People all over the world blogging on the same topic on the same day for just five minutes and linking up at Lisa Jo’s place. Today’s topic: Worship.
Worship changes everything.
I have found lately that I am beginning my prayers with worship. As it should be, but hasn’t always been. When I begin my prayer by acknowledging God’s holiness and sovereignty, suddenly my life gets into focus. My problems are in focus. I can see them for what they truly are. Circumstances God is allowing. Circumstances He is bringing. Circumstances He is using to make me into who He wants me to be.
Worship changes the prayers that follow. I am more in tune with God’s will. Desiring God’s will, even when it’s hard.
And worship changes me. It makes me want to follow harder after God. Remembering all that He is and all that He does leaves me in awe of Him. Today all I can see is how He is taking my ashes and redeeming them into something more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
Worship makes me want to live every moment for Him. To do His will. To be His hands and feet. To shine His light everywhere I go.
where you go, I’ll go
where you stay, I’ll stay
when you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
who you love, I’ll love
how you serve, I’ll serve
if this life I lose, I will follow you
Worship changes my heart.
There is a section in My Single Mom Life where Angela Thomas talks about her dad.
“Ever since I can remember, I have been proud to be Joe Thomas’ daughter. It didn’t matter where I went in town; when a person found out that I was the daughter of Joe Thomas, his or her gaze always changed. That person looked at me as if I had value. I was the daughter of a very good man.”
This struck a major chord with me. My dad was a very good man. He lived his whole life with integrity. He was someone you could “put your full weight into”, as Angela says. He spent time with sons of single moms, worked on cars with them, hung out with them. If anyone needed anything and they asked my dad; he would figure out how to help them or find someone who could. I would love to be just like my dad.
He was goofy and fun. He lived with unfaltering integrity, compassion and faith. He went on mission trips to build churches and schools; the kids he met on those trips flocked to him. When he was dying, he signed up for another mission trip, on faith that he would be well enough to go. He died before that trip. And he had made such an impact on the lives around him, that another man in church went in his place.
My dad has been gone almost 13 years. It is such a high for me when I run into people who knew him. When I ask if they remember Don Smith, their faces light up. When I tell them I’m his daughter, their gaze changes.
I will always be so proud to be Don Smith’s daughter.
This plaque was made by a friend of my parents after one of my dad’s mission trips.
So many of us know and love Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
But let’s not miss the next three verses. “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.“
Oh my goodness. The God of the universe just made three huge promises to you and me.
Promise #1. He promises to listen to us.
Our prayers never just go out and get lost. Even when we don’t hear an answer. Even when we have to wait. God not only hears us, He listens to us. That’s a big difference. Listening is active. It means that someone is engaged with us. Involved in conversation with us. Wanting to know what we are sharing.
Promise #2. He promised to be found by us.
If you are sincerely seeking God, you will always find Him. He’s not hiding. He’s waiting. Waiting for you to want Him. Waiting for you to realize you need Him and love Him. If you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him.
Promise #3. He promises to bring us back from captivity.
God made these promises to His people in exile. He called them to pray to Him and seek Him IN their exile. And He promised to bring them back from captivity.
What is holding you captive today?
Whatever it is, give it to God. Take all your cares to Him. He is waiting to listen to you and He is the only one who is fully capable of bringing you back from your captivity to the life of freedom in Christ that He wants for you.
Seek Him with all your heart. He is waiting for you.
I like looking at the blog stats. It’s fun for me to see how people are finding me. And I wonder who you are. What your story is.
I just saw one that reminded me of me. One of you searched “how do we find joy in God’s wilderness”. I remember feeling that way right after my husband left. Actually, I probably felt that way for months before, too. The Bible tells us to have joy in all circumstances. To give thanks in everything. I remember wondering how that was even possible.
I don’t believe that God expects us never to be sad. Or scared. Or hurt by this world. David was a man after God’s own heart and he was often sad and terrified. The circumstances of his life were hard. But he never lost faith during the hard times. He held tight to God. He clung to God. He was honest with God. He didn’t wait until life was rosy. He didn’t wait until he felt strong and trusting before he approached his God. He just talked to God and told Him everything. Told God he was afraid for his life. Told God he wanted to give up. Told God it was too much.
Then he told God that he still trusted him. That he would still praise God no matter what. I think that’s what made him a man after God’s own heart. He came to God all the time. He was totally open and honest about how much he was struggling, but made a willful choice to praise God anyway.
And in the praising is the heart of the matter. Praise can turn our focus off of the terrible circumstances around us and onto the one who holds the whole world in His hands. Your world. My world. The world of the orphans, widows, abandoned, helpless, lost. All of it. He hasn’t forgotten you. He is right there cheering you on. Telling you to cling tighter.
If you are in a storm, here is one thing God is saying to you.
Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
I am praying for you.