The First 30 Minutes of Church

I sing “Christ is enough for me” but I don’t actually always live in that truth because I lack faith… and am constantly trying to come up with solutions for myself that make what I feel I am missing, “enough.”  If I look at it coldly, I don’t believe He is enough for me.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9

I sing “I will call upon your name/and keep my eyes above the waves/when oceans rise/ my soul will rest in your embrace”  but in reality, my eyes are not at all above the waves.  My soul is restless and seemingly fighting His embrace.  I drown in my sorrows and fears and I do not call upon His name as the oceans rise.
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” Ps. 55:22

I sing, “God you pursue me… with power and glory…unstoppable love that never fails” but I only wish I lived like I knew His love is unstoppable.  I don’t though.  I live as if His love will end imminently, without warning and fully gone.
“Praise the Lord! He is good! God’s love never fails.” Ps. 136:1

I sing, “I am a tree bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy” but I’m not actually bending!  I am standing straight up and staring at that wind and mercy and rebelliously shouting to God, “I’m the unbendable tree! You made me this way and I can’t bend!”
“Who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it?” Rom. 9:20
“Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” Ps. 100:3

I sing, “My hope is built on nothing less/Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness/I dare not trust the sweetest frame/But wholly trust in Jesus’ name” but my hope has not been in Him “all the day long”  My hope has been shaken by drought and storm.  I doubt the name of Jesus.  My hope gets lost…
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.” Rom. 5:5-8

This is the condition of my heart.  I fall again and again.  I forget to trust my Maker.  I forget that He died to set me free!  I forget His unending mercy and love.  I forget every day!  I hear His mercies are new every morning, but in the morning, I despair.  His praise is on my lips and in my heart….but life begins to happen and I forget!

In his book, The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence challenges himself to remain consciously in God’s presence at every moment.  Whenever he realized that he was not spending any given moment in God’s presence, “he addressed himself to God saying ‘I shall never do otherwise if you leave me to myself; it is You who must hinder my falling, and mend what is amiss.’  After this he gave himself not further uneasiness about it” (P.19).

Unless I practice what I am saying during worship, and truly worship in those moments outside of church…the situations when worship costs…I am just a clanging gong, noise, endless babble, useless, lying.

Worship at church is to remind us of Who He is so that we do not forget!
It’s easy to say those wonderful worship song words; it’s not easy to live them.

Live a day…. constantly in His presence.  Remembering every word you said to Him in worship.  Do you still mean it?  Do you want Him to “break your heart with what breaks His? Give everything you are for the Kingdom’s cause?”
So, my prayer today & this week & and this lifetime is:
Lord, make me aware of my afflictions becoming eclipsed by your glory.  Help me realize how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me! Spirit! lead me where my trust is without borders. Take me deeper than my feet would ever wander. Lord, if left to myself, I will forget that Christ is enough for me.  Hinder my falling and mend what is amiss. Drench my soul as mercy and grace unfold ~I hunger and I thirst. I know you hear my cry. I surrender. No turning back.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. Lam. 3:21-23

Praise and Worship

 

She danced before the mercy seat gracefully performing for the Holy One.  He watched her with great pleasure, not at the beauty of her movements or the wind her body created causing her unblemished gown to flow and glide with every twirl and twist; His pleasure was in what was to become of her. Naturally, it was a beautiful dance.  Her feet bounced and tapped at every beat.  Her arms displayed the beauty of the music that surrounded the atmosphere.  Outwardly, she gave Him her apparently flawless performance, working hard to please Him with her dance of praise.

But inwardly, her heart moaned.  She felt inadequate in His presence.  She saw His splendor piercing her through her peripheral vision as her body tasked itself to please Him with a flawless dance.  She wanted to show Him her love and allegiance through this deliberate, preconceived, rehearsed, and perfectly timed performance of devotion to Him.  Then He would see.  Then He would know.  He has everything.  All of her.  Her heart softly whispered to Him, See how hard I’ve worked for you?  See how I’ve practiced my steps for your pleasure?  See how my body memorized these steps to entertain You?

He just watched, waiting…

One, two, three, four….repeat

One, two,three, four….repeat

She delighted in the flawlessness of her praise. One, two, three…. NO! 

The pain of the misstep was severe.  On her knees she fell, left ankle throbbing, music still blaring. The King watching intently.

Jesus!  Jesus! She screamed out. Jesus. My praise! My King.  I wanted to delight you! I wanted to praise you! I wanted to show you my love for you!

He turned His eyes from her.  His eyes turned downward.

She read disappointment.  She read failure. He is displeased. 

Unable to walk, she crawled to Him. On her hands and knees she crawled. Her tears wet the floor as she eased her way towards Him.

It was as if every wound in her heart paralyzed her body.  Every scar removed, every bandage unwrapped, all medicine flushed.  She was raw and exposed.  The consequence of feigned and failed perfection coupled with the realization that her sins splattered out across the floor. He can’t see me like this. 

Oh but He did.

She edged to Him.  Hands shaking to grasp Him at His feet. Her hands edged their way up, gripping his ankles. She opened her eyes and looked straight through the holes in His feet. Reaching down to touch the wound, she realized she had caused his foot to become dirty. She began to wipe away the stain from His skin. The more she wiped, the more stained He became. She wiped harder, and He began to bleed! Oh Jesus! I’m sorry!  I’ve caused you to bleed. 

He reached down and touched her head. “Rise up. Come to me.”

She lifted herself off the floor and reached into His embrace.

…and they danced.

 

Joy

I woke up 3 times last night with my heart pounding. I don’t know what I dreamed of, but I had great fear. My anxiety level is high. I’m trying so hard to choose joy, but I continue to fail and let my worry and anger and fear overcome me…though its mainly subconscious. I asked God today how I can go on and how I can handle such things. He reminded me of the peace that comes to me through writing. When I quit writing online, on this page, I did so because I thought my posts were too depressing and indicative of complaints. I stopped writing without “thinking” about it and started thinking too much. Also I’m not in the Word as I have been in the past. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It comes through Him. I can’t choose it on my own; I can only obtain it by His grace. This is the solution. The circumstances being solved in my favor isn’t, seeking Him is.

I need a lot right now….a lot! However, I need joy and peace more than anything.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…Then all these things will be added unto you.

Write

Do you ever have one of Those nights where the time passes you by?
The household sleeps yet you creep around like a dog in the night looking for a place of rest. I’m in one of those nights right now.
I’m lurking through the corners of my heart
Peering at old hurts and memories of events that made me who I am today.
I wonder where it fits into who I am at this moment.
It suggests regret, though I feel none of that.
There’s no time for shame and hostility towards my former self; yet, I give myself permission to observe the bruises and scars left by perceptions and pain that drove me to join together the need to survive with God given idiosyncrasies.
In this I realize I have been carrying my load as a weary traveler lugging dirty clothes on a wheeled carrier filled with the remnants of a journey that has past.

The only thing I hear In this night silence is a subtle command,”write.”

Speak

When I am conflicted
And feeling afflicted
I turn to You Lord.
I reach for Your Word
To give me answers.

Showers of grace and mercy;
Revelation in my midst.
The more I learn of Your ways,
The more I study Your good name,
The more amazed I become!

Spoken Word, written
From the days of Old.
Constant relevance
Still reigning true
In Yours truly.

No other do I love
Above You;
My trust falls in You.
I will not go forward
Until I hear from You.

Once the Word speaks,
This daughter moves.
Until then, I am still.
In Your whispering,
Lord, I trust in you.