Posts tagged ‘Wife’

Evolution of Praise

First off, allow me to say that however one chooses to praise God is not for me to judge. I love watching all kinds of praisers. It’s all beautiful to me. This post, however, is just a look at my own evolution as a praiser and lover of God, because the way that I give myself to Him now is far different from where I used to be.

I grew up in a Missionary baptist church. I loved it for what it was. I accepted salvation there. I was baptized there. I preached my first sermon there. That church gave me my formative development as a person and as a Christian. I still consider that my genesis. I heard many types of preachers there. There were the fiery ones, the expositive ones, the quietly effective ones, etc. We sang hymns, and had a church choir that actually had SATB voices, with people who knew the technical aspects of beautiful music. SO we praised God with polish and refinement. There was no lifting of hands, merely a quiet reverence for God.

This was fine with me, because at that point in my life, I was not fully committed to God, and so I figured that singing my best was the best way that I could give God praise. Going to churches with “free praisers” scared me. I thought that “those” people were absolutely out of their minds. My friends and I would make fun of people who danced and lifted their hands. We were bougie. “Look at that woman shouting!” “Look at that old man doing that jig!” We were ignorant. We barely knew God. We had no knowledge of the Holy Spirit. We served God out of a duty to the church.

When I got married, I moved over to my wife’s church. We would visit there frequently while we were engaged, and this church was in the midst of a powerful revival in the Holy Spirit. Even while I didn’t understand what was happening around me, I knew that even the air was different. The music was catchy, with a great beat and some great vocals. The singing, while not always pretty and refined, was so sincere. The people clapped and sang at the top of their lungs. This was a raw atmosphere. People danced and passed out. The Pastor of the church walked on the pews when he got “happy” during service. Sometimes, (EGAD), he didn’t even preach and the people just sat moaned for God. What was this? It wasn’t until I joined the church and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit that I really began to understand what praise was. Even then, I praised God out of my emotion. I would dance and do a high step. I would clap and shout. Deep inside of me though, something was missing. I knew it, but I so enjoyed praising in that atmosphere. Man, just thinking about it makes me smile.

When my wife and I moved to the church we currently reside in, something strange happened. Over the last 7 years, I have received training in the knowledge of who God is, why He is so worthy of my highest praise, and how to let go. I’ve spent time in the word with God. I have encountered a God who had been a distant relative before, but has not become my closest friend. I have experience God in ways that I never would have imagined, and He has completely shattered everything that I thought that I knew about Him time after time after time. With each “rediscovery”, I have felt my level of exuberance in praise increase. I have gone from standing completely still and lifting my hands, to jumping up and down like a wild man, crying out so loudly that I can barely sing, dancing on stage. I have gone from being reserved and wondering what everyone else was doing, to closing my eyes and becoming “undignified” in the presence of my God.

One of my favorite stories about David is when the Ark of the Covenant came back. The Bible talks about how David took off his clothes and dances in his skivvies in front of all of his subjects and the people of Israel. When his wife questioned his sanity, he proudly declared that he would become even more undignified, because God’s Presence returning was worth every celebration…and more. Now, David was a king. He went hard for God in front of everyone without a single ounce of embarrassment. He knew that he was celebrating for an audience of One.

And this is where I am right now. The God that I now know is simply too good for me to sit still. I know Him too well now to just give Him a cursory nod and keep on moving. I choose to exhaust my limbs and move my body, I choose to offer up my voice with all of it’s imperfections and cracks. I choose to not let singing the wrong notes bother me. I choose rather, to focus on Him, knowing that He inhabits my praise, and while it is not perfect, it is all for Him, and Him alone.

Simply put, as I’be grown in Him, I’ve grown in my willingness to give Him my all in praise. I do know this, though. However you choose to praise God is a praise that God accepts willingly from you. You don’t have to imitate anyone else. All He wants is a praise that comes from your heart, and however that looks for you, if your heart is engaged, God is pleased.

Have a great evening! Be blessed, peeps.

True Life

Today was a day, not unlike any other day. I woke up in a good mood. I had a chance to steal a nap with my wife. We had a good breakfast, and a good lunch. We worked in the garage for our garage sale this weekend. Then my wife told me what she had planned for dinner, and suddenly my mood shifted. AS I traveled to the church to pick up a few tables for the coming weekend, I began examining myself. I felt angry. I was frustrated. But why? Because we weren’t having pizza or some other delectable delight for dinner?

No. My wife is a great cook. Even if I don’t really care for turkey legs, they will still be good, cause she is just awesome like that. So why are my thoughts cloudy? A sequence of thoughts really sums it up.

 

Me: I’m so tired of being broke. I wish i could take my wife out, take my kids out. why is it that every time we have money, we don’t really have it, because we are always catching up on bills from when we didn’t have money before.

(my mood is steadily worsening)

Me: I know I’m complaining, but I can’t ask my parents for rent this time. They’ve helped us till they can’t help us anymore. Maybe we shouldn’t have made that trip home a few weeks ago. We left with a little money, and came back with none…and we didn’t even spend money on anything but gas.

(I can feel my spirit being pulled down even further)

Me: God, my parent’s get sick of me asking them for money. Shoot, I’m always praying to you to meet our financial needs. We don’t have money for rent. Our light bill was extended to Monday, and we don’t have that money yet. So much stuff is due. We can’t even get the kids’ school supplies. What gives? Don’t you get sick of me ALWAYS coming to you with ALL of these desperate needs ? Don’t you get tired of hearing from me? I know my folks do. They probably hate me and think I’m a failure.

Now, during this diatribe, I feel God interrupt me with such force that I still have the wobbly feeling in my stomach. After that last part, God simply says, “No.”

“No, I don’t get tired of you coming to me with your needs.”

“No, I don’t think that you are an abject failure.”

“No, you don’t like having to come to me every time you need something.”

It comes to me on a personal level that God’s strength is made perfect when I’m at my weakest. Well, I’m weak now. And even while I feel completely helpless, by the same token, I can strangely feel better. Peace. God has spoken to my storm with one simply word, “No.”

In one of his recent sermons, my Pastor said that we have to believe that God CAN meet our needs, even if He doesn’t meet our need for some reason. Our job is to believe that God IS able in EVERY circumstance. By that same token, we, I, have to keep believing in my heart that God never tires of hearing from me. My complete and utter dependence upon Him is what He wants most of all from my life. Thusly, I MUST believeĀ  that God will come through. And He will.

I know that I come to you all usually with something encouraging. Even in this mood that I was in, I hope that God’s response to my weakness encourages you all the more. I don’t mind admitting my failures and shortcomings. It’s all truly life.

You all be blessed.