Finding inspiration for everyday life in everyday life

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flowers43

Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on the altar and wait for your fire to fall upon my heart.” (Psalm 5:1-3)

There is a before and there is an after in my life. A demarcation point if you like. In the before I lifted up my voice in worship, drawing near to God and putting my prayer before Him. The song King of my Heart became the soundtrack for this season of waiting and pressing into God for His answer and provision. Declaring that He was the anchor in my life. Declaring that He is good and that He will never let me down.

But the time came and the prayer was left unanswered. Grief was had, pain felt. On my return to church that song that so ministered, King of my Heart was sung. And for me there hung heavy in the air the question as to whether I could still sing it and mean it. That I could sing that God is my anchor. That I could still declare that God is good and will never let me down. To worship despite the outcome, despite the circumstances. To still declare that God is the King of my heart.

I chose yes. And then I sang, but this time in worship with the mystery of the unanswered prayer.

Sometimes in life we are left with mysteries in God. Unanswered prayer, someone not healed. But because God is good and kind we can trust Him with that mystery and still seek His face and worship Him. As Bill Johnson wrote sometimes victory is “measured in the fact that after disappointment and loss we set our hearts to seek His face again.”

There’s something to be said on this side of eternity being able to worship God. To worship and give Him praise and honour in a fallen world when we are hurting. This is a true sacrifice of praise. For one day we will all be in eternity worshipping – pain and grief will be no more, and we will never have the opportunity to bring Him praise through our pain.

Let the King of my heart

Be the mountain where I run

The fountain I drink from

Oh, He is my song

Let the King of my heart

Be the shadow where I hide

The ransom for my life

Oh, He is my song

 

You are good, good, oh

You are good, good, oh

Let the King of my heart

Be the wind inside my sails

The anchor in the waves

Oh, He is my song

Let the King of my heart

Be the fire inside my veins

The echo of my days

Oh, He is my song

 

You’re never gonna let

Never gonna let me down

When the night is holding on to me

God is holding on


palm sunday4

It would have been easy to join in, to get excited at Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Everyone would have been participating, shouting out accolades, receiving Jesus as King. What a parade, what joy. Yet within the week we know that it all changed. The crowd worked up again into a frenzy this time though to cry crucify him and not hosannas. Friends, followers turning against Him and fleeing themselves. Hope dissipated, reality seemingly too much to refute.

It’s easy to cast aspersions on that crowd. How fickle, short-sighted of them and how very ignorant and weak. To go from rejoicing and praising Jesus to calling for His crucifixion. How could they turn on Him?

But there lies in this Holy Week a challenge for us, a question. It’s so easy on bright sunny days to rejoice in God, to praise Him, to worship. But what about those dark days? Those dark days when faith wavers when confronted by your reality. Your Saviour is dead on a tree, buried in a tomb. Hope gone. Dreams dead in the tomb with Him. Resurrection seems impossible, a wishful thought. In these times though, we can still worship. We can still proclaim Hosanna in the Highest!

And we can move through the shadows of the week, the darkness of Good Friday to the light and hope of Resurrection Sunday! In those hard days while tears may fall, we will find strength through our Lord to let our song, our praise rise to Jesus, King of Kings.

Though the tears may fall, my song will rise
My song will rise to You
Though my heart may fail, my song will rise
My song will rise to You
While there’s breath in my lungs
I will praise You Lord

In the dead of night, I’ll lift my eyes
I’ll lift my eyes to You
Though the waters rise, I’ll lift my eyes
I’ll lift my eyes to You
While there’s hope in this heart
I will praise You Lord

The joy of the Lord is my strength
The joy of the Lord is my strength
In the darkness I’ll dance
In the shadows I’ll sing
The joy of the Lord is my strength

When I cannot see You with my eyes
Let faith arise to You
When I cannot feel Your hand in mine
Let faith arise to You
God of mercy and love
I will praise You Lord

How You shine with glory, Lord of light
I feel alive with You
Your presence now I come alive
I am alive with You
There is strength when I say
I will praise You Lord


baradene

Because sometimes you just find yourself singing your old school song and wondering why after all theses years it has surfaced from the recesses of your mind. And then you start to ponder on the words and the meaning within of the song so earnestly sung for so long.

Heart of our God, most deep adoring love, Thy name we praise, we bless we magnify….”

It says in Psalm 100:4 that we enter into God’s presence with thanksgiving and praise in our hearts – “I will enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” That’s easy when our hearts are full of things to be grateful for – celebrations, success, life just humming along well! But what about the days when you’re wrestling with even getting through the day and can find little to be thankful for, or the day is just plain hard, or what you’re battling feels so insurmountable you have little energy to ponder on the good?

My old school song and indeed the second part of Psalm 100:4 gives us our breakthrough point – to magnify God in our lives, our circumstances. To put the name of Jesus above all. To focus on Him first, over everything else. Then the thanksgiving in our heart begins to stir. We come to the realisation that it is God who is the source of our joy, the sustainer of a heart of thanksgiving. Circumstances change – we have good days, we have bad days, but God and His love for us never changes.

And that is something to be thankful for.

“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” (Psalm 34:3)


hand

Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the waters
Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea

Unexpectedly, during Church, the song “Put your hand in the hand” dropped into my mind. A song I haven’t heard or sung for many years. But as I began to sing the lyrics of this song, I realised the message in it is still pertinent for me today.

My 4 year old still takes my hand as we walk to Kindy, and today my hand stopped him falling as his slipped on the footpath. There’s reassurance and safety for him when his hand is in mine. There’s an intimacy and closeness that comes when we hold hands. The same goes for us – when our hand is in the Lord’s hand, there’s reassurance and protection for us too. There’s comfort, there is care. And more than what I can provide for my son by taking his hand, when we put our hand in God’s hand, we are putting our hand in the hand of the God of miracles. The one who calmed the sea. The one whose outstretched hand healed the leper. And the one whose hands were pierced for you and me – for our sin, for our sickness and to bring us peace.

“But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)


stained glass window1

“Sometimes we worship Him through a hymn and sometimes it’s through a talent He gave us that we put on display in amazing ways – like acting.” (Hugh Jackman)

All of life is sacred. In every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give honour and glory to God. God does not compartmentalise our lives into sacred and secular. This gift of life that He has given us – each day that He gives us is sacred and an opportunity to worship Him.

And sometimes that is a day spent in worship and communion with other believers – seeking His face as part of a community, having others’ faith add strength to yours. Adding our voice to others and giving Him glory and worship through music and song. Kneeling together with one heart to pray. Precious.

And sometimes our sacred day is a day spent tending to little ones. Encouraging them in their dreams and battles. Feeding them, looking after them, doing chores and dishes and errands. Or the day is spent in an office providing solutions and doing a job well. For some worship is by how they can resolve complex legal situations or manage large building projects. For some it is inspiring a generation of students. Others like Hugh Jackman their worship plays out in their creative talents and abilities.

My days jump from looking after little ones, to solving the logistical problems at work, to serving at church. My days are spent doing washing and dishes, and school runs and and sourcing containers.

If the only part of my life that is sacred is when I’m at church then not much of my life is sacred…But if my home life, my work life – in other words, my whole life is sacred – I can give glory and honour and worship to God all day and everyday through it.

Martin Luther King Jr. said “If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music . . . Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” (Romans 12:1 MSG)

 


be thou my vision1

It’s a famous hymn, it’s origins dating back to Ireland some 1500 years ago. Believed to have been written by an Irish poet, St Dalian who had lost his sight and his lost vision inspired the opening line – “Be thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart.

But does this hymn, this prayer have an application to us today? What does it actually for God to be our eyes?

It simply means that we would see the world as God sees it. That we would take on God’s perspective when we look at our life.

That means taking the facts – that health report, that financial situation, the facts of that relationship and adding God into the equation. It means magnifying God over all our circumstances. It also means looking at others like God would look at them – with love, with compassion and focusing on who they’re called to be not where they are now. It means looking at our life, our world with an eternal perspective.

Rick Joyner once wrote “when we begin with the eyes of our hearts instead of just our natural eyes we not only being to see the things which are eternal but they become more real to us than the things which are temporary.”

The hymn is a prayer––a prayer that Christ will be our vision. That He would also be the wisdom in our lives, our best thought. That His presence would light our days.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.


Tranquillity

“My life is in the tranquillity of your grace” –

These are the translated words from a line in a Tongan hymn that captivated me at church and had me rummaging around in my handbag for a pen and paper to scribble them down. All the while tears were streaming down my cheeks as the anointing fell. True I read the translated words on the screen but the language of the spirit is universal and listening to the harmonious arcapella worship of the Tongan family, as a church, we entered into the presence of God.

Tranquillity – calmness, peace, serenity. When we surrender our lives to the Lord we find ourselves surrounded by His grace. Within that grace is peace,  serenity and there is tranquillity. God’s grace provides us the calm within the storm. It is the still waters, it is the banquet in the presence of our enemies. It is our comfort. Fear does not exist in God’s grace, nor anxiety. Tranquillity though is found.

 



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