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

Counting My Blessings with Deb Wolf

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

I am Undone

Today is one of those Saturdays with on and off again sunshiney crispness that makes me want to drink hot tea, eat green beans with brown gravy, and contemplate the complexities of college football.  I have taken a week off from doing nothing to do nothing.  I have time.

Unlike any previous fall, this season lends an air of strangeness.  Pleasantly 80 degrees, windless days grab my attention.  Growing grass and fluttering leaves intersect as a contradiction in my thoughts.  For me, this is new.  

Complimenting the out of doors season is the season within me.  I find myself in a new place physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Familiarity hides from my sight.  I’m in the woods, alone with time, and He who stepped out of Heaven to become time; this is a gift.

On day four of endless thanksgiving, I lay time on the altar of gratitude.

This season of my life, this fall, where the grass of my heart stays green, and my roots deepen, is most certainly a gift. Time tunes my hearing as solitary silence draws me near.  Quietly I listen, to hear deep still calling deep.  Time allows the ponderings of my heart to unravel completely.  I become undone.  The creator of everything stepped out of His timeless state to personally hand me a glimpse of eternity unbound by the constraints of time.  I would be foolish to take this for granted and not offer my acknowledgment for a gift I do not deserve.   

Paul writes to the Romans, at the beginning of his letter, that although knew God, they neither praised Him as God nor did they offer thanks.  This omission caused their thoughts to become futile and their foolish hearts to become darkened.  Death is at the center of this darkness; however, the gift of God is eternal life, eternal time.  

The perils of a thankless heart are death, but the giver of all time offers His life freely as a gift.

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Conventions of custom state, when one receives a gift, one offers thanks to the giver.  One acknowledges the giver, as the giver, through the act of thanksgiving.  

Father of all time, accept my words in a precious outpouring of my gratitude for how you have allowed this fall of my heart.  In your presence, I am undone.  You let the silence of time tug and loosen threads until you unravel me completely.  Use time to stitch me completely to you.  Bind me to your heart until I offer you my last breath and cross into the timeless realm.  On your altar, I give time back to you, a sacrifice holy and pleasing in your sight, Lord.  Birth within me a new thanksgiving, you make all things new.  Shatter my heart with never ceasing praise.  Burst me open, overflowing, in acknowledgment that you are the giver, the only giver, of life and eternal time.  Forever, I worship you.  Take my pen and my paper, my exhaling praise, just for who you are.

Singing in the South

I’m in love and my heart sings.

No, no…not because I’m touring the SEC.  Yes, the pecan trees are giant and the peanut fields of Georgia make me hungry.  The rivers and civil war history lead to curiosity.  The temperature is a balmy 72° at sunrise (praise Jesus!)  I could ask for this to all be moved to Big 12 country  (football season has appeared upon my horizon) but it just would be out-of-place in Oklahoma.

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There is one thing that beats all, one victory that stands the test of time, and one team that never loses.  Sis-boom-bah rah-rah-rah!  Yeah God!  For the cheerleaders of the faith, whose life purpose is to encourage–Go team!  Thus, my heart sings!

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When one believer encourages another believer there is courageous strength and unbroken unity.  Hell takes a blow to the chin when a hand reaches down to help another up.

It’s simple really.  When Love wraps His arms around you, it’s hard not to love…everything.  When you’re in love, the world takes on new life;  the sun shines bolder, grass is greener, flowers worship, and never-ending blue floods the sky.  My song is louder when I am in love and my feet dance like no one cares (seriously, a mind of their own).

I have hope!
I have joy!
I am redeemed!
Oh how I love to proclaim it!  I am forever His child.  I am on the winning team!

My heart is bursting in song.  How my soul sings to you Lord.

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Singing is survival.  You can take away my freedom and my worldly possessions.  I have these songs hidden deep within my heart.  You’ll have to take my heart to make the singing stop!
You’ll have to take my life to take my praise.  Even then, I will sing a new song of praise in Heaven!

Worship with me.  Lift your hands to the King of Glory and sing His praise.  Lift your voice in adoration.  Praise the one who gave you life.  Holy hands are lifted high to the name of Jesus Christ.

When I sing, no matter the quality, I am in that moment.  My mind is nowhere else.

Try to sing praise to The King and lament over the woes of the past.  Nope, won’t happen.

Try to worship the Most High in song and worry about the future.  I dare you.  It’s impossible!

No room for worry.
No room for fear.
No room for doubt.
Lift your voice, your hands, and your heart in praise and watch what happens.  This world fades away.  Heavenly hosts join in.   Hell gets scared!  Victory is imminent!

Let’s win this game!
Hosanna to the Highest!

 

Credit Where Credit is Due

I have a host of writing I need to accomplish today; I am so behind.  I give myself deadlines for my hobby, but allow myself grace when I fail.  The world is tough.  I am gentle with myself.   However, before I can accomplish my mission of painting word pictures, I must stop to smell the roses, look at the ants, watch the birds take flight, and give credit where credit is due.

I am waiting patiently on two simple sandwiches while drinking my morning java.  Behind me they are putting in a new tile floor.  I was hoping the Wyoming air would lend its aid–today’s muse.  Wyoming is not a silent state.  Today, a song of thanksgiving sings on the wind.

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Being a writer is a solitary endeavor.  I wander alone in the corridors of the mind searching for open doors that contain the right words to put into practice.  It’s quiet.  Some days words cascade to paint picturesque monologues, others all that flows is the leftover sludge from the previous night’s storm.  The search for encouragement is as lost as the wind blowing aimlessly across the river valley.

Yet, God works in mysterious ways.  He tells the very same wind I see as lost to blow here and blow there.  He is orchestrating chaos into sweet melody.  Sometimes all I hear is clatter.  I fail to catch the vision.  In my limited scope of perception I think God is out of tune.  I am guilty of telling God His song makes no sense.  “Play a different one please, I fail to see the point, this makes no sense.  I can’t even hear a melody”

God replies “It’s my song.  I am perfection.  Therefore it is a perfect song.  Please tune your ears.”

Ouch!  The director of all music just put me in my place.  This is not a first.  I only know of one way to tune my ears.  Sing praise and exhale thanksgiving.  It is impossible to grumble while praising the almighty musician.  So, I lift my voice and my proverbial pen to give credit where credit is due.  The world thinks I am a nut because I truly sing out loud, off-key, and in public…

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Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever…sing praise, sing praise. 

When the darkness closes in Lord still I will say, blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your holy name! 

Holy holy holy is the Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come!

Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds your hands have made…then sings my soul, my savior God to thee, how great thou art, how great thou art.

Ho Ho Ho hosanna, Ha ha ha hallelujah, he he he he saved me and I got the joy of the Lord.  I got the joy, I got the joy, I got the joy of the Lord!  (That was one of my mom’s favorites.  She sang it over and over and over)

The playlist is endless and I sing on.  Does my world magically make sense?

No.

Do I see the point in God’s tune?

No.

But it feels amazing to lift my voice to the one who birthed within me song!

As long as I have breath let me praise!!

Truly it is He, the author of all good things, the creator of my heart’s desires, that I have to thank.  As well, to all the encouragers, the cheerleaders of the faith, Paul said it best…

That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!
Ephesians 1:15‭-‬19 MSG
http://bible.com/97/eph.1.15-19.MSG

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Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Amen
Doxology by Thomas Ken 1674