“Touchdown” Worship

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As you see the stands explode with jumping and screaming fans you too erupt with cries of joy as the quarterback plows through the waiting wall of defense- making the final winning touchdown.

My recent enjoyment of football has my family grinning at me as I jump, shout and scream throughout – a newbie to the game. We all find ourselves expressing these same extravagant behaviors at many events in our daily lives – births, weddings, and birthdays, to name a few. These celebrations are in fact a type of worship.

Comparing these celebrations with our worship of the King of Kings brought a smile to my face; I remembered David’s extravagant – all out there – worship in the streets. Shouldn’t we have that same exuberance and freedom as we express our love and adoration in the presence of the Lord?

Our love for Jesus and our wholehearted worship of him both at church and home can be just as energetic, powerful and life giving.

The psalms are filled with life’s rough times – betrayals, persecutions and trials of every sort but the psalmist voice always comes back to a place of worship and awe for the goodness and steadfast love of the Lord.

As we look up – the very air we breathe crackles with His life. We see His glory and power in all of creation, from the towering mountains, thundering waterfalls and crashing waves to the tiny ants diligence, the bees’ productivity and the ever re-producing seeds around us. His glorious creativity blooms – the awe of who He is stirs a depth of worship beyond a song, a shout or a dance.

It’s this depth of worship that gets you through times of trial! As deep calls to deep within your spirit you can suddenly see that this type of worship is far bigger then you! It’s a response crying from within, it’s a response that brings life and freedom, and it’s a response toward your Lord whose steadfast love continually carries you. When that awe begins to grow inside of you suddenly it is just like that “touchdown”; the exuberance erupts with joyous shouts, songs and dancing.

It’s this place – this place of unabashed expression of how good God is that brings freedom, life abundant and power to overcome the “stuff” of this life.

Reach up, dig deep, go long with all that is within you – rejoice and worship at the feet of Jesus. Leave the rest behind and dive for the touchdown!

Psalm 150:1-6  Praise the Lord!  Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!  Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!  Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!  Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!  Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord. (ESV)

Let the Dust Disappear

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My recent rock garden project sent me on a hunt through tons of stone. All sorts, shapes and sizes waited my unearthing; and an “ah ha” moment ensued.

I was overwhelmed as I saw beauty hidden both inside and outside of what was present but unseen all around me every day, just simple rocks. As I began collecting “just the right sizes and types”, my fascination grew; they appeared to all look the same, covered in tan dust.

Once home, the washing began and the beauty emerged – all-different vibrant colors materialized. As the day continued the same process brought more wonder as I began the sorting of buckets of agates for my gardens riverbed. Again, one by one, I scrubbed away the sledge that had accumulated on them, revealing the glistening colors beneath. I was amazed by what lay in my hands.

Often God gets my attention in the midst of my daily activities and this was one of those times, with a still small voice that whispered, “They are just like you.”

Each of us are created by his hand with care and individuality, each getting covered with the dust from the environment around us, each needing a washing to reveal our hidden beauty, and each of us totally different in size, shape, colors and purpose.

We are like a chosen rock – ready to be found, ready to be washed, ready to sparkle and shine and ready to be placed into His planned purpose – His rock garden.

He created, He chose, He died for each of us before we were ever aware.

He has a life story for you that is just waiting to be revealed. The simplicity of it requires only for you to BELIEVE and say YES!

Just like the rocks in my garden – we walk under the cleansing water of Christ and become what we were created to be – our story begins to be revealed as all that glistens and sparkles materializes as the dust disappears.

“Higher – Daddy, Higher!”

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Children love to go higher and higher, to be lifted, to swing, to climb – always asking and desiring “Higher – daddy, higher”.

As a young child I would swing for hours pushing higher and higher until I could hear the “ker-thunk” of the swing set legs lifting slightly up and then back into their sleeves, enjoying every minute of free-flight freedom. I would also find the same release of joyous freedom when I would twirl round and round with arms stretched out and head staring straight up at the clouds; spinning like a top until I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand upright anymore – landing in a heap in the grass. And another childhood memory – my love of encountering a grassy hill! Without words the race to the top would begin, no thought given to the inevitable grass stains and no concern to the possible nauseous feeling at the end. The only desire was the exuberant release of joy and freedom that was to come as I rolled all the way to the bottom.

Do you remember those times of untethered freedom expressed in childhood?  Most of us have some or have loved watching our children or grandchildren experience them.

But then the time comes where these types of behaviors are no longer appropriate; we grow up. However, we still search to find that same release of joyous freedom. As adults we shift our search to downhill skiing, bungie jumping, skydiving, zip-lining and a myriad of similar extreme sports, finding the release of joyous freedom that explodes us out of our care, worries and craziness of life. All of these examples speak of our desire for the exhilarating joy that freedom brings.

These experiences of “letting go of everything” require a faith! It stirs a belief that we will be ok, that this is worth the risk, that this is really a safe activity.This is an ultimate trust in our God who is good and has our lives in His hands.  

We believe, desire and declare, “Higher – Daddy, higher”.

However, when life throws you an unexpected curve ball, life begins to spin out of control, life pulls you into the pit; suddenly the free fall fun is no longer joyful or freeing. Your trust is shaken, you pull back, you hang on and fear takes over! This overwhelming grief, this unexpected medical diagnosis, this heart-stopping loss or this unrelenting pain begins to run your life!

The spinning and out of control feeling has changed, what previously brought joyous freedom now is overwhelming, why?

Your eyes have become focused on the mountain not on the creator of that mountain; you have forgotten who is pushing the swing.

Looking back to the face of Jesus, His promises and His love for you is the key. As you lean into His presence – it will bring you back to that child like trust, allowing you to “let it go”; stirring joy and releasing freedom in the very center of the chaos. On this zip-line life journey, the fears that claw and grasp at your heart will soon begin to dissolve. The balm of Gilead with healing will soothe your heart and life will begin again.

 Return as a child to swing higher and higher with your daddy – He’s got you – trust in His love for you, then the exhilarating release of joy and freedom will return and lift you from the pit.

Let go of the fear, grief, pain and loss; turn and declare, “Higher -daddy, higher” as you find that place of peace and trust that only exist in the presence of the arms of Jesus.

 

Psalm 40:2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet up on a rock, making my steps secure. (ESV)
Psalm 103:2-5 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.(ESV)
Photo courtesy of worradmu@freedigitalphotos.net

Experiencing His Fire – Open the Door!

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I stand outside – the howling wind and the cold drizzle of rain a constant discomfort. The flickering glow, the desire for warmth, the obvious peace that waits, draws me to the window like a “peeping tom”; looking through the glass that separates me from what I desire.

I am acutely aware that warmth, dryness and contentment are available if I chose to open the door.

Making the choice and opening the door allows a new adventure to materialize before me. What could be seen from the outside does not compare to the experience of hearing the fire crackle and the sizzle of wood in the hearth that begins igniting new senses; the smell never experienced before now swirls as smoke and wood meld together with bone deep warmth in this new atmosphere.

What I thought I understood about this experience – this presence of fire – its warmth, light and peace – are nothing like its reality; an outside looking in experience is like experiencing a mountaintop through a photograph. This new experience of the very presence of God has exploded into a new inexpressible encounter at the feet of Jesus.

Have you chosen to open that door?

In church, never churched, or anywhere in between; you may find yourself still looking through the window, thinking you understand all that is inside but never partaking of all that is available to you free of charge.

Don’t wait outside, cold and wet, wishing for something more; yield to his call to open the door and walk into His presence. Come join him in front of the glowing fireplace that is filled with a roaring crackling fire – just waiting for you to experience and enjoy with Him.

 

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you;seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.(ESV)
(Revised excerpt from Fall’s Yield – J.K. Sanchez “Yield to the Call and Open the Door” 2015)
Photo courtesy of Geerati@Freedigitalphotos.net

“But Why Mommy?”

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The question, “But why mommy?” erupts from little lips almost as soon as language skills appear, parents bombarded hundreds – if not thousands of times as the child grows. Often, the question, repeatedly asked, eventually evokes a firm response from us as parents: “Because, I said so”! This answer to the child’s mind is seemingly an appropriate answer, our little ones accepts that we know the answer, there is a reason and that we have it under control. Acceptance and belief relieve the concern and off they run to play.

As adults our need for answers continues in our lives as we turn those “But why mommy” questions into “But why God” questions; we still need answers, assurance and understanding of “everything is going to be ok”.

We often cry and shout out those questions to God because of the hurts, disappointments and fears that riddle our lives. Assurance and belief dissolved, anger and frustration our seemingly permanent state of being, a need to understand and hear “everything is going to be ok”, holding on to our rights and control, we find NO relief in our chaos. These needs outweigh the simple faith that we had as a child, the answer is still the same: “Because I said so” which now is heard in our heavenly fathers voice.

There will still be the things that don’t make sense: those that furrow your brow, cause your heart to pause, your head to shake, the difference; like a child, you can let it go because “daddy” said so, and run off to play again assured of the answer.

Doubt and questioning fills the bible, it’s not something new to our time in history. Believing has always been a choice that man has had to make. Jesus assured Jairus, even having just witnessed a miraculous healing, “Do not fear, only believe”. We hear a father’s response to the need for Jesus’ deliverance for his son with quacking words “I believe, help my unbelief” and of course, the story of Thomas who needed to see in order to believe. We have that choice to make also – lay down our “why’s”, “how’s”, “what if’s” and ONLY BELIEVE!

There are no platitudes or canned answers to help the tough often horrific life situations we or our loved ones must suffer, but when I walk through these times my only peace, comfort and strength have come from a solid belief: My God is a good God, He loves me and I can accept his loving response of “Because I said so”.

Return with simple child-like faith, lay down the “why” questions, believe that Jesus loves you, you are safe and that He has it all under control.

Make that choice to ONLY BELIEVE!

(Mark 5:21-43; Mark 9:14-29 & John 20:27-29)