I say it all the time, the church says it. What does it mean? Does it mean He gives us whatever we ask for? Does it mean He blesses us? Does it mean He makes sure we are cared for? This is how many Christian songs are going. “God is good because of what He does for me” seems the theme. I am protesting. God is good because that is what He is. It has nothing to do with us, it is part of His perfect makeup. God is good with or without us and that is what we should focus our praise and worship on. He is good and loving and holy and just and wanting the best and full of hope and grace. God is so good. We are just little people, one of billions of His created children and each is special yes but we need to get out of the grip of the selfish pride of believing we are the most important person out there. That seems a prevailing notion. You see it everywhere. God is the thing. He is so good. We are not. We cannot be good at all apart from Him. What God wants from us is humble faith, conversation, relationship, worship. He is worthy of our full attention and worship and infinitely more. God is so good!
When we cling to things we think are good for us, things or people we want that we think make us happy, that are not necessarily good or bad, we may very well be either thinking more of ourselves than we ought or elevating our pleasure and worth or the thing or person we cling to’s pleasure or worth above God. And God knows best. God knows what is truly best for us, what will always be best for us and He knows full well His size and magnitude and worth. God knows He deserves our praise and worship and time and service and arms. He knows He is the only One who truly does. And He knows that when we esteem God in our lives as much as we can and focus on Him, we have lasting fulfillment and peace and joy and every good thing and will continue to have these things into eternity with Him. What else can really come close to matter in so much as our Creator? Who deserves more of us than He deserves? And who could possibly love us more? No one. God is the truth, the light, the love, the good, the just, the holy, the perfect, the power, the victor. Only God can give us what our soul drinks deeply enough to satisfy forever. Only God provides the permanent nutrition our soul needs deepest down. That is it. God is everything. Every other thing or person matters less than He does. Nothing would exist apart from Him wanting us here. God wanted us. The most powerful being we have ever even thought of or imagined loves us and designed us and wanted us to be here, to be His children, to love us and be with us.
Not having felt my best for several days now, I woke up again feeling better but very tired and groggy. And my husband took us to brunch at IHOP so I wouldn’t have to cook or clean. I must say, that was a blessing that I appreciate. As I rest and get better, I contemplate the many ways God has blessed my life, sometimes with great things but sometimes with horrible things. Everything has the power of use for lessons learned and growth, wisdome, understanding and maturity. God provides these wonderful blessings from Him stockpile of amazing grace. We should at the least acknowledge Him and thank Him and at best spend our lives in worship of such a generous and beautiful God we can incredibly call Father/Daddy. Wow!
I was a worship leader/music minister at a church for a year to fill the gap. In addition, I have been serving to lead worship for many many years (at least half my life) on worship teams and in worship bands in various churches wherever I have lived. As such, and in addition to much Bible study on worship and strong prayer life, I have gotten a pretty good at spotting right ways and wrong ways to lead worship in church. I think a lot of things lend themselves to success at worship leading about church services and many things are quite opposing the worship of God. First and foremost is the defining of what “worshipping God” actually means. Praising God, talking about His greatness and love and attributes, is a strong component of it, of course. But worship is more than compliments. It is a humbling of oneself and lifting up of a superior Person, the God of the universe. It may be argued that to lead worship is an oxymoron because to properly lead, you are not on a “stage” at all but on your knees or face in humility. But I digress. Worship is a lifestyle. Worship is making everything not about you but about God. Obedience is the highest act of worship. Praise is kind of at the start or sometimes the tail of it. But I have been in MANY worship leading scenarios, supposedly, where it is really a self-glorification in disguise, quite the opposite of worship of God. People listening or participating in the audience were expected to clap, cheer and not for God but the talents He gave the beaming folks on the stage under the lights. True worship is honest, real, humble (keep going back to that word). I am happy when I am done playing and people are moved to tears not to clapping. I want to ignite a heart to God’s love and awareness of His presence in their lives and otherwise. That is leadership. Not that I am all that because I and not but He is. God is our victorious Maker, Creator of everything we know about. Nothing brings Him more joy than a sheep coming home and spending time with Him. Nothing. Praise and prayers are wonderful ascend ascend part of it. But when it becomes a performance, a show, a worship of humanity, a strict scheduled event, a gig, we have missed the mark, which is how the word “sin” is interpreted. The self has to fall off before anyone walks onto a worship platform and thankfully shares God’s incredible attributes to whoever will hear. It is beautiful to recognize God’s greatness together! It is uniting and secure and peaceful and exciting and joyful! And our body language must reflect it honestly coming from our own hearts right with the Lord. No greater purpose exists for us all, everyone, than to worship. And worship is not just singing and music, that is one aspect. The sound man is worshipping, the sanitation manager is worahipping. The deacons are worshipping. By obeying and doing what God has gifted them to do, we worship! More later, just a start of what I have learned.
Worship is not an experience at church, it is a daily, no hourly acknowledgement that God is great and we are small, that He is worthy of honor and respect and we are less worthy. This humbleness of spirit is very difficult for so many people. It is simple, a bowing of the knee of the created in the constant presence of the Creator. It is very difficult for so many because our culture and backwards media glorifies the ego, elevates self, does not acknowledge the Creator, boosts our pride. Our pride does not help us because it is most people’s greatest struggle/weakness. It takes great strength to dismiss our own greatness and power as subservient to a God who is infinitely greater. It takes great faith to yield control and power to God and acknowledge He is and knows best. Once that difficult task has been mastered, that bending or even yielding of will, worship is left. “May God’s will be done. Everything is His and for Him, including me.”This is the attitude, the goal and focus of worship. It is continuous and permanent. It is a lifestyle. Everything else branches off it. It is the core and strengthens everything else. Worship, this humbling us and acknowledging God, is extremely powerful! And it has benefits: peace, joy, richness of life, proper perspective, fruits of the Spirit coming easily, beauty of soul. It is worth every effort you make !
Walking on a cool, crisp cloudless day, my feet decided a road less traveled with the ticket for this liesurely stroll. i arrived at a little bit of a clearing in the trees lining this rocky dirt road or path rather. Through the break I could see two black eyes looking straight into mine. Maybe 30 feet seperated our bodies but our eyes met and minds explored each other’s motives. Big ears straightened tall and neck extended and we observed each other for quite a few moments until she concluded that I was no threat and continued grazing. A beautiful doe alone and then soon not alone as several others appeared around the cusp of trees that had masked them from me. Fifteen total, a small herd for Michigan, all feasting happily on my dad’s corn. He would not be pleased but I enjoyed these animals and enjoyed more the acceptancee of them as a safe place. Maybe a half hour passed, maybe longer, until my black lab refound me after an exploratory mission and consequently found the deer to chase off. Sheba’s playful antics could not sway me from my present peaceful state of mind at the exchange I just experienced. My mind takes me back to that moment sometimes, where wild ones saw me and knew we were connected somehow and accepted me as safe. Both built by a common Father, it does the sould a world of good to make friends with an animal, many. The more we see and know of the creation, the greater homage and worship we pay the Creator. All this is His. He still rules it. And what is made by Him still knows it is made by HIm. They are keenly aware, and being with them reminds us, we who are faced with more distractions than ever, more lies than ever, we can retain a sample and reminder of that purity, that worship, that humbling of ego and uplifting of uniqueness inn design. We are greater when we make Him greater.
I am not talking about presents, so sorry to disappoint those looking for ettiquette on when to purchase the white towels versus a vase of flowers, etc. for different occasions. There arose of late a deep discussion on whether people are really gifted at all or not gifted. It was an unheated but passionate discussion with a teenager who may or may not believe in God but who believes people are not really given gifts from Him, they just like something and practice it to become better. So, I played a scale on the piano (one of my alleged gifts) in a cold straight way. And I said, anyone can do this who likes to play the piano and practices. But were I to ask someone without a gift for music to play the same exact scale conveying happiness or sadness or ambition or hope, chances are this practiced person would look at me confused and play it exactly the same way. However, someone with a gift for music would not hesitate to express those exact things using those same notes. Unbelieving me, I did it. I made that simple C scale be whatever emotion I stated. You see, when you see a gift of God, some particular ability that may not be exclusively given to you but is definitely unique among many, it can only be described as a gift from someone able to do more than most people are able to do. And God of course is the creator of life and giver of gifts. Someone who does not possess advanced knowledge cannot give to someone what they do not have. In an easier manner, I can’t give you a pizza unless I can make pizza first. So, gifts, special abilities that seem to amaze people in that particular area of giftedness, are from God. And here is the rub, He gives us these gifts for a reason. The reason is to help people and worship Him with it. He gives diverse gifts because when everyone uses their gifts, collectively everything we need is provided. It is a big picture perspective that explains everything. All these detailed gifts are for the collective and ultimately for God who made them all. It is beautiful to be a part of such a cohesive unit, a purpose we can all believe in and be for. If you contemplate this for a bit, you will find a new passion for your gifting. It is beautiful to consider!