Worship, Create, Dream

Be free to Worship God. Create with abandonement because He is the Creator. Let's discover our Dreams together.


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The Joy of The Lord is Your Strength.

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 Chaos bounces from place to place , with no respecter of persons as it destroys and  takes it’s victims. How can one celebrate? Does creativity truly and  honestly  reflect hope when surrounded in a shroud of hopelessness?

If you create with paint or  in clay, how would you express the scene from this book in Nehemiah from the Old Testament?

The Law of Moses had just been read by Ezra the High Priest to the Israelite people.  The Temple wall was was rebuilt. It was a joyful time of celebration. New Beginnings. The Jewish people were in exile for 70 years. No physical or spiritual connection to God.  Their temple was destroyed. They felt abandoned. They painfully  knew previous choices from their ancestors caused there own abandonment.

 Finally, a long awaited physical connection of the reconstructed wall was completed. A spiritual connection was attempted in reading the Sacred Texts. The initial response was not filled with joy.

 “ He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square”…Ezra read the Law of Moses.

How could they rejoice? So many laws to keep and they felt so weak.   Depression, despair and dejection covered them like a blanket, questioning how to respond.

Nehemiah (the governor)  and Ezra would have none of this. They heard the same words  but their hearts received  something far different. God was not giving His people simply a set of mere rules to follow.  These were tools to create a connection for building intimacy. This intimacy would go from people to people and from His people and Himself.

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. (NIV)

Nehemiah and Ezra knew, this people would never be able to accomplish the requirements  on their own. That did not stop Nehemiah from going forward. He commanded this day to be one of celebration. Was the governor being heartless, uncaring? No!  Nehemiah stated truth:

“Do not grieve for

THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH”.

 

As the Jews embraced the reality of their freedom from the burden of carrying the law on their shoulders, they received joy.  They understood it was not in themselves where their strength was found  but in the strength of the Creator of the Universe and His Joy over them.

Read verse 12 again to understand why they were able to have joy and to celebrate after hearing the Law.

12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.

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Celebration does not always come easily. The discipline of celebration is not always going out participating in a big party.  Celebration is hard work at times. Celebration may be  an inner discovery instead of an outer activity.  Life does not always hand you a bowlful of cherries to enjoy. What happens if while eating the cherries, you come across a pit? How do you respond? Celebrate and Dance

How can a person be joyful in a pain-filled world..”

This became an honest question for a fellow creative. She suffered a hairline fracture in her wrist which caused not only extreme physical pain, but also emotional chaos. It was a time when  she was stepping into a season of creative classes and personal growth. Suddenly the tiny super ball of chaos started zinging back and forth in her life.  Celebration and Worship! HOW?  Just as the Jews questioned Nehemiah when the LAW was  read to them, my friend had the same questions when this happened to her wrist?

How did my friend cope?

THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH!

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As my friend went to God with her pain, she said “Yes” to worship. The  “Yes” to worship allowed her to receive the Joy of the Lord to be her strength.

The result was worship and celebration in  this beautiful painting.Normas artwork.

“Worshiping with art seriously is therapy for pain-physically or pain of the soul”¹

Come Celebrate and dance. To celebrate causes you to take a step beyond where you might be and engage deeper into where you can be. The strength of Creator of the Universe and His Joy over you is your strength.

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Are you experiencing a physical or emotional burden?

                       Are you willing to take a chance to celebrate and dance?

Did you see artwork from the story in Nehemiah as a people finding it easy or difficult to worship?

        Can you take the time to create their fear or express their joy?

Where do you go for strength in your time of pain?

Who is your strength?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment line concerning  your journey.  We are all on this path together.

BE

FREE

TO

WORSHIP

AS

YOU

WERE

CREATED!

 

 

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¹Quote from my friend concerning what God is doing in her through worship and creativity.


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CELEBRATION!!!

Celebration!!!

Today, I welcome you into an incredible portion of my life story. I hope in reading it, you allow God into past areas of your life  where somehow you got “stuck”.  Our God loves to redeem past pain. He loves to set His children free.

I recently attended a conference sponsored at our church.~  The Vineyard Regional Women’s Conference – Engaging In the Kingdom 2018.  As usual, our  co-pastor Brenda Gatlin breaks the ice with wonderful contests and really fun prizes.

The announcement  came for one of the most loved contests –The DANCE OFF!  My whole being said, “YES I am doing this.”  Since, only four people would be able to participate,  I dashed past the ladies in my row,  ran toward the stage and bound up the stairs..  Thankfully no one was in my way and I did not trip.  My friends were thoroughly surprised by my wild gallop.  This was a bit beyond even my fun character. “What is Sandi doing?”

I made the number four count, but I also felt there might be more to this for me than just the Dance Off contest.

When it was my turn for introductions, I said in a bold and cocky manner, “My name is Sandi, and I am from here”, as I pointed my forefinger proudly to the stage indicating I was from the Duluth Vineyard.

Brenda started giving instructions as to where we were to dance on the stage and for how long. At this point, I began to warm up looking as though I meant business.  Doing stretches, twists, bends, toe touching, etc.    I was totally into the part.

The very active modern music began. The first women were fantastic.  Everyone was clapping and moving in time to the beat. My turn came.  DANCING QUEEN!  I moved and grooved   It was very unlike what was expected from me.  (my pore abs hurt the next day) . It was wonderful though.  The freedom I experienced was a gift of joy and celebration.

No inhibitions. No fear of what other people thought.

 This was just the beginning.

Remember when I said God might take you to a past hurt and release a place where you got stuck. That is exactly what my happened with this dance contest.

When we began the next part of worship (  the vocal worship) after the contests were over,  I became overwhelmed by something inside my soul. I started to weep. God brought to my mind the little girl who was reprimanded for dancing.. This little girl was dancing, bouncing around while family movies were being  taken.   The words that were said left a bitter, lasting effect, “You are just trying to draw attention to yourself, Quit showing off”. My small heart  took on a meaning:

 “Is it bad to express what is inside? Is spontaneous creative expression wrong? Showing off is bad?’

My vocal worship, creative writing, and photographic expression were eventually placed under a microscope glass in fear I would be judged of wrong motives.

During the evening of the conference, different words were spoken over me by my loving Father God -“You no longer wear that label, Sandi. That is not how I see you. You are free.”

WHAT DELIVERANCE!

 The little girl covered with a blanket of shame for freely dancing was set free when I said “Yes” to freely dance with joy.  My Loving Father celebrated with me.

Are there areas in your creative life that are stuck because a word spoken over you damaged your Joy? Did an unintended word placed on a soft heart plant a weed? Has that weed been trying to choke the truly beautiful expression of life God put inside of you?

It’s never too late to dance in the freedom God has waiting for you.  I am 60+ years old. God choose to use this conference at this time to allow me to dance enthusiastically to receive a deep healing I so desperately needed.  You cannot have a hidden pain or shame so deep that God cannot not touch it. I walked in this lie since I was 6 years old or so. It affected how I lived worshiped and created.

 Jeremiah 29: 10-11 The Message (MSG)

10-11 This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Many times we read Jeremiah 29 verse 11 because we need to know God has our back. The truth is, we need to read 10 as well to know  God sees our deepest need and will never leave a child unloved  or incomplete.

 

 

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Celebrate

Take some quiet time for just God and you.

Be brave and ask yourself some hard questions such as :

  • What keeps me from creating from the truest fashion.?
  • Do I feel really free when I am expressing and creating or is there a slight barrier?
  • Do I blame someone else for my lack of  true freedom?
  • Am I willing to trust God to go deeper to express His real Love and Joy?

As part of the Freedom To Create series, I would like you to  journal and see what determines your  lens on  how you see God and your freedom to create.

 

11 Now you’ve got my feet on the life path,
all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
I’m on the right way. Psalm 16 MSG

 

 

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BE

  FREE

TO

  WORSHIP

AS

  YOU

WERE

  CREATED!

 

During your  discoveries if there is something God gave to you,  it might be a nugget we would all benefit from. Consider sharing in the comment space.