Monday, July 18, 2011

31 Days of Victory:{Day 18}Worship

“Oh, Sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.”
Psalm 98:1

One of my favorite parts about church is worship. When I was younger, I really just liked it because I enjoyed singing. It wasn’t so much about honoring God. It was more about exercising my vocal chords. Not for attention {I don’t like being the center of attention}, but just because I thought it was fun. Music was a joy of mine since childhood. I remember, around age three or four, waking up before everyone else in the house and going straight to my mom’s antique, upright grand piano to “compose” music. {I’m not sure if anyone else in the house appreciated that as much as I did.} As I got older, my love for music only grew. However, it wasn’t until I went through the “crazy season” in my life {in which I thought I was losing my mind from living in despair} that I truly began to understand what worship actually meant—specifically, worship in trials.

In the midnight hour of the darkest year I’ve ever faced, God led me to a deeper understanding of David’s writings in The Book of Psalms. As I poured through those passages day and night, I discovered that I could relate to David on a soul-level. At that time in my life, I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, the enemy was pursuing me. Some days I felt as if I was wearing a target that said, “Fiery Darts, This Way!” I’m pretty sure that in the spirit realm, there was some sort of neon light attached to my head with flashing arrows pointing down at me, attracting all the wiles of the enemy. Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic. But that's how I felt. Ever been there?

David’s enemies were pursuing him as well. As I read his writings I felt as if he was telling my story. It’s funny because while I was referring to the Psalms for strength, when I thought my sanity was offering me its final goodbye, I heard someone say that David must have been schizophrenic. I thought to myself, “Oh great! No wonder I can relate to him. I am losing my mind.” 

In hindsight, I can definitely see where the person who made that comment was coming from. If you read through the Psalms, he seems to constantly contradict himself. On one hand he cries out to God, “Why have you forgotten me?” Then on the other hand he speaks to himself, demanding that his soul worship God. I imagine he looked much like the people you see mumbling on the streets, saying, “Why my soul are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior, my God.” After expressing the belief that God had forgotten him, he responded with the notion that God is his faithful Savior.

Truly what David was doing throughout the Psalms, is identifying the difference between human emotions and heavenly truth. If he had allowed his feelings to determine his response to his circumstances, he would have stayed in a yucky place for a long time. Instead, this is what he did:

1. He openly expressed his feelings to God. 

2. He identified His need for God. 

3. He followed that by speaking truth to his weary heart, reminding himself of God’s faithfulness. {In essence, he ministered to his own spirit.}  

4. He chose to worship God in the midst of it all. In fact much of the first three things on the list, he did in the form of songs. 

There is so much we can learn from David as it pertains to victory in trials through worship. He wasn’t insane at all! In fact he had a better mindset than many of us do when the waves of life come crashing in on us. There is a reason why God gave us examples of worship like David’s. When I learned what I am about to tell you, it blew my mind. Allow me to slightly shift the focus for a moment from Biblical findings to scientific discoveries on neuroscience and our Creator’s intentions. {Stick with me for a minute. This is really cool.}

Some of you may be familiar with the term Oxytocin {not to be confused with oxycontin, the drug}. Oxytocin is commonly referred to as the cuddle hormone or the love hormone. This is the hormone that is released in our brain to generate feelings of trust. When a mother is breastfeeding her child, Oxytocin is being released in her brain causing her to bond with the child. Furthermore, when mommy’s and daddy’s do what mommy’s and daddy’s do {aka, shimmy sham--I'm totally laughing as I type this--I’m trying to keep this rated PG13 if you get my drift. LOL... Okay, where was I?... Oh yeah.} Oxytocin is released in both of their brains causing them to physically bond with each other.  But that’s not the only thing that leads to high levels of Oxytocin…

Here comes the amazing part!

Oxytocin is actually released in our brains when we are singing. When we worship, we are literally bonding with God neurologically, whether we realize it or not.  One writer has described it as a sort of neurochemical soul glue. Worship shifts our inward focus upward. Additionally, When you sing, it causes you to bond with those around you. This is the beauty of corporate worship. Singing in church causes the body of Christ to connect. It’s like telling your lonely heart that you are not actually alone. To be stuck in a rut and then find your self in the middle of worship with fellow believers is to realize that we are in this thing together. You're not on the battlefield by yourself.   

No wonder God’s Word tells us to admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. The next time you sit in church, nervous about singing out because you might not be on key, remember that God will accept your joyful noise with great pleasure as you bond with Him.

“Shout Joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises. Sing to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of a psalm, with trumpets and the sound of a horn; shout joyfully before the LORD, the King.”
Psalm 81:4-6

Lastly, keep in mind that this isn't just a one way street. Even though you cannot hear Him, God has a voice and He sings too. The Word tells us that He rejoices over us with singing and surrounds us with songs of deliverance! He's singing over you today. I hope that blesses your heart.

The LORD is faithful and worthy. Let's worship our way through the trials!

With God, victory is secure.

Monique Zackery

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  1. That is phenomenal Monique. I knew about oxytocin when mothers nurse and when folks shimmy-sham (Too funny!) but I didn't know about it's connection to singing and worship. That's incredible! Thanks for your insight and wisdom!

  2. Carla, Isn't it amazing the way our God paid such attention to detail when He created our brains? It gets me so excited and makes me wanna praise! Thanks for stopping in. :)

  3. Great post Monique! Very encouraging. It is so funny (not in a comical sense) how the enemy tries to keep us from worshipping in those trying times. God is always worthy regardless of how we feel and now to learn worship increases wonder he (our enemy) wants to keep us from offering our songs and entering in!

  4. That's so true, Lonnie. The devil is sneaky! But this finding about worship makes me want to sing God's praise all the more! P.S. Thanks for stopping in today. :)

  5. Love this, and the whole "shimmy sham" just had me cracking up. Great post, no wonder you were so excited!

  6. love this and love you! <3 We have been made for worship!

  7. Hehe, Michelle. I was totally giggling at that.

    Jennifer, I love you too!!

  8. Monique,
    Wow! This is so amazing the content for 20 plus days! You have a gift and you need to keep writing to build up the church! This has been an awesome 21 days of victory!

    aaron in richmond,ca

  9. Thank you so much Pastor Aaron! And thanks for reading. Blessings!


"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." - Proverbs 16:24