Monday, December 11, 2006
Isaiah 35:1, 3-4, 8
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Strengthen the feeble hands that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come."
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness.
One definition of holiness listed in Strong's Bible Concordance reads, "set apart for God, to be as it were, exclusively his." Walking on Isaiah's highway, feeling new strength in my arms and legs, full of joy and hope, surrounded by a land revived and rejoicing, how could I be anything but "exclusively his?"
That's then. What do I do now? When, as Paul wrote in Romans, all of nature is "in bondage to decay" and "groans as in the pains of childbirth" (Romans 8:19, 22). When so much of what I do seems to come from an ultimately selfish motive. When fear and trembling trump joy and hope. When death feels like death, not the doorway to new life with Jesus, and I dread its pain. When sorrow etches itself on faces, worry becomes a habit, helpless anxiety rushes through veins and arteries like high blood pressure. When panic and stress become a way of life. For me, for those around me. We feel Alone.
How do I set myself apart from all of this? I don't think I do. That "achievement" would be just one more thing to worry about getting right. The result would either be despair or pride. God has to be in charge here.
So how do I open up to God setting me apart for himself? I think the action verb is "worship."
To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God. - William Temple
When we kiss the heart of God in worship, we are healed, inspired, motivated, directed, and integrated into reality from God's perspective. - Steve Robbins
Worship is a real experience where we touch Him and are touched. - Carl Tuttle
At church today we sang "It's Your Love." We sang together. We worshipped. We opened up to God's holiness, and to him making us in his image.
Your love never ceases to delight me
In countless ways you show how much you care
So how could I consider lightly the grace you pour on me
Your love never ceases to define me
I'm everyday becoming more like You
So how could I consider lightly the mercy poured on me
It's your love, your love that carries the stars
It's your love, your love that calms all my seas
Your love, your love is all that I need in this life
-- Jim Wood
I run in the path of your commands, Lord, for you have set my heart free.