Today’s Scripture:

 

17)  Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18)  Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  19)  The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments. Habakkuk 3:17-19

1)  In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.  2)  Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.  3)  Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.  4)  Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.  5)  For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth.  6)  By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.  7)  I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.8Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.  Psalms 71:1-8

Introduction:

Well, I did my best to stay current with this series, but managed to get far enough behind that I needed to adjust the end date of this series to after Thanksgiving, and right before we begin our Christmas series.  I apologize, and will try to do better at finishing series we start on time.

That being said, I’m glad to be back working on this series.  I’ve noticed that not many of you are really saying much, and I don’t know if that’s because you’re not following this series…but I hope that this series is giving you plenty to think about.

We, as the Body of Christ cannot do our part if we don’t know Who we are working with…and ultimately working for.  We need to be more diligent about seeking God, and when I say we…I am talking to me also.

If anyone here doesn’t need to improve upon the amount of time you’re spending with God…then maybe you’re the one who should be teaching this series, but as for me I’ll never be satisfied with the amount of quality time I spend seeking God because it’s never enough.  As long as I still give in to the desires of the flesh…that means I can improve my quality time with God…and if you don’t then I need to be learning from you.

I work a secular job, I have a family, and there are other things I do in my daily life.  So, the biggest challenge for me is the same as my pastor gave this weekend.  Making sure that I’m not too busy to spend quality time in my quiet place seeking God, and if I’m being completely honest with you…I don’t do a very good job at that.  I don’t spend as much time with God as I should, and like I said I can always improve it.  I don’t ever want to get to a place where I’m comfortable with the amount of time I’m spending with God…because when I get there…that means I’m full of pride…and I don’t want any pride within me when it comes to my relationship with God.

So…if you don’t feel this series applies to you…that’s great…and you should be contacting me about teaching this series because I’m sure there are others like me who need to learn how to better balance ministry, family, work, athletics, and other things so that we’re doing everything exactly right…and spending exactly the right amount of time with God as you are.

For the rest of us…hopefully you’re enjoying this series…and I hope you’ll enjoy today’s message.

Today’s Message:

Today, we’re back talking about God’s character traits, and as we continue to learn more about the God that loves us…and that we’re hopefully seeking and serving…I want you to maybe continue making a list of these attributes, but as always I don’t want you to do that for my sake…but for yours.  Maybe Google the Attributes or Characteristics of God to see how many places you can go…and how much you can learn about God…because I’m convinced of two things.

  1. The More We Know About God The More We Will Want To Know God.
  2. The More We Know About God The More We Will Understand How Valuable We Are To God.

So…let’s take a look at a few more things we can talk about from Psalms 71:1-8.

 

Many of us have trouble getting started with our praise to the Lord. One idea that might help is to anchor our praise to a Scripture passage that expresses an attribute of God, such as His holiness or His justice.

You know, as I was in church this past Sunday, and I snuck a look around a few times to see how people were worshipping…I noticed that there were many who were just spectators, but I also noticed there were many who were really serious in their worship of the King of kings.  Then, I noticed my pastor come in after preaching the early service at our other Campus, and the first thing he did when he walked in was raise his hang…immediately desiring to seek God’s face and get into worship.

He began to talk about how we have lost our reverence for God, and the truth is…he’s absolutely right.  He talked about how we’ve become “casual” in the way we approach and seek God, and I couldn’t disagree.  He spoke about how when people went before kings that they didn’t just nonchalantly walk in to the kings chambers or courts…no sir…they went in with reverence, awe, and respect…but yet when it comes to THE King…we stand there with our arms crossed and hands in our pockets…casually waiting for the sermon to begin so we can get on with our day and ultimately our lives.

Listen…I don’t ever want to just be a spectator at church, and not have God impact me in some way.  As I said in the introduction…I don’t ever want to get to a place where I have no desire to praise God, and feel like I’ve reached some kind of spiritual pinnacle where I don’t need to seek God because I know it all.  I want to be like Paul who considered everything he did and knew as rubbish when it was compared to the knowledge of Jesus, the presence of God, and that’s the kind of heart I want when it comes to my King.

I don’t always have that heart, and I want God to fix that.  I don’t want to just casually come before the King of all kings and Lord of all lords…I want my heart to be set ablaze for Jesus…and unsatisfiable urge to be in the presence of God.  I want to never reach a place where I’ve lost my reverence and respect for the Lord…and that’s why we’re doing this series friends.

God is sick and tired of His church coming to Him so nonchalantly.  He spoke glowing things about the church at Laodicea, but He had this one thing against them:  that had lost their first love.  I don’t ever want to lose my first love…my first love is Jesus Christ…and my hearts desire is to please my Master…and I don’t care if that looks like I’m weak…I am weak…I need my Jesus to impact my life so that I can live it the way He wants me to…instead of the way I want me to…What about YOU?

 

Here are a few of God’s attributes to help you get started in learning to praise Him:

* He is the one true and living God (Isa. 45:5).

* He is almighty, all-powerful, and faithful (Ps. 89:8).

* He is just and righteous (Rom. 3:26).

* He is our protector (Ps. 62:7).

* He is loving (1 Jn. 4:16).

So…let’s look at these five attributes, and see what knowledge we can gain from them so that we can regain our reverence for God, and get back to coming before His throne with more of a sense of humility and awe…instead of this lackluster and lukewarm way we’ve been…and yes…I said we…which means I’m including me in this message.

He is the one true and living God. (Isaiah 45:5):  Perhaps the one of the greatest things we need to remember is that our God made all of the other gods that are worshipped today.  He made Muhammad, He made Buddha, He made the Pope, Mary, and all the Saints, and He made any other god that man has attempted to create because everything that was made according to the Bible was made by God and for God..and without Him wasn’t anything made that was made.

There have been many that have tried to prove there are other gods besides ours who live, but they have all failed because the only God that’s not in the grave is our resurrected King of kings and Lord of lords…and one day He is coming back to claim His church…and I pray that He doesn’t come back to find me being lackluster and casual about His return.

Friends…our God is the ONLY living and true God.  Our God is the ONLY one who is Faithful and True, and called that in the Bible.  Our God is the ONLY One that a personal and intimate relationship can be had with…no other god offers the kind of intimate relationship ours does because you cannot have a relationship with a corpse…they cannot love you back, they cannot speak to you, and they cannot offer you anything…because they are dead and have no life to offer.

God has life…God is life…and He is the ONLY God who can give and offer and transform  a life…no other god can do that…and that’s why we can say there is NO god that compares to ours…Amen!?!

He is almighty, all-powerful, and faithful (Psalms 89:8):  Faithful.  There’s no one that has been more faithful to me over the years than God…no one, and I’m not talking about infidelity in a relationship.  I’m talking about the fact that God is the ONLY One who has never, ever left my side, and He’s also the only One who has never given up on me.  There was a period in my life that I gave up on myself, but God was still faithful to me…and He never quit…He never gave up, and He never threw His hands up with disgust…He has always been with me, He has always believed in me, and He has always loved me…no matter what I thought of myself.

There’s no other whose might and power and faithfulness can match our God’s because there’s none other that can.  Just based upon the first point that we serve the ONLY True and Living God is proof that there’s no other god that compares to ours…and that’s why there’s no way any other god in our lives should be worshipped more than He is…and it’s why we should have no problem being able to lift our hands and praise Him…that’s why there shouldn’t be crossed arms and pocketed hands…cause our God is FAITHFUL, MIGHTY, AND POWERFUL…beyond compare.

He is just and righteous (Romans 3:26):  There’s no other who is more righteous than our God because He IS Righteousness, and there’s no other that’s more just than our God because He IS Just.  See, these attributes as we call them aren’t just something that God has…these are all things that God IS.  He IS Faithful and True, He IS Mighty, He IS Powerful, He IS Just, He IS Righteous, and He IS Alive.

There’s NO other god that can claim to be all that God is…because they are not.  He is the ONLY One who doesn’t just “have” these attributes…He IS the attribute…and that’s another reason that He should be praised and He is worthy because the very things we worship God for are the very things He IS.

He is our protector (Psalms 62:7):  I have never heard anyone tell me that Muhammad saved them from certain death or that they knew Buddha was watching over them as for some strange reason they were safely protected from harm.  Yes, I know that there’s times where it seems like God’s not protecting anyone…but the truth is He IS our protector…He protects and keeps those that are His.  I cannot explain why certain things happen, but one thing I do know is that I’ve had God protect me through a lot of things that I can only describe as if God wasn’t with me…things certainly would’ve and could’ve been a whole lot worse.

Friends, I’ve lived on the streets of Kenosha many a time during the winter, and let me tell you that Kenosha in the winter time isn’t some where that you want to be depending upon the elements because between the snow, sub-zero temperatures, and other thing that can go wrong…I can tell you that I’m lucky to have been able to survive…and the only reason that I believe I did survive is because God has His hand upon my life.

There’s no doubt in my mind that God has protected me from many things that could and should have brought my life to an end…but God.  That’s really all I can say here is BUT GOD.  Anyone else have moments in their lives that the only explanation they have is BUT GOD!?!  If you do, and you’re one of those who stands in church with your arms crossed and hands in your pockets…then this message is for you…and it’s time you stop being so nonchalant and casual with your worship of the God that’s kept you alive when you should’ve died…and don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about…because I know what I’m talking about because I have been there…and there’s NO way where I’ve been that I can keep my hands in my pocket when it comes to worshipping my King.

He is loving (1 John. 4:16):  Loving isn’t something that God does…it’s something else that God IS…and it’s the main component of Who God is.  We know from 1 John 4:8that God IS love…and we know from past messages that God’s love isn’t just unconditional…it’s absolutely perfect, it’s flawless, and that’s because God is perfect, God is flawless…and because God is those things…the God kind of love…the Agape love that we nonchalantly talk about IS God.

While we are all trying to attain that love (and we have it because it’s shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost…Romans 5:8)…God IS that love.  We know that Jesus is the perfect representation of God…so if we want to know what love looks like…then we ought to study Jesus…because Jesus is really God’s love on display for all the world to see.

Friends…I can tell you that the moment that change my life more than anything wasn’t the moment I was born again…it was the first time that God told me that He loved me.  That moment I had with Him changed everything…including the way and the reason I worship Him…and I hope that you have that kind of experience to that it will change the way you view and worship Him too.

So…what in the world can we learn about Seeking God from Habakkuk 3:17-19?  Well, in light of what we just talked about with these five attributes…I think that it’s safe to say that the answer is pretty easy.

Circumstances may change, but God remains the same.

Our God never…ever changes.  He’s the same today as He was with Habakkuk, Abraham, David, Paul, Moses, and He’s the same today with you and I.  He said Himself that He was the Lord…and He changes not.  Just so you don’t think I’m making it up here it is:  “I am the Lord, I do not change.” Malachi 3:6.

So, in addition to the five attributes we just talked about, and the fact that God’s the same today as He was yesterday, and He will be the same tomorrow and forever…there’s no reason for us to stand with our arms crossed or hands pocketed when it comes time to worship our God…because there has never been another God like ours, there will never come a day when there’s another God like ours, and there is no other God like ours today…and if you need a reason to lift your hands…then give this message a read…and hopefully by the time your done…you’ll come to understand that God deserves what He demands…true worship…because thankfulness depends on what is in your heart, not what is in your hand.

Be A Doer…Not Just A Reader:

What character traits of God did you find? Renew your mind by writing them out, reading them aloud, and meditating on Who He is throughout the day.

Conclusion:

I don’t know about you, but I learned a thing or two about worshipping God through this message.  I know that as a result of this message I’m going to be more mindful of my heart, and make sure that I don’t stand casually by when it’s time to worship God.  I want Him to know that I am thankful for all that He’s done…all He’s doing…and all that He’s yet to do, but it goes much…much deeper than that…I need to remember to be thankful for all that He IS…after all…He has creatures that constantly sing:  “Holy, Holy, Holy IS the Lord God Almighty…Who WAS, and IS, and IS TO COME.”…and I want to be sure I’m showing Him true reverence like them too…

How about you!?!