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Archive for the ‘Lent…Worship and Our Body’ Category

Oh be carefully little hands what you do….”

Reflecting and praying about worshipping my Lord and Savior with my physical body, of course brought to mind hands, specifically the famous praying hands sculpture by Albrecht Durer.  If you have never read the story behind that incredible sculpture, I encourage you to do so.  http://www.moytura.com/reflections/prayinghands.htm

Equally, the line quoted above from a familiar child’s song offers a different picture.  Looking at my own hands and wondering how much longer with my arthritis will my hands be able to perform certain tasks…all these urge me to consider what God might want me to do with my hands.

Throughout Scripture God’s chosen were called to examine their hearts (their hands) for purity in thought and action.  Recognizing the application of this principle today allows the opportunity not only to examine whether we do things with our hands that honor and worship our Lord Jesus Christ, but also to re-evaluate whether we are more like the priest, temple assistant or the Samaritan who was willing to get his hands dirty to help a stranger.  (Luke 9:30-37).

It takes so little today to encourage another—a smile, a handshake, a cookie or word of praise.  But no matter the action step we take—it requires we act with an aspect of our physical body—with our voice, with our strength, or with our hands.

Today, I invite you to be a woman of action today.   Stretch out your hand figuratively or literally reach out and touch someone with God’s love today.

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It is spring!  The birds can be heard as they return north.  The sounds of the animals are increasing as doors and windows are being opened to let in fresh air.  Recently, there was a thunder-storm.  Ordinary sounds in the course of a day.  How often I take those for granted and don’t appreciate that those very sounds worship our Heavenly Creator God.  Scripture reminds us, that we have ears to hear, whether those sounds of creation that worship our Lord God, or the sound of His voice as Mary did when she sat His feet to listen and learn (Luke 10:39).

I have a family member that has a severe hearing loss (67% in one ear and 100% in the other).  I can’t imagine what her world “sounds” like or the absence of all those sounds that might have come to your mind as you reflected on the sounds of spring.  But though my ears might take the sounds outside for granted to the point they don’t even register most of the time, I know that I need to keep the ears of my heart open and attuned to His voice and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

As we reflect on the meaning of Lent and the upcoming Easter celebrations, may we all listen to the cathedral of praise outside our doors, or hear and worship Him when we hear the laughter of our children.  More importantly, may we be like Mary and listen for the voice of Jesus and learn how to praise Him when we are called to listen to a loved one or a friend who needs the balm of our calming words and voice.

Thank you Lord God that I have ears to hear.  Help me to use them today to hear Your voice of love and grace.  May my ears be opened to hear the need of a friend or the cry of a child.  May I forget the complaint of my husband and hear behind the words his love for me and my family.  Help me Lord to worship You with my ears today and with a heart of gratitude.  Amen.

 

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I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God;

I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I, whom you have redeemed.

Psalms 71:22-23

Through this season of Lent, Given the Time has reflected on worship on how we worship our Lord Jesus Christ and the creativeness of our Father God through our physical world.

The hills are alive with the sound of music….there is nothing like music to change the beat of a heart from sadness to joy, from being down to being upbeat.  Nehemiah knew the power of music, as did David.  Saul’s advisors understood that when Saul became depressed it was the music of the harp David played that would soothe and end the king’s depression.  With our voices we can praise the Lord.  As the Temple was rebuilt (Ezra 3:10-11), we are told the people lifted their voices in praise.

I keep two CDs that I grab for immediately when I need an attitude adjustment, a time of quieting my thoughts and heart or just am on a long drive home.

Lift your voice in praise today.  Is there a song that touches you?  Perhaps you would leave a comment and share what song you see, whether in the shower, in your car or perhaps with your children that reminds you of God’s Love today.

I love you Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You.

Oh, my soul, rejoice!

Take joy my King, in what You hear, may it be a

Sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.

(Chorus, author unknown)

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This week our devotions focus on how we worship and honor God with our physical body.  Yesterday was on the strength that God provides and how we can honor Him through strength.

Today is more real in my world.  Maybe there have been times when you have been willing to physically carry another’s burden—perhaps a bag of groceries, or a sick child.  There was a time in my life when I couldn’t carry myself.  My husband would help me in and out of the bathtub, carry me in and out of a car or get my crutches or wheelchair for me to be mobile.  For several years I lived with increasing mobility limitations that took away my ability to operate from strength.

I truly came to understand and appreciate Paul’s words in II Corinthians 12:9-10,

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

In fact, those verses have become the rhythm of my life.  I remember the years when I didn’t appreciate my physical health and abused my body with poor eating habits, too much stress, lack of sleep and running in too many directions to take proper care of myself.  There have been times when I thought I could just plow through something no matter how exhausted mentally or physically fatigued.

While my stamina may last for a few days, I consistently am brought short and need to be reminded that it is in His strength I am able to accomplish all things.  (Phil 4:13).  Often that reminder comes through forced rest.  God slows me down to remind me the importance of worshipping Him with all of me—including my body.  This week, as we reflect on this aspect of worship, perhaps you would be willing to share some of those lessons the Lord has taught you about taking care of His Temple—your body—so you worship Him with all of you.  Please leave a comment and join the conversation.

Hebrews 12:12-13, reminds us that though we might be weak and lame, we will not stumble or fall but will become strong when we keep our hearts turned to Jesus Christ.  I now no longer live in that wheelchair, but I am daily reminded that in my weakness He will show up with His strength; I am becoming stronger every day I surrender more fully myself to Him.

Prayer: Oh Lord, I have been running on all cylinders for too many days without enough sleep or adequate rest.  In You, all things are possible, but in myself I am weak and drained.  Take this time of exhaustion and use it Lord to quiet my heart…to quiet my steps…remind me Lord lovingly that it is in Your presence where I find rest.  I do not have to be all things to all people.  I don’t have to be superwoman or super mom or super wife.  I am Your daughter and in You, all things are made beautiful even my weak knees and lame legs.  Amen.

 

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“Dear friend,

I am praying that all is well with you

and that your body is as healthy as I know your soul is.”

3 John 2, NLT

Through this season of Lent, Given the Time has reflected on worship—what we worship, how we worship and most of all, who we worship.

This week will offer considerations on how we worship our Lord Jesus Christ and the creativeness of our Father God through our physical world.  Thinking about this brought to mind the 1970s hit, by The Hollies, (yes, I realize some of you were not even born then and that I am dating myself, sorry), He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.

God gives us all physical strength to meet a need.  One such example in Scripture is Samson.  (Judges 13-16)  God gave Samson strength for purposes that God planned for his life, but Samson got cocky, didn’t appreciate what a gift he had been given and misused it.  Ultimately, Samson did use his strength to worship the Lord, “Samson prayed to the Lord, ‘Sovereign Lord, remember me again, O God, please strength me one more time…’“ (Judges 16:28).

Why has God-given you physical strength?  What need can you meet with the level of physical ability He has granted you?  How can you use your strength today to worship Him?

Prayer:  Oh, Lord God, every moment of every day I am grateful that You are the God of strength.  Thank You for caring about my physical health, not just my spiritual condition.  Thank You for teaching me that when I fail to worship You with my body, that like Samson, there is a price.  Show me how to honor You by taking care of all that You have given me, including this body.  Amen

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