A Joyful Noise

Notice the ladies in the photograph? The photo I quickly snapped with my phone during a Sunday morning service doesn’t tell much of the story. What you’re seeing is something that brought tears to this crusty old rancher’s eyes. The only way I can attempt to explain it is that I captured worship in its purest forms.

When we worship during praise time in our church, we surrender ourselves to the moment and bask in God’s glory. As the Praise Team plays and sings, some sway to the music, some sing along with the words displayed on large monitors, and others pray. We’re an animated group for sure. Together, we join our hearts with God as we welcome His presence into our sanctuary.

While often sharing about life here on our Cross-Dubya ranch, the life we share outside our gates has a great impact on the life we live inside them. A very dear and precious friend in Ohio reminded me this week of how important fellowship is, and how it can affect our lives. I didn’t realize how the scene I caught out of the corner of my eye taught me that lesson. It was a week in the making, but when email arrived the next week, causing me to draw upon that very lesson; I understood why God taught it. We need fellowship with other Christians, but also God. We find both when we seek Him with all our hearts.

Let us not forget how important fellowship is in our Christian walk. #Fellowship #DoLifeTogether Click To Tweet

Allow me please to share a little about these two amazing sisters in Christ. The much-treasured lady in the background is Ms. Mary. Known as our church’s unofficial “Hugger in Residence”, Ms. Mary has a smile and countenance that can brighten anyone’s day. Simply being in her presence and lingering in the overflow of God’s love shared with everyone she meets is a blessing. To have watched her lifting her hands in praise and singing along with the worship song, tears streaming from her eyes, was a valuable lesson. We are to praise God in all things and in all seasons. Ms. Mary is in a season of grief after losing an aging loved one to heaven, whom she cared for during a long season of illness. Watching how she has celebrated his arrival in heaven rather than lament his loss is an example that all Christians should follow.

Watching seasoned Christians can be a wonderful source of discipleship and learning as they navigate this life. #Discipleship #LearnGodsWays Click To Tweet

Who is that quiet, yet vivacious little woman in the foreground? That’s my buddy Ms. Diana. Both she and Ms. Mary are part of our growing Life Group on Sunday evenings, but Ms. Diana is both my most challenging and encouraging participant. The challenge is mine because I have yet to learn enough ASL to effectively communicate. I’m sure glad she is a master at reading lips, has readable handwriting, and is a patient teacher. The encouragement is hers as I’ve learned she is a deep-thinking, intelligent, and articulate communicator who asks hard questions about God.

Ms. Diana is deaf, and while some might see that as a disability, she’s teaching me it can be a blessing. The blessing, as she demonstrates so well, is the ability to focus intently on a speaker and what’s being said. She does so without all the distractions that those of us who are more aurally challenged face. On this morning, it was her fast-paced movements that caught my eye. It took me a second to realize what was happening, but when I did, one of God’s heart hugs ensued. Ms. Diana was singing loudly, with her hands. As I watched her, I realized she was signing the words to the song being sung, with a few extra words of praise thrown in.

As I watched her for a few moments while God was speaking to my heart, the words of Psalm 98:4 sprang forth. “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” It was at that moment, this thought popped into my head. What does God hear when we worship Him in prayer and praise? Is it even an utterance or sound? Perhaps it is received as the groans of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-27). Another answer might be it’s received as a sweet aroma (Ezekiel 20:41 and 2 Corinthians 2:15-17). However God receives our worship; when it is sincere, He responds by enveloping us in His wonderful love.

There’s no prescribed way to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. It can take many forms. #PraiseHim #MakeSomeNoise Click To Tweet

The scene reminded me that my worship takes many forms. A fleeting thought as I’m watching the livestock peacefully grazing on a sun-filled morning. In the study of His word as I seek to understand His will for my life. Sometimes it’s tears of joy streaming down my face while driving along and blaring worship music throughout the cab of my truck. Other times, it’s a simple act of reaching to pat or take my beloved wife and life mate’s delicate hand in mine. In all these moments, I focus my heart on praising God for all His blessings, goodness, mercy, and grace in my life.

This week, I pray you’ll find someone to reach out to with God’s love through a simple act of fellowship. Consider how our every action can either be a joyful noise unto the Lord or a clanging cymbal.

God’s blessings,

Signature

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

50 thoughts on “A Joyful Noise

  1. Thanks for sharing what on the surface was a tribute to these special women, but as usual, you gave us other takeaways! One in particular was that others’ demonstration and our observation is a form of discipleship. That is a.powerful thought to ponder.

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Marilyn. Am grateful that you picked up on that nuanced idea. We are always living out our testimony aren’t we ma’am? God’s blessings and thank you so much for your comments.

  2. Oh, what a beautiful piece, J.D. I feel as if I know Mary and Diana, at least a little, and through the hearts of these dear sisters in the Lord because of your God-lesson so powerfully worded and conveyed. Love this. Lord, help us make a joyful noise to you…in our lives and hearts!

  3. This is so beautiful J.D. and truly each of us worships in our own unique way because that is how our Father made us to worship. I love the “make a joyful noise” scipture because I do NOT have a good singing voice even though I love to sing along with my praise music. I figure it is a joyful “noise” the Lord appreciates even if no one else does!!

    1. Nor do I Ms. Ann. We used to say in my Lions Club, that, “We sing loud, we sing proud, and we sing in the key of ME!” 🙂 And yes, I’m convinced God smiles at our effort; even if every dog in heaven is howling as I sing.

  4. I love the way you bring the concept of worship outside those minutes we devote to that kind of activity on Sunday. If fellowship is to be continuous, so is the worship that attends it, and the reminder that it doesn’t require music and a team of talented singers, as wonderful as those elements are. Like all relationships, the expressions of what that relationship means takes a myriad of different forms, and all of them confirm and strengthen the relationship and the love out of which they grow. Thank you again my friend for bringing us into your world, and into your heart. May the blessings of His fellowship find fresh ways to overwhelm you every day.

  5. How precious indeed. Made me think of the Sandi Patti song. ‘Love in any language, straight from the heart, pulls us all together, never apart…,’

  6. Give Mary and Diana a hug for me. After reading your post, I feel like I know them and I suppose in a very real way we are connected as sisters in Christ whether we’ve ever met or not. 🙂 Thank you for these words, J.D. God used them to confirm something in my heart.

    1. The thought that God was able to use me to help you, if even in a very small way, brings great joy and satisfaction ma’am. THIS is the unity of Christianity my friend, the desire to help one another along the journey.

  7. My take-away is that what might seem like a disadvantage can be an advantage. Like as you referenced, Ms. Diana isn’t distracted by other sounds the rest of us would turn to. Even if there’s no obvious advantage from a disadvantage, maybe it’s just that I’m deaf and blind to it. Who knows how God is working. I’ll trust Him. Thank you, J.D.

  8. We finally returned this past Sunday to in-person worship, J. D. Oh, how good it felt to worship and praised God surrounded by other Christians!
    I love your descriptions of Ms. Mary and Ms. Diana. I think every church can boast of these type of individuals who unabashedly throw their entire beings into the joy of worship. They are both inspiring ladies.
    Blessings!

  9. What a lovely picture of worship! Like these beautiful women who love Jesus, He designed each of us “to make a joyful noise”. I believe your words on the page do that, my friend.

    Blessings,
    Tammy

    1. Thank you Ms. Gail. It was a wonderful moment to capture. One that I will hold dear for years to come. I pray my worship can one day reflect that much love and adoration.

    1. Thank you Ms. Joyce. It’s so very good to hear from you ma’am; and I look forward to worshiping with you and your sister one day on heaven’s shore my friend.

  10. What a beautiful moment. I will continue to remember this picture the next time I am worshiping God. Thanks for sharing

  11. I love how praise comes in all forms: loud clapping/singing, movement (dancing), lifted hands, quiet and bowed heads, bent knees, stillness with focus. I feel so alive when I’m in a place and feel free to lift both my arms high in adoration to my Lord. It’s pure praise for me. Most Sundays, however, I am in church praising through my fingertips and feet as I play the organ. It has been somewhat of an adjustment from singing but the Lord honors it just the same.
    When our church hosted a small ASL group, I was so moved watching them sing. I almost lost my place in the music as I was playing. Tears filled my eyes. it was a beautiful thing.

    1. Indeed Ms. Karen. When I see those who are in some ways less fortunate than how God has blessed me worshipping, I think to myself how much more I should be thankful for. Not looking down upon that person/those persons, but looking at myself in the mirror of God’s truth. We have so much to be thankful and praising Him for.

  12. J.D. this is such a beautiful and encouraging reminder. I am always moved when I observe an older person in worship. Knowing the many years of hardships and pains they have endured and yet they remain faithful to our God, fills me with strength and motivation to worship God for all of my days. Bless you!

    1. Thank you Ms. Joanne. Am so very glad you enjoyed ma’am. As I’m recognizing that I am now that “older person”, I’m becoming more cognizant of the fact that young people do watch us more closely than we think; and not just when we’re worshipping, but how we live our lives and face each day. Well said ma’am.

  13. I loved this article, J.D. The freedom in worship that some exhibit is a beautiful witness to others. If the Spirit sets us free, we will be free indeed. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. It truly is Ms. Dottie. While I’m pretty stoic when folks are around, the cab of my truck and tractor are very different worlds. When it’s just me and God, I let myself go wherever the Spirit wants to take me. Still, there are times during worship time that I find my fingers or feet tapping. He’s always there.

  14. It’s wonderful that our loving Father sends us role models for joy and praise in worship. I’m thankful for the many Christian mentors who have helped strengthen me in my walk with Jesus. Now, I’m striving to be one and I need prayer. Thank you, J.D.

  15. Thank you for this heartfelt and encouraging post about how important and yet diverse our worship is, and the important part close fellowship with other believers plays in our worship and growth.

    1. Thank you Ms. Kathy. Our worshipping together is, I think, the key to bringing us together as the body of Christ. I was blessed to worship with different folks last evening when our church visited and supported another local church during their revival. Oh what a blessing it was to share with other brothers and sisters in Christ as we sang, praised, listened, and prayed together.

  16. Thanks for sharing this precious worship moment, J.D. I love to watch sign language interpretations of songs. It adds a beautiful dimension to the music and worship. Blessings to you and Ms. Diane!

    1. Thank you Ms. Barbara. I sure am enjoying learning from my new sister in Christ Ms. Diana. She and Ms. Mary are both teaching me a great deal about my faith. Am glad you enjoyed ma’am.

  17. Wow. What a thought. That God may hear something other than our singing when we worship. Perhaps it’s the same sound the rocks make when they cry out. As I sit here on my patio typing , a hawk is screeching for all he’s worth and I’m wondering if it’s his song of praise. You’ve opened up a new way of thinking for me JD.

    1. I love that thought too Ms. Terri. I don’t know what God hears, but I know He loves us for it because I feel Him embrace around my heart when I give myself over to Him in true worship and adoration ma’am. Thank you; and God’s blessings.

  18. Love this on so many levels. The role of fellowship in worship speaks loudest to me. I hear more and more people declare that they “do church at home.” And while I know church does not always have to take place inside a building, the importance of worshiping in union cannot be overstated. Thanks for you wonderful examples.

    1. Amen Ms. Candyce. Church isn’t the building, but the people in (or outside of) it. So many churches today seem to want to shut themselves off from the outside world, but God’s word tells us that we need to be going out into the world and carrying out His great commission.

  19. J.D., this is another heartwarming post. After college graduation, I took an interim teaching high school English and History to deaf students.
    I learned a great deal from them, including the lesson that joy is not silent.
    Joyful worshippers are a blessing to be around!

  20. Thank you, J.D. for sharing the worship of these two dear ladies to remind us how much we need fellowship with other believers. The Holy Spirit guides our praise and worship when we yield to Him.

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