What was happening in Timothy’s church? Paul’s counsel about worship practices boldly addresses some specific issues. It sounds like people were not keeping their places of worship holy. In church, there is no room for anger, controversy, or flamboyancy. There are plenty of churches in existence today who need to hear Paul’s words.
Paul lays out what a place of worship should look like. He starts with the reverent attitude we need when we pray. With a pure heart, our prayers should be sincere and directed to God. Many people think that we pray our hands should be folded and heads bowed. That these hands are lifted to God means you are proclaiming before God that you have nothing to hide. Men are to be praying in church, not caught up in fighting or anger. Such behaviors distract from the goodness of God and allow Satan’s grasp within the sacred walls.
There are some troubling words in today’s reading—especially for the ladies! We’ll ponder all that, but it seems Paul is still trying to keep the church community in alignment with God’s desire for unity. By setting parameters and expectations for worship, Paul is helping the growing congregation from being a chaotic hot mess trying to do it all!
Paul includes some pretty specific guidelines for the use of spiritual gifts as well. We can all agree that it appears our gifts should work to nurture and bless the congregation. When you look around at your church friends, do you see how God has gifted them each differently? Is everyone using their gifts?
In every Christmas pageant I’ve been part of, this song always seems to appear. Try explaining to children what some of these lyrics mean! It’s easy to point to the angels, because after all they are the ones proclaiming the message of the song.
Kids understand angels it seems. We adults may have a harder time wrapping our minds around them. At least for me, being visited by an angel would be a huge honor and definite high point in my life. That is, once I got past the “fear and trembling,” which seems to be a common reaction! Read Luke 2:8-14.
Praise the Lord! Our reading from Psalms today is powerful praise and worship pointing to God’s mercy. This is especially true for those who “have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the LORD their God.” I certainly believe God is most my most trustworthy advocate, and my hope is secure.
When I imagine God as my “helper,” my whole day shifts. Getting things done and figuring out best practices is so much easier when I ask God to help me. I’m pretty sure it works that way all the time. Sometimes I just forget to ask! How many hours have I wasted doing things the “long” way rather than asking God to show me the “best” way from the get-go?
We continue to witness history being made as Solomon, in front of all Israel, prays this dedication. I love the clues we can get from this prayer for our own prayer life. Solomon says, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below.”
Did you notice how he starts out this prayer? Solomon speaks to God with admiration and awe. Wouldn’t you agree this is a great way to start a prayer? Get our hearts and mind straight on the truth. It will also get God’s attention!