Monthly Archives: July 2012

Distractions

I heard it in a prayer this week.  It was just before worship when someone prayed, “Lord, take away anything that might distract us from seeing you.”  I love this prayer because I want to see only Jesus when I come to worship.

Only what have I brought to worship with me?

Sometimes there are the trials of the week: someone’s discouraging word, the argument with a co-worker, and some prayer answered in a way I did not prefer.  There can also be the atta-boy from the boss, the good time with family the day before, and the memory of that wonderful chocolate peanut butter milkshake.

There are events and circumstances from our week that cross or even crowd our thoughts.  And it is these things that usually make up the distractions we earnestly pray the Lord to take away.  Let’s rethink this prayer in light of the Scriptures.

Consider first that the Psalms are a mixed bag of praise and pain.  Most of the psalms are laments.  Both our rejoicing and our crying is worship before the Lord, an acknowledgement that our circumstances are not fully what we desire them to be.

Next, Paul urges us to make our requests to God a staple of our prayers before him.  “Do not anxious for anything,” he said, “but in all things by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).  We worship with all the circumstances of life.  We think they distract us.  Rather, they can be the very vehicle that moves us in line with the heart of God.

The pastor of the church I attended after college used to start every worship service by saying something like this, “We have come to worship the Lord with all the experiences of this past week, knowing that He was with us in them all.”  The joys and sorrows of our lives are not distractions to our worship.  Rather, they are the impetus to praise the Lord in our joys and seek the Lord in our sorrows.  In this we strive to hear the Lord Jesus who is above the noise of life and who walks closely with us in life.  It is here that we truly worship.

Mike Spinelli

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Thirsty?

Today it is supposed to hit 107 degrees. As I was weeding in the backyard under my grapevine, it brought back memories of my childhood. We used to go as a family to cut grapes for raisins. My mother would bring jars of cold water to help our thirst as we worked our way down those dusty rows of grapevines in the sweltering heat.

Sunday we prayed for the junior campers going to Hartland. I again recalled attending the very first junior camp held at Hartland and going on a hike to Eishom Point where the ranger was on the watch for wildfires. About five of us ran ahead of the group on our way back to camp and we got lost. After about an hour we came across a stream and tried to quench our thirst. We came to a road and a Hartland employee came along in a pickup and took us back to camp.

There are times in our lives when the heat is on. What do we thirst for?

Matthew 5:6—“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Isaiah 55:1-2—“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

My parents were charter members of Bethany Church in 1942. I often wonder what they were thirsty for as a group of young couples banding together to begin this ministry.

Today, in 2012, I ask myself “What am I thirsty for in regards to Bethany and the role we play in this community as we present the Lord Jesus as the only One who can quench the thirst in their souls?”

What are you thirsty for?

Ed Willems–Minister of Care

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