Thursday, May 23, 2019

Verse Images: My New Tool

As much as I love routine, I like to change things up a bit sometimes.  What I've started doing this past month is creating a verse image after each time I've sat down to read the Bible.  It goes like this: I pray for God to speak to me through His Word, and then I open it up and start reading until a verse gets my attention.  Then I open up the YouVersion Bible App on my phone and look at that verse in a few different versions.  I pick the one I like the most and create a verse image through the app.  Doing this creative process helps me commit the words to memory, and gives me verse images on my phone that I can flip through.  It's also my plan to use them as a revolving background on my computer so that I'm reminded of the things I'm learning.  Now, before you put me on a pedestal, know that this does NOT happen every day.  It's just a new tool that I'm trying out - using technology to aid my spiritual growth.

Here is the image I created today.

While I chose this version for the image, I really like how The Message worded it the most.  This is a  paraphrase of what Jesus was saying to the woman at the well, "It's who you are and the way you live that count before God.  Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth.  That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship."

Worship in Spirit.

The first thing that came to my mind was church...the "worship service". Am I just showing up and being a warm body, or is my spirit engaged?  Honestly, I have a difficult time engaging in worship during church.  That's certainly not due to the music, because our band knocks it out of the park!  I just get distracted so easily.  Half of the time I run the tech during the service so my mind is focused on cameras and lyric slides.  When I am sitting down in the chairs, my mind is all over the place.  I see my teenage son picking at the callouses on his hands,  the mom with the cute new baby,  the drummer getting into his rhythm.  If I'm upset with my husband - the worship leader - that can be a major hindrance.  And I'm just so self-conscious thinking of how I want to be the woman with her hands raised, singing out for all to hear, but that simply isn't me.  So what do I do with that?  I use it as an opportunity to pray.  I pray for what's on my heart.  I let my eyes wander to the couple who I know is struggling in their marriage, and I pray for them.  I pray for the mom with squirmy baby, that she would find time to rest and connect with Jesus.  I pray for the woman who is grieving, the one who is struggling with addiction, and the one who seems to have it all together.  The beauty of the music is more of a pleasant background to my conversation with God.  My spirit is still engaged, just not in the way that it is when I listen to music in solitude.

What if you don't feel like showing up? If your spirit doesn't feel like worshipping?  Show up anyway.  God has a way of speaking to us when we least expect it - through a song, a sermon, or a person we cross paths with.  Show up in obedience with the knowledge that your feelings could very well change.  Come as you are - you may just leave different.

Worship in Truth.

Worship does not only happen in church or when listening to music.  We are worshipping God whenever we are living a life in obedience and pursuit of Him - in pursuit of truth.  

I think this includes being truthful about ourselves - being authentic.  When we are truthful about ourselves before God, we are led to repentance and dependence on Him.  When we are truthful to others, they feel comfortable enough to be authentic too.  

I'm reading a book that I've heard talked about a lot recently - it's even on the #1 New York Times Bestseller list.  Maybe you've heard of it.

You know why I think this book is so popular?  Because this woman is so authentic with her experiences and life lessons!  We are so hungry for people to be real and tell it like it is.  Forget the Facebook feed highlights - we want truth - we want to know others have the same failures and struggles that we do.  Yes, it takes talent and a way with words to create a book worthy of reading.  But for a book like this, it also takes courage.  

So that's a few of the places this verse took my mind wandering to this morning.  May we worship in spirit and truth.