4/11/06

Encouragement for Today

 

“Extravagant Worship”

Lysa TerKeurst, Author, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries

 

Key Verse:

Matthew 26:13, “I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

Do you ever desire to have the kind of impact for Christ that has far-reaching effects?  By God’s grace, during my work with Proverbs 31 Ministries, we have had the opportunity to make the kind of difference that is felt across the country and even internationally.  But many of you do not serve with a women’s ministry or organization – yet desire to have the same kind of impact in your immediate world.  Your primary roles may include being a mother or a provider for your family.  But rest assured, you do not have to be a nationally acclaimed speaker or writer to have a far-reaching impact for the Gospel.  All you have to do is have a pure love and devotion for Jesus Christ, and a willingness to be radically obedient with the little things that Christ calls you to pursue.  God is out to receive glory for Himself and when you combine the two, you have a simple act of extravagant worship that God will honor for His Name’s sake. 

 

I am drawn to the story of one New Testament woman who demonstrated a radical obedience born out of pure love and devotion for Jesus Christ – Mary, Lazarus’ sister.  She was a woman who understood the essence of pouring out all she had in worship and reverence of her Lord.  She knew when to listen and when to act.  She knew when to simply sit at the Master’s feet and when to demonstrate extravagant devotion.

 

Matthew 26:6-13 gives an account of the story where Jesus had just announced He would be crucified.  Mary took what was probably her most costly possession, the perfume from her alabaster jar, and poured it out on Him.  Normally, one would pour perfume on a dead body, but Mary anointed Jesus while He was still living.  This simple act demonstrated her acknowledgement that He was indeed the Christ, and that He deserved only the best of what she had to offer.  God desires for you to give Him the very best of what you have to offer as well.  This can be difficult at times, but lavishing our Lord with this kind of sacrifice is an act of obedience that He honors.

 

Mary was scolded by some of the disciples for this act of extravagance, but Jesus was quick to jump to her defense.  What others saw as waste, Jesus saw as the purest form of walking out the Gospel message.  He said, “Why are you bothering this woman?  She has done a beautiful thing to me.”  Despite their opinions and ideas of what was an appropriate way for a woman to show love, she was willing to do so without reservation or concern for what others thought. 

 

In John 12:3, the same account says that Mary, “Wiped his feet with her hair.  And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”  Mary showed an unabashed love through this act, and, make no mistake, Jesus was quick to lavish His love right back on her.  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:13)

 

Isn’t it amazing how such a small act of extravagant worship could have such far-reaching effects?  For Jesus to see your heart full of loving devotion to Him – to know that you would give the very best of yourself out of love and obedience to worship Him extravagantly.  God honors you when you bring honor to His Name.  These precious occurrences have far-reaching effects in your ministry as a servant of the King, and they fill your world with the beautiful fragrance of His Glory.

 

My Prayer for Today:

Loving God, Who loved me first, help me to have an unabashed love for You that pours out of every area of my life.  As this love flows through me, I pray that it would manifest itself through extravagant worship so that You receive the glory for all You have done.  I acknowledge that You are the Christ and are worthy of the very best that I have to offer.  Amen.

 

Application Steps:

Worship isn’t just singing songs or spending time in prayer.  Worship is a lifestyle that is characterized by living out the Gospel on a daily basis and withholding nothing of ourselves in regard to bringing God glory.  It can also be characterized by serving others in the name of Jesus.  Think of the ways in which you show an unabashed love for Jesus Christ on a daily basis.  Maybe it’s being patient with your difficult or obstinate teenager by speaking words of God’s love to him/her.  Maybe it’s using kind words with your frustrating husband and making a choice to love him regardless of his attitude.  Maybe it’s calling together a team of prayer warriors to pray for friends and family.  Or maybe it’s giving your time to serve at a shelter or pregnancy center.  The point is to be intentional about bringing fame and glory to God in every aspect of your life.  This is the heart of worship.

 

Reflection Points:

When was the last time you truly experienced a heartfelt connection with the Holy Spirit? 

  1. Was it through song?  How did you respond in praise to Him?  (Are you interested in trying a new, worshipful CD?  Click on “Let it Rain,” by Gwen Smith below.)
  2. Was it during a quiet moment in the course of your day?  What did He ask you to do?
  3. Was it through God’s Word?  To what Scripture did He lead you? 

 

Power Verses:

1 Chronicles 16:28-29, “Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength, ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name.  Bring an offering and come before him; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” (NIV)

 

Joshua 9:9, “They answered: ‘Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God.’” (NIV)

 

1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.” (NIV)

 

John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed (3-CD or 3-tape set), by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_radicallyAudio.htm

 

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_whatHappens.htm

 

Let it Rain (music CD), by Gwen Smith

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_letItRain.htm