I’m not quite tired of talking about Joy yet (and ’tis the season, right?), so I thought I’d follow-up a post from last month called Wielding Creation’s Greatest Weapon (you might want to read it first). In that post I talked about how Creation is a constant expression of Joy because it was made by the embodiment of Joy Himself…Jesus Christ.
Well….When I was on a hike the other day I noticed that Creation not only radiates joy, but it does this in all kinds of completely different ways.
Here are a few things from the line-up I had during just that one hike: 1) The sun lighting up the whole place 2) Wild peppermint making the air smell refreshingly like Tom’s toothpaste 2) Birds of all colors singing acapella songs that no living human could rival (….have you heard the Rose-breasted Grosbeak?)
These sightings reminded me that ALL created things are declaring who the Lord is in infinite, myriad ways:
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1
“All the earth worships you and sings praises to you.” Psalm 66:4
The excited clamor of praise found in Creation stands in stark contrast to our Western culture….where worship has often been downsized into following the cues of a band with a set playlist on Sunday morning. Or perhaps turning a CD on in your living room in the middle of the week.
But just like the creation that surrounds us, the Lord has called us into a lifestyle of ACTIVE worship, where we initiate our praise unto Him rather than always relying on another person to draw us into that place. And when we choose to worship, we are fighting with the weapons of our faith rather than allowing our circumstances to overwhelm us.
However, when we are in the thick of seemingly-insurmountable circumstances or when we are overwhelmed with the demands on our day, we may struggle with finding a way to worship the Lord…even if we know that entering into worship will keep us in a place of victory.
So below I thought I’d provide a little “soil for sprouting joy.” Just some practical ideas of how to worship the Lord through the hard times and the not-so-hard times. (Because a worship-lifestyle is all just theory until we come up with a way and do it!)
This list is completely incomplete BECAUSE IT IS WAITING FOR THE THINGS YOU WILL ADD TO IT 😉 If you have any of your own ideas (small or big) of how to enter into a place of worship, please add them to the list in the comments below so that we can all make use of them!
Soil for worship:
- Actively turn your thoughts toward the Lord and rest in who He is. This can be done at any time, whether you’re in a crowded business meeting or doing your dishes. You may try thinking about how whatever it is that you’re doing reminds you of the Lord in some way. For example, eating meals reminds me that the Lord is my real food and that He is constantly refreshing and strengthening.
- Write a song. If you’re not musically inclined, why not borrow melody from a song you already know and make up your own lyrics? Then share it with others so that they can sing it too.
- Give something away. Giving to someone reminds us of the abundance we have in the Lord and celebrates this fact (this is particularly useful when budgets are tight). No matter what our financial circumstances, we always have the ability to give of the eternal resources He’s placed within us. “God loves a cheerful giver.”
- Why not throw a worship CD in and dance? This one is probably the most out of left-field for our up-tight western culture, but David did it all the time! And I’m sure it was a great part of His spiritual victories.
- Remember something the Lord has done for you.
- Write. The possibilities are endless depending on how you are wired….maybe it’s just jotting down some thoughts on how wonderful the Lord is, or maybe you’re a bit more creative and want to write a poem or a story. Write down promises from the Lord and then praise Him for His goodness and faithfulness. Or write down some of the many wonders He has worked in your life over the years.
- Paint something which expresses the Lord (for the artsy among us). And then give it away if you like 🙂
- Speak your thanks and praise out loud.
- Sing. Preferably loudly. They make bumper stickers for this so that you can warn other drivers.
- Other ideas?
“For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.” Isaiah 61:11