“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”
Psalm 100:2, NIV
I love a great time of worship; praising God for all He has done, is doing, and will do. The writer of Psalm 100 writes about worshiping the Lord with gladness. What does that mean? Worship by definition is paying reverent honor and homage to someone or something regarded as sacred. So we are to give honor or pay homage, or tribute, to God by worshiping Him. But how? With offerings or material gifts? While there is a place and time to give of our material gifts, in this instance and most frequently we should worship God with our thanks, joyful praise, and most importantly our presence.
I’m afraid the word gladness has lost some of its luster over the years. I’ve heard it uttered and used it myself as a glib remark such as, “Yes, I’m so glad to do that for you.” (Now imagine that being said with tones of sarcasm throughout.) Even when it is used sincerely, “I am very glad to meet you,” I’m not sure if we fully understand what we are saying. Gladness is about feeling and expressing joy, pleasure, and delight at something or someone. It’s more than a nice, fuzzy feeling. Think about it. When was the last time you used the word glad to define how you felt? Did you really mean that you were filled with joy and expressing your delight and pleasure? Or, were you just a shade of happy? Nothing wrong with that. I just think that the type of gladness the Psalmist is referring to comes from a place of deep, abiding joy that wells up from our very soul and can’t help but be poured forth from our lips; an overwhelming sense of gratitude for God.
I can only say these things because I have experienced them. I have substituted shades of happy and tried to convince myself I was glad. I have entered into a time of worship and brought only feelings of obligation and not joy at the chance to express my gratitude and love to God.
Now, I know that there are seasons in our lives where joy and gladness are much harder to come by, and sometimes completely void from our presence. I have known those seasons and am aware of their lurking shadows. Are we to worship in those times as well? Yes! It is in those times that we need to worship the most. God wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth, no matter the season of our soul. If we come into worship with a weak smile plastered to our face, yet our soul cries within us, it is our soul that God hears and sees. We can fool those around us by our outward appearance, but God looks and sees our heart, and He beckons us to come.
Come before Him when broken, bruised, and bleeding, offering up an honest heart and God will offer peace, hope, and a place to begin restoration. Come before Him when joyful and jubilant, offering songs of praise and God will greet you with abundant grace and join in the celebration. Come before Him in times of contentment and quiet contemplation, offering an earnest, seeking faith and God will fill your cup to overflowing as you lift it up. No matter how we come before God in worship, if we enter with our hearts honestly open and offered up, seeking Him, God will meet us where we are and pour into us the exact measure of His Spirit that we need.
What God desires is that we come; come acknowledging that we need Him and that He alone can provide the wellspring of joy and peace that brings and sustains life. Come with hands and face lifted up. Come with a heart ready to worship in raw beauty.
Day 4’s Daily Step from Holly Wagner’s book, “Daily Steps for God Chicks: The 90-Day Devotional For Real Women,” is to thank God out loud for the joy and peace He is and brings forth in my life. Sorry to disappoint, but I am not posting a video of me doing this. You will have to trust me that I did. If you want confirmation (o’ ye of little faith) you can ask my two-year-old if I did it. He was snuggled by my side watching Special Agent Oso on Disney, Jr. as I did my devotional. (Remember I said yesterday, the most important part is doing the devotional, even if not in ideal circumstances!) He gave me a questioning look when I started talking. He also realized I was praying and clasped his hands together too. That brought sheer joy to this mommy’s heart!
Here is a list of some of my favorite worship albums if you need some inspiration to meet with God.
- Waterdeep: Enter the Worship Circle (with 100 Portraits)(1999)
- Chris Rice: Peace Like a River: The Hymns Project (2006)
- Chris Tomlin: Arriving (2004) and Hello Love (2008)
- Passion: Better is One Day (1999)
- David Crowder Band: Remedy (2007)
- Jeremy Camp: Restored (2004)
- Plumb: Chaotic Resolve (2006)
It is not a definitive list my any means, and to my personal taste. And yes, some of (most) of them are a bit older albums, but hey, give em a try! iTunes can let you hear a sample before you download! If your tastes are more mainstream or traditional I wouldn’t venture too far past 4, as the last 3 artists tend to have more of a rock edge the closer you get to 7! I hope you enjoy.
What worship music do you like?
Hope to see you for Day 5*
*Day 5 will be Monday. Sundays are a “free” day during Lent and don’t count in the 40 day total. I will be taking my Sabbath. See you Monday!