Oh, and mopping my kitchen floor on my hands and knees today. That's a good one for the list. Makes me appear very dedicated.
As for reading, I'm halfway through The Appeal, as well as halfway through So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore, and a couple pages into Schindler's List. I want to take a day and just read myself silly, but an endless list of chores faces me daily, and besides that, I fall asleep as soon as I stop moving. That's why I putter around my kitchen most of the day and can't tell you much that I've done. I just have to keep moving.
But God continues to move on my heart with Isaiah 58, expounding to me on what true worship is really about. I believe in corporate worship services, but sometimes I gauge their success on how encouraged and fulfilled I feel at the end. Isn't that often the case? Recently a dear friend was honest and said "I just couldn't get into it" about a particular worship service. I've been there literally hundreds of times. As if it was about me.
Take a look- AGAIN!- with me:
2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
3 'Why have we fasted,' they say,
'and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?'
"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?
6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
13 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Corporate worship- singing, clapping, raising our hands, dancing, shouting to The Lord, or however you express your love and dependence on Him- is right and good and appropriate, but is it the only way we worship? How about making our lives a study in living worship, fitting service to a King who bent and washed His disciples' feet, who left all His glory to die a violent death on a tree so that we might be saved? He spent himself on me, is it too much for me to answer His call to spend myself on the hungry, to provide for the wanderer, to clothe the naked?
I'm still asking God exactly how this looks when worked into my life. I know two things for certain: the basis of these acts of worship are based on LOVE (for God and others), and it requires that I am not the first thing on my own mind. I am asking God daily for a surpassing love for those He loves, in all situations, no matter how uncomfortable it may be to me, and that this Love for others comes before thoughts of myself. I want to see the reality of having a priceless treasure in this jar of clay.
And, lastly, I need to share this with you all: I HAVE BEEN HEALED! My neck is 100% healthy and hasn't given me trouble since February. I haven't taken any medication, I can read without pain, prop myself up on my elbows while laying on my tummy, and I have begun jogging again for the first time in years. When some youth leaders and youth prayed for me in February, God healed me. It felt like a deep and private secret between me and my Father for weeks, but He made it clear when I should make it public. I give all the praise and glory to Him who heals! Praise God!