it has been uncovered. It is still currently under excavation. Primitive hand tools are used in order to preserve whatever archeological finds are uncovered. Paul wrote the book of Ephesians to the church at Ephesus. Just look at God! Despite the fact Turkey is a Moslem country Ephesus remains a monument to Christians of God’s eternal presence, grace and mercy.
Some of my most invigorating spiritual enlightening moments were spent in Athens Greece. Here I hold dear to heart many cherished memories. We together walked up the steep incline to the Acropolis saturated with aged columns made of marble. The Parthenon and majestic ruins were filled with slippery marble laden paths. The highlight was when I observed my husband humbly climb on his hands & knees “Mars Hill!” The infamous hill that the Apostle Paul speaks about in the book of Acts. How interesting when we approached Mars Hill there was a woman preaching to a congregation out in the open, under the beautiful canopy of the blue skies. Once my husband determined it was safe I too climbed up on my hands and knees to meet him and we together Worshiped, Praised & Thanked the Lord!
The Book of Acts teaches us “And it will come to pass in the last days saith God I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” Paul spoke concerning an altar with an inscription representing the unknown god on Mars Hill. That unknown God is the God I love, worship and adore. The only true and living God. He is truly the Great ” I AM” The Lord is Jehovah Raah meaning; My Shepherd! Mars hill today is in a magnificent open place. High above Athens for all to see. (I will forever cherish what it felt like sitting there and praising God for all He has done!!!) I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL! It’s walls and canopy are the blue firmament that God Himself spoke into existence through the Word. That Word is Jesus Christ wrapped in flesh. Who sacrificed His life for the sins of the entire world!!!
It is amazing to see since our visit all the things that have come upon Greece. One would never have imagined that such a pleasant, warm, robust inviting place could experience such a decline. We should never take for granted the freedom we have here in America. Lord Help them… I am thankful that America has been founded upon Christian Principles. May we not take that for granted… Yes please; “God Bless America!”
The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of God. Glory! Glory! His TRUTH is marching on!!!
“The earth truly is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof the world and them that dwell therein.” There is not a place that can be built that can contain the fullness of His majestic awesomeness. The early church had no building they met in homes. We have dedicated our home to be a place where God’s way prevails. The heart of each of His Children is where His true Church abides. There is nothing wrong with a church made by hands. But the focal point should not be a hierarchy laden with cliques, clichés, how do we pay our bills programs and solemn auxiliaries; a mere shadow of what God originally intended. There is One Worldwide International Christian Church in the eyes of the Lord!
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” We should praise Him in song, WORD and deeds. We are not saved by works. But our works display our faith. Our main focus should be to cultivate an environment where God receives the preeminence in everything. Whenever or wherever we worship & Praise the Lord we should leave with a desire to want to grow even closer to HIM! Christianity is supposed to be or a daily lifestyle. We as believers can continue to grow in His Grace & Knowledge as we embrace and implement His principles within our lives until the day He calls us home. Then we get to live with Him through Eternity! Halllelllujah Amen!!! It is God’s Word and His power that will draw men, women, boys and girls from all cultures, creeds and colors worldwide. His Holy Spirit can and will change their lives when we sincerely spread this Awesome Gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether it be via T.V., radio, internet, in song, in person, taught or preached inclusively by the Spoken Word.
GOD dwells in the hearts & souls of HIS people HIS CHURCH!
Everyday; “TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!