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Posts Tagged ‘worship songs’

Have you ever found yourself singing a worship song in church, then realising with a start what the words actually said? Sometimes when this has happened to me, I have stopped singing, as I felt my life did not honestly reflect the truths those words contained.

Recently, I had to pause while singing a worship song that repeated the words ‘Here’s my life, Lord’ several times over. Whoa—what a huge commitment, to offer God our lives wholeheartedly and to ask God to speak to us! I know I belong to God, that God has cleansed me and set me free and given me new life, as this song went on to remind us. Yet was I still truly willing to commit my whole life to serving God, rather than doing whatever I pleased?

This same day, I had already been challenged along these lines via a conversation at our church door.

‘Are you preaching today?’ I asked one of our pastors.

‘Yes, at all three services, but it feels like a light day to me, as I don’t have any other meetings in between, which is wonderful!’

I sat down, my mind reeling. Preaching three times in the one day? Once or twice years ago, I had to do such a thing and could still remember how exhausting it was. I would definitely think twice before doing that again. As for meetings in between, no way! Yet soon we began singing, ‘Here’s my life, Lord’—and I blithely joined in. Hmm.

My mind then went to a friend who has served overseas for more than twenty years and is soon coming home here to live. What an uprooting to leave all her special friends behind in that faraway country! And what a challenge it will be to reorientate her life here at home, after serving God elsewhere for so long! I know God gifts us differently and calls us to do different things in life, yet my friend gave up so much to do what she believed God wanted. Was I prepared to say with all my heart, as I know she will be doing again soon, ‘Here’s my life, Lord …’?

As our service continued, the preacher reminded us of a verse that was very meaningful to me at a particularly challenging stage of my life:

Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6

God had shown Zechariah a gold lampstand in a vision, with a bowl on the top and seven lamps or lights—and nearby, two olive trees, which would seem to indicate a good supply of oil for those lamps. Back then, God’s people needed to be reminded that they were not to rely on their own strength but rather on the Spirit’s power—and I had needed to be reminded of that too in my mid-forties when I began studying at theological college. God did enable me so much throughout those years of intense study, I reflected—and also in my ensuing ministry role, then on into my writing and speaking journey.

How grateful I am for God’s empowering thus far in my life! Yes surely, Lord, I can still worship you with a full heart. Surely, I can sing all over again, ‘Here’s my life, Lord’—and mean it.

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Right now, I can hear rain falling on our neighbour’s galvanised iron roof. It is steady and soaking, penetrating deep into the soil, as I discovered yesterday when pulling out the many weeds that had emerged during our recent time away. Yes, this rain will cause them to grow more—but it will also refresh the plants and shrubs, giving them a wonderful new lease on life.

This was not the case in my sister’s garden in Bendigo, however, when we visited her a fortnight ago. There, they were longing for rain. The ground was dry and parched, with even the small native plants and shrubs struggling to survive. Each time those clouds appeared in the sky, all bets were on as to whether they would provide that much needed refreshment for the land and that top-up for their tanks.

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Snowy Mts, Australia

On our way home, we decided to travel via the Alpine Way through Thredbo and Jindabyne. At one point, we saw something white and gleaming in the distance. Eventually, we discovered it was not snow we had glimpsed but huge water pipes, part of the Snowy Mountains Scheme. As well as providing around ten per cent of all electricity needs for New South Wales, this scheme supplies vital water to the farming industries of both inland New South Wales and Victoria. What a huge undertaking, to harness all that water and power on such a massive scale! Yet how important this venture has been, not only in providing that much-needed energy but also in bringing refreshment and life to our land.

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Snowy Mts, Australia

Then in a spot not far away from these huge pipes, I discovered how those Snowy Mountain waterways can also provide another form of refreshment. As I stood on the banks of a beautiful, clear stream, listening as it tumbled and gurgled along over smooth stones, I could not help but relax inside and be so thankful for the beauty before me. God seemed so close, as if desiring to speak to me through it all. Then I remembered some favourite yet challenging verses from Psalm 42:

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

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Nth-east Turkey

Over the years, whenever we sang a popular worship song based on that verse, I often felt I should stay silent. I would ask myself how much I honestly did pant and thirst for God, as the writers of this psalm did. Yet now when I put time aside to seek God, to listen to those streams of living water and to truly receive them in my spirit, how refreshing and life-giving it is!  And perhaps it is that longing to be close to God that draws me to those beautiful streams in our Snowy Mountains—and elsewhere too. During a visit to Turkey some years ago, I can well remember sitting with a friend by the mountain stream pictured here and placing our peaches we planned to eat for lunch in the water to cool them. Then we simply sat and prayed together, enjoying God’s presence and receiving deep refreshment to our souls.

May you too remember to sit beside that stream of God’s living water often and harness all the refreshment God longs to give you in your life.

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