Monday, January 28, 2013

I Will Give You All of Me

I sit and think of the word “worship”, and the ways I have previously understood and used it in the past. I have considered and referred to “worship” as simply the musical part of our service. Although there is worship that occurs as we sing and play (and perhaps dance), it is not the entirety of the experience.

I have used it to describe a means to get to a certain feeling, or a path for feeling refreshed, and alive.

As I grow to love Jesus more and more, I realize worship is so much deeper than that….and so much more than a Sunday Morning experience. We worship whatever rules our time, energy, thoughts, longings and choices. I make time on Sunday mornings to come and gather, and to “worship”. But what about Monday? And Tuesday?

What about the times midweek when I experience His favor? Do I stop, even momentarily, to acknowledge His hand and His presence in the everyday experiences of my life? Do I yield to His direction on a Thursday afternoon when I am running behind? I’m learning to.
In collecting my thoughts to write on the topic of worship, I found myself searching the Word, the dictionary, and of course, the internet. There, I stumbled on a definition that I long to embrace. William Temple writes:

“Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God.
It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness,
Nourishment of mind by His truth,
Purifying of imagination by His beauty,
Opening of the heart to His love,
And submission of will to His purpose.
And all this gathered up in adoration
is the greatest of human expressions of which we are capable.”

The Word is full of examples of people and groups of people gathering to worship God. He is continually seeking “true worshipers” (John 4:23-24). I am grateful for our “worship team” and our corporate gatherings – they are essential! I am grateful that worship moves me, but…
Ultimately, worship is not about me. It is about being in the presence of the One True Living God, acknowledging that He is so much greater than I will ever be, allowing myself to be overcome by His love, and surrendering all-of-me to All-of Him.



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

God at the Gas Pump

 I have begun reading through the Bible-in-a-year....again.  I completed it for the first time just before Christmas and
So I have begun again, with a little different reading plan.

Now, truth be told, "reading" would be, perhaps, stretching it a little bit.  I'm having it read to me.  Which I REALLY love.  It had been my morning routine:  drop the kids at school, and press 'play' on the bible reader on my phone, and hear the Word of God read over me.  But, the routine got a little off with the holidays, so I got a little off.... thus, I've been a little behind.
Today, though, I had an opportunity to catch up. An hour drive to (and from) a meeting seemed like the perfect opportunity to blast through a couple of days.  I was in Exodus, hearing about the daily manna that God provided to the Israelites in the wilderness.... and the warning that storing up more than a day's worth just led to worms and stink.
It reminded me of how God has continually provided for me and my family.... even - and especially - when I didn't know how it could possibly work out. I paid special attention to the fact that, in each day, there is enough, without needing to fear for lack in the days to come.  Trying to depend on myself by "stocking up" on His blessings and provisions, only leaves me with a big stinky, wormy mess.  Despite His faithfulness, I still struggle with that from time to time.
I pulled into the gas station to get enough gas to get to the meeting. Gas prices there are SIGNIFICANTLY lower, so my plan was to fill up on my way home. I just needed enough to GET there.  As I began to pump my $10 worth of gas into my tank, I was reminded of the days - not that long ago - when I would put $10 of gas into my tank, and hope I could squeeze out enough miles to last until my next pay check.  I always managed to... or "somehow" another $10 came my way.
 As I stood there in the cold, on the other side of the pump, a car pulled forward.  Then, I looked more closely, and noticed it was being PUSHED forward.  
"Do you think $5 will get you where you need to go?" the man asked the woman as she stepped out of the car. 
"Yes!  Thank you!"  she replied.  
I realized then that they did not know each other. What I was witnessing was a blessing.  One stranger extending God's grace to another.
She began to share the circumstances she was facing - the primary one being "a nasty divorce".  
As I waited for the dial on my pump to hit $10.00, I considered my options.... do I contribute?  Do I speak?
No.... this one was their opportunity.  "You will have your opportunity soon...," I heard deep down within me.  (I'm on the watch! yes!)
So I thanked Him for letting me witness this gift, and whispered my prayers for the people on the other side of the pump: The woman in need, and those ministering to her.
As I drove away, I smiled.
Once again, humbled by the goodness of God and the way He uses everyday people to demonstrate His mercy and grace...