During worship today singing “I Will Rise” I felt incredibly thankful when during the chorus I looked around and saw every single person just belting it out, singing so loud you could hardly hear the leaders.
I know that worship is not about what everyone else is doing, but that we are all worshipping the Lord together.
But as I looked around I was in awe as I watched young and old, men and women, and the many different cultures that comprise our church holding nothing back, many with hands raised, some swaying back and forth, others with eyes closed, others still with their hands folded in front of them in song filled prayer.
I thought that this must be a little picture of what heaven will look like. Many different people, no two the same all singing praise to the Lord!
Then the worship leaders did that thing where for just the chorus they stopped singing, stopped playing their instruments and let the congregation take it, and I’m telling you, as every voice in that sanctuary rose to the heavens my heart literally skipped a beat, every voice sang, as loud as they possibly could, it was awesome! It was so loud and so beautiful, there could be no denying that this group of people in that moment embraced the Holy Spirit, wholeheartedly.
I took in that moment and I wasn’t the only one, I caught a look between the lead guitarist and the lead singer that said “This is AMAZING!” The smile on both their faces almost brought me to tears.
God hears everything, all of the time, but as loud as we got in that sanctuary today, I know our voices found their way to the ear of God and He responded by moving the hearts of His children, we felt His presence here, today.
Nobody thought about their daily problems, no one cared about work, not one person cared about politics or family squabbles, in this moment every person worshipped the Lord and didn’t care about anything else.
What if we could take that feeling with us everyday as we go about our lives, how great would it be when things get hard, when things get complicated if we could just time travel back to the safety of our sanctuary where we know our church family believes the same things as us.
Life isn’t that simple is it? Hostility towards Christians is becoming more widespread and much more frequent.
While I’m thankful that I am still able to go to a church building and worship freely without fear of persecution, I know that if our society continues on the path it’s on that someday, for my children or my children’s children, that freedom will just be a distant memory.
I’m comforted knowing that God is in control, Jesus is Lord even if the world won’t acknowledge it.
I’m comforted knowing that for two thousand years rulers, kings and other religions have tried to stomp out this thing called Christianity and have not succeeded, not only have they not succeeded, but those events may have actually helped the good news to be heard by more people, probably due to the nature of the threats.
What I mean is, as the giant preverbial boot of society tries to squash Christianity, Christianity spreads more quickly because as times get tougher, Christians become more vocal, more willing to spread the gospel.
Christians today are told to keep it to themselves, and for many that’s exactly what they do. They do this for fear of losing their livelihoods, their friends, families, status, and homes. As the pressure mounts and some of those things become lost we care less and less about what we lose and more and more about what others gain when we simply tell them about Jesus.
You can see this in other parts of the world, countries where it’s actually illegal to worship God. It’s in these places that the Word of God spreads most rapidly, places like China where the underground church flourishes.
Places like India where missionaries walk thousands of miles from village to village giving away Bibles and preaching the Word.
Even places like Korea where there is an estimated 70,000 Christians in prison and still the name of Jesus is passed from one ear to the next.
Isn’t it just so wonderful to know that as mankind tries to silence us, our Lord cannot be silenced? As they evict Him from our governments, our schools and our lives, Jesus says “no way, I love you too much to be quiet and go away” I stand back and think, how great is our God?
How great is our God that even though we are told to be quiet, He says “I hear you, I love you, go ahead and speak my name and see what I can do.”
When we worship Him on Sunday morning He gives us a glimpse into heaven and says “keep on, keepin’ on cause as great as this song is, the place I have prepared for you is unfathomably better, far greater than your human minds can wonder and you will see it someday, but for now take in this feeling and when you talk to someone who doesn’t know me remember it and tell them about Me, then I will show you what I’m capable of.”
Our God is great, far greater than I can imagine and no matter what anyone says or does, He is Lord!
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