Perserverance

We recently made a trip to Puerto Rico and I was very impressed with the people and the atmosphere of the island.  In Post Maria, Puerto Rico, there were still abundant signs of destruction even six months later.  But the repairs in place and the work being done were downright heroic.  I remember similar scars left by the ravaging random winds of tornados when we lived in Oklahoma.  But we humans are a resilient species, not just muddling thru the ravages of natural disaster but rising above the chaos and improving on our former condition whenever possible.  

What I learned from the People we met was the model of perseverance.  Like our innkeeper who lived thru the hurricane on the second floor of her hotel because the first floor had flooded and the third floor was damaged when the roof tiles blew off.  Or our waitress who described the howling winds and pounding rains as she an her mother rode out the storm just a few blocks from the beach.  We ate lunches and dinners at kitchens setup in tents by the beach or the roadside and in ocean front restaurants which had been flooded.   We met people who lived with spotty electricity from generators that could only be run a few hours a day.  We heard stories of having to decide what to do with the last liter of water, “do I drink it now or keep it for tomorrow?”

We visited the historical sites there, learned the history of the island and people who made Puerto Rico what it is today.  It was then I realized that the faith and resilience we saw in the Puerto Rican people was an innate sense of destiny and love of freedom created in their collective memory.  The suffering and trials they experienced thru conquest, slavery, war and the regular patterns of horrific storms steeled their constitutions to rise up yet again and overcome.   They showed me a microcosim of mankind’s greatest attributes and renewed my faith that we will overcome no matter what nature or others can throw at us.

This desire to find the good and make it so in our world goes back to the Garden where the troubles began but also where the goodness Papa declared over us was spoken forth as prophecy, that man would eventually get it right.  In fact He sent Jesus to show us what that actually looks like when lived out to the fullest extent.  So, for me as in all things, I join Jacob and bend my knee to worship the One who alone is worthy of all praise Who will also work out all things to His glory.

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So Many, yet so close to Each.

We were at the outlet mall today, yeah call us crazy!!

Anyway it struck me how many different people were there, all searching for the perfect gift or just hanging with friends.  So many different individuals, that’s kind of redundant isn’t it?   Each one with dreams and plans so unique to their path in life.  And yet Papa God has told us that He knows each one in minute detail.  He’s so directly involved in our lives that He literally gives each one of us our next breath and keeps our hearts beating all day long.

It’s one of those things that makes your head kinda explode when you try to comprehend how vast and yet detailed the mind of Papa must be.  To hold the whole world in His hand and yet know how many hairs are on each of our heads.  To sustain all things by his very breath and yet be there to hear our prayers, to reach into our individual lives and save us in the nick of time, or heal our infirmities, or direct our feet in the way they should go.  I guess that’s what they mean by infinite.

It brings one to their knees in reverent awe.

Hmm sounds like worship to me what do you think?

Deep calls to deep

There’s a river of life that flows deep in us. Sometimes it gets dammed up by the pain and disappointments of life. But as we sit in His presence with no particular agenda. Not looking for anything more than just to be with our Papa God. The stream begins to trickle through the dam and slowly but surely it breaks forth into the river that has been restrained. For in His presence is fullness of joy and life everlasting.

That river is in the deepest part of us, our spirit man.  For most, it is buried way under the cares and occupations of this life we live on the earth.  But once it is activated by the Spirit of God bringing life back into our being it can never stop bringing forth life.  We can dam it up and even restrict its flow but in the end the river of life will prevail and bring us into the joy I spoke of above.

Give into the flow of life, do not resist the Spirit as He calls you to life and joy.

Gratitude

Gratitude is easy when we can see and feel the blessings and faithfulness of Papa.   We recently had the rear tire blow on our Goldwing at about 60mph.  I, or probably, our angels slowed the bike down to about 10-15mph by the time we were thrown off.  We landed in the dirt and grass on the side of the road.  The guy in the car right behind us was an Orthopedist, behind him a first responder, behind her a nurse…..   Needless to say we especially blessed to have survived with bruised and broken ribs being the worst of the damage.

 

It is so easy to feel gratitude for The things we experience in this physical world. We feel the joy and pain, we sense the emotional implications and see the direct results with our eyes. But what about the unseen realm? What about those blessings and special graces which impact our spirit man? They are much easier to ignore or lose sight of. This is one of the reasons we need conscious, purposeful worship in our lives. I know that this blog is about worship being a natural part of life and living and I firmly believe that is true. However, there comes a time when we must take account of the path we are walking and give honor, indeed worship to the unseen hand of providence.

With so much chaos and destruction going on in our world these days it’s easy to lose heart and be caught up by the calamities around us, but we must take our stand firmly on the ground of worship and hold fast to the anchor of faith. Never forget that Papa God and Jesus have ahold of that anchor on the other end.

Perspective

Earthly or Heavenly, which is it?

We recently moved further down the river and down two floors, it gave me a whole new perspective on the river.  What was far away is now closer, my whole perception of the river has changed.  Sights and sounds are clearer and amplified.  I am much more aware of the rhythms of the river and the life which depends on its flow.  It’s not necessarily better, just different and refreshingly new.

There is much talk about our perspective, is it earthly or heavenly? Is a common question, distinction.  This “difference” comes from the concept of “being earthly or heavenly minded”  John 3:12, Phil 3:19.   We’ve heard the idea of being no heavnly good because we are too earthly minded or vice verse.  Well. I think it’s like so many things I’ve come to see as my hair turns gray and the clock continues to ticktock on the wall.  The truth tends to lie between the extremes that are revealed in the Word.

Heavenly perspective  is totally accessible through the earthly perspective we live in day to day.  It’s similar to worship in that it is a mindset or lifestyle by which we interpret everything we experience thru the lense of the Holy Spirit.  Much the same way as my perspective on our lovely river has changed and become much more detailed and intricate, the journey of faith that I’m on has grown deeper and richer every time I’ve taken the time to see Papa in his creation and pondered the beauty of His glory.  Times of revelation in the “wild” have been as powerful as any big celebration or conference and may have been more profound and lasting.

Papa God put this all here so that we are without excuse in regards to knowing Him and seeking after His tangible presence.  The perspective we choose is our own doing, near or far makes no difference from Papa’s perspective He’s always as close as our next breath and in the very expression of that breath.

Restoration

To Restore:

  • Return to it’s original state
  • Restitution of something lost or taken away
  • Remove the wear and tear of time 
  • Replace the broken with new that blends in perfectly with the good.

Everyday we learn of new ways that bring worship out of us.  Restoration is one of those sources of gratitude which supplies us with the joy that springs forth from a new beginning.  When we have wandered from the paths of righteousness and followed after the ways of the world our soul gets weighed down by the cares of this world.  We get so focused on the world around us that we loose sight of the calling of our lives to worship and fellowship with Papa God. 

Just like a piece of furniture which needs refinishing, we must be cleaned up and restored.  Sometimes it takes the Holy Spirit’s scraper, steel wool and solvent to cut through the layers of gunk and dirt we’ve collected.  We must be stripped of the tarnish and oxidation that comes from living in this world.  The labels on purported magical refinisher/restorers you will see in the store claim easy on/off quick work with no residual film or color.  But the hard work of restoration takes time and patience.  The damaged places must be restored through the tears of repentance and the rebuilding of trust just like the elbow grease of removing the old decay and applying the new layers of clean finish will bring out the original beauty and luster of the wood.

The real joyous thing here is that we have a helper in this restoration in Jesus.  He is patient, kind, loving and wants to see restoration more than we can understand.  He will supply us with the strength through the Holy Spirit to complete the work of restoration each and every day we walk out our faith and hope in Him.  Ultimately Him bringing worship as we live in His light and glory.

Worship in all things

I’ve been reading How the Irish Saved Civilization, the first book in the Hinges of History series by Thomas Cahill.  Learning of the ancient roots of the Irish people and how a slave named Patricius turned the whole land upside down for Jesus.  By the power of his life of worship and obedience lived out before the rowdy, raucous, ribald, “live life to the hilt because tomorrow we die”, inhabitants in the land of the Celts on the outer edge of the Roman Empire.  I had heard of his prayer before, but had only seen the snippet:

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. 

While this snippet fits in well with the theme of this blog, living a life of worship every minute of every day through the singleminded concentration on the beauty of Christ, the power of the full prayer as recorded in this book highlights the staying power of a life so centered on Jesus that all else grows dim in the beauty of his countenance.

St Patrick’s Prayer

I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through belief in the threeness, Through confession of the oneness Of the Creator of Creation. 

I arise today Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism, Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial, Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension, Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom. 

I arise today Through the strength of the love of Cherubim, In obedience of angels, In the service of archangels, In hope of resurrection to meet with reward, In prayers of patriarchs, In predictions of prophets, In preaching of apostles, In faith of confessors, In innocence of holy virgins, In deeds of righteous men. 

I arise today Through the strength of heaven: Light of sun, Radiance of moon, Splendor of fire, Speed of lightning, Swiftness of wind, Depth of sea, Stability of earth, Firmness of rock. 

I arise today Through God’s strength to pilot me: God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to save me From snares of devils, From temptations of vices, From everyone who shall wish me ill, Afar and anear, Alone and in multitude. 

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils, Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul Against incantations of false prophets, Against black laws of pagandom, Against false laws of heretics, Against craft of idolatry, Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards, Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul. Christ to shield me today Against poison, against burning, Against drowning, against wounding, So that there may come to me abundance of reward. 

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. 

I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through belief in the threeness, Through confession of the oneness, Of the Creator of Creation.

How refreshing to see the way he incorporated the culture of the Irish into this prayer. He lived his worship in front of them and made it real to their culture…..