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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Displaced affections

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Picture by:Richard OostLocationUrk, Flevoland, Netherlands

Have you ever found yourself loving something that you shouldn’t?

There are so many things in the world vying for our attention.
Sometimes these affections were a result of our carelessness, we were too unattentive, or too distracted and we stumble.

Other times however, it creeps up as innocently as a pup to its mother, just when we were trying to well, mind our own business and trying to be a good citizen.

And the holy spirit will warn us to stay away. And as Christians, we know the voice of the holy spirit but try as we might, there is no one way to overcome it at once. And we strive to obey and follow day after day, only to be faced with the same situations week after week. And you wonder when God will remove that which displeases him. The power of God never fails. He sends his ministering angels, and puts us in situation so that we can encounter help.

The first time I heard this song, I was facing many big issues in life. Yet I did not run away because I knew God had lead me to this mountain to conquer it. But time and again, I simply could not and discouragement set in. So I decided to seek comfort in the Lord and started crying in him. As I did, David, my husband picked me up from my bedroom and started dancing to this song with me. I was loving the time of sadness but Jesus didn’t let me wallow. When I heard the words “Arise” I burst out into tears again. I felt the power of God’s love speaking through the song. I experienced the possibility of overcoming what I was facing. Arise was the promise of victory and I experienced the freedom that came with it.

After that day, the situation still remained but I sensed a difference in the way I responded. It was not over, but there was improvement. There is no one formula how Jesus does his work in us. Sometimes he allows us to cry in him and through that, heals us. Sometimes he just wants us to press in to see Victory. Over a period a time, I faced the same issue and again the same song spoke to me. However, I saw something so different this time. You know, whatever displaced affections we have in our heart, there is nothing that can replace our love for God, simply because he takes the highest place of our heart. He is above all things and all else and that makes all affections in life so small compared to our love for him! So as we worship him and pour out all our love & affection for him, and as we enthrone him in our praise, he will fill our lives!

And the miracle is that there will be no room left for displaced affections.

What a wonderful God he is and indeed “Arise King of Kings, we lift you up on our praises!!!”

ARISE - Paul Baloche, Don Moen

VERSE: One thing we ask of you
One thing that we desire
That as we worship you Lord
come and fill our lives Arise, Arise, Arise, Arise

CHORUS: Arise, take your place
Be enthroned on our praise Arise,
king of kings Holy God as we sing Arise Arise

to listen to excerpts of this song:

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Project Worship - Radical

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[Attended a worship retreat blessed by Amina last Sat at her church]

I chickened out when I read the programme but when the teams were formed, everyone felt I should just go ahead and have a blast. I agreed, but was perspiring inside.
Somebody should notice I was a mess. Team dynamics & song writing was the title of the workshop. There were about 7 persons in each team. It looked like a conspiracy when everyone played some kind of instruments except keyboard. And when we were finally through with our introductions, we discovered a young & talented keyboard teacher amongst us. He decided graciously give up his seat to me. I thought God had forsaken me! Even so I had repeated umpteen times that I have never played in the band nor know how to, my pleas turned to deaf ears.

God has his way of turning things upside down, so that Sat afternoon, I decided to just jump in and lap it all up. As crazy as it might sounds, I thought to myself, what the heck, let my hair down and learn to have fun! (I was making having fun so serious.)

To say the least, I was unfamiliar with the entire team, the setting, the works! I was totally unqualified to play in the band. I could not even begin to imagine what the rest of the workshop will be like! It's like having a right-hander brush his teeth with the left hand or like walking along the streets of Russia , not understanding what all the conversations were about. It was the unfamiliar that reveals our insecurity and fear. It was the familiar that masquerade our source of trust. Humbled with reckless abandonment, I took God's hand. Like a little kid trying to cross a bridge suspended on ropes, I started with cautious tiny steps and then break into a run. I felt the wind against my face, it spelled F-R-E-E-D-O-M.

Why God in all these? Jesus put something permanent in place of what familiarity cannot give.
Familiarity cannot access wisdom. Familiarity breeds complacency. He replaced self-dependency with humility. He replaced years of self-achievement with Grace - a gift no one can earn. Talk to familiarity and you get the same old story over and over. Familiarity shuts out the holy spirit as he moves like wind. The world needs something Familiarity cannot give.

I had tremendous fun playing two songs. The synergy was awesome. A 1-yr old christian man in his fifities led the worship. It was probably his first time. I was so proud of him. He led with such gusto! I am quite sure he felt the wind against his face too.

Everyone deserves a miracle. This, familiarity cannot give.

Project Worship

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Butterscotch & Cream

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We’ve never done this before although David had his share of creating an ‘art form’ the last time he tried painting his pastor’s house and spilled a can of paint on the living room carpet!

Looking at the blank slab of wall, it suddenly looked daunting.

We studied the instructions diligently and bought all the accessories. All set and ready to go, the first paint was meticulously dabbed on. It was cream colour and smelled like vanilla.

It took us half an hour to get the first stripe measured, painted, taped and untaped. We were barely on our second stripe when both of us thought this was crazy. We didn’t think we were the few fortunate people with excess time on hands enough to want to kill it.

I could almost sense David’s silent message. He being the one better at estimation of time and calculations had a bad feeling that this will last longer than it should. Needless to say, the overly-optimistic me thought we could still do it just under 4 hours. I urged him on. I proposed we stop at one panel only if a) it looked awful b) we cannot go on anymore for whatever reasons. He agreed.

4 hours past, we finished just 1 panel out of the three. Opps! even though I had so gravely underestimated the time taken to complete, it was now David's turn to be perky. “Wow… so nice man! Let’s finish all three panels!” So that kicked off a new-found enthusiasm and we enjoyed painting to no end, feeling like kids who had just received new toys.

My heart warmed at seeing a new, never been done before project achieved. That is how I like to continue with my service unto the Lord. Both in and out of the workplace, church setting or even when I’m on vacations. The Bible exhort that in all that we do all things as if it was unto God and not unto men. Although Christianity many dubbed an adventure of faith, though daunting, hold rewards that will certainly be as sweet as butterscotch and cream!

In service and in love, Lord help us dare to go all the way!