The Word Weaver
Inviting you to know & embrace Jesus Christ
Deb Weaver
by The Word Weaver, Deb on June 7th, 2018

Blog post from The Word Weaver, Nourish Us, O Lord
​The ground is cracked.  The grass is beginning to brown.  The blades are stiff and scratchy.  Last month brought record-setting temperatures, intense sun, and dry days.  There’s still a lot of green growth visible, but the need for refreshment is beginning to show.  
My lawn is not the only thing that is depleted./ My soul is dry as well. / Accompanying blog post by The Word Weaver/ Nourish Us, O Lord
​My lawn is not the only thing that is depleted.  My soul is dry as well. 

The past few weeks, though I am continuing my daily practices of: reading God’s Word, confessing sin, journaling, praising, praying, and enjoying time outside—all of which normally nurture me well—life suddenly feels much more like an impossible chore than an eternal joy. 

Discouragement has blanketed me with a thick coating of dust.  Patience has shriveled.  I’m easily overwhelmed and question my calling.  My gratitude seems artificial and shallow.  Energy has evaporated, and weariness reigns. 

Dry.  Crumbly.  Cracked.

​Perhaps, friend, you may also relate?

​Let’s be tender with one another and with ourselves in this time of dry discouragement.  

Let’s breathe deeply in the presence and truth of God, even though, especially though, we’re depleted.  

Let’s stand in faith, looking toward the Maker of the sky and praying for rain.
​In the book, Daring to Hope, Katie Davis Majors’ words resonate encouragement: 

“…Maybe courage is trusting when we don’t know what is next, leaning into the hard and knowing that it will be hard, but more, God will be near.  He is the God Who Will Provide. He will provide His presence, His strength, or whatever He decides we most need…”  
​God and God alone brings the nourishment we desperately need.  He is near.  He is faithful. So we will wait on Him.  
Nourish Us, O Lord/ Blog post by The Word Weaver
If you found yourself nodding in agreement and need, please join me in praying the following prayer for nourishment.

If you are in a season of refreshment, I invite you to pray this for and over others.

Let's Pray Together:

​Heavenly Father,

You see everything, Lord.  You see the seeds we’re planting, the weeds we’re trusting You to uproot, and the questions we cup.  You know, You care, and You understand.  And You look with such tenderness at us.  Thank You for Your great, unfailing love. 

We rest in Your care.  We’re leaning in, breathing deeply in Your presence, and listening to Your voice of truth.

Please nourish us in the deepest ways.  Immerse us in Your grace, mercy, and love.  Flood us with Living Water and send a fresh, comforting breeze of Your Spirit.  Flush out our insecurity, anxiety, and doubt. Replace them with the nutrients of truth, encouragement, and joy.    

We bow before You in the name of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ,
Amen.
 

Scriptures to lean into with hope & faith:

Scripture/Psalm52:8-9/ An olive tree flourishing
Scripture/ 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17/ May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself & God our Father Encourage Your Hearts & Strengthen You
I will be taking a Summer Sabbatical for the next few months: to retool the website, to soak in the simple gifts of the season, and to savor God's Word & Presence.  

I plan to return in September with fresh encouragement.  In the meantime, you may find other posts that speak to your life on the Archive page.  

Sincerely,
Deb, The Word Weaver
Related posts to accompany The Word Weaver blog post, Nourish Us, O Lord!

by The Word Weaver, Deb on May 17th, 2018

​As a child, I was terrified of the dark.  The familiar sights cloaked in darkness took on a sinister quality.  Sounds amplified.  Fears multiplied. 

My body laid stiff in my bed, every nerve standing at attention and waiting for the signal to dash.  My overwrought imagination galloped with a headless horseman at the helm while my heart kept pace.

I cowered in the dark.  Longing for light.  Looking for light.

Decades later, darkness is still not my favorite thing. 

​And yet…

The darkness is deepening.  

We don’t have to look much further than our own hearts, thoughts, and lives to see the marked increase of: sin and selfishness, confusion and callousness, or hurt and hatred.

Though I am not surprised by the increasing intensity of these dark days, my soul feels the crushing weight of it and the pain it causes. 

My heart grieves over:
  • Deep division and aggressive disagreement annihilating kindness or civil discourse
  • Pain and anger erupting into violent acts of retribution
  • The smothering, paralyzing effects of anxiety, depression, and insecurity leading to increased fear and instability
  • Self-hatred, suicide, and shame snuffing out life
  • The understanding of marriage, identity, and purpose not only being twisted in the opposite direction of biblical teaching but also being relabeled as wholesome or good.
  • Sexual immorality and abuse poisoning and wrecking lives
  • A growing number of individuals who are crippled by agonizing confusion over their gender.  They do not know who they are and do not realize that they were created by Love on purpose, for purpose. 

Pain is reverberating.  Sin is enslaving.  Repercussions are sobering and fearsome.

Night is only beginning.

We desperately need the Light. 

​Good News:

The Light has dawned.

Christ Jesus proclaimed, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, NIV)

We, the followers of Jesus—the Church—carry this potent source of light.  We are cleansed and indwelt by the Light—the Spirit of the Resurrected, Living God. 

His truth, grace, and power transforms us from the inside out, spilling more hope and light to those around us.  
Scripture John 1:5/ The Light Shines in the Darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

​Equip us, O God!

​I am keenly aware of how we have failed to follow our Savior.  We have sinned again and again.  We have wounded the hurting and the lost by: 
  • saying one standard and living another
  • slapping down pat answers
  • shouting arrogant, hateful proclamations
  • reacting in fear
  • demanding outer compliance of righteousness without offering the tools for inner transformation
  • judging in silence
  • ignoring and rejecting those who are different
  • refusing to listen compassionately
  • failing to speak life-giving truth
  • withholding grace and love

We must repentSeek God with all of our hearts.  Walk in faith, dependence, and obedience. 

We desperately need the Lord to change and equip us for His glory, for our world, for this day.  

​Hope for those of us who are daunted by the darkness & the challenging task ahead: 

​Even though we carry the power and presence of the Almighty God within us, we can tremble at the task. 

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve grown heartsick over the pain and sin of myself, of the Church, and of the world.  I’ve cried out to God, “Lord, the darkness is smothering the light.  We need You to change and equip us.  How will we do what You’ve called us to do?”
 
God has tenderly and kindly met me in my distress and doubt. 

He’s nourished me in His Word.  He's reminded me that darkness cannot overtake or extinguish the Light (John 1:5)  He's shown me in Matthew 28:16-20 that:  
  • He is worthy of worship
  • He's not repelled by our doubts or fears but speaks into them
  • All authority is His.
  • It's in His authority and by His command that we go and make disciples, baptizing and teaching them to obey.
  • He will not leave us to fend this culture on our own.  He's with us.  He will not forsake or leave us.  He'll be with us to the end of the age.  No matter how dark it gets.  No matter how hard it is.  No matter how messy it feels. He is here.  

What comfort!  What strength!  What hope!

He does equip us.  He cleanses and changes us.  We are not alone.  

​Our Next Step

​How do we proceed in this darkness?
  • Admit that it’s dark out.  Acknowledge before the Lord that we’re uncomfortable, unsure, and overwhelmed.  Let’s surrender our fears.
  • Stand still and look to the Light, fixing our eyes on Him.
  • Allow the light to shine, first in us.  We are called to be holy as God is holy.  We must repent and obey.  Let’s ask:  Am I giving God access to every shadowy corner of my thoughts, of my life?  Am I excusing my sin?  Do I trust that His way is best?  Obedience matters.
  • Seek to love the people in our path.  We must rely on God’s strength and power as we compassionately care about the person and unwaveringly share truth and grace in love. 

Rebekah Lyons, at the 2018 IF Gathering, said, “We need to get comfortable in the darkness because we carry the light.  There is nothing beyond the power of our Living God.”

Christine Caine urged, “We don’t have another choice.  There is no other plan.  This is the generation and the culture in which we have been planted.  This is the one life we are given.  There is no greater urgency than this mission of living and declaring our salvation and the transforming truth of Jesus.  We must learn to take the gospel to the world without watering it down or without apologizing for truth.”
Courage to take the next step as we carry & share the Light/ blog post by The Word Weaver
​We do it one faithful step in front of the other, humbly reliant upon the Word and the Spirit of the Living God and immersed in love. 

The gospel mission—Life-saving, Life-giving, Life-changing—and our part in it, is of utter importance. 

​Putting the urgency of the mission before our comfort:

​Throughout The Tale of Despereaux, the little mouse, has overcome so many obstacles.  He’s escaped the rats and terrors in the dungeon.  He’s finally begun to: value who he is, recognize how vital his role is in life, and pursue the quest without regard to the opinions of others. 

Then in the climax, there’s this powerful moment that resonates deeply within me:

This tiny, timid mouse with the lion-sized heart stands staring back down into the mouth of the dungeon.  He knows what he has to do.  He must return to help rescue the princess.

Counting each step downward into the darkness, he realizes that he’s preparing to leave the light and safety of the palace to face anew the tangible, terrible darkness of the dungeon. 

The sheer impossibility of the task before him starts to overwhelm, frighten, and paralyze him.  In this moment, he’s rooted to the spot and trembling. 

Desperately he wants to retreat and knows that he can’t.  Desperately, he wants to charge forward and knows that he can’t, but he must.  He deeply knows that the quest—no matter how ridiculously impossible and overwhelmingly difficult—is of utter significance to the Kingdom as well as to him personally. 

He must step forward even if he faces defeat or death or more pain.  

And then he does.

​This is our moment.

Light is most needed and radiates most effectively in the darkness.  Our fears and our comfort are secondary to our part in the Savior's quest to seek and save the lost.

Our mission awaits.  Will you lift high the Light and go with me?
​Matthew 5:14-16
Matthew 28:16-20
Luke 19:10
John 1:4-5
John 8:12
Acts 26:16-18
1 Corinthians 15:3-8
Ephesians 1:4
Ephesians 5:8-9
Ephesians 6:10-20
Colossians 1:12-15
2 Timothy 3
Please click the following quotes from the post to conveniently share with your friends on Twitter:

by The Word Weaver, Deb on May 3rd, 2018

We matter to God.  Everything He does is ultimately with our best interests at heart.  He’s pursued and redeemed us at great cost.  Our relationship with Him is everything.  He sees.  He knows.  He loves.  He rescues. 

Isaiah 61:1 tells us that the Savior was “sent to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”  He came to seek and save us.

Sin and selfishness entraps us.  Sin shouts shame over us. It fractures our thoughts and darkens our perceptions.  He loves us too much to allow this.

The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness.  His Spirit lives within us, imbuing us with resurrection power and bold faith.  He commands us to renew our minds with His truth, to take captive every thought to our Savior, and to live in the Light.  He has given us His Word to train and equip us to live holy lives. 

When we pray for our Heavenly Father’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, we’re inviting Him to transform us.  We’re asking Him to sovereignly weave His earth-spanning, eternity-mattering purposes in us, through our lives.  And He faithfully does so. 

Unlocking the chains of darkness and sin. 

Lifting the weight of guilt and shame. 

Clearing out the clouds of confusion. 

Releasing unfettered joy.  

This is freedom!

​It’s what we truly desire:

  • ​lives that radiate the love of the Father
  • hearts that respond to His Voice
  • characters that resemble His Son
  • spirits that reflect grace, truth, & gratitude
  • faith that resounds God’s glory, whatever may come!

And we want the ways we live to cause others to see Jesus and to want more of Him.  This life of faith matters.  

​This kind of life does not happen by itself

​But, oh, we wish it would!  We want it to appear like an amazing, magical destination plopped down on our paths. 

Too often, we cross our fingers, sprinkle pixie prayer dust, and hope for a faith-filled, persevering, obedient life.  It sounds good, and we know it will be hard. 

But then it’s hard. 

We rouse from our daydream with uncooperative children, anxiety that threatens to smother us, and a bank account that quivers days before payday. 

In those moments, it’s easy to shrink back from bold commitments of faith.  We wallow in worry rather than declare God’s goodness to ourselves, let alone anyone else.  We watch others and whine, “Well, faith and obedience is easy for them.”  We skip reading the Bible or praying and soothe ourselves in a bowl of chocolate ice cream. 

Untested, flabby faith only toughens when it is tried.  We want strong, radiant faith, don’t we?

​So, how do we get there from here?

​The faithful, free life that we want is an interactive, life-long process.  It’s not instant nor is it easy. 

It starts now.  It happens this moment. With the next step.

Faithfulness is a fruit of obedience.  
​Katie Davis Majors, in her amazing book Daring to Hope, says it this way,

“Faithfulness is what we repeatedly do.  It is a habit formed of long, hard obedience in the quiet...

Faithfulness is in a million tiny decisions and a million small surrenderings—submitting with a simple Yes, Lord—that create a lifetime of obedience in the extraordinary and in the mundane.”  
Taking the next step is called obedience.  Obedience is the step out of our cells of darkness, the step closer to Light. 

It’s often hardest in the moment before surrender.  Sometimes it involves wrestling with our will, wants, or wobbly faith.  Sometimes it involves lamenting and wrestling with God. 
  
Sometimes it’s a seemingly small act that may seem insignificant, and we have to trust that its effect is long-term and that it matters.  Other times it’s a giant step that looms outrageously scary and life-changing from the outset, and we have to trust that God will carry us through it.

We just need to be willing to take the step.  God supplies what we need for the next step and beyond. 

Do we trust Him enough to say yes in this matter?  Will we follow Him? 

Obedience matters.

​What if we don’t know the next step?  

​That’s an important question.  There are different ways to discern what God is saying to us.  He uses all of them. 
  • Ask Him in prayer
  • Read His Word
  • Listen to His voice
  • Seek wise counsel. 

The Holy Spirit will keep leading us.  He wants us to know and obey His will.  His truth sets us free.
Scripture Psalm 119:32/ accompanies a blog post about obedience in The Word Weaver blog/

​A New Way to Walk

​We’ve talked in a previous post about how our struggles and our trials refine our faith.  The process of repentance and surrender to obedience also refine us. 

We want to walk confidently, strongly in the light without anything hindering us, don’t we?  It’s the only way to keep in step with the Spirit of the Living God.

Not limping in sin.  Not skulking in the shadows of shame or fear.  Not paralyzed by unbelief or insecurity.  Not detouring in disobedience. 

We want to live surrendered as God intends—our feet running in obedience, the vibrations of our steps echoing the name of our good, great God throughout our generation and beyond.

Whatever He asks, let’s obey.  Let’s take the step He’s asking and trust Him to take care of us in the process. 

In Daring to Hope, Katie Davis Majors goes on to say, “We have nothing to offer, yet here we are.  And there Jesus is, arms open wide, reaching for us as He always does, though we have nothing to offer Him but ourselves. 

I look down at my feet, filthy from this day of trekking through dust.  I feel the sweat drip down my brow. I will show up to heaven like this too.  Worn and dirty from the effort of giving all I have.  Scarred from living deeply, living fully, hoping wildly.


May this also be us!  More than anything, don’t we want real, abundant life now and forever?  Our obedience matters.

​Let’s Pray:

​Heavenly Father,

Scan our inner parts and show us our chains. Continue to do WHATEVER it takes to help us recognize patterns of: sin and selfishness, deception and lies, or unbelief and weak faith.  Continue to do WHATEVER it takes to purify, cleanse, strengthen, and shape us.  May we see sin, unbelief, and disobedience for the thieves that they are.  Deliver us.  Embolden us.

May we keep our gaze on You and bask in the blazing light of Your holiness. May we so desire Your light that if we even start to step into shady areas, we will repent and turn quickly to Your ways.  As we confess and take the steps that You request, restore to us the absolute, unfiltered, unfettered joy of our salvation.

Then may we fully feel the sense of release, freedom, and light that obedience brings.  May it solidify within us the deepest desire to walk with You. 

WHATEVER You tell us, may we say, Yes, Lord.

We are Yours.  You are ours.  May we walk obediently in the light as You are in the Light for Your purposes, delight, and glory.

In the Name of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ,
Amen.
Obedience to God releases unfettered joy/ Blog post by The Word Weaver/

​Isaiah 61:1
Hebrews 12:1
1 John 1:6-8
2 Timothy 2:16
Ezekiel 36:27
Luke 19:10
Psalm 119:32
Galatians 5:16-26

by The Word Weaver, Deb on April 19th, 2018

​Don’t you just love Peter?   I do!  He was real and honest.  Bold.  Passionate.

He had a heart for God.  He risked uncertainty, ridicule, and failure.  When Jesus called him, he left his boat immediately and followed.  When he didn’t understand, he asked Jesus to clarify.  He jumped out of the boat more than once to rush toward Jesus.  When the Son of God explained that unless Peter let Him wash his feet, he could have no part of Him, the wholehearted disciple exclaimed, “Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well.” (John 13: 1-17, NIV) 

At a point in Jesus' life on earth when many disciples, in disappointment and disillusionment, turned away at the hard teachings, He asked the Twelve, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”  Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”  (John 6: 68-69, NIV)

Peter may not have completely understood the Kingdom of God before the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentacost, but he sought to follow and honor God with his entire being.  He was ALL IN.

And as a result, he experienced God in incredible, unique, intimate ways.  He had the privilege of proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  He witnessed the transfiguration and glory of the Lord, seeing revered prophets conferring with Him and hearing the affirmation of the Father from Heaven.  He witnessed mighty miracles.  He dined and walked and talked with Jesus.  He gave up everything for the Messiah.

I want to be like him.

​Oh, wait.  

​I am like Peter. 

**Peter wanted reachable righteous parameters“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?  Up to seven times?  (Matthew 18:21-22, NIV)

Haven’t I done the same?  I want to know when I can finally check my goodness off the list, skirt the harder issues, and still be justified.  I seek assurance that I’ve given sacrificially enough and proudly stand waiting for my golden sticker.  Religious rules are far easier and less costly than walking in the Lord’s righteous requirements.  Jesus doesn’t let me off the hook easily either.

**Peter slept when urgency in prayer was needed.  The Lord’s heart was breaking in anguish, but Peter and the other disciples could not rouse themselves from slumber. 

How many times have I intended to sit and pray only to awaken much later chilled in my chair? How many times has the heart of the Lord contracted in pain over a person’s life and He’s invited me to bear it with Him in prayer, but I have forgotten or have been too busy? 

**When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter sliced off someone’s ear in his determination to defend the Lord.

This shared characteristic stings a bit.  How many times have I been offensive in my rush to protect God? Perhaps I haven’t brandished a sword, but my tongue has sliced and stabbed.  And my tone of voice has pierced just as surely. God does not need my defense as much as my surrendered trust.    

**Shortly after Peter gloriously proclaimed who Jesus was, he then arrogantly and impetuously rebuked Jesus.  (Matthew 16) He did not understand God’s purpose for the Savior, and He spoke from His ignorance. 

When Jesus told him how to do his job, Peter dragged his feet before He dragged his nets.  He lectured God, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.  But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”  I can imagine him sighing as he said it!  When the nets began to break, so did Peter’s pride.  (Luke 5:4-8, NIV)

I, too, have arrogantly and ignorantly told the omniscient Lord how things work in my world before attempting them His way and realizing how little I really know.  I’ve also had the gall to repeatedly tell Him how to do (and how not to do) His job.  May I learn to live face-first before Him, trusting His sovereign knowledge, precepts, and purposes.

**After Jesus forgave and reinstated Peter to leadership, He warned him that discipleship would cost his life.  In that moment, Peter tried to change the difficult subject by pointing to another, asking, “Lord, what about him?” 

Jesus’ answer is the same to me when I try to compare myself or when I pout that another’s life is preferable.  He says (my paraphrase), “What business is it of yours?  You must follow Me.”   (John 21: 15-22) 

If you, like me, resemble Peter, there’s hope. 

​There’s good news.

​Once Jesus returned to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His people, this impetuous, unpredictable man became a Spirit-filled, gospel-freed disciple who went on to change the world and lead the Church with bold reliance upon the risen Lord.  He wrote the first and second books of the Bible that bear his name. 

In 1 Peter, he describes our living hope and new birth purchased for us by the death and resurrection of Jesus.  He lifts our eyes to our promised inheritance.  He assures us of our protection until that salvation is fully realized in the last day. 

Peter proceeds to encourage the saints who were undergoing horrific persecution, intense hardship, and painful daily realities.  He knew personally that pain blots vision and blurs perspective. He was, under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, helping to wipe their eyes and restore their spiritual sight. 

He wrote it also for us.  He reminds us that God has a greater purpose in our experiences than we now see or understand. 

He says, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  (1 Peter 1:6-9, NIV)

The words of Peter—this man who knew intimately and painfully of the Refiner’s fire—carry significant weight.  He spoke of great joy resulting from trials.  He knew this firsthand.  His own faith and life had been shattered, shaken, and melted down in the refining fire He experienced following his denial of Jesus.  

​We can’t skip over that.

​Imagine with me how long those hours and nights and days following Jesus’ arrest must have felt.  Peter was heartsick and humiliated; after all, he’d sworn his allegiance emphatically, boldly, publicly. Oh, so brashly.  

When Jesus had warned his disciples that every one of them would fall away at his death, Peter had declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”  Jesus then specifically predicted how thoroughly Peter would deny knowing Him.  Still Peter crowed, “Even if I have to die with You, I will never disown You.”  (Mark 14: 27-31)

Perhaps afterward nausea hurled hot when he thought about it. 

First he’d witnessed the unbelievable betrayal of their friend Judas and, then even more, how shocking and terrifying it must have been to face his own act of betrayal.  How isolated, lonely, and bereft he must have felt.  Did he hide and barricade himself into his home?  Did he wish it was he who had died?  Surely death and despair thickened through his own bones while hopelessness made breathing difficult. 

In the days before the empty tomb was discovered, Peter experienced a lifetime of self-recriminations, shame, horror, and regret.  And it shaped him.  For good.  For God.

Then in the death, resurrection, love, and grace of Jesus, Peter discovered an undying love, a life-transformational power, and eternal purpose.  
 
Scripture Quote 1 Peter 1:6-7 accompanying The Word Weaver blog post/ Refined faith
This man—who once denied Jesus and would later be martyred for His name—knew what he was talking about when he wrote that difficulties refine, test, and strengthen our precious faith.  The struggles formed an unshakeable, genuine, precious life of faith and intimate relationship with God. 

As with Peter and the saints of old, may God use our day-to-day struggles, our doubts, our fears, our bewildering questions, our brokenness, and our pain to firmly fasten our hearts to Him.  May our love and faith become an unquenchable fire and an unshakeable trust that results in unending glory to Jesus Christ. 

Let’s wholeheartedly echo Peter’s life of worship.  Jesus is trustworthy and true.  In joy and in hardship, when we understand and when we don’t.  Jesus is our great joy.   We are His, and He is ours.  Now and forevermore.  
May our love & faith become unquenchable fire & unshakeable trust resulting in unending glory to Jesus/ Quote from The Word Weaver blog post
Scriptures Knit Into an accompanying post by The Word Weaver
​Matthew 4:18-20, 14:28-30, 15:1-20, 16:15-23, 17:1-4, 18:21-35
Mark 5:35-43, 14:27-33, 61-77 
Luke 5:4-8
John 6:68-69, 13:6-17, 21:2-6, 21:15-21
1 Peter 1:6-9
 
Related resources for The Word Weaver post
Convenient Tweetable quotes for The Word Weaver blog post

by The Word Weaver, Deb on April 5th, 2018

​What do you think of when you hear the word worship?  Do you think of songs sung?  Does it bring to mind reverent actions in church? 

While singing songs to God and gathering with other believers are important and meaningful, worship is far, far more than that. 

Designating only a few activities as worship creates a narrow view of worship which results in a shallow view of our God.  A short-sighted view of worship short-changes our experience of Him.  

​A Paradigm shift is needed:

What if worshipping is not just something we do, but how we are to live? 

Jesus said, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”  (John 4: 23-24, NIV)

Worshipping in spirit suggests a participatory interaction.  Real.  Sincere.  Honest.  Involved.  Not speaking words of rote nor merely going through the motions, but actively responding to our God personally.

Worshipping in truth intimates that we must recognize and respond to the unchanging nature of who God is, what He does, and what He says.  He is Holy Other; we must approach Him in awe, wonder, and reverence. God is not a spiritual buffet from which we get to choose our preferences. We must worship Him as He is and how He reveals Himself to be in His Word, not as we wish Him to be.  Otherwise it is not truly worship.  
​Dr. Richard A. Swenson, author of the book, More Than Meets the Eye, states:

“God’s power is undeniable; His precision is impressive; His sovereignty is on display.  Why then do we live in such a metaphysical stupor?  How can such power fail to dominate our every thought and action?
It is not that God has failed to clearly demonstrate His nature, or that He has been lax in instructing us. It is just that we are slow to understand. Our eyesight is dim. This world is too much with us.
What we need is a new vision of God. The real God. Not some vague image we fold up and stuff in the back drawer of life, but the kind of God who parts the Red Sea and shakes Mount Sinai. The kind of God who stuns the physicists with symmetry, the mathematicians with precision, the engineers with design, the politicians with power, and the poets with beauty.” 
 
​The apostle Paul tells us about this God who is worthy of our worship:

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.  For in Him we live and move and have our being . . .”  (Acts 17: 24-28a, NIV)

​Let’s stop and think about those verses.  

​God Almighty, Creator of all in heaven and on earth, knows us intimately.  He has purposed when and where we should live.  He desires that we reach out to Him because He formed us and, in Him, we live and move and have our being.  That sounds like everything.  He is our everything.

When we acknowledge—really grasp—this truth, we begin to live our worship. We offer Him more than a song or a pittance in the offering plate. 

We worship the Lord by living ever-aware of, fully present with, and lovingly responsive to Him.  We learn to see Him as He is, and we offer our whole selves fully to the One who gave Himself fully for us.

In wondrous moments when joy is effervescent and we easily see evidences of God’s work all around us, our souls sing loud and long.  We savor, thank, laugh, smile, sing, work, serve, and give seemingly without effort.  It’s a relentless, contagious worship as we receive God’s goodness and express thanks with our whole beings.  

And while this worship that flies unbidden from a happy heart is a special offering, many times our worship will be much harder.  A conscious, difficult choice.   

In the mundane, tiresome activities that make up much of our days, we must awaken to His presence, purpose, and power.  We reject the temptation to treat our moments with dread or drudgery or hopelessness.  We choose joy and gratitude as we seek to do all things as if we were doing them for Jesus, recognizing that His loving eye is upon us and His strength is within us. Then, rather than being a chore to be avoided or complained about, making lunches for our loved ones becomes a holy act of love and service to those we love and a holy act of worship to our God.

And in the harsher seasons that dash our spirits against the rugged shores, could we offer costly worship through our tears?

Nancy Guthrie says, "Trusting God when the miracle does not come, when the urgent prayer gets no answer, when there is only darkness--this is the kind of faith God values perhaps most of all.  This is the kind of faith that can be developed and displayed only in the midst of difficult circumstances. This is the kind of faith that cannot be shaken because it is the result of having been shaken."  Holding on to Hope
 
The sacrificial worship we lift to God as we experience the holy hard is a unique, fragile, precious gift.  It is treasured by Him when we:
  • Refuse to give in to our fears, our doubts, and our failings.  When we fall at His feet, lamenting and clinging to Him even when it seems like there is no hope. 
  • Fight our flesh with an excruciating awareness of our weaknesses and an exquisite understanding of Christ’s sufficiency in the midst of them. Repenting, confessing, surrendering, committing, trusting. 
  • Take the difficult step He asks us to do, relying not upon ourselves but upon His abundant stores of forgiveness, love, and strength. When we reject the temptation to simmer bitterness or to self-soothe and instead submit our thoughts and actions to Him.
  • When we trust and treasure His goodness even more than we beg for His greatness. 
Scripture quote/ In Him we live & move & have our being/ quoted in The Word Weaver blog post
​Living in His loving gaze.  Gazing back in spirit and in truth.  This is worship.  This is life.  What a privilege! 

This invitation—worshipping and growing in a relationship with the God of the universe—is offered to every person who believes in Jesus, the Holy Son of God who lived, died, and rose again in our places. 


Opening Our Hearts/ Ideas to stir the soul toward worship of God/ Included in The Word Weaver blog post
How do we deepen this relationship? 

We tend it as our most important priority. 

We daily devote our time, attention, and thoughts to God—in larger chunks of time as well as in smaller moments of companionship, comfort, and communion.  We believe and trust in more deeply.

We increasingly engage our faith in Him through truth, grace, and love.  

Do you desire this, too?

​Sometimes the most significant changes begin with a small step. We start where we are. 

Perhaps we could pick 1-2 actions to practice daily that awaken our notice of God and increase our worship of Him:
  • Ask God to sensitize us to His presence, voice, character, and gifts of grace.  As we begin to notice how God is at work, let’s begin to talk with Him about it.  Thank Him.  Praise Him.  Embrace who He is with wonder and gratitude.
  • Open our Bibles and prayerfully read His Word.  Ask the Spirit to help us understand and receive it.  Read a small portion every day.  Think about it.  Imagine ourselves there as a participant. Ponder it.  Talk with God about it.  Ask Him to reveal Himself through it and to show us how to apply it to our lives.
  • As we are involved in our favorite activities during the day (whether it’s playing with children or grands, running, planning an event, working, drinking coffee, singing, writing, breathing slowly at the beach—whatever they are!), savor them fully before God.  Communicate our pleasure and gratitude to Him.  Recognize that He is there with us and that He delights in our joy.
  • When we awaken and stretch in our beds, let’s remind ourselves of truth.  God’s Word tells us that, in Christ, we are chosen, adopted, holy, precious, and beloved.  Ask God to enable us to grasp His love, to see His perspective, and to rely upon His unchanging truth more than our fleeting feelings.
  • List five things (small and large) for which we are grateful.  This intentional, repetitive activity of grace naming rewires our brain muscles and the eyes of our spirits.  We will increasingly see through the windows of grace, gratitude, and glory.  But when we do struggle with depression, fear, or anxiety, this practice will enable us to battle back and stand our ground with perseverance and hope.
  • Speak God’s Word aloud.  Write it down on index cards and place them where we will read them often.  Say verses over and over as we think about them.  Praise God with Scripture.  We may pray for ourselves and others using His Words.  Let’s ask Him to help us to believe it more deeply. 
  • In the hardest moments, may we draw near to the God who weeps and walks with us.  Let’s allow Him to listen and comfort us in His embrace.  May we run toward Him and not hide from Him. 

​Let’s worship together:

​Heavenly Father,

You are holy, righteous, and mighty.  There is no other God but You.  We lift our hearts and our hands to You alone. 

Thank You for being our good, good Father.  You love us with an unending, never failing, unconditional, unrelenting love.  You lavish us with mercy and grace.  You sent Jesus to die in our place that we might live with You, now and forever.  Despite our betrayal of Your Son, You offer us forgiveness and life. How amazing is that?  Your sovereignty and Your goodness are beyond our comprehension. 

Open our eyes that we may more clearly see You at work in our world and in our lives.  Enable us to hear Your voice clearly and to understand Your Word.  Train us to live in worship—enjoying, seeking, abiding, listening, and heeding You.  Consume any competing idols for our attention.  May we desire You more than anything.  You and You alone are worthy.  You and You alone are more than enough for us. 

May we pour ourselves out in extravagant worship all the days of our lives.  May every moment become a fragrant offering as we live and abide in worship, in awe, and in dependence upon You.   

We bow before You, in the powerful name of our resurrected, reigning King, Jesus.

Amen.  
Gazing at God in Worship is Life/ The Word Weaver Blog Post
Recommended resources and related posts to this blog by The Word Weaver
Recommended Resources:
More Than Meets the Eye by Dr. Richard A. Swenson
A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
Unseen Unseen by Sara Hagerty
Holding Onto Hope by Nancy Guthrie
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
The Drama of Scripture by Craig G. Bartholomew & Michael Goheen
 
Related Blog Posts:
Antidote to Worry
The Art of Rain
Beauty in the Shadows
Transplanted
Worship is More Than a Verb
Convenient Tweetable quotes from The Word Weaver blog post