Usually, I go there on Sunday evening,
Go to church with my family on Sunday morning.
This Sunday was different, though.
They were having a picnic, and I wanted to go,
So I baked some brownies and set off on Sunday morning.
Driving down the road,
Listening to the radio,
It was nice.
Told Him that I was expecting -
Expecting Him to move in some way.
I could feel myself starting to want Him again.
I was so grateful,
Then, of course, ten seconds later
My mind was about a thousand light-years away,
Stayed there for a little while
Before I caught myself,
And told Him how sorry I was that I'd done it yet again,
Just when I felt Him moving in my heart again.
That wanting feeling didn't come back for the rest of the drive.
I went in,
Spent time talking to people
Surprised to see me there in the morning,
Saw my friends,
Shared hugs and stories,
They had communion set out in the front of the room.
Of course - first Sunday of the month.
But I didn't know if today was a good day,
For it says it in the Bible -
That we ought to examine ourselves -
And, feeling the way I've been feeling,
I doubted that my examination would be very favorable.
I thought maybe it would be better not to,
Not because I doubted knowing Him,
(Though I've struggled with that on and off lately,)
But because I doubted that my heart would be in the right place for this beautiful sacrament,
Thought that, questioning, it would be better to avoid than to do it anyway,
But I wanted to.
I wanted to.
And the band played a song,
Some song I'd never heard before.
It was a good song,
But I was hoping for one I knew.
Praying in-between songs,
Head bowed, ears open,
I heard the keyboard play a familiar melody
And was overcome with gratitude,
And, hand in the air, the first words escaped my lips,
"Bless the Lord, O my soul . . ."
And He knew what this song means to me,
He knew how much I needed this,
And I was so grateful,
As if that wasn't enough,
They sang a song I'd never heard before,
And, normally, that doesn't mean much,
But this one was about His worthiness,
And, as if that wasn't enough,
"O Lord, my ears had heard of You
But now my eyes have seen"
Right out of Job,
One of my favorite verses,
For that head knowledge is one thing,
But to see His glory -
Oh, that is something else!
Oh, and then! -
Then the pastor got up,
Opened his Bible to read the Scripture he would be preaching from.
The words "Psalm 103" left his mouth,
And, again, there was gratitude,
For that was the Psalm that I had read just the day before,
In the middle of my desert, trying to see His glory again,
And - even more! - I knew how it started:
"Bless the LORD, O my soul"
Bless the LORD,
In the middle of the desert,
He moved in my heart,
And He showed me He was present
In this personal way -
For it wouldn't have meant the same thing to anyone else.
It must have been for me.
I could feel again,
And I knew -
I knew that it was okay.
They called for communion,
And I went forward,
Back in my seat,
With bread and cup in hand,
Thinking about all He did for me,
Two of the band members began to sing,
"How deep the Father's love for us, . . ."
And I could not open my mouth,
Other than to murmur thanks,
For I was blown away by His grace.
They were singing my second-favorite hymn of all time,
And I would never have expected that,
Especially on top of everything that He'd just done,
And especially in a church that usually sings more "modern" songs,
Where hymns are usually sped up with drums -
But this -
Just a guitar, two voices -
For the entire first verse, I could not sing.
(And I love to sing!)
All I could do was say "Thank You",
Over and over and over again.
Then my voice joined in,
Harmonizing with the melody,
And my heart was still just giving thanks -
So much to be grateful for.
The pastor preached on gratitude -
What else, with all He'd been doing for me that morning? -
And I was grateful for how special He made that day for me.
We left to gather elsewhere
And there was food,
And there was water,
And there was a smile on my face wider than there has been in a long time,
Straight from the joy in my heart.
Well, I can't say that my smile is still that wide,
And I can't say that my heart is still that joyful,
But something's just a little different -
There's just a little more happiness,
Just a little more contentment,
And a strong motivation to leave all else behind and pursue Him.
I'm not sure how long that will last for,
Or whether it will get better or worse after this,
But I'm not worried, because He is faithful,
And I will wait, because He is working for good.
I will trust, because He has promised,
And I will not leave, because He is all I have.
I am His
And His alone.
Counting numbers 1337-1447 this week,
A hundred more reasons to worship Him,
To bless the LORD,
To be grateful because He is:
- He delights in people (1 Kings 10:9)
- He places those whom He delights in on the throne of Israel (1 Kings 10:9)
- He has eternal love for His people (1 Kings 10:9)
- He makes one who will maintain justice king (1 Kings 10:9)
- He makes one who will maintain righteousness king (1 Kings 10:9)
- He puts wisdom into the hearts of people (1 Kings 10:23)
- He becomes angry with those whose hearts turn away from Him (1 Kings 11:9)
- He becomes angry when those to whom He has appeared – twice! - turn away from Him (1 Kings 11:9)
- He becomes angry with those who do not keep His commands to not follow other gods (1 Kings 11:10)
- He becomes angry with those who do that which He forbade (1 Kings 11:10)
- He tears the kingdom away from those who do not keep His covenant (1 Kings 11:11)
- He tears the kingdom away from those who do not keep His decrees (1 Kings 11:11)
- He tears the kingdom away from those who do not do that which He commanded (1 Kings 11:11)
- He give the kingdom which He tore away to the subordinates of those whom He tore it away from (1 Kings 11:11)
- He delays punishment for the sake of those whom He love (1 Kings 11:12)
- He refrains from tearing the whole kingdom away and gives one tribe (1 Kings 11:13)
- He refrains from tearing the whole kingdom away for the sake of His servant (1 Kings 11:13)
- He refrains from tearing the whole kingdom away for the sake of the city which He has chosen (1 Kings 11:13)
- He raises up adversaries (1 Kings 11:14)
- He tears the kingdom out of the hand of the king (1 Kings 11:31)
- He gives ten tribes to another (1 Kings 11:31)
- He allows the king to keep one tribe for the sake of His servant and His city (1 Kings 11:32)
- He tears the kingdom out of the hand of the king because the people have forsaken Him (1 Kings 11:33)
- He tears the kingdom out of the hand of the king because the people have not walked in obedience to Him (1 Kings 11:33)
- He tears the kingdom out of the hand of the king because the people have not done what is right in His eyes (1 Kings 11:33)
- He tears the kingdom out of the hand of the king because the people have not kept His decrees and laws (1 Kings 11:33)
- He makes the one He chooses to ruler all the days of his life for the sake of His servant, whom He chose and who obeyed all His commands and decrees (1 Kings 11:34)
- He gives one tribe so that His servant may always have a lamp before Him in the city where He chose to put His Name (1 Kings 11:36)
- He makes the one He chooses ruler over all his heart desires (1 Kings 11:37)
- He chooses one to be king over Israel (1 Kings 11:37)
- He is with the one who does whatever He commands (1 Kings 11:38)
- He is with the one who walks in obedience to Him (1 Kings 11:38)
- He is with the one who does what is right in his eyes by obeying His decrees and commands (1 Kings 11:38)
- He builds enduring dynasties for those who follow him (1 Kings 11:38)
- He humbles the descendants of His servant because of their disobedience (1 Kings 11:39)
- He does not humble the descendants of His servant forever (1 Kings 11:39)
- He causes kings not to listen to their people (1 Kings 12:15)
- He causes turns of events (1 Kings 12:15)
- He fulfills the word He has spoken (1 Kings 12:15)
- He commands people not to fight (1 Kings 12:24)
- He commands people not to go up to fight against their brothers (1 Kings 12:24)
- He commands people not to fight to regain their kingdom, for the loss of it was His doing (1 Kings 12:21-24)
- By His word people come (1 Kings 13:1)
- By His word people prophesy (1 Kings 13:2)
- He declares signs (1 Kings 13:4)
- He shrivels up hands, so that their owners cannot pull them back (1 Kings 13:4)
- He shrivels up the hand of one who commands that His prophet be seized (1 Kings 13:4)
- He fulfills the signs He declared (1 Kings 13:3-5)
- He gives signs by His word (1 Kings 13:5)
- He restores the hand He shriveled up (1 Kings 13:6)
- He answers those who intercede with Him on the behalf of others (1 Kings 13:6)
- He commands His prophet not to eat bread (1 Kings 13:9)
- He commands His prophet not to drink water (1 Kings 13:9)
- He commands His prophet not to return by the way he came (1 Kings 13:9)
- He punishes those who defy His word and do not keep His commands (1 Kings 13:21-22)
- He gives those who have not kept His commands over to the lion, who mauls them and kills them (1 Kings 13:21-26)
- His messages will certainly come true (1 Kings 13:31)
- He sees through all pretense (1 Kings 14:5-6)
- He tells His prophet who is coming before the person even arrives (1 Kings 14:5)
- He tells his prophet what answer to give before the person asking a question comes (1 Kings 14:5)
- He sends bad news (1 Kings 14:5-6)
- He brings disaster on the house of one who has aroused His anger (1 Kings 14:9-10)
- He cuts off every last male from the one who has aroused His anger (1 Kings 14:9-10)
- He burns up the house of the one who has aroused His anger, burns it up until it is all gone (1 Kings 14:9-10)
- He allows dogs and birds to eat the dead relatives of the one who has aroused His anger (1 Kings 14:9-11)
- He causes the son of one who has aroused His anger to die (1 Kings 14:9-12)
- He allows the son of one who has aroused His anger to be buried, because he is the only one in whom He has found anything good (1 Kings 14:9-13)
- He raises up a king who will cut off the family of his predecessor (1 Kings 14:14)
- He strikes His nation (1 Kings 14:15)
- He uproots His people from the good land that he gave to them (1 Kings 14:15)
- He scatters His people because they aroused His anger by worshiping other gods (1 Kings 14:15)
- He gives His nation up because of the sins the one who aroused His anger committed, and caused the nation to commit (1 Kings 14:9-16)
- He has jealous anger toward those who do evil (1 Kings 14:22)
- He gives a lamp even to those who are not fully devoted to Him for the sake of His servant (1 Kings 15:3-4)
- His word comes to those whom He chooses (1 Kings 16:1)
- He lifts people up from the dust (1 Kings 16:2)
- His anger is aroused by His people's sins (1 Kings 16:2)
- Events happen in accordance with His word (1 Kings 16:12)
- His anger is aroused by the worship of worthless idols (1 Kings 16:13)
- He causes droughts (1 Kings 17:1)
- He gives water to His servant in the midst of a great drought (1 Kings 17:1-3)
- He directs the ravens to supply His servant with food (1 Kings 17:4)
- He directs a widow to supply His servant with food (1 Kings 17:9)
- He keeps the jar of flour from being used up (1 Kings 17:14)
- He does not let the jug of oil run dry (1 Kings 17:14)
- He raises the dead to life (1 Kings 17:17-23)
- He lets life return to the dead (1 Kings 17:21-22)
- His word is truth (1 Kings 17:24)
- He sends rain on the land (1 Kings 18:1)
- He is God in His nation (1 Kings 18:36)
- He turns the hearts of His people back again (1 Kings 18:37)
- His fire falls (1 Kings 18:38)
- His fire burns up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the soil, and even the extra water in the trench (1 Kings 18:38)
- He answers by fire (1 Kings 18:24-39)
- The LORD – He is God! (1 Kings 18:39)
- His power enables a man to run ahead of a chariot (1 Kings 18:44-46)
- He sends food to His servant (1 Kings 19:4-8)
- Two of His meals sustain a man for forty days and forty nights (1 Kings 19:5-8)
- He passes by (1 Kings 19:11)
- When He passes by, a great and strong wind tears the mountains and breaks rocks into pieces before Him (1 Kings 19:11)
- He is not in the wind (1 Kings 19:11)
- When He passes by, the earth quakes (1 Kings 19:11)
- He is not in the earthquake (1 Kings 19:11)
- When He passes by, there is fire (1 Kings 19:12)
- He is not in the fire (1 Kings 19:12)
- When He passes by, there is the sound of a low whisper (1 Kings 19:12)
- He is in the whisper (1 Kings 19:12-13)
- He anoints one to succeed his servant as prophet (1 Kings 19:16)
- He reserves thousands (1 Kings 19:18)
- He reserves those whose knees have not bowed down to other gods (1 Kings 19:18)
- He reserves those whose mouths have not kissed other gods (1 Kings 19:18)
Posting a day early this week,
Counting 10,000 Reasons to worship Him:
(Take the challenge with us!)
<a href="http://maryschieferstein.blogspot.com/search/label/10000%20Reasons" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8zkGH23srZ8/T2i3Bun0O9I/AAAAAAAABSw/8giPvnJmCPI/s320/10000ReasonsButton.jpg" /></a>Counting in community: