Its 6:00 am. Sunday morning, the first Sunday of the year. I am meant to complete a list. My prayer points this year and I cannot shake off this nagging feeling to sit down and reflect. It is that time of the year where we are all writing down prayer points. Coming up with resolutions. Goals. Plans. Expectations. There is generally a lot of thinking and noting down going on. As I sat in bed, I began to think back to 2015, the year that was, there are many things God helped me accomplish and others that were not accomplished as well that were in the list. So many things learnt, losses suffered, friendships built and others regressed, growth registered and memories made. All bottled up in one year. As I thought of 2016, I was excited to see what God would do with the year. So, I made another list. Mental notes to keep in mind. As we think about 2016, the year unfolding. Even as we go through the year itself, let us keep this in mind. Be blessed.
WORSHIP IS INTIMACY
Bible the Message
One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then, a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.”
There is no greater epitome of worship for me in the Bible than the story of the sinful woman at Jesus’ feet. Mark identifies the woman as Mary, a sinful woman. The town harlot. I can imagine how nervous she must have been when she approached Jesus. She could probably feel the boring eyes of the self-righteous Pharisees cutting through her. She approached Jesus, her heart pounding in her chest. She had been waiting. She could not have invited Jesus at her home. It would seem inappropriate. Therefore, when she heard about Jesus visiting Simon, she had to see Him. She had to present Him the alabaster jar. The precious perfume. The sweet fragrance. She dared not kiss Jesus on the face, as Simon should have done, but she could kiss His feet, His dirty feet. She began to kiss His feet. She was undeserving. Unworthy. Unwanted. Rejected. He was forgiving. Loving. Accepting. Her heart soared with gratitude and submission. To a king. Her master.
She was unable to speak, unable to breathe, nothing. The world around, become a blur of color that melted into grey. The weight in her chest was tangible and her throat locked. She felt a tickle on her pale cold cheeks. Then another and another. The sobs were stifled at first, and then overcome by the wave of emotions she broke down entirely, all her defences washed away in those salty tears. The noisy sobs that racked her body echoed through the room. She held onto his feet. Kissing his feet. As the tears continued to flow, she noted that the little streams of tears carried the dirt of the road as well. She used the water of her tears to wash His feet, gently rubbing off the dirt. Then she let out her hair. The most glorious part of her body. Her hair. Tear-stained with bleary puffy eyes, she dried His feet with her hair. She did not do her duty quickly, so as to quickly finish an unpleasant task. She persisted. Through the stares, the glances, the whispers, the mocking. She finally opened the alabaster jar. The fragrance quickly enveloping the room loudly announcing its value and preciosity. She anointed his feet. Wordless worship
LOVE IS WAR
Oh to grace how great a debtor. Daily I’m constrained to be. Let your goodness like a fetter. Bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart Lord, Take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above- Sara Grove, Come thy Fount.
We were created for worship. To worship. Worship is not song, instruments, painting, dancing. All these are but expressions of worship. Worship is this relationship. This connection. The intimacy that we have with Jesus. Worship is Him pouring out His Spirit, His presence, His love on us and us in turn responding to that love, that we pour back out to Him. It is a never-ending cycle. Of us in Him and Him in us. To be full is not to the brim. To be full is to be overflowing and to be overflowing there has to be a constant pouring in and a constant flowing out. We were created to respond to the sound of his voice. Throughout 2016, and life in general we have school, church, work, marriage. There is just all this different things going on for all of us that are fighting for our attention, our devotion, our affection and our energy. To maintain this constant connection with Him we have to fight. We have to consciously fight for our time, attention, affection and devotion to our Father. We have to tear our attention, devotion and affection from wherever it may be and keep the focus on Jesus. We have to fight for that love that Jesus offers. The wholesomeness that comes with spending time at His feet. The gentleness of His Spirit. We have to fight to keep the connection. The most beautiful thing is that Jesus is not looking down on us, waiting to see if we will win. He is right beside us gently nudging us out of our comfort zones. Giving us that uncomfortable push that we need. It is not a walk in the park neither is it impossible. It is just so much easier when you are in love. This year, maintain a never-ending look on Jesus. A steady gaze. A sure stare. Abide. My prayer is that the Lord will tether our wandering heart to Him.
This year, apart from the goals and expectations I decided to have an anthem. A declaration. For every season, for every circumstance, for every waking moment, this anthem serves as a reminder, a prayer and a belief. My anthem comes from the song Take Heart by Hillsong United from the album Aftermath
All our troubles and all our tears. God our hope. He has overcome.
All our failure and all our fear. God our love. He has overcome.
All our heartache and all our pain. God our healer. He has overcome.
All our burdens and all our shame. God our freedom. He has overcome.
God our justice. God our grace. God our freedom. He has overcome.
God our refuge. God our strength. God is with us. He has overcome.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing -NKJV.
This year, we all have resolutions. Expectations. Goals and plans. As we go through the different seasons, as God works in us, as our pride is broken and the walls crashed. As we go to work and attend classes. Abide in the vine. The fruit tree does not make a great deal of noise when it produces its crop, it merely allows the life within to work in a natural way and the fruit is its result. The result of abiding is bearing much fruit. Let us not be caught up in service to God or in working towards loving more, being more gentle or kind such that we neglect the connection. The intimacy. First we are connected. Then we bear much fruit. We spend time in His presence then we are loving, kind and gentle. The difference between true spiritual fruits and human religious activity is that the fruit brings glory to Jesus Christ. Whenever we do anything in our own strength, we have a tendency, an inclination to boast about it. True spiritual fruit born out of being with the Lord is so infinitely beautiful and wonderful that no man can claim credit for it. The glory goes to God.
Be blessed Beloved.