Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Strengthened by Worship

“Let everything that lives sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!” Psalm 150:6

What a foretaste of heaven this past Sunday watching twenty two children walk down the aisle carrying flags representing their parents’ lands of origin. Following them was a host of men and women in their cultural clothes accented with an array of fascinating hats and head dresses joyfully dancing their way down to the front of the church. It was good to be in the house of God. I get starved for corporate worship times. All week long I am out among my beloved Muslim friends trying to exalt the name of Jesus Christ. I’m on the front line. Like this week. Azita who has professed Christ visited her country for a month and came back with an amulet. Anyone who has dealt with charms knows there will be a struggle to let go of them. She wasn't ready to let go of it completely. Sadly I received the Bible back I had given to Mohammed and Fahima. It made me want to cry. So many Muslims are afraid of the Book. Surprise - a few days later they wanted the Bible back! A regular Scripture reading time was started with Habiba. Yeah! Light and truth began invading the darkness. Another visit was made to the home of Yezidi Iraqis who follow a strange secretive religion and adorn their homes with pictures of peacocks which are supposed to represent the chief angel watching over the earth. Where does one begin with proclaiming truth, I wondered? Nadia, a conservative Muslim lady, actually wagged her finger in condemnation at me because I didn’t say prescribed prayers five times a day. I sat in shock as I heard three year old Hamoodi yell the b word to his mom repeatedly. Then the last home I visited this week I encountered Abdullah, sedated, mentally disturbed and unable to work who needs to be set free from religious obsessions and delusions. By the end of the week I felt depleted. It strengthens me on Sundays to gather with my Christian brothers and sisters to worship our wonderful Savior. I need corporate worship desperately.

My private times of worship at home or outdoors or in the middle of the night are intimate and precious. They are my soul’s life line. But I still need more. God knew in advance that we would need the gathering of brothers and sisters in Jesus to worship corporately to receive inner strength. A result of worshipping privately and corporately is that my soul gets adjusted, filled and strengthened so I am ready to go out once again to reach Muslims. If you are trying to reach Muslims with the Good News don’t let the fires of worship die down. We won’t get far in our witness to Muslims if our hearts are not first filled with worship. Maria, a Muslim Background Believer who is in full time ministry to Muslims phoned me this week and said, “Joy, I’m so tired of working for Jesus. I have decided to take some time every month to just spend with the Lord.” How wise - and how utterly delightful! When worship goes – so does the evangelist.

Dear heavenly Father, a mysterious strengthening takes place in my heart when I worship You. Keep the fires of worship alive in me forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.