August 29, 2011

I Will Remember To Be Where My Feet Are At.

"Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy. [emphasis mine] Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, …… For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy”. Exodus 20:8-11 (NASB)

Last week was a long week! A seemingly endless list of activities invaded every time slot from studying for class, fending phone calls, dealing with the impending move of my daughter and her family, and finally, money laundering. Hey, desperate economic times call for desperate economic measures. A girl has to survive!

Seriously, in my house and after 20 years of marriage – there are uncertain unspoken laws of nature I require my hubby to accept. Such as: put the lid down, take out the trash, kill spiders and check your own pockets before putting your clothes into the laundry. There are reasons for those rules especially the laundry rule. Last week, I washed an ink pen which left its mark on Bob’s new shirt. Fortunately some extra soap and a re-wash fixed the potentially devastating situation.

Then on Saturday, Bob decided to run a few errands. However before exiting the house, he needed to find his wallet. Why is the wife always supposed to know where things are in the house, especially items that she seldom sees?

“Honey, I haven’t seen your wallet.”

“Well, I can’t find it.”

“Did you look on your dresser?” I quizzed.

“Yes, not there.”

“How about, in your top drawer?”

“Not there either.”

Then without thinking I responded, “Well, if you left it in your pants, it’s in the wash now. I really was only kidding but suddenly our eyes widened as we heard the sounds of the washer. I jumped into the laundry room, stopped the wash cycle and opened the door. Lo and behold, Bob’s wallet was right there – on top of a soaking wet pile of blue jeans. I helped him dry out its contents including seventeen dollars of soppy bills. Thus explains the money laundering remark.

What does this have to do with the topic at hand? Nothing. It just sets the stage of another busy week leading up to church on Sunday. Our Bible Study lesson for yesterday focused on worship. I had to stop and think about how often I arrive at church, perform my tasks, and I’d like to think with genuine enthusiasm, but fail to worship. It’s just so hard to shut my mind off and concentrate at times! Oh me!

In preparing for Sunday’s Bible lesson, I had to determine my own definition of worship. I made a list of things we all generally come up with when we are quizzed about worship. Things like: singing, prayer, Bible reading, and praising God to name a few. But then I concluded that those things were components of worship and/or ways we worship but what is actual worship?

Let me offer you what I came up with regarding the actual essence of worship. I believe worship is that place of heart, that state of mind where you acknowledge God for ALL that He is. You focus your love for Him, accepting His holiness and sovereignty. You stand in His presence soaking in the God who created you! It is so hard to put into words yet so beautiful an experience when worship truly takes place! It’s a resting in His presence, focusing on Him alone and not ourselves.

Think about it, we can do all those other things without being in a state of worship (sad, but true) but when genuine worship occurs in your heart, praise and thanksgiving flow forth in a more holy way than without it. It motivates our Bible study to more than just a quest for knowledge but a deep personal desire to “know His ways.” And yes, Virginia while we can worship anywhere including the proverbial golf course, that personal holy worship blossoms into a longing to worship with others as well. Thus we have church! Can I get a witness!?!

Yet, I must admit sometimes, it’s hard to flip the worship switch on after rushing to get to church. Because I still have to make sure there is a plan for lunch, the house it straight, all the clothes I tried on are hung back up, etc, etc, etc… I attend worship service but without a worship frame of mind – I forget to remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.

But yesterday as only God can do, He sent us a word from a sweet child of His in our class. She relayed some advice given to her to apply in other situations of her life, but it fit so perfectly in with our lesson regarding worship. She said a friend told her to “always be where your feet are at.” I challenge each of you to really contemplate the wisdom of that statement. I did and interesting enough, by the time I went into worship, I decided that I was going to BE where my feet were at! I was going to REMEMBER this was the Sabbath, rest in the Lord (i.e. worship) and just be in His presence.

My decision was appropriately validated by the choir singing a song with a chorus exclaiming, “I Will Remember! I Will Remember! I Will Remember!” Glory!!

Too many times, my mind has not remembered and my spirit has not been where my feet were at. Sadly I missed out on worship. What about you?

Please don’t forget to remember the Sabbath and always BE where your feet are at!

August 08, 2011

Eat Love Pray

I missed writing last week as there was much to do and much self-inflicted pressure to do it. Interestingly enough, the book and subsequent movie entitled, “Eat Love Pray” is about a woman who was feeling particularly pressured to be married and have children. I gathered that from reading a chapter two excerpt on Supposedly at some point she takes off in search of “everything” in Italy, India and Indonesia. I have not read the book nor have I indulged in the movie. But the title caught my attention.

Regardless of how Elizabeth Gilbert’s story unfolds, I think she may have something in her title.

Personally, I cannot think of three more appropriate things to do! I confess – I love to eat!! Food is wonderful, at least food that I like! It is needed to sustain my existence and it’s delectable to consume. Of course, I am wary as to what and how much I consume – sort of!

Then there is love! I love to love people. Now I am still a work on progress on this one. But bottom line, it is more enjoyable to love people than to hate them.

Last but certainly not least is prayer. Where would I be without prayer? Where would you? I need to be able to pray. I need others to pray for me. Prayer is my life line with my Father and my Savior. It is not enough to know they exist, but I desire personal communication with them. Prayer is simply talking to my God, my creator, the lover of my soul. It just doesn’t get any better than that – except when I get better at doing it!

There is Scriptural evidence that Eat Love Pray is an effective principle in our lives. It was the backbone of the earliest church. Think I flipped my wig? Not so! Look with me at Acts 2:42-45:

“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.”

The early church ate together. They enjoyed meals together. I am a firm believer that abundant ministry can occur over meals. I have seen it happen. All of us have to eat, so we might as well make meals as meaningful as we can.

Have you ever taken a hurting friend to lunch and just talked? Have you ever prayed for the server who is working to pay her rent and school tuition? Do you thank the Lord for providing the food in front of you at each meal – which is really something most of us take for granite? The early church did.

The early church loved each other. The loved each other by making sure everyone’s needs were met. When was the last time you sold something and gave the profit to another for their needs? When did I? The early church did. They also loved by loving God together and pouring over His Word. They loved by sharing fellowship together. As Christ commanded, they loved Him and they loved each other.

The early church prayed. This was bread and butter for them not an afterthought or something engaged in simply to check it off a spiritual to-do list. In fact, the Scripture is clear: they were devoted to EAT LOVE PRAY.

What are you devoted to this day?

In lovingly devotion,