The other night, I gathered with a group of people to enter into praise and worship. As we praised, I was forced to acknowledge that I so often forget to praise God in my daily life. I am thankful for many things, but too infrequently do I stop and simply praise God for who He is, independent of anything He has done for me.
As I sang, I couldn’t help but consider how it pleased God to hear hymns rising amidst the violence that surrounds our world. To the unbeliever, the songs of praise would seem ridiculous. How could we praise a being we claim is all-powerful while conflict seems to send ripples of tension across the surface of the earth? Even as I praised God, I could imagine a person gesturing to point after point of contention. How is God good here? How is God loving here?
I don’t always know the solution or have the knack of finding God perfectly in all things. Yet I know that in a world of aching longing, He is found in the small and large moments. In those moments I spent in the church with others, praising God, I felt His presence, but primarily I felt a desire to respond to God as we ought. Too often caught up in asking for things or pouring out my feelings, I wanted time to just adore the God who Is. Continue reading “Praising at the Potter’s Hands”
After finishing a silent retreat, I opened my Bible to where I had some papers sticking out. I had marked this section because of the first three verses of Isaiah 61. They were the Scripture verses my college women’s group considered “our” passage. While they speak beautifully about the Spirit of the Lord and how it works in us, my attention was attracted to the following verse.
“They shall build up the ancient ruins,
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.”
For the first time, I read this verse and realized the great hope attached to it. I look at the world around me and I see a lot of things falling into ruin. This isn’t the result of one generation but of many generations over the years, the buildup of human sin over the course of human history. Yet here in Isaiah, the Lord is promising to re-build that which is ruined. And Isaiah isn’t saying the Lord is going to do this all apart from us, but rather that He will use us to re-build and raise up new things.
I cannot help but think that this new life will come from the way the Spirit of the Lord will move.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn…
When we allow the Spirit of the Lord to work in and through us, He will re-build the broken world in which we live. I see it already happening in small ways. On the silent retreat, I was primarily surrounded by moms, several of them visibly pregnant with another child. It is beautiful to think of how families will be strengthened and renewed simply by their mother’s dedication to her faith. Continue reading “Build Up the Ancient Ruins”