With all kinds of bad stuff is going on in our world, I just thought I’d post a little Bluegrass Praise Music. According to the Bible, praising God is a worthwhile choice even in the darkest nights. I hope this one makes you smile, lightens your load and maybe even makes you tap your feet!
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. Acts 16:25-26 ESV
Years ago we lived in a small upstairs apartment and the only telephone was on the wall in the kitchen. It may be hard for young people to imagine but then the ringing of the phone meant an important message and everyone in the family ran to answer it. Around midnight when we were all sound asleep, the phone began ringing. Concerned that it must be terribly important my wife shook me by the shoulder, ” Honey! Wake up! You have to get the phone!” she called.
Obediently I stumbled to the kitchen still half asleep without bothering to even flick on the light. By the time I picked up the receiver my mind couldn’t focus any longer and so I just mumbled something incoherent and hung it back on the hook. Then shuffling back across the dark apartment I plopped back in bed.
“So who was it?” Nancy asked.
Who was what?” I answered and fell fast asleep! This last year of the Covid-19 crisis reminds me of that phone call. Everything is dark and is seems like everyone is calling us to action but we are exhausted. Even when we do pick up the phone we no longer have the energy to hear what is being said. But God has great news for all of us fighting this invisible enemy that has sapped our strength. He has an unspeakable joy to give us that is full of glory. In fact the Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength!
Psalm 105:4 Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always
On Sunday the worship team did a wonderful job and when one of the leaders broke out into praise in Spanish I almost felt like I was back at our old home church where our praise alternated between English and Portuguese. But if you were following this conversation yesterday you know that we did not look at corporate praise as wonderful as that is but instead at the first two of four different kinds of silent worship in Psalm 105. While these are unseen, they are not less important than playing singing, blowing trumpets and dancing, which were all accepted forms of public praise in the Old Testament. The invisible parts of our worship life are like the roots that support trees and keep them alive and growing even through the quiet dormant seasons of the year. So this morning let’s dive into the second pairing of how we worship without words.
Look to the Lord and His strength When we come to worship the first thing we must notice is not the décor of the sanctuary, the outfits of the worship team or the appearance of the person next to us. What we need to see is invisible and that is The Lord and His strength. That is because as Corrie Ten Boom once said,
“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.”
Worship must begin from a place at rest. Everything around us wants to take away the rest Jesus offers and replace it with some form of urgency. Our minds fill with ideas of this or that which must be done tomorrow, physical pain in our body reminds us of our human frailty or hurtful memories clamor for attention like spoiled children at a candy counter. But if just for a moment we first look to the Lord, immediately the strength of His arms will hold us and we will find rest in His presence.
To seek His face always! – When I was small I would run to my mother whenever I fell down for her comfort and if needed wait while she put a put bandage on my knee. But once mom had doctored my hurt, I ran back to my play. But seeking the face of God always means more than just experiencing His healing touch. He calls us to come and sit down beside Him, learn His plans for the day and then walk with Him every step of the way. He doesn’t want us to just seek His face when we fall down but at every moment and always!
Today I close with one of my favorite hymns sung by Tricia Brock: Jesus I am Resting Resting written by the Irish missionary Jean Pigott in 1876
Jesus I am resting resting in the joy of what Thou art
I am finding our the greatness of Thy Loving heart