Worship….or lack thereof

          This past week was a tough one for me. For the many small, personal reasons that pile up and it was a very tough week. I have been waiting for nearly 2 months for my guitar to come in the mail. Turns out it hasn’t even been shipped yet, and my guitar is often how I spend my time to focus on God. I decided to buy one. I don’t have extra money right now, but I knew that this was a familiar way to connect and I couldn’t go another day without re-focusing my spirit. To my great disappointment, I got home and when I began to play I could only cry. Not the kind of tears that you can somehow keep talking or singing through. I started to cry the sobs that came from much deeper place than I even realized I had been hurting. The kind of sobbing that takes over your whole body and you end up trying to physically hold yourself together. There was no worship that came from me. The sound that came from the instrument in my hands only opened my heart to great mourning.

Psalm 103
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits—

The Psalms are often read with great joy, blessing the Lord and singing wonderful things. King David wrote the Psalms and was known for how intimately he knew God, especially before the veil was torn. David lived a radical life, compared to all who came before him. He danced naked and knew that God took delight in his freedom. David was known as a man after The Lords own heart.

This Psalm is a little different. When read like all the other Psalms it works, as a beautiful way to recount all the amazing things God has done for him. I believe we often miss-read this Psalm. I don’t have any great theologist or books to quote, so you’ll have to look into this a bit on your own. I believe that David wrote this poem in the middle of being pursued for his life. King Saul and the entire army of Israel were out looking for David, who had fled to hide with just a few men to stand with him. Saul knew that David had been anointed King of Israel and Saul didn’t want that to happen, so he went out to kill David. The story of Saul and David is an incredible and is one of my favorite parts of the Old Testament, so please take time to discover it more.

The point is this, I think David was reminding himself. He was commanding himself to remember all the great things God had done, so as not to start doubting amidst the pursuit of his life. Often we try to remind ourselves how great God is, but how long do we spend focusing on that? My guess is not long enough, and not because God is not happy, but because we are still unhappy. We remember, “God is good and has taken care of me” our anger or fear settle to a manageable state and we continue trying to overcome on our own. Maybe we should spend enough time reminding ourselves specifically, like David did, until we rejoice and our awareness of God is bigger than our awareness of our circumstances.

Psalm 103
Thanksgiving for Gods goodness
of David

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget 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 as long as you live[a]
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works vindication
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far he removes our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion for his children,
so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
14 For he knows how we were made;
he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for mortals, their days are like grass;
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.

19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
obedient to his spoken word.
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers that do his will.
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.

I Don’t Want To Go To Prison

But I want what this man has.
I’ve heard before that God is no respecter of man, but that comes off funny to me.
What I really mean to say is that God loves me a whole lot, so I don’t have to be anyone else and I still get every thing I ask for.
(Theres a song that says, “You can’t always get what you want” but I disagree. You can have EXACTLY what you want, you just have to be willing to wait for it.)

Why is it that we often wait until we are in the holding cell, on the way to our own version of prison before we ask Jesus to take over? How come we get so easily distracted by how good life gets that we forget to ask if God wants to give us more? Why would He not want to give us more at all times? The Bible says we go from glory to glory, which leaves no room for backing down. Prison wasn’t going backwards for this man, it was catapulting him into ministry. He lead hundreds of men, in the darkest places of their lives, in discovering the healing power of Gods love. That is glory if I have ever heard it.

What makes me think I have to be in a desperate place in order to desire the Lords presence so deeply, that  He comes? Why would I have to ache for His presence, doesn’t He want to be around me all the time too?There are different times in life, and some seasons don’t involve the same kind of ministry we’re used to or hearing Holy Spirit whisper in our ear. What does desperation look like in this season of you life?

Religion would say you should start by reading the Bible more often, do a devotional, or maybe spend more time in worship. These things can all be great avenues but I would like to propose that you don’t have to do anything. You can’t earn salvation, nor can we earn His presence. Walking with us was His desire first, it’s why man was created! That thought blows my mind. The concept that we were created because He wants to hang out with us. This man found himself in a place where his heart yearned for community with the Lord in a very real way. I would like to propose that all you have to do, to walk in favor like this man, is hunger.

Maybe it’s very simple. All I have to do is want it. I also want some chocolate ice cream, but more than that I want to keep healthy. I don’t mean this kind of want. I mean to want something with every fiber of your being, knowing it is promised to you already.
“…And be sure of this, I am with you always. Even to the very end of age.” Matthew 28:20

Don’t put God in a box, ask Him what it means to be “with me” I can almost guarantee He will surprise you. He’s a pretty big God.

Controversial

I realize all of my posts so far have been largely media, and very few of my own thoughts. I’m mulling over a few ideas and I’ll share them soon. Until then I wanted to share with you a short video of a friend of mine, a mentor and highly respected theologian. Jon Welton has, in his young life, managed to decode parts of the bible that have caused confusion and fear in so many people due to a very rough interpretation. That puts him on extremely controversial land in many respects. When people have an idea about something, especially one held for a very long time, a new perspective can be threatening to the basics of our theology.

I believe that if you aren’t offending someone, you’re probably not doing much. Great people are just that, largely because they have overcome great hurdles, of those hurdles many are schools of thought. This can be applied to secular thoughts as well as religious. Consider fashion (on a less life altering level) for example.

Also, he just had his first baby. Congradulations Jon, Hannah Elisabeth is precious!

I recommend taking a look at the books he has written. They are  very well structured, giving you straight forward facts that are sensibly laced together to communicate strong points. If what is said in this video sparks controversy, great. If the contents of the video spark your interests, please check out some of his books.

Check out his website!