Come as You Are

This morning as I was pondering so many of the difficulties my friend’s are having, I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness as I realized all of the needs out there. The diagnosis of breast cancer, the possibility of losing a spouse, the challenges of being a parent, the ravages of grief, the unanswered questions of why God does not answer prayers the way we think should happen–all of these issues came at me like a starship in hyper drive. Life can become overwhelming at times, and even as Christians who know we should put our trust in God, we sometimes become shaky in our faith.

Life is frequently hard–even for those who put their faith and trust in God. I love Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30 and often cling to them when my life seems to be in chaos (which is more frequently than I like to admit!).

“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.” (Good News Translation)

Anyone who has worked with oxen or a tandem team of animals will tell you that there is a lead animal that sets the tone for the rest of the team. They are the ones whose yoke bears the bulk of the burden. The people Jesus was talking to when he said this understood that concept. For us, the recognition that Jesus will be working in tandem with us and bearing the burden should be comforting. And while, sometimes we feel the burden is extremely heavy, when it is shared it lightens.

David Crowder sings a song written by Ben Glover, David Crowder,  and Matt Maher .  “Come as You Are” perfectly expresses what I am talking about. I love part of the chorus that says “Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.”

What burdens are you carrying today? What worries weigh you down? What crises has you paralyzed in fear? What grief seems too much to bear? Give it to Jesus. Lay your burden at His feet and do not pick it up and bring it back into your hands (I know . . . easier said than done). Rest in Him.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjgioXrnEME

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Does Praise and Worship Really Matter?

This morning I was very tempted just to stay home in anticipation of bad weather. Instead, I braved the gloomy skies and headed out to church. I was so blessed to participate in praise and worship and be reminded of how great and good our God really is! There is something refreshing about praising God and taking the focus off of myself and putting it on my Creator instead.

I want to start off this year by talking about why praise and worship is so important to me.

Praise and worship takes the focus off of me and puts it on God instead.

I confess. I truly am a self-centered person. I think about me a lot. I think about how things impact me. I think about my feelings and my reactions to things that happen in my life. And I think that is pretty typical of most people I know. Without consciously intending to do so, we are pretty self-centric. When I am participating in a time of praising God and worshiping Him, it puts my life in perspective. The time of praise in music, the participation in a time of communion, the listening as God’s Word is put forth and dissected for our edification . . . it all puts the focus on God and not on me. And every time I am blessed.

Praise and worship helps me lay down my burdens and cares.

When I focus on my praise for God, I forget about the bad day I may be having, the woes of a rough week at work, or the challenges of daily life. Worship helps me to remember that all of these things are temporary and more important things exist. Worshiping God helps me remember that my relationship with Him is the number one thing in my life.

Praise and worship helps me see a broader picture.

Participating in worship and praise with other Christians reminds me that the church is not just for people “like me.” It is for everyone. As I sing songs that have been written by a variety of people, I have a sense of connection in knowing other Christians around the world are also worshiping and singing in praise. As I listen to God’s Word, I realize that it is for everyone. I think about those I know serving in Africa, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, and New Zealand, and I realize we have a common bond in Christ.

Praise and worship points me to the future and eternity.

This morning one of the songs we sang gave me goose bumps as I sang the phrase, “He shall return in robes of white, the blazing sun shall pierce the night, and I will rise among the saints, my gaze transfixed on Jesus face.” Worship reminds me of my hope in Jesus. It reminds me that this life here is just temporary and better things are to come. It reminds me that some day I will live in the presence of God and will join the multitudes in praising my Creator.

I hope I can always see the wonder and joy in praise and worship of my Heavenly Father. May this year be blessed for you as you contemplate the joys of praise and worship.

 

Psalm 28:6-8; Psalm 68:4-5; Psalm 96:3-5; Ephesians 1:3

 

Sing Praise

A few weeks ago I attended the church of a friend.  I did not tell her I was coming and as I arrived I entered the nearest door to where I parked.  A man greeted me at the door and I entered a large open area, that was virtually empty. I was not sure where to go, until I saw a young couple entering through double doors ahead.  As I followed, I looked around me.  The room was smaller in size, seating about a hundred, the walls were painted black, and the lighting looked like a theater.  There was a slick, themed background for the praise band.  There was a multitude of open seats and I quickly found one. Continue reading “Sing Praise”