Journal Entry ~12/23/17

1 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!  - Psalm 95:1-2

I think one of the reasons many of us have a hard time truly preparing our hearts for worship is that we tend to focus on what God can do for us.  Worship is God-centered, not man centered. Worship is about praising God for who He is, it’s focused on His greatness and His majesty. Far too often when we go to God, we go with a list of urgent requests for what we need Him to do or fix in our lives. Worship is simply about adoring Him, it’s about thanking Him for who He is and what He has done. 

It’s important to recognize that this Psalm says us - Oh come, let us sing to the LORD. The 'us' tells us that we are meant to worship in congregation, not just alone. This contradicts the false belief that many Christians do not feel they need to be a regular part of a church body. I get that line of thinking because I once thought it to be true. I believed, as many do, that my faith was personal and I didn’t need to be in a church to be a believer. While this is true in some sense, God created us to be relational beings and live in community. We cannot do this life without a God loving community around us.  Life was never meant to be lived out alone - God created us to encourage and care for one another.  Most of us search for some sort of community - people to hang out with and share life with. We naturally search for this because we were created to be relational beings. But the hard truth is if the community of people we’re doing life with are not believers, we will be drawn away from Him. We need to be in a community of believers because we need others to continue to point us back to Him, to remind us of our true purpose, to remind us of who He is. 

There is something incredible that happens when you worship in a community of believers, something supernatural that simply cannot happen when you are alone. When you are part of a choir of believers lifting up the name of the Lord, the very presence of God can be felt in a tangible way. 

It’s also important to note that it says “let us make a joyful noise”.  A joyful noise is not a subdued or somber praise, it’s an exuberant expression of worship.  We’re supposed to be singing out loud and making music. Music can touch our hearts in unique ways - it has the power to impact our emotions, to make us feel incredible joy, to draw us to tears, to feel deep reverence. When the music experience is in a larger group, in a congregation, it is even more powerful. 

Worship is such a critical part of preparing our hearts to receive the King at Christmastime. When we stand in a body of believers, singing in union about a baby in a manger, our focused is shifted to who He is and what He has done for us. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

Many of you know I have been trying to raise money to replace the uncomfortable caregiver's chairs in the infusion center at Illinois Cancer Specialists.  It is important to me that our caregivers are able to sit comfortably for hours while we receive our chemo treatments ~ we need our caregivers to be at their best so they can care for us at our worst.  Please consider donating ~ every little bit helps!  Here is the link:


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