Walking Horizontally -- Living Vertically

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August 23, 2004


Greenville, S.C. USA

Sweetness with no guilt. Ah - that is what we like! Sweet tea without the calories of sugar - the unnatural pleasure of guilt-free refreshment. Harmless indulgence with the same enjoyment - as if it was all true and unadulterated sweetness. Yes - saccharine. Or you may prefer the little pink packet of "Sweet and Low." The Blue Packet is nice - "Equal" - there is not difference here - you will never know it isn't the real thing. But for purists - we now have "Splenda" - yes the yellow packet of real sugar - just in a different form - eat as much as you want with no thought of the effects.

We package it different ways to appeal to the eye and appeal to the senses. We so willingly exchange truth for an imitation all in the name of health for the body. It allows us to be less disciplined and less thoughtful of the benefits of self-control and moderation - or conservative thought and approach to consumption. Are we maybe doing more than fooling ourselves? Could we be deceiving ourselves?

What is our approach to worshiping God? Why do we so quickly exchange God's provision of righteousness and truth for our own perverted versions of goodness and sweetness.

The law of the Lord is perfect
converting the soul;

The testimony of the Lord is sure
making wise the simple;

The statutes of the Lord are right
rejoicing the heart;

The commandment of the Lord is pure
enlightening the eyes;

The fear of the Lord is clean
enduring forever;

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold - more than the finest gold.

Sweeter also are they than HONEY and the HONEYCOMB!
~ Psalm 19:7-10

Perfect, Pure, Sure, Right, Clean, True - this is the essence of God and all His ways. This is the God we worship. This is who we should crave to know - that which is sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. BUT BE CAREFUL OF THE CHEAP IMITATION!

All too often, we have found solace in mere emotion during our Sunday mornings. A sweetness we have conjured from a close resemblance in a good packaging. It is a fact that TRUTH EVOKES EMOTION - and so it should - but EMOTION DOES NOT EVOKE TRUTH. Our hearts should fall down in worship in the presence of a Holy God! Our mouths should shout for joy at the mercy and Grace that has fallen upon us by His Righteous and Sovereign hand. Our lips should praise endlessly as a result of His enduring love. And our knees should shake with awesome fear at His Justice and Holiness.

But we know best in our culture how to feel God - so we think. We will create our own form of sweetness. We will evoke our own emotion and sing of all we have done. OUR WORSHIP HAS BECOME SACCHARINE AT BEST - unless we repent and bow before the pure sweet essence of our Majestic Eternal God.

Oh - when will our hearts once again join in reverence as a healthy body to lift this prayer:

"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer!" ~ Psalm 19:14

Lord forgive us for our saccharine worship - for exchanging your amazing truth for our own cheap imitations. Restore us to a right view of You and a holy perspective of worship. Evoke in us a heart response that leads us to repentance and joy. Provide in us a craving and desire for Your Word so our hearts can once again say, "How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"


Blogger Amanda said...

I'm one of Mr. Harmless' old students he got on the blogging bandwagon. Great post! It convicted me a lot..I see that a lot in my Christian school. Thanks for writing..

6:38 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

It's Amanda again..
Just wanted to say-I followed Mr. Harmless' link to your website and listened to your was such an encouragement! As soon as I get my next paycheck-I'm gonna buy your cd!!

9:26 PM  
Blogger Charity said...

Hey Dan....hope you have a great trip. We will all be missing you!

11:24 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I also am one of Mr. Harmlesses former students who he got into blogging. That post was probably one of the best ones I have ever read. I all too often find myself guilty of not worshipping God whole heartedly, and as reverently as I should. What a good reminder. I love Psalm 19:14- it's my life verse, and it is my daily prayer. Thanks for the great post!

5:16 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Good thoughts, Dan. I found your blog through Matt Harmless. I'll definitely be stopping by for more. Oh, yeah . . . nice template, too! Bob

10:09 AM  
Blogger Cris-Annette said...

Very thought-provoking Dan. Certainly makes me re-evaluate my approach to worshipping God. Thanks for the insight.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Stephanie Adamson said...

Another Harmless former student here-that was both convicting and inspiring. Please, keep up the blogging. I look forward to hearing more from you.

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dude, Did you find your family in the Alps or your twin Heidi? I love you bro and praise God for His perfect grace that continues to transform and use you for His kingdom. All who read Dan's blog, pray God will imprint His Word on your hearts.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, per our conversation last night and before the last big trip- very interesting commentary on the current state of worship- perhaps it has become saccharine because it is all us and not so much Him. Getting back to the understanding of Christ as our true worship leader- our only worship leader as Hebrews calls Him (Leitourgos, gk.) is the only remedy for a mediocre, man-centered American Christianity. We must remember that it is his praise and worship offered before the Father that brings true joy, fellowship and substance-
For His kingdom and may it come quickly

10:15 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Dan- somehow my post deleted when you changed the template... I was considering placing your site as a permalink on my sidebar... if that's alright with you? How are you ???-- hope all is well! My site has been updated some with rotating header now... I like the new look to yours also. Good Job! Here's the link if you'd like to visit...come anytime.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was rewarding to listen and worship with you last night at Ft. Greely. And I am using your thoughts to pass on to others. May our God and Father continue to bless you as you lift His name.

El Cid, 1979

1:44 PM  

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