Wednesday, June 29, 2011

it's not just me.

Just in case you thought I was completely off the wall for living in the meantime, here's proof that I'm not and you're not alone in waiting.  Daniel reiterates lots of things that have been discussed here.

Here's an article from Relevant Magazine by Daniel Darling called "Making the Most of the Meantime."


Monday, June 27, 2011

praising God for what's to come.

So last week I went to this worship conference.  It was a high impact kind of week.  There were in depth sessions about worship, leadership, personal worship, and the theology of all those aforementioned.  All that, plus some deep worship experiences that were, dare I say, out of the box for me.  Even though the group in leadership was of a Christian perspective that was quite different than my own in both theology and practice, I must say that I learned quite a lot.

And oddly enough, worship taught me some things about life and faith and who God is for us.

This week I learned that the word "praise" in the Old Testament actually equals 7 different words in Hebrew.  Each Hebrew word denotes a specific way to bring praise to God.  Google it if you're interested.  There are lots of websites about it.  I must admit that there are some ways to praise that were a bit outside of my comfort zone.  SHABACH praise is giving a loud shout.  BARAK is to "kneel down in adoration" or "to bless."  ZAMAR and HALLAL are probably my favorites.  ZAMAR is praising with an instrument and HALLAL (the root of Hallelujah) is an overflow of joy in Lord, which is about the equivalent of a "happy dance." :-)  Cool, right?  The one that really caught my attention, though, was Towdah.

TOWDAH means an extension of the hands (which you'd find is also the word YADAH), but with a specific purpose.  This is extending the hands in acceptance and thanksgiving to God for what is to come.  It is praising God for "things not yet received."  Jeremiah 30:19 is one of the passages marked by this kind of praise.

Isn't that beautiful?  TOWDAH is the trust and confidence to believe God when He says He's working for our good and expressing that in praise.  I was thinking about this I realized that this concept is all over in Scripture.

Philippians 4:6 says: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

I don't know about you, but the things I'm usually anxious about are unknowns.  The most common unknown?  Our future.  God says, "don't be to me about it."  And because we trust in His goodness, we praise God for how He is going to answer our prayer.

Matthew 6 is ALL about worry.  Again, worrying about the future.  God says we're worth more than birds and they get taken care of.  After all, God didn't send is Beloved Son to save birds.  Praise Him for His provision both for now and in the future.

It made me think of a day back in my Captive Free days.
Captive Free NorthEast 04-05
 I was serving on this youth ministry team that put 7 people in a van for 12 months covering the Northeast region of the US.  We were a band that played at churches, youth events, VBS, etc and we stayed with host families every night lined up by the churches or organizations hosting us.  We were completely at the mercy (or maybe grace would be a better word here) of our hosts when it came to where we would be sleeping or what we would be eating.  I remember a very specific day sitting in the van on a long driving day.  In hour 4 of 8 for the day, it hit me.  I don't know where I'm going to sleep tonight.  I don't know the name of the church or most of the time even the city that we'll be in.  I don't know what I'll be eating tonight or tomorrow or the next day.  I do know, though, that all will be provided and it'll work out.  It was odd how much comfort I was able to take in that moment of such huge unknown.  It was my life.  And in that moment, I praised God.  I TOWDAH'ed God for what He had provided and how He would provide in the future, knowing His outrageous love for me and my team.

I am speechless as I relive that moment.

God, I'm waiting.  But right now, I TOWDAH You for the wondrous ways You've loved and provided in the past and the unfathomable things You have in store.  I can't wait to see You say "Tah-Daahhh" as you continue to surprise us with blessings.  In the meantime, I'm saying TOWDAH.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


So here I am....back in the laundry mat.
(If you don't know what I'm referencing or have always wondered why there are washing machines on this background, check out this post.)

I'm in a place of waiting still and once again.  The anticipation of many of my friends moving away has come and gone just as quickly as it seems my time with them has.  I am mentally overloaded at the moment by a tsunami of stimuli from a worship conference I've been attending this week.  I've been spending time with the Lord more than I have in a long time and feeling like it's just bouncing off the ceiling.  It feels like I'm just waiting here for something to happen.  It's like when I was learning to play guitar.  I quit so many times because no matter what I did, I felt like I wasn't improving, until break throughs began to happen after much time and effort.  Persistence.   It took lots of time.

I'm waiting on a break through in life.  Something's spinning in the dryer, but it's still not done yet.  You waiting too?  Read on.

This entry is dedicated to persistence while the dryer spins.

One of the best things I've heard this week is this: The way to become refreshed in life, ministry, and joy is by meditating on God's great intentions for us.  God is good and He has good in mind for us.  Period.  I'm holding onto that while I'm in this funky life spot.  I'm meditating and learning to believe that God has good plans for me.

This one is touchy.  For those of you whose waiting thing is a spouse, or even if you are married, hear this:  "Independence creates separation.  A covenant is the binding of two separate lives into one."  I love independence.  I'm quickly learning about its dangers though.  I become self-sufficient and don't allow others to serve me.  I don't consider others' ideas or viewpoints before acting.  Whatever it is, I can handle it on my own and won't allow others to help, even when it's mostly to invite them into my life.  What a fast way to push people away.  I'm fighting it.  Folks, I know you love to jam to the song, but don't embrace your Miss Independent attitude.  Learn to live in community.  Learn to serve others and allow others to serve you.  Find people to be utterly vulnerable and transparent with.  Allow yourself to be "inconvenienced" for the sake of relationship.  You'll be glad you did both for the sake of relationships now and later.

A couple of times this week I have been in situations where others were praying over me.  None of the people knew me really much at all nor did they know anything about my story.  One prayed a very specific prayer that I would give up control over areas of my life that I have fear and timidity about and need to have locked up.  As another person prayed for me, they pleaded with God that I had been obedient and faithful and was asking for the desires of my heart to come into being.  Wow.  People I don't know praying prayers that I needed on my behalf.  Awesomeness.  It made me realize, though, that I need to be in persistent prayer about the things on my heart and mind.  The lesson is this: Be persistent in prayer about the things in your life that hurt, need healing, bring joy, or that you are anxiously anticipating.  If it's a spouse you're praying for, make a list of qualities and seek the Lord about that person.  If you're going to marry them, your future spouse is worth praying for.  Whatever it is, talk to Dad about it.  He cares about you more than you could ever care about anything or anyone.  Do it.  I triple dog dare you.

The enemy, satan, hates patient hearts.  He wants us to get all worked up and anxious and he will attack and tempt us.  I'm pleading with you to pray against the attacks of the enemy.  Pray against impurity both mentally and physically.  Pray against lies that the enemy tells us about our identity.  Pray against the lies that you're alone.  You're not, nor will you ever be.  Emmanuel is our promise--it means "God is with us."  Walk with someone else to be honest about struggles as well as to stay accountable during them.  And hear me when I say that God's Word is your defense against these traps.  Be in the Word.  Don't leave home or stay home, for that matter, without it.

Relax. :-)  I heard this today, too: ""Most of us live like orphans--working very hard, worrying very deeply, hiding very thoroughly--not trusting our Father to take care of us."  Take a deep breath.  Trust your Dad.  He's got you.  He's working on you in the meantime and getting you ready for what lies outside the laundry mat.