Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Ocean, Sea Word, USS Alabama...

Worship & Vacation Memories

I know it's a strange title, but really, it should be nothing less.  I'll seek to explain it with our story:
     We were blessed to be able to take a break from the business of this world, lock ourselves in our suburban for 13 hours, and be a family focusing on one another and the granduer of God's beautiful creation!  Just being in a car together for that many hours is bound to build some character....in all of us, but to see God's mighty hand at work in our plans draws our hearts to worship. And, isn't that what this life is all about!!!! 
    We began our trip on June 26th, and as I was just relaxing in the hummm of the air conditioner it came to me that it was my birthday.  Not just any birthday, but the day my soul had life breathed into to.  It was 20 years before at Bogg Springs Youth Camp that I sat in a service, and through the gracious hand of the Holy Spirit realized my need of a Saviour.  I took one of my best friends back to the cabin with me, climbed under a bunk bed, and cried my heart out to God.  I repented of my sins, asked Him to cleanse me and make me white as snow, and to take control of my life.  Now, 20 years later, sitting with my husband who loves the Lord, with 3 beautiful chidren, and soaking up the glorious thought that I am a redeemed child of the King...I must say I was overcome with worship!  Jonathan and I began to talk about different ways that we had seen God's mighty hand at work. As I look at all the things of this world that I was exposed to at an early age, things that include ungodly anger, pornograpy, alcoholism, pride, deceitfulness, and the list goes on, it is amazing that God protected my heart and sought me for himself. I could have so been drawn into so many different lifestyles of sin, not to mention the fact that my own sinful heart was wicked enough without the opportunity of new sins! Even with all the things I was exposed to, it doesn't make my salvation any more significant than Jonathan's salvation who at the age of 5 after being raised in a God focused home was convicted of his sin and need of a saviour.  It's just a wonderful and unimaginable thought to realize that we've done nothing to deserve or earn the new heart and life that has so freely been handed to us. 
With these thoughts heavy on my heart we headed to Florida.  On day two we reaced Tampa, where we headed to Turtle Beach to give the kids a dose of some of God's handiwork.  On our way there we talked about how God made the ocean and all the waters of the Earth and how He told them to stay in place.  On the different beaches of our vacation, we talked about the sand and how God knows how many grains there are.  It doesn't bring much excitment to a 4, 3, & 2 year old, but with 20 years of worshiping the God of creation behind me...well, it brought tears to my eyes to think that God would care about me.  Jada saw the tears and quickly hugged me, smiled and ran off into the waves.   She knew they were happy tears b/c she sees them often, but I don't appologize.  I want her to know that my heart overflows with thankfulness. 
   On days 3-5 we stayed in Orando where we prepared to do a timeshare tour (this was part of our hotel/seaworld ticket vochure).  It ended up that there was a misunederstanding, of which I tried to fix for 2 hours but did not succeed.  The experience left me in tears over frustration, but Jonathan immediately helped me to focus.  In the end it really didn't matter, we were all together, having a wonderful time and we would continue to enjoy God's blessing....just differently than planned.  He prayed with me and immediately my heart was calm.  Later on that day we meet with Aunt Ne Ne and Clint for supper, and by then I had been able to completely rest in God's plans for our time...and not mine! 
    On Thursday we left our hotel at 8:30 headed for Sea World where we spent the day blessed again by the many thoughts of the marvelous mind of our Lord.  The kids were dazzeled as well. Ian and Eli loved the dolphins, sharks, and fish while Jada celebrated the roller coasters and stingrays. Clint was an expert tour guide and Aunt Ne Ne was well, the wonderful Aunt Ne Ne that she is! We are thankful for our family!  It was a wonderful day!  We left the park late that evening and decided to head towards Arkansas.  It was such a peaceful trip home because we were able to take our time, play on new beaches, and even tour the USS Alabama in Mobile.  When we arrived at home late on Saturday we went to bed thankful for all the many blessings that God had allowed us to enjoy.
    With all the many blessings and joys that this world has to offer, I pray that Jonathan and I spend more time dazzeling our children with God's greatness and less time with the things of this world.  In 20 years I don't want them to have a great appreciation for sports, nature, music, history, and to want to spend their time seeking the next thing that will dazzel them.  After our vacation, and thoughts of my own walk with Christ, I am convicted that Jonathan and I dedicate even more time to showing our children what it means to worship the Lord and not this world.  "Where your treaure is, there your heart will be also". Matthew 6:23 rings constantly in my heart.  We are always worshiping something!  Is it the world or the Lord?  I know that how I worship affects how I treat other Christians (Rom.14:18): winning the lost is a result of worship (Rom. 15:16), Philippians 4:18 says my holiness is an act of worship, prayer for others is worship (1 Tim. 2:3),  gratitude is worship (1 Tim. 5:4), and righteous suffering is worship (1 Pet. 2:20). 
Worship is the most defining element of our lives!  My prayer is that Jonathan and I will have hearts that are sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He teaches how to worship.  Please God, give us "clean hands and pure hearts" that we may spend less time thinking about this world and more thinking on eternity!  I'll close our vacation with a favorite Psalm of Kind David,
Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day. Remember, O LORD, Your compassion
and your lovingkindnesses, For they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
According to Your lovingkindess remember me,  for Your goodness' sake, O LORD.
Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
  He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.
All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.  For Your name's sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
Who is the man who fears the LORD?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose. 
His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.
The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, And He will make them know His covenant.
One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I amy dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple.
Psalm 25:1-14; 27:4
May You be what Dazzels our Hearts!