The reason that I live……

We have been made for worship. We are built to worship. We can choose the right worship with and in God, or the wrong worship, idols who we choose to place before the Lord. This can be anything we cherish more, love more or someone we want to be.

Out of the abundance of our hearts, what we worship we speak of. What is the first thing on our lips. What is the last thing on our lips. What do we talk about or meditate on most of all.

Worship to God is creative and we have been made to be creative. We get set in our ways and ruts in how we spend time with God at home, and this can spread to our churches.

My Pastor and husband are very good at making sure the worship in our church does not get boring or rut like. It could be a different worship leader for a week, or a different way of bringing the worship across. How about a new song, or an old song? Just because a song is old, never means that if we use it in worship, we are going backwards. The songs of old were all based on scriptures and words of wonder. They had a depth that many of today’s songs seem to struggle to achieve. Maybe try the same old song or hymn with a new way of singing, a new tune.

We like to look at the amazing words of David and his worship leaders in the book of Psalms, and see the chapters and verses that are lifting and full of life and joy. Around half of the Psalms though, are psalms of lament and sadness. We have the book of Lamentations, which is full of creative worship along with the Psalms of sadness and distress. We have been made by a creative God who feels sadness, anger and will lament over us. This can also be our worship to God, if by realising we are in a wrong place we cry out in pain to the Lord. Worship in lament then becomes worship into the joy of knowing that God never leaves us or lets us do life or situations on our own.

There are so many forms of worship. If God tells you to worship in a slightly unusual way, go with it. There will be something He wants to show you, or somewhere He wants to take you, which ultimately will be closer to Him.

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More than 10,000

Reading a book by Tim Hughes and listening loads to Matt Redman’s album 10,000 Reasons this last week. In a way, both are good teachers of worship by different methods. One by singing, one by reading. There are many different forms of worship, but all should get us to the same place. A place where we have put God first and fallen to our knees in worship, mentally, physically and spiritually.

Worship for the Lord can be by putting other people before ourselves, maybe by letting them take credit for something we may normally feel we deserve the credit for. If we are putting Gods desires first, maybe life and its struggles dont feel the same. Worries dont feel so bad, stresses dont feel quite so stressful. We can love rather than feeling resentment, hate, dislike, sarcasm, critisism.

Serving God and our fellow members is a big part of worship. Yes, we may not get to much thanks for putting chairs out, tidying the kitchen or cleaning after coffee time, but it can be worship to the Lord when we do it for Him. Does it really matter if we dont get thanks here, but when we get to heaven there is our Lord, telling all around the same as He said of His own Son, “Here is my child, who I am well pleased and love”. I want that. I really do. Its just so hard to keep those bad emotions and feelings about other down and to make the decision to feel different and to push others forward to the rewards we may feel we deserve more than them.

We really do have 10,000 reasons to thank God for. But we also have thousands and thousands of 10,000 years to worship Him and be with Him. I cant wait, and sometimes feel the same as Paul. I want to go and be with my Father, but feel that He has more work for me to do with my children and church. How hard is the choice?!?!? Worship forever, or fulfilling His work.

Parenting

Parenting is an amazing gift from God, and the child or children themselves are truly gifts. It was never written that it was easy, it will never be a straight path, and in a lot of ways it is an un-thanked path we travel. Through prayer and the Word, we get the best parenting advice we could ever possibly need.

Some of the best parents I know are single parents, both Mum or Dad. When a single parent takes on the role of both parents, they make a brave choice to keep going, to keep their child/children safe and to not let them be deprived of the feel of both parents being there. What a brave decision to make every day, every morning before you get out of bed, to try to be both parents to your family. I am very blessed to have my lovely husband here, but know that is becoming the less normal way of life. There are more and more children growing up in broken families, including me, who live with one or both parents absent from their life.

How can we reach these broken people, broken families? How can we love some of these beautiful kids who are living in a different world to how some of us grew up?

Just one word really….. love.

Unconditional love that doesnt stop, even when that love may be thrown back at us. Keep loving, keep praying for them and never let them down. Ever.

So many people may have let them down, and sadly many of us know how hard that is for a child through our own experiences of life. If you have allowed a child or young person to trust you, or the child/young person has allowed you to be a part of their life, you must take that as your chance to help. Commitment is something lacking today in most relationships. If you commit to being a good part of someones life, never break that trust. The damage that could be done could be life changing for them and even for you.

Keep loving. Keep praying. Make sure you have prayer support.  

Masks

Just back from a gorgeous week away with my youngest and husband in the borders of Scotland, around the areas of the original Celtic Christianity. Always being there is amazing for me, learning more about St Cuthbert and St Aiden and the work they did to promote the Gospel in this whole area of North East England. Seeing St Cuthbert’s island where he went to live on his own looked very inviting and isolating at the same time.

No distractions and no internet was an interesting time for all of us. It made me more aware of how much time I spend on the internet or being distracted away from the Word or in prayer. Understanding what distracts us or takes our time can be very revealing. Sometimes the masks we put on to show what we think protects us or makes us look better to each other can take a lot of time and effort. Lowering masks and showing each other and more importantly, God, who we really are is a freeing of us. He knows who we are anyway, we just try to pretend we are someone else. The masks are not of Gods making. They are a protective response to something that has happened to us or said to us in the past that has hurt us. We raise a shield that pushes us further away from others and God every new mask we create out of pain or trauma.

Thinking back to Holy Island and how small the community is, and how the whole island is cut off from the mainland twice a day seems a world away from me here. Learning what masks we can use can make us feel vulnerable and open and naked. Holy Island feels a good place to move to at those points for us! Me in particular! Opening up to God brings us back to where we should be. God cant begin the work in us of freedom, until we are ready to start to walk towards Him and say that we want to be back with Him.