The Call to Worship

In the small, traditional church where I grew up, they passed out bulletins every Sunday. The service order always began with the call to worship. It was almost always a piano solo, which caused everyone to quiet, find their seats, and prepare their hearts and mind to worship. Recently I read Psalm 89:15 (NLT) that says, “Happy are those who hear the call to worship, for they will walk in the light of Your presence, Lord.”  When I read this, I couldn’t help but stop and ask myself two things: Am I hearing the call to worship? And if so, what is my response? In life’s day-to-day circumstances, am I hearing the call to worship? Do I view the call to worship only as the times when everything falls into place? When the stars align, my children are perfectly behaved, I get that job I’m perfectly gifted for, when my husband is ‘perfect,’ loving and responsive? Or – could it be that the call to worship is there regardless of my circumstances?  Here’s the hard truth: worship really has nothing to do with me, or anything going on in my life, but everything to do with Jesus.  Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods. … Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. … Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and...

Desert Wanderings

The first draft is dated April 29, 2013. I remember writing it. I remember wrestling. I remember walking away from it. Today, I sat down to finish it, nearly 2 years later. It’s by no means 40 years of wandering, but it sure has been a season and while I’m not a huge fan of the desert, I am learning to embrace it and recognize ALL that God is doing in it. Now, maybe it’s just me, but I honestly would love to have the opportunity to plop myself down in the midst of the Israelites’ circumstances to hear and see how the people of God actually responded. We know from what Scripture tells us that the Israelites complained in the desert, and I don’t doubt in any way that they did. They did what most of us do, they recalled the “good old days, through the eyes of a slave, unable to see that the good old days, were simply not all that they remembered them to be.” But let’s be honest, we all know plenty of “squeaky wheels.” (In fact you may even be one.) You know, those folks who are bold in the their complaints. They yell loudest in traffic, and are the first to give “feedback” when they are asked. They’re in a word, complainers. I’m confident that the desert experience with a few hundred thousand of your closest friends, the complainers voices were heard. What about the ones who didn’t complain out loud, but grumbled to themselves as they made their way to the tent for the evening? Their complaints, were still complaints and while they...

Trying To Hold On To Mist

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14 I was recently reflecting on the fact our 22-year-old son moved into his own apartment. It’s such a bittersweet time. It’s not like when he went to college and still came “home” on weekends. This is no longer his primary home. He moved everything. Bitter – because he won’t be here everyday, he won’t be sleeping here anymore and this is a turning point. Bitter – because it’s a time of saying goodbye to what was and it’s the start of a new chapter. Sweet – because it’s right that he move out and live his own life. It’s time. Sweet – because now we’ll start a new chapter as empty nesters and all that means and he’ll enjoy the independence of living as an adult. Life is so fleeting. I find myself wanting to hold onto relationships, places, and things. I start wishing I could stop change and keep this moment. I want to hold back illness or pain or estrangement. There are so many moments in life, I’d like to hold suspended in time, but they slip through my fingers. Like a mist, they’re gone. I can’t stop the change. I can’t hold on. The best moment will pass again and again. Change is frightening. To let go of what is comfortable and secure, what is known is hard. If only I could see the other side, that only through change do I find growth and that there...

When You Can’t See God

Pushing my buggy through the bolts of cloth, my eyes hung on the beautiful colors and my creative juices flowed. I listened for the little girl behind me as she “oohhed” and “ahhhed” over the fabric. Every so often, I’d have to chime in with, “Keep walking, Grace. Stay with Mama.” Her constant chatter was an instant locator. I walked on to look at the spools of ribbon, but suddenly Grace wasn’t behind me. “Grace? Where are you? You need to stay with me.” I called to her. Giggles floated from behind me, but I couldn’t see the little mouth attached to them. “I’m lost, Mama. I can’t see you. Where are you?” Grace called. I walked backwards four steps to find her hiding behind the bolts. Her eyes were squeezed tight, and her grin was a mile. “Grace.” I leaned close to get her attention. She peaked at me through thick lashes but turned her body the other way. “Where are you Mama? I can’t see you!” Thinking of my tight schedule, I wasn’t amused at my four-year-old’s antics and told her so. “Come on, silly girl. We have to go.” Proud of her trick, she continued the guise as we walked to the check out. “I didn’t know where you were, Mama. I couldn’t find you anywhere.” Knowing I was right beside her all the time, I wondered if God was speaking through my daughter. There are situations that cause me to hide and close my eyes to my circumstances. I call to God asking where He is, because I can’t see Him. All the while, He’s...

Why Doesn’t God Answer Me???

Were we speaking different languages? Was he even listening at all? How could two people use so many words but accomplish so little? If you’re married, I’m pretty sure you’ve pondered those same questions on more than one occasion. I bet your spouse has as well. It’s frustrating, maybe even infuriating. Certainly counterproductive. I’m ashamed to say, there are times, too many times, this counterproductive misconnected communication hinders my relationship with Christ. Only it isn’t because we’re speaking a different language. No. God, being the all-knowing, gracious, gentle Father He is, continually stoops to my understanding, speaking the words I need to hear when I need to hear them. So why don’t I? Most often, it’s because I’m searching, waiting for and straining to hear a different answer. One week, after an extended period of doing just that, God cut through my racing, angsting brain and let me know this disconnect I’d been feeling, it was an issue with me, not Him. I was spending so much of my energy searching for an answer for the what, I lost sight of the Who. “’I was ready to respond, but no one asked for my help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am.’” In that moment, it was as if a warm balm encircled my heart, because the what loses its urgency when we’re resting in the hands of the Who–our Heavenly Father. What about you? Are you spending more time searching for answers to the what than seeking out time and a connection with the...

Joy in the What???

When was the last time you rejoiced in something other than personal pleasure or your achievements? When you looked past your trials in search of a greater glory? The Bible tells us Jesus endured the brutality of the cross for the “joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). I believe God longs for us to approach our struggles and trials with the same long-term focus as we die to ourselves and surrender our lives to God’s bigger plan. Learning to “die to self” can be tough in our “me-first” culture. In many ways, we’ve become conditioned to seek our comfort, self-preservation, and happiness above all else. But does this temporal focus hinder true joy? A joy that rests not in our ever-changing circumstances but instead in the unchanging nature of Jesus Christ? I believe biblical joy is less of an emotional response and more of a deep-rooted trust in God, His promises, and His character.  It is the assurance God is in control, even when our circumstances say otherwise. When we’re going through a tough or confusing time, we may be tempted to think God has abandoned us or that perhaps He doesn’t care. But the Bible says differently. In Scripture we’re told God thinks of us so often, His thoughts toward us outnumber the sands on the seashore (Psalm 139:17-18). We learn God rejoices over us with singing (Zeph.3:17). We read He has a plan for us, and He’s lovingly molding us into beautiful masterpieces to be used by Him (Eph. 2:10 & Phil. 1:6). Psalm 34:18 tells us God is close to the broken-hearted. Our darkest moments can...

Going Viral

For some it’s a dream come true, for others a nightmare. Going viral. According to Wikipedia, “An object, even a immaterial object, is considered to be viral when it has the ability to spread copies of itself or change other similar objects to become more like itself when those objects are simply exposed to the viral object.” When the You Tube video of a homeless Ted Williams went viral, offers for jobs and television interviews changed his life overnight. He went from living under the stars to becoming one of the stars in a matter of days. Others are not so lucky. Young teens – some famous, some your next door neighbors – make hasty decisions to post pictures or videos of themselves in compromising situations on the Internet as well. A young girl puts out one revealing video, just for her boyfriend. But the boyfriend shares it with his closest circle of friends, who share it with their closest friends, who share it with – well, you get the idea. It spreads or goes viral, if you will. The Internet, as helpful as it is in platform building and providing the 24/7 information super highway, can also be detrimental. Retrieving pictures and video unwittingly posted is like dropping a handful of sand into a bucket of dry beans and then trying to reclaim each grain. It’s impossible. As my girlfriend and I discussed how going viral can be double-edged sword, I thought, “This isn’t an issue for me. I don’t and won’t post myself on the Internet doing dumb stuff.” And as I made this great boast, the...

“All” joy

~giggle, smile, chuckle, laugh out loud, be amused, happy~ Ever wonder if James was talking about having to sit on hold or wait in the doctor’s office? Think he was talking about forgotten lunches and spilled milk; out of order atm machines and copy machine jams? Late fees and leaky faucets? Interruptions and detours? That little word “all” in there makes me think so. I’m working on it. background image theshabbyshoppe.com WFW is not about books, authors, artists.. it’s about God and HIS WORD ONLY. WFW is about celebrating the gift of creativity through God’s Word through creative graphic illustrations. Join myself and some other wonderful ladies by signing in the link tool below: Powered by Linky Tools Click here to enter your link and view the entire list of entered...