Worship ~ A 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Post

I love the Five Minute Free Write for today.  Actually, I love them all.  How will I keep it to just five minutes? {smile}  Anyway, today’s writing prompt is WORSHIP.   So here goes…

WORSHIP

When I think of WORSHIP, I think of a way of life.  As a follower of Christ, I know that I am to do everything as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23).  And if I am doing all for the Lord, then I consider that to be WORSHIP.

But what does the word WORSHIP really mean?  Here is what I found in the dictionary:

reverent honor and homage paid to God

adoring reverence or regard

We attend WORSHIP on Sunday mornings where we sing, pray, and listen to the Word of God preached.  I love WORSHIP music and could list more than a dozen songs about WORSHIP.  But I think I’ll take a slightly different approach.

You see, I have a favorite book.  It’s called The Practice of the Presence of God.  It is written by Brother Lawrence, a French monk who lived in the 1600s.  This little book was key in helping to understand that WORSHIP is a lifestyle.

Of course, the Bible also tells us what true WORSHIP is.  Romans 12: 1 says:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

True and proper WORSHIP!  That is what I strive for.

AND stop…(my 5 minutes is up)

Until tomorrow…Joy to You!

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He’s In Our Midst

My 31 Days of Encouragement from the Lord series is over.  And I’ve had a little break.  I’m ready to see what the Lord would have me share here in my little corner of the internet.  A few years back, I did what I affectionately called “Monday Meditations”.  These were lessons I learned during the sermon on Sunday, verses the Lord had brought me to during my quiet time, or simply things I had on my heart.  I’m giving them a go again.  I’d love to hear what the Lord has taught you on Sunday or the previous week.

Mon_meditations_revdI’ve been working my way through Psalms for some time now.  My process is to read the passage, list attributes of God that are mentioned, write down verses that stand out, and then I pray those verses back to the Lord.  One morning last week, I was in Psalm 74.  The Psalmist is asking the Lord to remember His people and then he describes destruction of God’s sanctuary.  He speaks of the people of God being treated badly.  He pleads for God to destroy the enemy that is reeking havoc on the temple.  Then in verse 12, he says:

Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.

I had to read that one again.  I’m burdened by so much that goes on in our world today.  I don’t want to list events or details but the bottom line is that there is much to be concerned about.  And I certainly don’t want to go down the political road, but our nation needs prayer right now for the election tomorrow.  Psalm 74:12 gave me comfort.  A reminder that He is still on His throne…in control.  He calls us to Him.  We just have to answer.  He compels us to pray.  We just have to obey.

A few weeks ago, one of the high schools in our town held a “Fields of Faith” event.  It was sponsored by the school’s FCA group.  They held it on a Wednesday night and invited all churches to bring their youth there for service that night.  There were over 250 kids, and a handful of adults, on the field that night.  I listened to high school students lead worship and share their testimony about who God is in their life.  It was very encouraging.  I felt the presence of the Lord on the field that night.  I left there wondering what would happen if these kids really stood up for their faith.  What difference would it make in our city, county, state?

Later that day, I saw a video come across Facebook.  I love the song “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman.  This video is Matt and his band playing in Times Square.  I was brought to tears watching thousands of people worship the Lord.  I can only imagine that the presence of the Lord was felt right there, in the middle of Times Square.

As I’ve thought about both scenes for a few days, I’ve considered that I don’t give enough consideration to Him being in my midst all the time.  Not just in the walls of the church.  Not just at a concert.  Not just on a football field when teenagers are praising the Lord.  And not even in Times Square.  He’s with me all the time.  I want everything in my life to be based on being in the presence of the Lord.

How about you?  I’d love to hear how you have experienced the presence of the Lord in your life?

In the mean time…

Joy to You!


 

Peaceful Rest

In my last few posts, I have alluded to the fact that our family has been through a major change. It’s been life-altering for all of us.  To be honest, it has been just.plain.hard!

We found ourselves in a situation where my husband would be seeking a new ministry position.  Sometimes you choose to change jobs and sometimes, especially in ministry, God moves you.  That was the case for us.  There are many details that are just too much to go into.  Lots of lessons learned.  Lots of asking “why?” and “what’s next?”

During this time, the Lord was very gracious in many ways.  He gave many provisions that we never asked for or expected.

He’s just good that way!!

One such provision was time spent at a little cabin…on a pond…in the country.

My hubby’s new job began before our homeschool co-op ended.  The kids and I needed a place to stay for a few weeks and our precious friends offered for us to stay at this cabin that belongs to their family.  It’s such a neat place that I jumped at the offer.  Others offered to have us at their house but this gave us a place of our own.

Confession: I’m a wimp so being separated from my husband for weeks was hard.  I just don’t like being in my own.  I find strength in walking alongside of him.  Not that I can’t do it on my own, I just really value the way we do life, and parent, together – as a team.  Plus, it’s just harder to make decisions that effect the whole family when you’re not together…in the same room.  Or in our case, the same state!

About 3 weeks into staying at the cabin, I was just having a bad day.  Honestly, I felt like I was going a little crazy.  We homeschool so I’m used to being with our kids 24/7.   I love being with my kids all day, I really do.  But, as lovely as this cabin was, there was some added stress due to being in a small space…realizing daily that I forgot to pack this or that for the weeks we would be there…being apart from my hubby…you get the idea.  By the way, I should mention that those missing items from my packing weren’t accessible since the moving truck had already taken our furniture and everything else 509 miles away.   The kids missed their dad. I missed their dad.  Daily phone calls just weren’t the same.

I remember telling a friend whose husband travels a lot that I just don’t know how she does it.  This experience gave me a new appreciation for single parents.  But, I digress….

One night both kids were out with friends and I found myself alone.  I decided that I would go out to the porch and just enjoy the quiet of nature around the cabin. This was my view, as the sun set, (through the porch screen):

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

I sat on the porch with my Bible.  At the time, I was in the process of looking up verses that included the words JOY, HOPE, & PEACE.  I was concentrating on PEACE that day and found myself in Isaiah.  I read several verses and then I found the one that I am sure the Lord wanted me to see that night.

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That was exactly what I needed to hear.  He was providing EXACTLY what I needed ~ “peaceful habitation.”  I made a note in my Bible and then texted a photo of the verse to my friend.  I had to let her know that our staying in their cabin was a gift to us.  Yes, a gift from her family but ultimately it was a gift from the Lord.  He put us there so that we could rest.  He put us in a “secure dwelling” where the very loud sounds of nature created a “quiet resting place.”

Now that our family is together in one state, under one roof, there are days that I long for time on that porch.  I long for the sound of the bullfrog under my bedroom window, the crickets, the geese as they flew in and out of the pond.  I long for the sound of “quiet.”

I’m looking for my “quiet resting place” in our new place.  I’ve not exactly found it yet, but that’s okay.  I know that I will.  Like all things in a new place, it takes time.  I have wonderful memories, and photos, of the place that He provided.  The property around the cabin was just gorgeous.

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The scenery over the pond was a sight to behold daily!

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But the sunsets!  Well, they were the epitome of Psalm 19:1 ~ “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”

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The song “Near to The Heart of God” has been on my mind a lot lately.  If you’re not familiar with it,  it was written in 1903 by Cleland B. McAfee.  It’s a beautiful song, however, I like the third and fourth verses the best:

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.
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There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.

These verses remind me that wherever my quiet place is, it’s a place that I can fully release my burdens and my joys to the Lord.  It’s a place I can find peace.  It’s my prayer that you also have a place like that.

Thanks for letting me share my heart.  

Joy to You!


 

 

By the way:  Beginning October 1st, I’m joining with many other writers as we blog our way through the 31 days of October.  I’ve participated in this challenge the past few years and really enjoyed it.  This year, I am sharing some of the lessons I learned in our time of transition.  I’d be honored if you joined me. 

Still I Will Say – A Monday Meditation

Mon_meditations_revdI am often keenly aware of the fact that this life is full of trials…sorrow…disappointments.  I listen to the prayer requests at church where people I care about tell of aging parents, friends and loved ones that have been diagnosed with cancer – or some other disease.  Folks share of relationship strains, difficulties in their jobs, financial difficulty, and how they feel distant from God.

As I read God’s Word, I am reminded that none of this is really new.  The Old Testament – as well as the New Testament – had it’s share of all of the above.  And more.  So I have to ask, why am I surprised when trials come? Why do I think that my family, or friends, should be immune to them?

Last night at church, our music minister lead us through a beautiful song that really sums all of this up.

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This song has special meaning.  It reminds me of friends who lost their precious baby when he was almost full term.  Her due date was very close and he went to be with his Heavenly Father.  Their strength, their testimony lived out during the days following his passing was simply amazing.  The mom, my sweet friend, reminded countless people that even though she had lost her child, she was blessed.  I stood in amazement of her.  I still do.  To this day, I get tears in my eyes when I hear this song.  Hearing it humbles me.  It reminds me that in ALL, I am to be thankful.  In ALL, I am to praise Him.

I have no idea what you may be facing but I do know that He is with us “in the desert place”…He is with us “in the land that is plentiful”…He is with us when “the sun’s shining down” and “on the road marked with suffering.”

And so….Still I will say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

Joy to You!

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Enter In

Can you believe that it’s already November?  It is really just registering with me.  That means that Christmas is coming.   SOON.
That also means that this is the month that we seem to focus on being thankful.  There are Facebook challenges to post something we’re thankful for every day in November.  I have participated in this type challenge for the past few years. This year, I decided not to.  It’s not that I’m any less thankful than last year or the year before that.  It’s just that, well……..I am realizing more and more every day to be thankful all the time.
I like to read at least one Psalm a day.  It helps remind me of God’s faithfulness from the beginning of time. Yesterday I read Psalm 100.  It’s one of those that many of us memorized as a child.  Have you ever noticed the instruction it gives?  It goes like this:
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his;we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
I have probably said it, read it 100+ times.  What I am not sure of is if I ever paid real attention to the instructions.  I laugh all the time about the “make a joyful noise” part.  My singing is joyful and most would say it’s definitely noise. {smile} Anyway, I love to sing.  That is how we are to enter his presence.  Isn’t that what corporate worship is all about?
Verse 4 reminded me that every time I come into His presence I should be thankful.  Even for the hard stuff.
Bless His name.  He is worthy of our praise.
The last verse reminds us that He IS good.  His love endures forever.  What a promise!  What a reason to be thankful!
Happy November!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJoy to You!

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Jesus Paid It All ~ Day 31: Hymns of Praise

It’s November 1.  This is my final Hymns of P31 hymns 300raise post.  This has been quite a journey.  Yesterday I mentioned that I had all 31 Hymns planned but had changed my mind on the last one.  I changed my mind because of the focus on praising the Lord for a month.  I should praise Him all day, every day but I fall short because life happens and I let things get in the way.
So tonight, for my last post,  I want to highlight one more new version of an old favorite.  Jesus Paid It All was originally written by Elvina Hall in 1865.  Ms. Hall wrote the words on the inside of a hymn book during a Sunday sermon when she began thinking about all that Jesus had done for us and realizing that He truly had completely paid for our sins.  
The weight of that realization is tremendous.
It should do something to us!   Or should I say, that realization should cause us to do something.
That’s why I love the updated version by Kristian Stanfill.  It tells us what to do — PRAISE the One who paid my debt and raised my life up from the dead.  What beautiful instructions.  What a precious thought to bring us to truly worshiping Him.
These 31 posts have been just that.  Praising our Lord because He is worthy.  Worshiping Him because He paid it all.
Thank you for joining me this month.  I pray that you have been encouraged.  Please click HERE for an overview of all 31 hymns featured.
Joy to You!

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How Great Is Our God ~ Day 30: Hymns of Praise

It’s the last day of October.  I can’t believe that, save 1, I posted for 31 days….on the same topic.  I missed one so will I welcome November with that post tomorrow.
It’s been an unusual month around our house for various reasons.  I found myself often overwhelmed.  Writing for 31 days on praising the Lord has been like medicine.  Coincidence?  I think not.  God has plans for us and He knew that I, more than anyone, needed the reminder to praise Him all the time this month.  
Today’s song is How Great Is Our God. It was written by Chris Tomlin and friends.  It’s a favorite.  I love that the words cause me to really think about who God is.  He is great and mighty.  He is worthy to be praised.  
May these words bring you to a point of worship.
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 Joy to You!

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