Not Quite a Burning Bush

Sometimes it takes a lot to get my attention. Thankfully this wasn’t the case today when I heard Paul yelling, “Mom! Help! Come quick!” The urgency in his voice was unmistakable, so I dropped the book I was reading to the middlers about early 19th century politics and ran into the kitchen. Standing in the middle of the kitchen were my two little boys, staring goggle-eyed at flames dancing on the countertop! An open bag of pretzels had caught fire from the burner on which our lunch was cooking. After putting out the fire and scrapping melted plastic off the countertop, we resumed our history lesson.

But I digress. That really wasn’t the story I intended to tell. Instead I wanted to relate how earlier in the day the Lord got my attention, although in a bit less dramatic fashion.

This morning it didn’t take a burning bush, or even a burning pretzel bag, but just some repetition, to get my attention. Before school, I was going over my email which included an e-zine I subscribe to written by another homeschooling mom. (Any of you who homeschool might want to check out Jeannie Fulbright’s site. Mrs. Fulbright is the author of Apologia Science’s new elementary curriculum, and she has some great ideas on her website. Her newsletter, which I’ve just started to receive, looks great too.) In this issue there was an article on “How to Have a Daily Quiet Time.” Initially I passed by that one. Haven’t I been doing that for decades? Then I turned to it, and whew – just what I needed to hear. Mrs. Fulbright had some great practical tips, but mostly what struck me was her reminder to begin our times with the Lord with worship. Here’s a bit of what she had to say:

So, once you have that fifteen minutes in your hands, what do you do? Using Jesus' prayer as an example, the first thing I recommend is to spend time in praise and worship. Begin by proclaiming the awesomeness of God. If you aren't feeling super-duper adoring or worshipful, just continue to profess aloud the mighty truths about how wonderful and great God is. For help with this, turn to the Psalms and find one that extols God, then read it slowly aloud over and over until you begin to really experience the weight of its truth in your heart. Singing hymns and worship songs that elevate God is also helpful for this time of adoration. I print up the words to my favorite songs and tape them into the front and back covers of my Bible. I try to choose songs that focus on God's beauty, character and holiness, rather than on me and my needs, although many of my favorite hymns do both. I believe this time of praise is the most important element in your quiet time. If you don't have time for anything else, this is the key to having a closer walk with God, to defeating the enemy in your life, to dispelling the blanket of fear and anxiety that can cloud your days. Praise is the most valuable part of your quiet time, and whether spoken or sung, it should come first, even if it's the only thing you have time to do.

Yes, words I needed to hear, especially the part about worshiping even when our emotions aren’t in line with what they ought to be.

A few hours later, during my Bible time with my middle children, I was read from Discovering Jesus in Genesis, but Susan Hunt and Richie Hunt. (These are the authors of Big Truths for Little Kids, which I reviewed in this spot a while ago.) Guess what our lesson was about? That’s right – worship. The dad in the story says this:
“To worship God means to give Him the glory due His name. It means that we acknowledge His greatness and power and sovereignity and love. We can worship God because we were created in His image and because He saved us by His grace. Worship is the most important thing we do.”
Worship is essential on Sundays when we assemble with our local church family, but our worship there must be followed up by a life of worship.

Romans 12: 1
I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, [which is] your spiritual service of worship.

On my noon bike ride on this glorious late spring day, I reflected how the Lord had brought the same theme to me twice in close succession. I needed to be reminded of the importance of worship, and sometimes I can be slow to pick up on things. How is it that I get so caught up in the pettiness of my life, and in feeling anxious or discouraged about things going on, that I stop really worshiping Him? Just yesterday one of my children had reminded me that man’s chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Worshiping God is not, or should not be, dependent upon my circumstances or emotions. Worship is about glorifying Him, the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, in everything that I do.

As I rode I sang (rather badly, and between puffing for air) that great hymn, O Worship the King, based almost entirely on Psalm 104.

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His pow’r and His love;
Our shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclous form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

(And there are many more excellent verses.)


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