Friday, September 30, 2011

Winds and Worship

Today was one of those stellar weather days. And I appreciated it all the more because of the cold, rainy fall-like days we’ve had this week. It was 79 degrees (following days with highs in the 50s). Breezes carried leaves to the grassy yard while wind chimes played original melodies. But it was the wind that made the chimes harmonize. 

Sounds like life. 

Gentle days. We appreciate the blessed moments, the peaceful, joyful times because we know they aren’t a given. Tough days precede them, so we’re grateful when the sun shines through and the rain of trials eases for a while. It’s the comparison that makes us praise. Gratitude makes us worship.

Wind. Breezes elicit melodies from the wind chimes in my yard. In fact, the stronger the wind, the more beautiful, varied, original the tune the chimes create. Do you sing when you’re going through trials? I’ve learned worship is a powerful act/tool while suffering. Worship changes things. Worship brings anointing, and anointing breaks yokes. Worship can turn negative circumstances around, and trials inspire original worship. If you let them. 

Sunshine. Light comes breaking through. Cloudy days can get to people, affecting moods and productivity, especially when dark weather runs on and on. So, when the sun comes out and the weather changes, it’s like a breakthrough in our circumstances. Doesn’t it feel great when your circumstances change? When the Light of God moves into the situation and brings clarity, relief, hope? When an ongoing problem is suddenly solved, or the pressure eases with new resolution?

Awake, O north wind, and come, O south!
      Blow upon my garden, that its spices may flow out.
      Let my beloved come to his garden 
and eat its pleasant fruits.
(Song of Songs 4:16 NKJV)

The Shulamite from the Song of Songs understood all this. In fact, she invited trials to come (equating trials with north wind and good times with southerly breezes) because she knew God would see her through. She’d grow closer to Him in the midst of it all. Her heart’s response toward God would only deepen as she was refined. She knew the best worship would flow from her heart in the midst of this pattern of tough times followed by relief. Her approach certainly banishes fear, doesn’t it?

So, though it’s not necessarily first nature to worship in hard times, I recommend trying it. Open your mouth. Don’t be intimidated by the pressures. Just worship. Meet God in that deep valley. Watch how your worship of God changes you, the circumstances, and your life.

Perhaps worship is the point. Sunny days. Cloudy, cold weather. Trials. Comfort.

What draws you to worship?

Friday, September 16, 2011

You're Right, Lord

Ever talk with someone and hear yourself say, “You’re right, my friend. I did say that.” Or whatever? Well, the other day I heard myself say that to God. “You’re right.” It’s laughable, isn’t it? He’s always right.

I think we can run into trouble if we don’t remember that He’s always right. When He affirms us, He’s right. When He directs us, He’s right. When He gives us His perspective on a situation, He’s right.

One of the reasons we tell others “you’re right” is because we come into agreement with their wisdom or take on something. Our eyes are opened and it clicks. We “get it.” Well, with God, He’s right, even if we don’t “get it.” He’s right even when we can’t see what He’s up to. He’s right even if we don’t agree or can’t understand. He’s. Always. Right.

So, it’s not debatable. We still have a choice of course, but unlike with friends who are human (and flawed), God is perfect. He is always right. See, with friends we can debate something until we come into agreement, or agree to disagree. But with God we aren’t really debating, are we? We’re following. We’re obeying. We’re growing and changing. He’s in charge. We’re His beloved ones, trusting even when we can’t see.

It’s about considering the source. I talk to God like a friend whom I greatly respect. But I’m going to keep an ear out for this “You’re right, Lord” phrase. I have a couple options. I can probably do one of two things: 1) say it every time He speaks, or 2) drop it from our interactions all together. After all, I’m convinced it’ll always be true. :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Trust and Faith

Certain themes come up in my life over and over. Like trusting God. Opportunities to trust Him and invitations to leap from proverbial ledges keep coming up. So, I guess it’s also about faith, right? 

Several days ago, my youngest asked for a Bible story. We read of Jesus sleeping in the boat and His disciples wondering why He wasn’t up and bailing water with them. Honestly, they probably also wondered why Jesus wasn’t as worked up as they’d gotten. But Jesus woke and immediately calmed the storm outside, which eased the storm inside of their hearts. Then he asked a simple, heart-felt question: “Why didn’t you trust Me?”

Wow, reading those words aloud hit me. There are concerns in my life where God has made promises to me and for some reason (trust?), it’s challenging to just leave it alone. I want to keep working on the “problem.” How will God solve it? Oh, He could do this, or this, or this. I pray about it over and over and over and over. (Is that importunity or obsessing? ;)

I don’t have everything figured out, but I know these things are true:

~ Worrying doesn’t help. So if I’m obsessing, it’s not helping. Worrying does not equate with meditating. Better to meditate on His Word than stress over the circumstances.

~ Worship changes things. So, rather than focusing on my problem, I should lift my eyes to Jesus and behold His glorious beauty, and delight in Him. Bringing worship of God into a situation changes that situation. So, in the midst of the tough stuff, worship Him.

~ Begging isn’t necessary. This is a good God we’re talking to and about. He knows our needs. He cares for sparrows, and they never stress out. He’ll care for our needs too.

~ God cares. The Bible says to cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us. (see 1 Peter 5:7) It’d be different if He didn’t care about each of us specifically, personally, individually. But He does. He’s a personal God on a mission to teach us to trust Him and walk by faith.

~ God is able. No matter what we’re facing, what we’re waiting for, the expiration date of our situation and how we’re clinging to Him to answer in time, He is able! Pair that up with the fact that God cares and we have a potent, charged scenario where the Miracle Worker Himself can move. He wants to. Remember that, God wants to move.

~ God is not inactive. He is moving in your situation.

~ God hears. He is near to you, and He hears your heart’s concerns. 

As I read that Bible story, it broke my heart to hear Jesus quietly, pleadingly say, “Why didn’t you trust Me?” Wow. Makes me want to dig in my heels and trust Him no matter what. How about you?