Google+ 11/28/13 Give Thanks With a Grateful and Understanding Heart!

1 Corinthians 14:13-17

 

So anyone who speaks in tongues should pray also for the ability to interpret what has been said.

For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying.

Well then, what shall I do?

I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand.

I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand. 

 For if you praise God only in the spirit, how can those who don’t understand you praise God along with you?

How can they join you in giving thanks when they don’t understand what you are saying?

You will be giving thanks very well, but it won’t strengthen the people who hear you.

 

In part ten of our twelve-part devotion series entitled, "Thanks Forever!" we turn to the apostle Paul for some very important instruction when giving thanks.  There has been much confusion in Christian circles from the beginning about "speaking in tongues."  On the day of Pentecost, the Bible records that Peter's message was spoken in one language, but heard in everyone's native tongue.  This is where the confusion begins.  Paul admonishes us to always pray for interpretation when we pray in the Spirit.  This is critical when discerning whether our words are of God or someone else.  In any case, Paul says that when we pray and sing in the Spirit, we should also make sure to pray and sing in words that everyone will understand.  This is key in our corporate worship settings.  If we do not do this, we deprive others of joing us in giving thanks to God.  This is why all the worship services I lead have many different ways to give thanks to God.  We use a variety of music, Scripture readings that are clear and accurate, individual and corporate prayer time, and a Holy Spirit-filled message with no "pastoral" agendas.  No two worship services are ever the same.  We do not repeat things we have learned and recited since childhood, that have no special meaning for today's worship.  We also do not participate in a grandious "offering" experience, where we force people to give to a church when they don't understand why and how they should give to God.  Rather, we place a basket discreetly in the back where people can be obedient to God and give in secret as the Bible commands.  When we offer participation in either Holy Communion or Baptism, it is with great instruction beforehand, making sure that all can give thanks with the appropriate understanding.  Today, on the largest designated day to give thanks to God, let's listen to Paul.  Churches are not meant to be "closed" clubs with special non-Biblical rules to earn an exclusive membership card!  When there is no understanding of who God is or how we should give thanks, people are excluded, which was NEVER God's intention.  In public, always give thanks to God in the Spirit and in words that all can comprehend.  Especially today, "Give Thanks With A Grateful and Understanding Heart!"