True Worship

During a conversation with my Heavenly Father, I was reminded that we are all called to worship Him.

Questions raced into my mind: “What is worship, really?” “How do I know that I’m worshipping Him in a way that is true and pleasing to Him?” I know that we are to praise His Holy Name. I know that we are to have a heart of gratitude. I know that we can sing to Him, pray to Him, lift our hands to Him, and kneel before Him and all of that can be included in our worship. I was wanting to know a bit more; I wanted to know how to worship Him in the truest sense of the word – when it’s just me and Him together.

This is what I learned: True worship is total awareness of being in God’s presence, basking in the warmth of His love, knowing we belong to Him, understanding that we can trust Him and embracing the joy only He can give. An outflowing of this holy time together might be tears of gratitude, hands raised in praise, knees bowed in reverence, songs softly sung, or a calm quietness in our soul…whatever the Holy Spirit pours onto us and overflows into that moment.

True worship is not something we manufacture, or practice, or perform. It’s a state of being, not of doing. It’s a moment in time when our bond with our Heavenly Father is so strong that all we can do is glorify Him.

 

 

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Vision – Bigger Than I Can Comprehend

I often sit in my backyard gazebo actively seeking a deeper awareness of God’s loving presence in the moment.

One early morning,  sitting in the gazebo, I was talking with my Heavenly Father, asking Him to visit with me. (There are still so many times I would really appreciate seeing Jesus sitting across from me, eating chocolate chip cookies and having a visit like I have with my other friends.) I was going over the issues in my mind, giving them to Him, asking for wisdom and guidance as the day continued to unfold.

Finally, when my mind was able to be quiet and my body still, the Lord gave me this vision:

I had always pictured myself running to my Father when I needed comfort. He would wrap His arms around me and hold me close, allowing me to rest in His loving care, feeling His majestic strength, and knowing He is my refuge. His appearance, in my human mind, was maybe a bit like a devout patriarch, like Moses.

The Lord gave me these words: “I’m bigger than that.”

Immediately, I was given a vision of a huge, loving cloud-like entity that I knew to be God, my Heavenly Father. He was showing me quite clearly that His love is so much greater than the human love I know and His presence, His being, is all-encompassing, not able to be contained, but continuing on forever and ever, eternally.

When I say God is awesome, I mean it, but the word itself is not able to convey the ultimate power, the limitlessness, the eternal sovereignty of our mighty God.

To know that we are loved and called beloved by our Heavenly Father is a treasure beyond our human mind’s ability to comprehend.

 

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The Day Unfolds

A pretty piece of folded cloth lies before you, and you know there is something special folded inside that cloth. You have a choice. You might hurriedly tug, pull, and maybe rip the beautiful cloth (a treasure in its own right) to reveal the hidden treasure inside, or you might take your time, appreciating the feel of the cloth and the sheen of the fabric as you gently unfold it to find the treasure inside. The choice is yours. You can stress and hurry to get to the “goal” or you can enjoy the moments along the way.

That’s what I’m learning during this period in my life. I’ve been retired for more than a year now. The first year, I worked on a book with my son and a friend, published, it, and looked for ways to share the book. I went from being “busy” in my employer’s office to being “busy” in my home office.  It was an amazing, joy-filled time.

Then…I waited, thinking the Lord would show me the next goal. I waited and waited. I talked with my Heavenly Father and waited some more.

I learned that sometimes it’s best to let the days gently unfold. Being ever mindful of God’s loving presence in the moments of a day reduces anxiety and stress. It’s like the difference between a raging river and a gently flowing stream.

I learned to relax, just a little, and not feel too guilty for not knowing the next step in this journey of my life. During prayer, the words, “Be still” were often ushered into my thoughts. (He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIV)

I didn’t understand why it was so hard to wait on the Lord, to be still and trust in His plan. I thought maybe it was because I was not accustomed to quieter, calmer days and maybe I was missing the “busyness” of a routine day with a list of tasks to accomplish.

Talking this issue over with the Lord, I remembered some of the words and phrases my parents said to teach my brother and me how to be responsible adults. You might have heard some of these in your childhood, as well.

“Get up, Sleepyhead, we’re burning daylight!” Dad used this phrase when we were traveling to visit our-of-town relatives and he wanted to get an early start.

“Let’s get ‘er done!” These were Dad’s words when we had a task or project to complete. Getting it done was not something you put off for another time. No, you got busy and got done.

“You can’t sleep the day away.” Mom said this if we wanted to sleep later on the weekend than she thought we should.

“Get up and get around. We’ll have breakfast with Dad.” During the summertime, Mom expected us to help with household and yard chores. Everybody had to do their part; no lazybones allowed.

Perhaps even more than their words or phrases, though, my parents taught by example. They worked hard and taught my brother and me to do the same. They also taught us to make time to enjoy our family and friends. I’m not sure why the “working words” settled deeper into my brain than the “making time for family and friends” words. I do know, though, that “being still” and “waiting on the Lord” didn’t come easily to me.

I’m beginning to understand a bit better after the past few days of watching my days unfold instead of hurriedly running from one task to another, taking “control” of the minutes in the day. This is what I’ve noticed: When I awaken, thank the Lord for the day and ask Him to make me continuously aware of His presence, I get more done in less time. The day gently unfolds. I take care of the day’s tasks, or meet the day’s challenges, knowing I have God’s presence with me. I may sit still for a while, visit with my husband, pet the dogs, read a book, or watch the birds eating from the birdfeeder outside the kitchen window. There are many moments in a day and every single one is a gift from the Lord, whether we are praising Him as we work to accomplish a goal or just being still and gratefully enjoying our blessings.

 

 

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Just a Thought

sharing the truth from Wally Fry – thank you, Wally.

Truth in Palmyra

Philippians 4.8

My brain has limited room.

What I let into it matters.

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Hope Returns

With my husband’s current medical issues, fear started overtaking hope. I know fear is not God’s plan for an abundant life. He gives us hope – always – in the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Understanding and trusting in God’s promises is our privilege as His beloved.

Sometimes, during difficult circumstances, it seems as if I invite fear to settle into my heart, bringing all the worldly negatives with it. I continue to pray and ask for my Father’s help. He hears every single prayer. He has never failed me.

Today is proof of that.

This morning, hope returned. Finally, after more than 2 months of medical visits and with lots of help from medical personnel, my husband was fitted with a BIPAP mask that may be able to help him with his sleep apnea.  Having proper sleep will help as he adjusts to his new pacemaker. There’s hope that he will continue to heal and will have more energy once everything is monitored and adjusted.

He has been weak for so long. He was getting discouraged. I couldn’t be of any help other than going with him to medical appointments. I was getting discouraged.

I know God is in control. I also know we do have valleys to walk through, and God promises never to leave us. Still, the waiting and not really knowing how it will all work out causes me to have anxious, fearful thoughts.

Discouragement, for me, means a lack of hope. I knew that wasn’t true because Jesus is our hope, but I did not have that feeling of hope. Being without that feeling made my shoulders slump, my heart heavy, and my emotions swirl.

Today was the day! In His perfect timing, my Heavenly Father took the heaviness of the feeling of hopelessness away. In its place, I felt the joy of the Lord, and the return of the faithful hope that only He can give.

We have hope again and a happy dancin’, THANK YOU, DEAR LORD heart full of gratitude! So excited, I texted our sons as I watched their dad sleeping peacefully, wearing his mask, and actually getting good rest after so many stress-filled nights of sleeplessness and anxiety.

I am reminded, too, that even when our circumstances seem hopeless, and the answers we seek are not the ones we are given, God is still in control and ultimately, His perfect will and His undying love for us always restores our hope!

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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I’ll Be There

My daughter-in-law called, and hurrying her words, said, “What are you doing right now?”

“Cleaning.”

“People are coming to look at the house and I only have an hour to get it ready! Can you come help?”

“I’ll be there.”

What she didn’t know was that I had asked the Lord a little earlier that morning to let me be watchful and ready to receive the blessings of the day…

She and my son are in the process of selling their house and have been keeping it clean. It only needed a few minor tweaks to get it “show ready.”  We finished in plenty of time.

As I was preparing to leave, she thanked me, and I said, “It was my blessing.” She grinned and said, “I don’t see how it was a blessing to clean.”

I love being with her anytime and being able to help her made me glad.  I treasure our relationship and the fact that she feels free to call me when she has a need. Having a loving family is a gift to cherish, and I thank God for mine. (Besides that, I enjoy cleaning. She thinks that’s weird. I think it’s because I have so many happy memories of working with my mom and my aunt, learning to cook and clean and care for a family.)

Blessings are all around us – everyday – and being aware of them and grateful for each one makes us even more aware of them. On this particular day, my daughter-in-law’s request for help was my blessing!

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“This is What You Do”

Author’s Note: From 40+ years ago…just wanted to share this story of God’s gentle instruction.  I remember it so clearly and still thank God for His loving care – always!

Standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes, a memory popped into my mind of the time my aunt cut the tip of her finger off. She wrapped the injured finger in a towel, placed the severed fingertip in ice, held her bleeding hand above her heart, and drove to the hospital.

Right after the memory came God’s instruction and I knew: “When you cut your finger off, this is what you do.”  Three times, this sentence was ushered into my awareness. I knew it was my Heavenly Father and responded, “Okay. When you cut your finger off, this is what you do. I know. I understand.”

Two days later, my four-year old son was “working” on his little bicycle, and two fingers were injured. The tip of his right index finger was hanging on by a tiny bit of skin and he had a deep gash in his middle finger.

When my mom saw us hurrying to the bathroom, she asked, “What do we do?”

I said to her, “Mom, I know what to do.” I wrapped his hand in a towel and asked him to hold it above his heart, and we hurried to the emergency room.

A plastic surgeon reconnected the index fingertip and sewed the gash on the middle finger. We stayed overnight in the hospital and had several follow-up visits with the surgeon.

My son is grown now and both of us know what to do “when you cut your finger off.”

God’s instruction was clear, timely, and did not frighten me. I just figured there might be a day I would cut my finger off and need to know what to do. I had no idea it would be my son’s finger, or I would have been terrified. I am so thankful that our Heavenly Father communicates with us in a way each of us can understand. After I did my part and the surgeon did his part, God took care of the actual healing of my son’s fingers.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble

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