Is there anything at the altar?

According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, the word “altar” means “Structure on which offerings are made to a deity. The Hebrew word for altar is mizbeah[;eBzim], from a verbal root meaning “to slaughter.” Greek renders this word as thusiasterion[qusiasthvrion], “a place of sacrifice.” In the developed temple ritual, the same word is used for both the altar of holocausts and the altar of incense. Thus, an altar is a place where sacrifice is offered, even if it is not an event involving slaughter”. Check out the link here.

Isaiah 1:11 King James Version (KJV)

11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith theLord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.

1 Samuel 15:22 New King James Version (NKJV)

22 So Samuel said:

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.

Exodus 20:24 Amplified Bible (AMP)

24 You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I cause My Name to be recorded and remembered [through revelation of My divine nature] I will come to you and bless you.

What He really seeks is after all, our hearts, which I admit sometimes is hard. This is  what I remind myself to do – daily. To die to myself and to put Him in the center of my life.

Going Through The Motions…

I’ve been studying the book of Malachi. Being a member of the worship team, it has caused me to reflect. (Not exactly a post-mortem but I wanted to check my heart.) I want to be sure that I’m not just going through the motions when I serve. (Note to self:  Time to cut down the kdramas…again.) I need to spend more time with God, not because I will be zapped by lightning if I watch too many dramas. But I realize I often get so busy with my own agenda that I forget the most important Person in my life,…my very own Saviour.

I want to spend more time with God because I desperately need Him in my life. Because without Him, I’ll be just a lost and lonely sheep wandering in this chaotic world.

Psalm 51:16-17 is evidence that God takes worship seriously. And He does look at our hearts. What good is it if we’re always on time for service and we get the actions done, as routine but our hearts and intentions are not pure? It’s who we are on the inside, when nobody is looking.

When we go to church, who are we there to worship? God? Or the worship of self? And this, I’m addressing those who belong to the spectator group. Because it’s so easy to say that John is a better worship leader because he’s loud and Ryan isn’t. Jessie can’t play the keyboard, so she shouldn’t be up there?  Kelly doesn’t look good because she doesn’t smile as much and cannot dance? The songs aren’t nice. The list goes on and on… but Hello – that shouldn’t be the focus. If God qualifies them, who are you to disqualify them?

As for me, I have decided that I will not just go through the motions. I must give Him the best, because He gave His best (Jesus) for me.

Psalm 51:16-17 The Message (MSG)

16-17 Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
    a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
    when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
    don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.

Not Dead Enough

Two weeks ago, someone asked me when my turn would be to co-lead in the worship service. I told him I don’t think it would happen. I’m happy just being a backup singer, and probably would be happier if I’m a background backup singer. (In other words, I don’t like to face a lot of people when I sing.)

Of course, the fact that I’ve had several dreams along the same theme doesn’t help at all. Repetitive dreams about going back to school, having to drive a bigger vehicle etc… I had a feeling that there’s a new season coming in my life. A season of training. But I was afraid because, hey – who wants to be in the wilderness? I’ve been asking God what area of training am I going into? Right after that, a thought struck me.”You’re not dead enough, yet.” Then I thought to myself, yes, that’s true. I’m not dead enough. I still worry about what people would think of me etc… I don’t need people to think good things about me but I’d rather them not think bad things about me. And of course, that biggest fear is that someone or some people in the congregation might say the worship leaders should be more expressive in terms of dancing etc… (No! I am not gifted in dancing. The only dancing I can do  without looking like a total idiot is tap my feet.)

Then again, I’ve had to experience quite a few things the past few months alone that made me feel like putting a paper bag over my face. (Embarrassing situations where I feel the need to hide and where I can’t hide, I would have to just walk by pretending that nothing’s wrong or nothing happened.)

Car Park Incident – Yup, I tried to get into the wrong car. Why I tried to get in a white car, I guess I wouldn’t know since my car is not that colour anyway.

Coffee Incident – Almost ended up discarding the contents of the instant coffee and wanted to put the empty packet in my mug. (Don’t know what I was thinking… Overworking???)

Toilet Incident(s)

When walking in, one of my legs unintentionally pushed the lever (toilet spray) and the next thing I knew, it was raining heavily. The spray was pointed upwards and the water was sprayed full force towards the ceiling – and ended up raining on me just before the church service ended. (Miraculously kept a straight face.)

How about walking out without realizing that somehow there was a piece of (clean) toilet paper hanging because it somehow stuck to the back of your pants. (Static)  I was lucky that my shirt was white and slightly longer.

Inside Out

Now, the most recent incident – having worn my blouse inside out without realizing it until I got to church. The thing is I was having my breakfast at a cafe, without realizing that and I guess nobody noticed too. (Praise God!)

I’m still not dead enough but I hope I don’t have to go through anymore of these embarrassing moments to develop thicker skin. Having said that, I know I’m still learning to focus on what God thinks of me; and not so worry so much about what others might think about me. After all, the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 Amplified Bible (AMP)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lordsees not as man sees; for man looks [a]at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

What are you looking at?

This year alone, I have changed my spectacles three times. I suppose I could ignore the fact I’m just getting older and I need to wear the progressive lens but I would have found it very uncomfortable not being able to see things clear.

Sometimes life itself is enough to weigh us down. So, at such a time like that, what would you be focusing on? What are you looking at, right now?  It’s really easier to believe negativity because there’s more bad news than good news in the world today. However, I was reminded that I am to keep my eyes focused on God.

When in doubt, remember what Christ did at the cross. Remember the divine exchange and the sacrifice. Remember His immense love for you. I’m saying that to myself too. When you can’t see your future, remember the One who loves you is the one who is in control of everything. So it’s ok. He’s got you covered.

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Fear not, for I am with you ; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous tight hand.”

Precious moments

Sometimes I get so busy with my own stuff that I forget those precious moments encountering God’s presence. This morning’s worship session was wonderful. This is one song I discovered when I was at the gym working out. (Thanks to Apple Music. )

I feel that the lyrics of this song echoes what’s in my heart.

A Room of Books

In the past two weeks, I’ve had 3 different dreams. In the first dream, I saw myself led to a room (like a storage) where all I could see was books. They’re different sizes (and thickness). I saw myself feeling a bit overwhelmed and not knowing how to bring the books out.

In the morning, I sort of figured out what it meant. Furthermore, the message on Sunday was like a confirmation.

If you have access to the One who is omniscient, isn’t it better to seek Him for answers? The only way is to spend more time with Him. (Yes, worship isn’t just about singing songs before the message at church.) Spending time with God has to be intentional. After that dream, I had reduced my “kdrama” slot and trying to sleep a little earlier.

James 1:5 Amplified Bible (AMP)

If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke orblame, and it will be given to him.

Proverbs 8:11-12 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 For wisdom is better than rubies,
And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her. 12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And find out knowledge and discretion.

Romans 11:33 New King James Version (NKJV)

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

Fasten Your Seatbelt

Somehow this song has a special place in my heart. Every so often I find myself tearing up even before the singing begins. The introduction alone is enough to touch my heart, and by the time the song is over, I come into a place of brokenness.

I am in a situation whereby I feel like I’m balancing myself on a tightrope up high. Any wind of bad news might make me fall. Yes, I put on a mask when I go to work because I don’t want them to know I’m worried, and yet I encourage myself by asking this question,….is anything too difficult for God?

Jeremiah 32:27 (NLT)

27 “I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?