In the Valley

“Why do you worship?  What’s the point?” someone recently asked me.  

Before my fall from grace, I could not answer that question.  I loved singing the songs, lifting my hands in the air, and proclaiming that Jesus was Lord.  His presence was real around me and brought the fuzziest of warm feelings.  As well, I adored how worship drew me into Him.  Dancing before Him with no abandon was acceptable, and I loved to participate.  Worship was magical, to say the least.  However, one key element was missing–my “why?”  I was merely going through the motions of worship void of reason.

In between everlasting and everlasting is a chasm I call life.

In the beginning was God.  Similarly, in the end, will be God.  The in-between space?  That’s my life, my valley, where I landed when I fell from grace.  It is the trail through to the other side that I must travel on my journey from here (now) to there (everlasting).  I’ve set up camp, but not made my home; I’m only passing by.

Before my fall, I never imagined life becoming hard.  I look back now and think how comfortable life truly was.  Never, in a million years, did I imagine life taking a left turn straight into painful.  Nor, did I believe I would live life in the valley just waiting.

“Just waiting?  Waiting for what?” you ask me.  Waiting on God to move.  I’m waiting on patience, deliverance, and healing.  I’m waiting on the unseen to materialize, the Heavens to open so a heart will change, and time to fly so I may see the other side post haste–this list of waiting is endless for certain, I could ramble for several paragraphs.  I’ll spare you, but tell me, for what are you waiting?

The waiting or the exit

Previously, I made my own way.  If life grew slow and I was forced to hold on, I took matters into my hands and kept moving.  I wasted no time by staying still.  Consequently, I walked into the depths of my valley willingly.  I assure you the weight of the world did not dump itself uninvited into my camp.  Trying to weasel my way out of one complicated situation, I failed to stay the course and took the path marked “life is easy when you do it your way.”  However, this valley, I will not leave without a fight.  That which does not kill me refines my imperfections.   I will call upon the Lord for He alone is worthy to be praised!

That which does not kill me refines my imperfections. Click To Tweet

Every valley has a way out (yours included); exit stage left into the world of blessingless easy.  It’s there for the taking just like it was for my Savior in His darkest hour.  He had the power to remove Himself from the cross.  Shamefully, I admit that my exit is staged;  every detail in place should I decide to quit (again) and not wait upon the Lord.  He hung tight to that cross and gave the gift of salvation to humanity.  I sit still to wait on Him, and I will see Him face to face.

The Lord does not dwell in “chart your own course.”

In the valley, I cry out

When the valley is hard

In my valley, in my darkest times, I cry out, “who will rescue me from this body of death?”

The Lord answered me and said, “I am He!”

In the terror of the night deep in my valley, I cry out, “who will deliver me from this hell?”

The Lord answered me and said, “I am He!”

Sinking into the quicksand of the valley floor, valley I cry out, “who will set my feet upon the rock?”

The Lord answered me and said, “I AM HE!

The winter winds blow through the valley briskly, never ceasing.  The uncomfortable air chills even the warmest of summer’s day.  However, it is here God has said “stay” and so I wait.

There is a blessing at the end of waiting.

There is a blessing at the end of obedience.

There is a blessing worth all the hell at the end of the valley.

If the blessing is in the valley, the heart of the valley is where I wait.  I will not miss out again.  I will wait.

Refined by waiting

There’s something pure about being stripped clean in the midst of waiting.  The longer I hold on, the purer I become.  Refined by waiting?  Maybe.  Refined by worshiping Him from the valley of hell on earth?  Yes!

And that is the key, my golden ticket to survival and my why.  I’ve seen the alternative.  I’ve known a life apart from God.  I’ve been to hell, and the Lord God Almighty loved me enough to rescue sheep number ninety-nine time and time again.  So, I worship in the wait.  I worship in the valley.  I worship by the campfire in the dark of night because I don’t wait alone.  His rod and His staff comfort me.  The tools of His trade, to keep me from harm, are by my side at His ready should my life be threatened or should I dare to stray.

I worship from the realization that the Creator and Lord of absolutely everything saved me from eternal damnation.  I have a reason to sit and wait and worship Him.

in the valley psalm 23

With my eyes focused on upon He, for whom I wait, and my mindset upon everlasting, I lift my voice in praise.  His promise is Truth, and His timing is perfect.

“And the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”  Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Helen H. Lemmel

The wait will drive you insane if you let it and time can kill the greatest faith.  Silence is the voice of the enemy, the only way to win is praise.  The Lord inhabits the praise of His people, and He alone is victory.

Silence is the voice of the enemy, the only way to win is praise. Click To Tweet

Do you realize?

I think we all go through valleys; I don’t think I’m alone in this.  I believe we all wait on the Lord to move.  It’s not the wait that matters; it’s what you do while you wait.  Do you grumble and complain while you sit and wallow like little piggies in the muck of the wait?  Do you search for the quickest way to action?  Do you lift your praise just going through the motions because it is the right thing to do?  Or do you stand and praise Him, empty hands held high expecting Him to fill you to overflowing in the land of the dry?  Do you praise Him because on the other side is hell and He fights to keep you out?  Do you worship because you are sheep number ninety-nine?

Do you worship because you are sheep number ninety-nine? Click To Tweet

The longer you wait to praise, the easier it is to quit.  The more you lift your voice in praise, the easier it is to wait.  Choose your path wisely; eternity depends upon it.

The joy of the Lord floods my soul and I cry out to Him for He is good!  He is worthy to be praised, especially in the wait.

Prayer

Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord, so we may see that from which you saved us.  Cause the revelation of the magnitude of life apart from you to birth within us authentic worship for you have rescued us.  We owe you our worship and give it willingly according to what you have done!  All glory and honor and praise to the one who said: “I AM HE!”

 

Please join me in making new friends at these Link-ups!

#SittingAmongFriends with Jamie Wiebel

 

When the Going Gets Tough

My colorful world morphed to dull when I failed to worship God.  I gave my approval to this earth and all creatures here below; I neglected to notice the fade.

Forgetting the fade

My hopes, my identity, and my future tightly wrapped in the hands of humanity staged the basis of my worth.  The creed of my life stated, “It’s just easier this way.”  Life was easier when I slipped away from myself and went with the flow of life; the fight calmed, and the chaos ceased.  With that, I surrendered my strength to fight.  Subtly, I gave my worship away to things that did not care about my soul.

The strength to fight what pulls you under only comes from God; the Holy Spirit within Click To Tweet

Worship is Power

When I worship what the Creator created instead of the Creator, I abandon the power needed to fight the weight of the world.

Without His power, the spiraling cycle of destruction in my life is never-ending.  The current of the undertow is mighty; on my own, I am unable to fight.  As quickly as my head is above water, the hands of the undertow grab my feet and whisk me away.  The struggle to stay afloat is real.  Yes, it is easier to go with the flow, to be sucked under, and drown under the weight of water.  It is also detrimental to my health.

If I were able to turn my life into words on a page, I would tell of what happens when you know God, but forget to praise and worship Him as God.  The story of separation has a desolate feel and fighting my way out of the current is the biggest struggle of my life.  Outside forces fight against my daily battle to identify with Christ.  The undertaking of belief in who God’s word says I am and not what this world says I am, is mighty.  The loud voice within me who chants the word “failure” is supremely convincing, consistently pointing out my flaws and my areas of lack.  While the still small voice whispers, “you are who I say you are, I am the one who made you.”  If I do not worship, I will not hear that still small voice, and the noise of this world wins.

If I do not worship, I will not hear Him. Click To Tweet

My only means of escape is through praise and worship.  When this world is too much with me, which happens more often than I will admit, the only way to keep my head above the rising tide is to raise my hands and cry “Yahweh!” –He who was and is to come is the one who lives in me!

When the going gets tough, the tough fight through worship

Worship invites the Holy Spirit to draw near.  When I lift my voice, when I give my words back to the one who gave them to me, He is glorified.  When I give my gift of life back to the Giver of all gifts, the miraculous happens.  The miraculous pulls me from the swirling thoughts of destruction and places my feet on solid ground.

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”  Psalm 40:2 NIV

Psalm 26-12

Ignite your Faith

Worship ignites my faith and makes miracles possible.  When I praise Him, I set my mind on Him and Him alone.  Yahweh’s presence is the place I find peace; it is the place I find clarity, it is in this place I remember whose I am.  When I remember whose I am, I find my strength to fight.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NIV

Psalm 139-14

My prayer

Spirit of Jesus living within me, you never falter nor forsake.  Holy is your name, worthy to be praised.  My Yahweh–evoked by the mysterious and awesome splendor of the manifestation of the holy.  You are my “I Am” because you are.  You have no beginning and no end.  You are “I Am.”  You are my ultimate reality.  Outside of you, there is no reality.  Reality exists because you make it so.  You are all that is eternal; no space, no time, no universe; only you, my Yahweh.  You depend on nothing because you are everything.  No other being makes you who you are.  Everything that is not you utterly depends on you.  Without you, I am entirely nonexistent.  You are the same yesterday, today, and forever.  You are completely unchanged because you are “I Am.”  You are the standard of Truth for you are Truth.  You indeed are the only one worthy of my praise.

 

You are officially invited to join me at these fabulous link-ups!

Grace and Truth Link up with Arabah Joy

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Worship in Silence

When I can’t find the words

Some days, the words don’t come.  They refuse to travel the path from my mind to my fingertips spilling onto the keyboard and into the page.  

No words bubble over like the release of a shaken soda.  Instead, they are the sludge of unstirred sugar crusted to the bottom of the sweet tea pitcher; they just sit there refusing to blend in or pour out.  

I would be willing to bet you a rock that I am not the only writer who feels this from time to time.  I know how to keep time with the cursor on the page as it blinks steadily laughing in my face and taunting me with its monotonous rhythm.

Tempted to throw it away and push past the silence, I yield to His presence as He takes over. Click To Tweet

Silence lulls me as the music sings.  The words of the songs float through the air, into my ears, and take residence in my heart.

“And I will sing of all you’ve done, and I will remember how far you have carried me.  You are faithful to the end.  I will worship you.  Surely your goodness and mercy will follow me.  There won’t be a day that you’re not by my side, and there won’t be a day that you let me fall.  In all of my life, Your love has been true.  With all of my life, I will worship you.  I worship you, Jesus.”  Faithful To The End, Bethel Music

The reality of still dawns

In this moment, I realize I am still in the presence of the Lord.  The praise to Him engulfs me as I watch the cursor on my blank page pulse.  The words of His Majesty echo through the hollow halls of my empty mind that cannot form a thought to save my life.  Tempted to throw it away and push past the silence, I yield to His presence as He takes over.

Habakkuk 2-20

“Just be still and know that I am God.”  He beckons.  “Let your words fall quiet and rest in me.”  And so I do.  I let the peace fall where it may in my solitary act of worship.

In the quiet stillness with which He has so graciously gifted me, I beg His presence to fall all around me.  This is my act of worship.  With my silent stillness, I offer Him my undivided attention.  No words spoken, no words needed.

With my silent stillness, I offer Him my undivided attention. No words spoken, no words needed. Click To Tweet

Tonight is the season of still

I realize these moments are far and few between in this overpacked world.  Even living alone in the woods, the silence is not as frequent as it need be.

Something could and does demand our attention nearly every second our eyes are open.

psalm 46-10

Just stop!

“Be still” He begs us, “Be still and know I am God.”  Let the white space of a blank page draw you into His presence.

Sit!

Let His peace fall as your praise of quiet ascends towards Heaven.  Enter into His presence with a silent heart void of stuff and things.  Allow Him to form the words of your heart and renew your mind.

Worship Him with your undivided attention!

 

“Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness; tremble before him all the earth.” Psalm 96:9

You’re officially invited to find this post and other great blogs here:

Worth Beyond Rubies — Diane Ferreira

#MomentsofHope Link-Up with Lori Schumaker

Kelly Balarie and Friends – Cheerleaders of Faith

#SittingAmongFriends with Jamie Wiebel

Grace and Truth Link up with Starla Jimenez

#FreshMarketFriday with Crystal Twaddell

Who Do You Worship

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”  Revelation 4:11

I tried to write about worship and failed.  Not once, not twice, but countless times this week.

This week was a long, hard-fought week; it topped the ugly of uglies list.  I searched for the tiniest spaces of silent time to seek the majesty of Christ and cling to His feet only to have the silence just out of reach.  In the relentless pursuit to hold my words, an abundance burst forth spewing from my lips.  They were not words of praise or adoration for anyone or anything.  Long story short, I blew at least three gaskets, and all the worship within me leaked out without being offered as praise.

When it came time to write about worship, desperate for a refill, I sat listening to my music, (the same song playing on repeat), staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page.  Eventually, the words formed in the depths of my core and bubbled out my lips, “BE GLORIFIED!”

If I am not full, this little teapot short and stout cannot and will not pour out.

“Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.”  Psalm 96:9

**Hear my worship as a sacrifice of praise to you my King.  You alone are worthy of my praise.  Fill me with you as I lift my voice in adoration.  Pour into me so I may pour you out through my life.  

As I began to write and dwell on the passages of scripture, I began to worship.  The light bulb of revelation illuminated through the dark shadows in the space I call my brain–just like reading my bible or praying for the sins of the world, worship tops the list of something to do not just on Sunday.  Remain in constant prayer and constant worship.

psalm 96-9

Why do I forget to direct my adoration to the only one worthy of my devotion?  Shouldn’t it be easy to cry out “Holy holy holy is the one who died in my place!  All glory and honor to the one who gave me breath!  I live forever because of you.”

I’m so not worthy of this thing called grace, but oh my heck, He did it anyways. Click To Tweet

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God not gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”  Romans 1:21

May I timidly confess, more than once Romans 1:21 had my name written boldly across it in blood red ink.

“They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them.  They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery.  But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.  Therefore you did not desert them.”  Nehemiah 9:17  

Nor will He desert me because I failed, for a long season, to bow my life before my King.

The simple act of worship causes me to reflect on the majesty and graciousness of my Creator and His sacrificial son contrasted to my unworthiness.

“Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy.”  Psalm 99:9

Worship is my reverent act of submission; humbleness as I bow my will to the one who set the earth in motion.  I have been saved from unthinkable damnation, not because I didn’t deserve it (I truly do), but because the Creator of space and time decided He loved me.  He doesn’t need my worship; He is God and can make the rocks cry out to Him.  He already knows He is worthy.  I need to worship Him.  I need to pay homage, deep, sincere, awesome respect, love and fear to the Holy one who filled my lungs with oxygen and loved me beyond words to save me.  He holds my eternal destiny in His hands.  I owe Him my worship; I am forever indebted for my salvation.  It’s all He asks in return is for me to acknowledge that He is Lord.

 “…Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.  Blessed by your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.  You alone are the Lord.  You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them.  You give life to everything and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”

Nehemiah 9:5b-6

I must worship God, for God is who God is. Click To Tweet

When I worship, I begin to align myself with the person (or thing) I worship.  It’s a scary thought because I am the guilty one of placing people on the throne of my praise.  Frighteningly, I become like what I worship, organically, without even trying.  My overactive mind races back in history to all the rulers or leaders that demanded praise.  (ok, so I thought of Hitler)  Why did the people worship?  Because they wanted to become like the one they worshiped.  They wanted to have the same mindset, same characteristics, same attributes, and the same power as the one they adored.  There’s nothing nor no one here on this beautiful earth that I want to emulate.

“Your ways, God are holy.  What god is as great as our God?”  Psalm 77:13

**May my mind only be set on you, the only one deserving of my worship.  Forgive me for making another Lord of my life.  I pour out my awe, pure unadulterated, honest in spirit and truth, worship as commanded by the one who formed me, for you are the Lord God Almighty.   In humble submission, I offer my worship as an offering for you are the only one worthy of such praise.  From the depths of my heart, I fall on my face in worship.  

psalm 99-9

This week as you go, offer your worship to the only one who can rightfully demand your praise.  Let your words pour forth adoration in a holy sacrifice of to the one who made you, saved you, and will call you home.

 

 

 

 

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#MomentsofHope with Lori Schumaker

Grace and Truth Link-up with hostess Starla Jimenez

The Definition of Praise

It’s time!  Get up from your chair, do a little warm up exercise, raise your hands in the air like you just don’t care; it’s time to praise the Lord!  I take what King David said in 1 Chronicles 15:16 about making a joyful sound seriously.  I am not ashamed to admit; I am a dancer (awful, mostly embarrassing style of dancing but I cannot contain my feet) as well.  Join in, let’s experience Praise and Worship Weekend together!

Here we go, all Majesty, Glory, and Honor to God!

Praise!

By definition, “praise” is the act of expressing approval or admiration; commendation; laudation.

Big words intrigue me to no end, so naturally “commendation” peaked my interest.

Commendation:  the act of commending; recommendation; praise.  For example, commendation for a job well done.  When I dissected this a little further, I found “commendation” under feudal law.   Interesting (maybe just to me).  “The placing of oneself or one’s land under the protection of a lord so as to become his vassal (a person granted the use of land, in return for rendering homage, fealty, and service).”

Surrendering what is mine (or surrendering me) to place it under the protection of the Lord so I may sing His praise and faithfully (obediently) serve Him.  I assure you, I pondered this statement for a million moments.

Surrender, obedience, homage, and servant are several keywords that raced laps through the corridors of my inner brain, the white space where deep thoughts live.

Surrender–to yield, to give up, relinquish.

Obedience–dutiful or submissive compliance

Homage–respect or reverence paid

Servant–a person in the service of another

We give what is ours (but we all know it’s not ours, theoretically, yes.  Actually, no!) back to the Lord, we surrender and turn what we have over to Him for Him to use, and He, in return, protects.

There are days when I don’t want to turn anything over to Him.  I try to keep a little to satisfy my selfish nature.  As my Lord, He asks that I obediently give it over.  I have to hand it over daily because I’m the sneaky five-year-old who takes it all back when nobody’s watching.  Mine, all mine!

**I give up, Lord!  My white flag is raised.  To you, for you to use, take all I have!  Find me obedient in service to you.  Yours, all yours.

As a result of His protection, we honor and praise Him, we speak of His never-ending love, we worship Him, we bow before Him pledging our allegiance.

**King of kings and Lord of lords, you and you alone are worthy to be praised.  I bow my life before your throne.  I pledge allegiance to the Holy of Holies, find me faithful to serve you.

Unlike earthly Lords in the feudal system, the Lord our God never dies; His protection will continue endlessly.  He will never abuse His power or exploit us.  He only wants the best for us.

He allows us to chose on a daily basis.  He never forces our hand or makes demands.  We are free to choose how we serve, what we give, and the level of which we sing His praise.

Psalm 91  The beautiful part, His protection over our lives is not dependent on our actions.  His protection is based off His love for us–pure, true love that gives Himself completely regardless.

The beautiful part, His protection over our lives is not dependant on our actions.  His protection is based off His love for us–pure, true love that gives Himself completely regardless.

**Freely, I give to you.  Before I knew you and gave you all, you loved me first.  When I am a brat, you give to me still.  When I am selfish, you hold nothing back.  When I take it all back and try to claim ownership, you patiently wait for me to let go.  I will sing all my days to offer you praise that you are not like me.  Make me like you!  I want to withhold nothing from you, my Lord.

Even if we do not surrender all, He withholds nothing. Click To Tweet

If we renege on our promise to give up all, He will not take back His love and protection.  This is why we praise and worship the one true Lord.  The longer we walk in obedience to surrender all, the louder our praise to Him becomes.

**I want to yell your matchless praise from the rooftops.  I want to tell the whole world what you have done for me.  When I rise, place your praise on my lips.  When I sleep, cause your praise to pulse through my veins.  May my mouth never go silent as I sing of you!

Why on God’s beautiful green earth would we not surrender all for His protection and sing the praises to a Lord who gives entirely to His limitless extent?

I think that is cause for celebration!  His infinite protection is a source in and of itself to lift my voice and sing to Him.

**To you my Lord, I call out in adoration!  You are matchless in your giving!  Your love surpasses my limited ways.  Forever I give you laud, my hymn of praise!  Dwell in my song, take delight in my praise, for you alone are worthy.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”  Surely He will save you…” Psalm 91:1-3a