WORSHIP AND RISE

On a Sunday morning in 2019, my friend Martin saw musical notes rising from the top of my head. He would pen his vision on a 3-hole punch lined paper, and later present it to me at the end of the service.

Spelled in large letters in the drawing was the word WAR, an acronym for Worship and Rise. The very act of worshiping and arising, a spiritual war that releases God’s power to have sway over our circumstances, allowing Him to change our circumstances.

This is a time to Worship And Rise, to prevail. It is a time for faith to rise up and for fear to fall down.  

We are called to WORSHIP

We are facing a very dark and evil time in our world today. COVID-19 Coronavirus is an evil that is ravaging the entire world, bringing disease and death and financial adversity. Yet, we are reminded that “in times of disaster we will not wither, and in days of famine we will enjoy plenty” (Psalm 37:19).  In such a time as this, we are also reminded to Worship and Rise, to prevail. “I would have despaired otherwise had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I wait on You Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you! (Psalm 27:13-14)

King Jehoshaphat provides a great example of how praise and WORSHIP lead to victory.

When a great multitude from Syria came against Israel, Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, fasted and prayed. It says in 2 Chronicles 20:9 “When the worst happens—whether war or flood or disease or famine—and we take our place before this Temple (we know you are personally present in this place!) and pray out our pain and trouble, we know that you will listen and give victory.”  Stand firm, hold your position and see the Lord deliver you. This is a time to Worship and Rise, to prevail. “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast invasion force (substitute Coronavirus), because the battle doesn’t belong to you, but to God” (2 Chronicles 20:15, ISV)

Praise and worship elevate us into God’s presence and power. In Psalms 22:3 it says God inhabits the praise of His people. “You are God-Enthroned, surrounded with songs, living among the shouts of praise of your princely people.” Yes, we are princely, not pathetic “o, woah is me,” sad, weak and helpless people.

Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD” (2 Chronicles 20:17–18).  And when they arose to give thanks and praise to the Lord with a very loud shout, the Lord answered them and delivered them from their enemy!  Let’s declare that God will deliver us also from Coronavirus during this Passover season and that there be a shift in the spiritual atmosphere that brings healing to our nation. May the blood of Jesus be our covering, and a hedge of protection around us.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 20:21)

This is not the first, nor do I believe the last that we will see plagues and pestilence. God promises to protect his true believers “when we live our lives within the shadow of God Most High,our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm.How then could evil prevail against us or disease infect us?” (Ps. 91:9-10, The Passion Translation).   

God is calling us to ARISE

Arise, the verb is defined as to get up, to jump up, to make a stand, to ascend. It is a positive action that conveys something coming into existence. It can be our prayer, our praise, our thanksgiving. It can also be courage rising up in the face of fear.

In Joshua 1:9 it says “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not fear; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

What!? Be strong and courageous? Do not fear? At a time like this?  That may be easy for you to say, especially when the world is in a panic. I tried to wrap my head around the verse “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear,” yet anxiety does not always stand down.  I feared just like Jehoshaphat in time of trouble, and so I cried out to God for more faith.

Doesn’t fear have to fall down to get courage?  Profoundly, NO, it is not the absence of fear that makes you courageous, but it is “when faith and fear collide that courage can be ours … They always go together, so courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the ability to do what you need to do EVEN when you are afraid (Franklin D. Roosevelt). It’s “to act in Christ’s power even when your knees are knocking or your stomach is doing cartwheels. Or as John Wayne defined it: Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway! That is true faith in God to act with courage.  And when we do decide to act with faith and courage, God will answer. “Courage is the very best part of me that is going to show up in a situation that is trying to chase the very best part of me away.”  (Danny Silk, The Courageous Spirit). 

The world is a scary place right now and so we must fully abide in Christ. When we do, He will show up, but we must completely empty ourselves and depend on Him to save us from ourselves and the pandemic. God will always make a way.

Have you asked Jesus where He is in your uncertainty and trouble? I bet if you do, He will answer you. Go ahead, ask Him. He will show up and greet you with outstretched loving arms. His arms of faithfulness will be a shield keeping you from harm. And You can be assured that you will walk unharmed because God is your refuge.

Jehoshaphat was a man of courage who lived by faith in God. By living faith in God, courageously, he would arise and be delivered from his enemies.

Yet, when Jehoshaphat heard that the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites were coming to wage war against him, “Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord.”  He then arose and called upon God to deliver Judah from his enemies. “O Jehovah, the God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and art not thou ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? and in thy hand is power and might, so that none can withstand thee. Didst not thou, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and give it to the seed of Abraham thy friend forever? … If evil come upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house, and before thee, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, and thou wilt hear and save.”  And God did hear and deliver Jehoshaphat and all of Judah. I believe this can be applied today.

I keep Martin’s drawing on my desk as a reminder. In the drawing he also drew a flute and musical notes on a staff. He said he saw the notes rising off the top of my head as I worshiped. That matched what I was imagining in my head, of me playing the flute to the worship music.  I was amazed at his prophetic word and vision. The musical notes rose up from me and wafted through the air over those in the room. I believe those notes, as they arose into the atmosphere, were beckoning the Holy Spirit to come. As I imagined playing with the anointing of Almighty God in the office of a psalmist, a fiery wall of protection went up around the room. Demons would flee at the sound of the flute playing and no enemy could penetrate God’s protection. People worshiped with hands raised and shouts of praise, bowing down, some prostrate fell, some dancing, and occasionally the sound of someone blowing the shofar summoned all present to greater awakening and awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence.

Recorded live at the International House of Prayer Eastern Gate
Duration: 1 min, 55 sec

Every day I am reminded that it is a time for us to WAR – Worship And Rise. It’s important NOW, more than ever, that we pray that there be a Holy Spirit increase, that there would be an increased spirit of prayer and song, that Jesus Christ would be lifted up in these days, and that the Word of the Lord would break out and turn the tide in our region and nation. God calls us to worship and rise!

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – John 16:33, TPT.

Copyright 2020 by Bill Hutzel

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I would have despaired unless I believed

Psalm 27-13

I would have despaired, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage. (Psalm 27:13-14)

The psalmist David is easy to identify with. In Psalm 27 he wrote “I really would have given up had I not believed that God is good”. Isn’t it true that most of us would despair also were it not for God who comes to our rescue? Look at the faintheartedness of David: wicked people, enemies, war, trouble, loneliness, and being forsaken, false accusations, and cruelty.  I am sure that all of us at times have experienced some of these, and probably can add a few more to the list. A focus such as David’s can also keep us from going to pieces!

Yet, how many of us actually hold on to our troubles and do not wait on the Lord? We allow our worries to stew within us, to go around and around in our heads until we feel choked and strangled by them, yet repeatedly, the Bible tells us not to despair, worry or be anxious.  You say, “Well I’m just a worrier. It is in my DNA makeup”. You even worry about nothing at times.

A psychologist, speaking to an audience, used an interesting analogy using a glass of water to make a point about managing stress and worry. Everyone was probably thinking “Oh no, not the half empty, half full glass analogy again”. But as she raised the glass, she asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?” The weight really didn’t matter. “It depends on how long you hold it”, she said.  If you hold it for an hour, the glass will appear heavier, and your arm will start to ache. If you hold on to it for a day, you will begin to feel numb and paralyzed in your arm. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer you hold on to it, the heavier it becomes. The stresses of life are kind of like the glass of water. The longer you hold on to your negative thoughts and worries, the more fainthearted we get. After a while we can even become paralyzed, and incapable of functioning.

Surmounting opposition and negativity, and not to despair, is difficult at times. I am constantly reminded to “be anxious for nothing, and to fear not”. Still, allowing my mind to be captive to negative thoughts causes me to go around and around again in my head, and I worry. Sometimes I am incapable of hearing God, hearing only the noise in my head that says “if this were someone else, they’d sure be worried, so you should be also. Or if I don’t make ends meet this month, I am not going to be able to pay my bills. Then what? … What if I don’t have this or that?  How could I ever be happy again?”

But if we are to ever surmount our faintheartedness and worries, we need to discipline ourselves to earnestly seek God, and practice waiting on Him. Those are times when I must go to God and just say “I give it up to you, Father. I am helpless to know what to do. Take this situation from me and make it yours”. “Turn your burdens over to the LORD, and he will take care of you (Psalm 55:22, GOD’S WORD translation).

“Once we have made up our minds that God’s goodness is in operation, we will have far less difficulty in coping with the events of everyday life. Since He is in control, and since He is a good God, we can relax in His care. The Prophet Isaiah said, ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee’ (Isa. 26:3). The way to become convinced of God’s goodness is to spend time with Him. ‘Wait on the Lord . . . and He shall strengthen thine heart.’ Get alone with God, and you’ll get over your fainting spell!” [1].

WAIT FOR THE LORD

Copyright 2016 by Bill Hutzel

 

FOOTNOTE

[1] Walk with the King, Daily e-Devotional, April 14