God Arises

God arises. His enemies scatter, and those who hate Him flee from His presence.

-Psalm 68:1
Do you see God arising?  We pray, “God arises!”, as a declarative prayer.  He is arising, and we bless what we see the Father doing (John 5:19) just like Jesus.
“God arises”, is a statement of truth; like saying, “God is on the move”.  We are not petitioning God to come, but we see that he is already here.  We are announcing that God is here, so that we can do something.
We see and do.  We do not just see and enjoy the sight, nor do we just see and learn, all in the thinking realm.  Real learning is in the participation.
I declare, “God arises”.  Do you see?  I will help you see if you do not see God arising.
Can you see, can you hear, and can you sense God arising?   If so, what do we do?
When we see God arising, we:
  1. Repent.  Jesus message was not to accept him into your heart as your personal savior.  Jesus message was not to believe in the cross and what he did (would do) there.  Jesus message was, “Repent: for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand”.  To repent means to change, to change your mind, to change your purpose, to change your direction.  God does not give a catalog of sins we should stop doing, because ‘sin management’ has never been the message or God’s way.  Repent also means ‘reform’: Reform or die.  You must change and re-purpose your life or you will die: you are signing off on your death notice.  Many people are the living dead, because they refuse to repent when the call to do so has been given clearly.
  2. Get out of the way.  There is a dance that reverences participating with God and in God, without ever taking God’s place of headship.  Jesus modeled how to be submissive to Father’s lead and rely upon the power of the Spirit.  He is the model for how to live and the only way to live.
  3. Join in on what God is doing.  We get to participate with God in what God is doing in the earth.  We are co-missioned into God’s mission.  He calls us child, friend, and slave; and we get to learn how to enjoy life in those three roles or dimensions with God.  Jesus gives us authority and we need to know what it is and how it works and our responsibilities for and how we use our authority.
When God arises he gets himself between you and his enemies.  When God comes into a situation his enemies are exposed and must flee.  Selfishness and sinfulness in people will not stand or live in God’s presence either.
Every person that Jesus encountered, during his years of ministry, after he left the family’s business; had issues that came up, that Jesus had a word for, a key to help then unravel from selfishness, hopelessness, delusions, or misconceptions.  This same Jesus who preached the general “Repent!” message to all, had helpful counsel and instructions for individuals.  So, God calls us all to repent and he also has compassionate, loving, care filled counsel and instruction for us as individuals.
When God arises we do not want to delude ourselves to think, “God is on our side”.  It does not work that way, because “Repent” means that we all surrender to being on God’s side, realizing that God is the king and we are all his subjects.  Some people have not realized this or taken action to bow to the king yet.
If you have surrendered and have become a subject and child of the king, it means you are in the kingdom and under and on the side of the king.  The only other side is the side of God’s enemies.  People are either with God or with God’s enemies, even if they don’t know it.  When God arises, the enemy is exposed and must flee and the peoples who are not in the kingdom, under the king, but have been captives in the enemy’s kingdom, get to be delivered or set free.
And when God comes, people get to choose if they are in or out, get free and become king’s kids, or stay in bondage.
I declare, let God rise up!  God arises!  Up with God!
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-This post was previously published on 8/2/16

Valiant: Courage With Determination

“Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant, for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”
-2 Samuel 2:7 (ESV)
There is a crossroads that we come to in our lives, when we have to choose to be courageous or not.  One way or another, we are given the discernment of what the right thing is to do.  But to do the right thing will require courage.
There is a word, that we do not use much, that describes this very thing.  And that word is ‘Valiant’.  To be valiant is to show or possess courage, with a determination to do the right thing.
In the story that 2 Samuel 2:7 is a part of, to a group of men, David sends this word: “Let your hands be strong, and be valiant”.  The surrounding context of the story tells us that for these men to turn their allegiance to David, it will be difficult and dangerous.  And that is why David says, “Be strong and be valiant”.
To be valiant is to show or possess courage with determination.  Valiant to a word that is not in most of our vocabularies. To be valiant is to be brave and not cowardly.
Valiant people are the ones you want on your side.  And you call people that you are encouraging to stand with you to be valiant.
Valiant, valiance or valor are words that the writer of Samuel and the writer of Judges use to describe formidable warriors, who exercise the power of their personal strength.  Through Judges and Samuel there is war and there are warriors, and some people are described as valiant or men of valour: brave and courageous.
Valiance is also something you want in someone who is going to lead others.  For leadership, it is not enough to just possess godly wisdom and character.  A leader is a person who also has courage: “Having the courage of their convictions”.  This same Hebrew word, ‘ḥa-yil‘, translated ‘valiant’, in 2 Samuel, is translated, ‘able’, in Exodus 18:

But you should select from all the people able men, God-fearing, trustworthy, and hating bribes. Place them over the people as commanders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. They should judge the people at all times. Then they can bring you every important case but judge every minor case themselves. In this way you will lighten your load, and they will bear it with you. If you do this, and God so directs you, you will be able to endure, and also all these people will be able to go home satisfied.” 

Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. So Moses chose able men from all Israel and made them leaders over the people as commanders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.

-Exodus 18:21-5 

Here we have an illustration of the delegation of authority or leadership.  The people that should be selected to lead will fear God, be truthful, not corrupted by bribes, and bravely courageous.  This is an Old Testament, rough draft of the qualifiers for an elder in the people of God.

Back to the story in 2 Samuel:  While it is clear to us that David was meant to be king and that God had rejected Saul, many people, ‘on the ground’ and ‘at the time’, did not get this.  The people had to come around or come to the realization, that David was meant to be their next king and was indeed ‘God’s chosen’.

It is ironic or perplexing for us today to read these stories and see people who are part of the twelve tribes, reject and oppose what we know to be God’s plan or God’s man.  These ideas go along with the saying today that, “God has no grandchildren”, or Paul’s words in Romans 9:6, “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.”

In other words, we are not born into faith.  We must choose and decide what we believe and who or what we will follow.  My son and your son or daughter must decide for themselves if they will follow Jesus.

David, plainly said or told his messengers to say, to the men of Jabesh-gilead, that he had been anointed king over Judah, after Saul’s death.   He blessed them and said thanks for what you did for Saul, that was kind, and he said that he planned to be kind to them as well.  In that context, David encourages them to be valiant, which means to show or possess courage with determination.

The context of this statement and David’s words, are that there was danger and uncertainty about how things were going to shake out.  Saul’s army or those who had fought for and were allied with the house of Saul and particularly against David, were still unsubmissive, insubordinate and at odds with David and what we, the readers today, see and read as God’s plan.

David is doing diplomacy with the men of Jabesh-gilead.  He said, “God bless you and thank you for showing kindness to Saul.  I am now becoming king and I will show kindness to you.  Be strong and valiant.”  They needed to be strong and valiant because they were in danger from the Philistines, and the Saul faction that was not behind David, would soon be knocking on their doors, asking or demanding their backing.

More of the story that helps us understand how difficult a situation that Jabesh-gilead was in, is the fact, told later, that it would be about seven years before other tribes would get behind David.  This snapshot, part of the larger story, takes place in a seven year, tumultuous window of time, where David is almost, but not yet fully, king of all Israel.

We know David is God’s choice, but in the story, David and our eyes with David, looks for, seeks and invites people to join him as ‘early adopters’.  And it is not simple or easy.  For seven more years, there would continue the last chapter of the civil war between the Saul loyalists and David.

What we learn is that David does not force himself on the rest of Israel, after Judah, but patiently waits for things to shake out.  David, who has already done a lot of waiting, has to wait some more.  David specifically waits on God to fully promote him.

In this context, David sent that message, contained in 2 Samuel 2, asking for support, and he encourages them to be courageous, and to do the right thing.

The word of wisdom in this story is applicable and relevant for us today.  To be shown or to realize what the right thing is to do, but not to do it, is cowardice.  But to have the courage of your convictions, and to do the right thing, in the face of opposition and unpopularity, is valiant.

To be valiant is to show or possess courage, with a determination to do the right thing.

We are called to be a valiant people.  And our war is not against flesh and blood.  We are a warrior people, doing battle against the devil’s schemes.

Valiance is to have courage to do the right thing in the face of adversity and opposition.

Sing To God!

Sing to God! Sing praises to His name. Exalt Him who rides on the clouds — His name is Yahweh–and rejoice before Him.

-Psalm 68:4

I sing a lot.  I think I was born singing.  My mom is a singer who taught me to sing and make up songs too.  She taught me to sing our phone number and address before I could read or write.

One night, last week, instead of worrying, thinking or praying, I just sang, to God.  I just made it up and sang my heart out to God and it was good for me. The next morning, this verse came up for me, that says:

“Sing to God!”

Why sing to God?  It would seem self-evident, but here is why it is a great idea:

  • Sing if you love the Lord. 
  • Sing if you have problems.  
  • We need to sing more. I’m convinced of this. It’s spiritually healthy. It’s Biblical. 
  • Are you depressed? Sing. 
  • Sing praises. 
  • Sing the truth that you may not feel or believe. 
    •  When you sing the truth, your spirit will say, “amen”, and affirm the truth that God is good, no matter what; and whether you expect it or not, there will be a building up inside you that will drive out depression. 

  • Singing praises brings God’s presence. If you have not noticed this, take notice. 
  • Singing praises changes the atmosphere here on earth. We live in contested territory. The Devil and all the demons are pushed back by God’s Spirit and by God’s presence. Praise, singing praises, pushes these negative spirits out and away, like a candle pushes out darkness.
  • When you are in trouble, sing to God. There’s no time like when we are under attack to praise the Lord. 
  • When we sing to God, we are opening a door to welcome the Lord into our presence. We are making a roadway. We are making a landing strip. 
  •  Singing to God and praising the Lord releases faith, and God responds to faith.
  • We worship, praise, and sing to God; because we do not know what to do and are at our wits end. 
  • When you are under attack or in a dry and lifeless place, or lonely “nowheresville”; sing. 
  •  Sing to God in that empty place, that depressed place, that hopeless place. 
  •  Sing to God in your mourning. 
  •  Sing your sorrows to God.

  • Singing is very good for our bodies and souls. 

Singing:

  • Reduces stress and improves mood.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Boosts the immune system.
  • Improves breathing.
  • Reduces perceived pain.
  • Promotes learning in children.
  • Promotes communal bonding.
  • When we praise the Lord, we are making a way for him. 
  •  When we worship God, we are opening a door for God to walk through. 
  •  Singing to the Lord invokes the in-breaking of the kingdom of God.
  • When we praise God, we are welcoming him to come and set things in right order on the earth. 
  • When we sing praises to God, we are making a highway for him to come down into the earth.
  • When we praise God and make a highway for him, His presence comes down through the dry places. 

  • When we praise God, praise the Lord; God pushes back the darkness. 
  •  Invoking God through praise is a very powerful weapon of the church.

Sing to God!

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All of this content is taken from these previous posts:

Vindication and The Presence of God

A prayer of David:

Lord, hear a just cause; (Listen to me, Lord.)
pay attention to my cry; (It’s my piercing cry for justice!)
listen to my prayer— (My cause is just and my need is real.)
from lips free of deceit. (I’ve done what is right and my lips speak truth.)
Let my vindication come from You, (Lord, I always live my life before your face,)
for You see what is right. (so examine and exonerate me.  Vindicate me and show the world I’m innocent.)

-Psalm 17:1-2 (HCSB, (TPT))

I believe in vindication from God.  God is going to avenge or do revenge on the enemy.
It seems to me that the key strategy of the enemy is to weave lies into the world to stop the progress of the kingdom and the saints.  There is a whole spectrum of lies that are told about God, about faith and about each one of us, to stop us and hold us back.
I can not tell you what you or those you love need vindication from.  But I can tell you that I believe God is about vindicating.
I can tell you that vindication is not something we do for our selves.  Vindication is when God avenges and takes revenge on the enemy.  
He does it all the time.  And it is something that we can expect and do not need to help God do.  He will do it and we can see God do it.
We dwell in God’s presence and God exacts revenge, vengeance and vindication for us against the enemy.
And this is about the enemy and God’s war on the enemy.  This is not about revenge on people or war on people.  Governments and armies and human warfare is a different thing.
Our brothers and sisters are never our enemy, even if they act like our enemy.  The enemy is the demonic realm, headed by satan.  That enemy is involved in mischief, all sorts of lies, murder and destruction in the world, against humans and God’s kingdom.
The enemy has done a whole host of bad things, and God is all about turning that destruction and those lies and the bondage around into freedom and blessing.  Vindication is the word and vindication time is upon us.
 Here are some resources on what vindication is all about.
From vocabulary.com:

Vindication is a sweet thing — when you get vindication, you’ve been proven right or justified in doing something. Everyone accused of a crime craves vindication.

Vindication is good, but it can only come after something bad, like being accused of something you didn’t do. If a teacher thought you cheated, but then announced to the whole class that you didn’t, you’re getting vindication. An accused criminal who is exonerated — cleared of the crime — gets vindication. If you believe something crazy — like that your underdog sports team could win a championship — and it comes true, that’s a vindication of your beliefs.

From, etymolgy.com:

vindication (n.) late 15c., “act of avenging, revenge,” from Old French vindicacion “vengeance, revenge” and directly from Latin vindicationem (nominative vindicatio) “act of claiming or avenging,” noun of action from past participle stem of vindicare “lay claim to, assert; claim for freedom, set free; protect, defend; avenge” (related to vindicta “revenge”), probably from vim dicare “to show authority,” from vim, accusative of vis “force” (see vim) + dicare “to proclaim” (see diction). Meaning “justification by proof, defense against censure” is attested from 1640s.

From Thesaurus.com:

Synonyms of Vindication:  (Primary) exonerate, revenge.  (Secondarily) justification, exoneration, exculpation, acquittal/acquittance, mitigation, apology, compurgation, amnesty, dismissal.

Here is a vindication prayer:

From David’s prayer:

“Lord, hear a just cause; pay attention to my cry;
listen to my prayer— from lips free of deceit.
Let my vindication come from You, for You see what is right.”
(Ps. 17:1-2, HCSB)

And from  a song of David’s:
“They all will stand awestruck, over what God has done,
seeing how he vindicated the victims of those crimes.

The lovers of God will be glad, rejoicing in the Lord.

They will be found in his glorious wrap-around presence
singing songs of praise to God!”
(Ps. 64:9-10, TPT)

About Psalm 17, my first thought was that this is a declarative prayer that asks God to vindicate us:  Asking God to prove we are right.

But then I thought, maybe it means something about being vindicated in relationship with God?

This prayer is asking for God to examine me and exonerate me, showing others that I am innocent of any false charges that have been leveled against me.

In other words, the prayer might be asking for those who would believe something untrue to see the goodness of God in me and in my life, even though I am just a human being who makes mistakes and gets it wrong sometimes.

Is that it, or part of it?

There is also a prayer that says, “Deliver me from the lust of vindicating myself”.

The word, “From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right!”, means; “let me continue to abide in you and somehow in however you, God, choose; let me be in the vindication that is in Christ.”

When I see Jesus Christ as the definition of God.  And when I see Jesus’ death on the cross as the definitional lens from which I see God; it gives me perspective of my life in Christ.

In time, and eternity; Jesus Christ has been vindicated.  And I am vindicated as I am in Christ.

When it says, “From your presence, let my vindication come”, it means that, “In abiding in you, I am vindicated: so let that be, let that come, and let that happen in my life.”

The work or intention of my life is to abide in Christ.  And everything in my life is about my relationship to God.  God is intensely relational.

Every challenge I face, every trial, every argument, every disagreement and every disappointment are occasions or opportunities to trust God, know God, have faith in God, be loved by God and come to know again that God is good.  That is the presence of God from which my vindication comes.

The presence of God is the face of God.  “Lord, I will always live before your face.” (Ps. 17:2)

The presence of God is in the face of God.  Where God faces, God’s presence is.  I want to be before God’s face.

Getting in someone’s face is something we say when we really tell someone off.  But the Bible concept of this is that we want to be in God’s presence.  Seeking God’s face is the intention to be in God’s presence.

To seek God’s face is to ask for an audience with the King and to ask for an increase in God’s presence in our place where we are.

To say, “Vindicate me in your presence”, is to ask God for a transformed life.  We do not know how our vindication will work out or play out with others, but our vindication is what we desire and ask for.

When we say, “Vindicate me!”, we are not telling God to do it or how to do it.  We are giving up our right to do it and agreeing that God is the vindicator.

I am putting all my trust into God to be my judge and make all the right judgments about me and for me.

I don’t think we have to convince God that we are right.  Instead, we are going to live in asking for God to put His gaze on what we are doing and what we are saying and to make it righteous.  Maybe that is what living before God’s face is all about.

“Vindicate me”, is asking God to turn around the false accusations and mis-judgments in my life.  And the “From You”, part means that I want God’s presence in my life.  I want to kisses of God on my face.

To live before God’s face is to live in transparency and honesty.  We are asking God to give us a clear and blessed relationship with God manifested out into the world we live in.

I want to live in God’s embrace so much that when I am accused or mis-judged or slighted in any way, real or imagined; that I just have to look into the face of God and then it is not my problem.  My prayer is that I will live in God’s presence, and all the settling of what is unsettling will come upon me from God.

I want to see God do vindications, vengeance and revenge on the enemy.  The ministry of Jesus, setting captives free and turning lives around is known in the non-believing world.  The fear of God will be known to all and all of us will be in awe at the turn arounds that God does in the lives of people who have been falsely blamed, charged, guilted, disapproved and indicted by God’s enemies.

The wrap-around presence of God and the glory of God is where vindication comes from, overturning the works of the enemy.

We will not just praise God for what we believe, but what he is doing now.  Our praises to God will be for actual works of God in our day to day lives, where in God is vindicating his Children.

Warfare Worship

Then my head 

Will be high 
Above my enemies around me; 
I will offer sacrifices 
In His tent 
With shouts of joy.
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
-Psalm 27:6
There is a place where God lifts our heads up above our enemies and we give high praise to God with shouts of joy, songs and music.  There is a reality of warfare in our lives with the enemy: God’s enemy and our enemy.  There is a key to walking in victory over the enemy, which is simply practicing the presence of God.

There is a place that God has for us, where we are above our enemies, and enjoying God.  Warfare worship is to travel into God and then praise God, sing, and shout from the elevated place of God’s presence, where the enemy can not touch us.

The starting point of worship and warfare is that God is our salvation.  The act of God saving and delivering us immediately brings us into spiritual warfare.  When we are saved or delivered, the first thing that is natural to do, is to thank God and enter into praise and and worship as a life style or way of living.

The enemy is irritated with people who become saved or delivered, like hornets who’s nest has been poked.  The enemy always has limited resources or assets, so they don’t waste energy on those who are captive or deceived, but pursue and war against those who have been set free or are walking in freedom.  They would like to recapture us, or prevent or discourage us from setting others free.

This Psalm starts by saying “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?”  Fear and salvation are like dark and light.  Light extinguishes darkness.  
There were things that made David afraid and stuff that makes us afraid.  A tactic of the enemy is to get us to fear.  
This is a part of the normal life of the believer.  Having enemies and being saved, delivered, and protected from them, by the Lord is also normal.

Psalm 27 begins with this:

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom should I be afraid?
When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh,
my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell.
Though an army deploys against me, my heart is not afraid;
though a war breaks out against me, still I am confident.

This is a warfare psalm and there are a lot of them.  We could easily read this and take in the fact that David was a warrior and had real battles with real people.  We see and learn how he relied on God in his troubles and on the battle field.
If we were soldiers today, we might take comfort from these warfare psalms.  But as civilians, we might be tempted to set aside the warfare and enemy paradigm or scenario and just draw comfort from the fact that the Lord has saved and is saving us, taking care of us; and we do not need to fear, because God is taking care of us.
That is all somewhat true.  But we can not set aside warfare and the reality of enemies.  Part of the Christian life involves spiritual warfare, with the enemy, which is Satan and the demonic realm.
The context of Psalm 27 is warfare.  When we read psalms like this, we have to decide if we are going to just slice out and set aside the warfare part and say that the writer really was a warrior, who was in war, and he wrote some great things about praise and worship, in the midst of where he was (in warfare).  Or, are we going to take the alternative viewpoint, which is the view that I hold, and that is that we see the whole of the scriptures through Christ, and Jesus Christ, who was and is at war with the enemy, who also has become our enemy.

Basically, what I am saying is that is you are in Christ, you are at war, like it or not.  You and I are warriors.  The bride of Christ is a beautiful lady, who is a warrior.

In that light, we see the warfare psalms, like this one, as instructive for the Christian life, which is a life of warfare.  There are thoughts, beliefs or ideas out there that say that the demonic is not real or they are all somehow gone.  But the truth is that the demonic realm is real and are at war with God and God’s people.
That is my lens through which I apply the scriptures.  David and we have enemies that God saves, delivers, and protects us from.  With that in mind, this in the next thing David writes:

I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire:
to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking Him in His temple.
For He will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity;
He will hide me under the cover of His tent;
He will set me high on a rock.

“One thing”, means the main thing or the foremost thing.  Have you ever had one thing you were asking God for?  Something is in the forefront of our minds, and that is how it was with David.
His one thing he wanted, and remember that this is a guy in war, who had enemies after him; the one thing he asked for was to “dwell in the house of the Lord” all the days of his life.  He then fills in his request or vision of his desire by saying that he just wants to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and seek Him in His temple, and be concealed in His shelter.  He then ties this into the backdrop of the warfare he is involved in, saying he desires all this during the day of his adversity, and asks to be hidden under the cover of His (the Lord’s) tent and set high (by the Lord) on a rock.
That is a lot of information or a detailed prayer request.  Some questions arise for me:  What is the house of the Lord?  What is His temple?  What is His shelter?  And what is His tent, that David is referring to?  And how does this apply to me?
  • House of the Lord, to dwell in, every day
  • Temple of the Lord, to gaze upon God’s beauty and seek Him in
  • Shelter of the Lord, He conceals me in
  • Tent of the Lord that He hides me under the cover of
It is worth noting that the Temple in Jerusalem was not built yet.  But there was a tabernacle, that we call “The tabernacle of David”, which was a tent.  David might have had the tabernacle (worship tent) in mind.  But it is interesting, that he does not say that he wants to go there and sing, make music, or dance; but that he wants to dwell there, gaze at God there, be concealed there, and be hidden, made under cover there.
This song begins with the statement that the Lord saves me, so I will not be afraid.  He then could have said that he just wants to sing, to worship and praise the Lord.  But, instead, David uses words to express that he desires to dwell with the Lord and just look at the Lord, and become concealed and hidden, in the Lord.
This is a little bit different than singing praise and worship songs.  He says his number one request, with the backdrop of the warfare he is in, that is fear inducing and that he needs salvation from and through; his one thing he asks is to dwell with the Lord.
And then he unpacks that statement to say, everyday, gazing at the Lord’s beauty and seeking Him, coming into the Lord’s sheltering concealment, and being hidden and under cover in the Lord’s tent.  This is what David means by dwelling in the house of the Lord.
Again, the context of his saying these poetic words, is that he was being hunted by evil predators.  He can look out and see a whole army deployed against him.  We know that David was a great and brave warrior, who had others with him usually and knew how to use weapons and fight hand to hand.
But in the oncoming warfare, David’s heart turns to these thoughts about the Lord and rather than praying for victory in the possible oncoming battle, he asks God to let him dwell with Him and life in his presence, everyday; and for him to be able to gaze at the Lord and become wrapped up and enfolded by the Lord, so that he becomes concealed, hidden, and under cover.
The lesson here is that warfare worship can be where we dwell with in the Lord.  It starts with the choice, desire, and action to dwell with the Lord, which often just involves gazing upon Him.  And then what happens, is that we become hidden, concealed, or made to become under the cover of the Lord.
And boom, that is the warfare or a worship warfare lifestyle that this song of David teaches us today.  The dwelling leads to coming up into the place of the Lord, that is above the enemies around us.  From that place, we shout for joy in worship, sing and make music.
We might sometimes have it backwards, when we begin with loud singing and music.  The place to begin with is dwelling, which involves gazing at the Lord and coming into his presence in solemn awe.  It is like the phrase, “peace be still” or “be still and know”.
Then when we come into God’s presence, because his presence has come to us; then we shout, sing, and make music.  Today, we often make music, sing, and shout first before we seek to come into God’s presence.
There are a lot of admonitions in scripture to wait on God.  What if more of our worship and lives of worship was waiting and gazing and dwelling in the quiet first, and then singing, shouting, and making music after God lifts us up?  This is a lesson in worship & warfare that is being illustrated here:

Then my head will be high above my enemies around me;
I will offer sacrifices in His tent with shouts of joy.
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

The word “Then” points back to the preceding verses for context.  He is saying, that after he is able to dwell with the Lord, which is gazing upon the Lord’s beauty and getting so wrapped up in the Lord, that he becomes hidden, concealed or under cover; he is then in a higher place, above his enemies, and from there shouts for joy, sings, and makes music to the Lord.
But getting to the “then” of having dwelt with the Lord, is a struggle of sorts.  There is a transition from being under attack to being in God’s dwelling place and getting lifted up.  The transitional roadway is prayer:

Lord, hear my voice when I call;
be gracious to me and answer me.
My heart says this about You,
“You are to seek My face.”
Lord, I will seek Your face.
Do not hide Your face from me;
do not turn Your servant away in anger.
You have been my helper;
do not leave me or abandon me,
God of my salvation.
Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord cares for me.

Because of my adversaries,
show me Your way, Lord,
and lead me on a level path.
Do not give me over to the will of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing violence.

I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and courageous.
Wait for the Lord.

Previously, David shared where he wants to go, to dwell with the Lord, every day.  He then shares how he believes it will be to dwell with the Lord, and the results it will have, lifting him above his enemies.  But, he comes back to the reality of the struggle to get to the dwelling place.
The last words, “Wait for the Lord”, are the key to how he will get to the place of dwelling, gazing, and being wrapped up in the Lord.  The Biblical idea of waiting is focusing on and being at the service of someone else, like a waiter or waitress in a restaurant.  It is active and on alert.
When we wait on the Lord, we have faith in Him and are focused on him.  Waiting on the Lord is the first step to dwelling with the Lord.  And dwelling with the Lord leads to praising and worshiping the Lord with shouts, singing, and music.
And dwelling with the Lord is the key to spiritual warfare as a life style.  We come up above the enemy through dwelling with the Lord and that results in praise and worship.
If you are being threatened or intimidated and being incited to fear by the enemy, the way of salvation from the enemy and all their unpleasantness is dwelling with the Lord: stepping into the place of gazing upon Him.  Tucking your self into the Lord, and being wrapped up into the Lord.

We have been born into warfare and worship.  This is the way and how of Christ to live: practicing God’s presence for living, for worshiping, and for victory in warfare.

God Arises

God arises. His enemies scatter, and those who hate Him flee from His presence.

-Psalm 68:1
Do you see God arising?  We pray, “God arises!”, as a declarative prayer.  He is arising, and we bless what we see the Father doing (John 5:19) just like Jesus.
“God arises”, is a statement of truth; like saying, “God is on the move”.  We are not petitioning God to come, but we see that he is already here.  We are announcing that God is here, so that we can do something.
We see and do.  We do not just see and enjoy the sight, nor do we just see and learn, all in the thinking realm.  Real learning is in the participation.  
I declare, “God arises”.  Do you see?  I will help you see if you do not see God arising.
Can you see, can you hear, and can you sense God arising?   If so, what do we do?
When we see God arising, we:
  1. Repent.  Jesus message was not to accept him into your heart as your personal savior.  Jesus message was not to believe in the cross and what he did (would do) there.  Jesus message was, “Repent: for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand”.  To repent means to change, to change your mind, to change your purpose, to change your direction.  God does not give a catalog of sins we should stop doing, because ‘sin management’ has never been the message or God’s way.  Repent also means ‘reform’: Reform or die.  You must change and re-purpose your life or you will die: you are signing off on your death notice.  Many people are the living dead, because they refuse to repent when the call to do so has been given clearly.
  2. Get out of the way.  There is a dance that reverences participating with God and in God, without ever taking God’s place of headship.  Jesus modeled how to be submissive to Father’s lead and rely upon the power of the Spirit.  He is the model for how to live and the only way to live.
  3. Join in on what God is doing.  We get to participate with God in what God is doing in the earth.  We are co-missioned into God’s mission.  He calls us child, friend, and slave; and we get to learn how to enjoy life in those three roles or dimensions with God.  Jesus gives us authority and we need to know what it is and how it works and our responsibilities for and how we use our authority.
When God arises he gets himself between you and his enemies.  When God comes into a situation his enemies are exposed and must flee.  Selfishness and sinfulness in people will not stand or live in God’s presence either.
Every person that Jesus encountered, during his years of ministry, after he left the family’s business; had issues that came up, that Jesus had a word for, a key to help then unravel from selfishness, hopelessness, delusions, or misconceptions.  This same Jesus who preached the general “Repent!” message to all, had helpful counsel and instructions for individuals.  So, God calls us all to repent and he also has compassionate, loving, care filled counsel and instruction for us as individuals.
When God arises we do not want to delude ourselves to think, “God is on our side”.  It does not work that way, because “Repent” means that we all surrender to being on God’s side, realizing that God is the king and we are all his subjects.  Some people have not realized this or taken action to bow to the king yet.
If you have surrendered and have become a subject and child of the king, it means you are in the kingdom and under and on the side of the king.  The only other side is the side of God’s enemies.  People are either with God or with God’s enemies, even if they don’t know it.  When God arises, the enemy is exposed and must flee and the peoples who are not in the kingdom, under the king, but have been captives in the enemy’s kingdom, get to be delivered or set free.
And when God comes, people get to choose if they are in or out, get free and become king’s kids, or stay in bondage.
I declare, let God rise up!  God arises!  Up with God!

When God Moves Against The Enemy It is Revival Time

For the worship leader.  A song of David.

O True God, hear my voice! 
  • Listen to my complaint!

Guard my life; 

  • keep me safe from my enemy’s threats.

Hide me from the sinful circle that conspires against me,

  • from the band of rebels out to make trouble,
  • Who sharpen their tongues into swords, 
  • who take aim with poisonous words like arrows.
  • They hide in the shadows and shoot at the innocent; 
  • they shoot at them without warning and without any fear.
  • They persist in their evil purpose and plan in secret to lay their traps. 
  • And they say, “Who will see them?”
  • They plot their offense with precision and say, 
    • “Now we have the perfect crime.”

The human heart and mind are deep and complex.

But without hesitation the True God will shoot at them;

  • His arrow will surely wound them.
  • He will use their very own words to bring them to destruction;
    • all who see will be appalled at what happens to them.

Then everyone will fear the True God; 

  • they will proclaim His deeds
  • and will reflect upon all He has done.

The righteous will delight in the Eternal

  • and will take shelter in Him.

All those with an honest heart will glorify Him!

-Psalm 64 (VOICE, verse 9 in bold)

We Are Living in a War

There are times when God moves against the enemy, against the enemy’s works in the earth, in people who are agents of the enemy and enemies of Christ and the followers of Christ.  We are living in the midst of a war, between God and Satan, on earth.  Satan is infinitely weaker than God, but through the fall of mankind and the not yet restoration of humanity, the enemy and his forces wreak havoc in the earth world.

The enemy works in hiddenness.
In Psalm 64, David is crying out to God against his enemies.  Hiddenness is a theme.  He asks to be hidden from them and then he goes into detail about their sins they do in hiddenness.  Then he proclaims that God will suddenly unveil their hidden machinations.
Things like conspiracy, treason, insurrection, plots and plans, lies and deceptions are brought to light.  This is like an embezzler being exposed as a fraud and a thief.  God is against or at war with the works of the enemy in people’s lives who have sided against God and God’s people.

We do not celebrate when people fall or face disciplinary action.
When a person, who has become our enemy, who is living in sin, is exposed; our reaction is important.  We do not celebrate when our enemy falls, nor do we rejoice when they trip up (Prov. 24:17).  We are not permitted or commissioned to mete judgement on others through celebrating their demise (Prov. 24:18), like the fallen world does (Rev. 11:10).
Getting revenge on the enemy through living in grace, spreading the good news, and setting others free; is a whole different thing than celebrating other human’s demise, exposure, or misfortune.  We should live and do justice, loving mercy and kindness, walking with God, in humility (Micah 6:8).  This is the Romans 12:1 life of worship, in continual thankfulness to God; where prideful gloating has no place.
We are worshipers who belong to God.
The proper response to the exposure of the enemy’s work in people is authentic worship: yielding to the sweeping fear of God, proclaiming what God has done, and living in awe of God.  Psalm 64:9 reads:

Then everyone will fear the True God.
They will proclaim His deeds.
And will reflect upon what He has done.


Everyone 

The exposure of the enemy’s work is not a private matter.  To me, this sounds like revival. Not renewal, but revival. Revival happens outside the church. I believe ‘everyone’ means ‘all people’.

It does not say “my family will”, or “my tribe will”, or even “my people will”, but “everyone will”. David could have even just made it plural, meaning more that one, and written, “people will”, but he wrote, “everyone”.

Everyone will fear God. I looked up the Hebrew word here for everyone, and it means all, the whole of, or every. When this thing happens, where God ambushes the enemy, it will be seen by all, and everyone will get it that God did it and fear or honor God.

You don’t have to advertise a fire.

The next point is that all the people will proclaim God’s deeds. This is called “word of mouth advertising”. It is the most effective advertising and it is free.

When we are advertised to, the advertiser always has to get past our skepticism or cynicism. Half truths and lies are unfortunately more common that truth, in the world. We have juries in court, who hear cases and try to find what is true; and as we try to figure out if something is true or not, we say, “the jury is still out on that one”.

But in this case, when God moves, to drive out and drive back the enemy; it is clearly, inexplicably true to all.  And all the people will broadcast this truth of the act of God, against the enemy.  Everyone will go and tell people they know, to whom they are credible witnesses, what God has done.

The Authentic Fear of God Because God is Real

Those who had none or not much fear of God, will suddenly realize God is real and fear him reverentially, and will announce what they saw and experienced to those they come into contact with.

Perhaps the “all” or “everyone”, is reached by the announcing. All will know because the all who first experienced God’s works will tell all, who all will believe.  A fire is not hard to advertise.

This deliverance or push-back that God does on the enemy will be something that is understood or reflected upon to be God’s work. It will not be explained in any other way except that the True God worked against the evil ones. It won’t be explained scientifically or by psychology, sociology, anthropology, or any human based explanation.

The message will be, “God is real and God did this good work”. This is not something that is taught, but caught. It will happen and some will be witnesses of it’s happening.

These people will announce to all others what God has done. The truth and genuineness of God’s action will come with a bonus package of the revelation that it is genuine and really God and God’s doing.

Revival

And this is how revival works and spreads, will work and will spread.

Hide Me From Horrible People’s Plans of Verbal Abuse

Hide me from the scheming of wicked people, from the mob of evildoers.

-Psalm 64:2
There are very bad people who have it in their minds to verbally abuse others with lies, gossip, slander, maligning, or cursing.  They want to shoot their abusive words at people in an ambush or surprise attack, for maximum damage.
We can pray for God to hide us from them.  
You can be visible, popular, or famous; and still ask God to hide you from wicked people and their schemes.  
The enemy, Satan, uses people; and people, inspired by the domain of darkness (Col. 1:13) plot evil against other people.  We need to maintain a relationship with God, where we have the humility, no matter how successful we are, to ask God to hide us from the plots, schemes, and plans of wicked people.
Being hidden from horrible, wicked people is a good thing.  Peter was hidden from Herod, in Acts 12.  Obadiah hid prophets in caves (1 Kings 18).  
Our Christian lives are now hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).  It is a blessing or blessed state, to be hidden in God (Ruth 2:12).  Hiding in God is equivalent to resting in God (Ps. 91:1).  
Hiding in God is the place of rescue from enemies (Ps. 143:9).  Have you learned to rest in God, when you are under attack?  Have you learned the principal of not having to clear your name, but let God be your vindicator, judge and arbitrator?
God’s shelter is a place of hiding from all that is said about you: slander, false accusations, malicious gossip, and every verbal abuse (Ps. 31:20).  We are in Jesus hands (Jn. 10:28).  We are God’s treasure, his jewels, that are hidden in him (Mal. 3:17).
Being hidden is also to not be glorious to the world, in the world’s eyes, but to be obscure (Jn. 5:41) and getting glory by being hidden with Christ in God (Jn. 5:44, Col. 3;3).  
The whole of the matter or the rest of the story, as told by Psalm 64, the text, “Hide me from the schemes of wicked people“, in context is this:
For the choir director. A Davidic psalm.

God, hear my voice when I complain:

  • “Protect my life from the terror of the enemy.”
  • Hide me from the scheming of wicked people.”
    • “From the mob of evildoers.”
      • “Who sharpen their tongues like swords.”
      • “And aim bitter words like arrows.”
        • “Shooting from concealed places at the innocent.”
        • “They shoot at him suddenly and are not afraid.”
      • They encourage each other in an evil plan.
      • They talk about hiding traps and say,
        • “Who will see them?”
      • They devise crimes and say,
        • “We have perfected a secret plan.”
      • The inner man and the heart are mysterious.


But God will shoot them with arrows;

  • Suddenly, they will be wounded.
  • They will be made to stumble;
  • Their own tongues work against them.
All who see them will shake their heads.

Then everyone will fear and will tell about God’s work.

  • For they will understand what He has done.

The righteous one rejoices in the Lord and takes refuge in Him.


All those who are upright in heart will offer praise.
God has a plan.  God sees.  God hides us and protects us.  God deals with people who say and plan horrible things towards his people.
We do not need to vindicate ourselves.  If we give in to the need to do so, we will end up spending all our energy on it and also end up down in the mud with our muddy accusers.  We need to abide in, hide in the Lord.
Don’t be shocked, surprised, disheartened, or devastated when you are ambushed by verbal attacks.  Learn humility and meekness.  Learn how to love your enemy (human persons).
Hide in God.  Let God protect you and fight for you.  Let God vindicate you.  Let God be your vindication.
When attacked, go deeper with God.  Ask for hiddenness.  Face God when verbal attacks come your way.
You will be betrayed, slandered, maligned, maliciously gossiped about, lied to, called names, made fun of, taunted, threatened, cursed, and cussed out.  Do you still want to be Jesus’ disciple, Abba’s child?  I hope so.
“Come to Jesus, get saved, and you won’t have any more problems”, is not the gospel.  You will have more problems, but more solutions, grace, and unspeakable joy in life everlasting that begins now.  You will have hope that you didn’t have before.  You will peace that you never thought possible.
There are rainbows with the storms and there is rock that you with stand strong on in the storms.  Perseverance and contentment will be your way of live in the love of God.
Every negative that comes your way, including horrible people dogging you with verbal abuse; is an opportunity to receive a blessing from God.  Being hidden in God is our birthright, part of the whole package in Christ.  Every negative should turn us towards God, who provides for his kids.
You have a testimony and you are a testimony to the onlooking world of God’s goodness.  You are an epistle, a letter, a story about God’s redemption that is ongoing.  “Let me tell you what God has done and is doing in my life.”  
God does “show and tell” through our lives, as examples or what he does and who he is.  There is a time in the future when everyone will bow to God (Is. 45:23, Rom. 14:11, Phil. 2:10).  God is in the process, about the business, of encouraging people to come to that place, now, in this life; through his work in our lives.

Letting God Shield You

Consider our shield, God; look on the face of Your anointed one.

-Psalm 84:9
Are you letting God be your shield?  The Israelites were taught that God was their shield (Deut. 33:29), and the teaching goes back to Abraham (Gen. 15:1), and the shield metaphor is used by Paul (Eph. 6:16).
The revelation to Abraham was, “I am your shield”, to Moses and David it was, “God is our shield”, and to Paul comes, “Take up the shield of faith”.  And it is notable that the word for shield that Paul uses is the large shield, that the whole body of the warrior could get behind, and not the pizza sized shield, like Captain America’s, that was swiftly moved.
If your Bible is the New Living Translation, you will read that the king is “our shield”.  Some commentators interpret the text this way, as to the author asking God to strengthen the king (perhaps David) for the sake of the people.  I think that this language is not a problem for God or us.  The Psalmist may have been referring to David, but we can interpret it as referring to God or Christ, because both David and Christ are God’s anointed, David at that time and Christ for eternity.  And we are anointed in Christ. 
The Biblical idea is that there is a shield and it is true that God worked through the kings of Israel as shields.  When Abram, later to be called Abraham, was afraid, God said, “Don’t be afraid, I am your shield”.  Later, the children of Israel learned to make God their shield, because there are enemies of God out there.  After Christ had come, Paul enjoins Christians to “take up the shield”.
My point is that if we do not keep this in mind, that we need shielding from attack, then we will be open to attack and get wounded.  We need to live in consideration of the shield of God.  We need to have a shielding relationship with God.
And the context of Psalm 84 is that God is our dwelling place, our house:

How lovely is your dwelling place,
Lord of heavenly forces!
My very being longs, even yearns,
for the Lord’s courtyards.
My heart and my body
will rejoice out loud to the living God!

Better is a single day in your courtyards
than a thousand days anywhere else!
I would prefer to stand outside the entrance of my God’s house
than live comfortably in the tents of the wicked!
-Psalm 84:1-2, 10

What if we made it our practice to dwell in God’s presence as a lifestyle and saw that as our number one defense against the attacks of the enemy?  When we step out from under the shadow of God’s wings (Ps. 91:4), we get hit over and over and wonder “what?” and “why?”, and we look for God and perhaps pray, but we kvetch and complain.  All the while, God is available to shield us, but it was we who walked out from under his protection.

As the psalmist said or sings, “Consider our shield”, we also must have a working relationship – a relationship that works, is functional, with God; where we are shielded by God.  Getting constantly hit by the enemy and taking up offenses, being anxious, worried, depressed, angry: having all those buttons constantly pushed so much that we are just out of it and sidelined as warriors, is not our destiny or inheritance – it is not God’s plan for our lives.

God’s plan is that we would be people that walk with him and talk to him and listen to him and have his heart imparted to us, because we are walking in his love, being loved and then loving others.  Dwelling with God, in his presence, following the Romans 12:1 lifestyle of worshiping always, being always thankful (1 Thess. 5:18); and remembering that the gateway to God is thanksgiving (Ps. 100:4).

There is no other Christian life outside the life of walking with God and dwelling in God’s presence.  When Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jn. 14:6), he was serious.  The only way and the only life and all truth is in him.  And getting saved or becoming saved, having salvation through him is not just an intellectual decision, like deciding what color to paint your house or who you will vote for; but becoming a Christian is about receiving his life for you and giving your life to him.

And giving your life to him (he is your whole and only way and your whole and only truth and your whole and only life) means that he now has you and you now have him.  He is your shield, but you have to make a habit of coming under that shielding by dwelling in his presence.

You have to let God shield you. If you are un-shielded or outside the shield, it means you need to take steps, step into, being shielded again.  Inside the shield there is protection.  Inside the shield, I have God’s perfect love and the fruit of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 13:4-7 & Gal. 5:22-23).

Let God shield you. Consider the shield and cultivate an active relationship with God where you ask God to shield you and you come into his presence for shielding.
To live the life in God, we must learn to come under and live in God’s defenses.   The consideration of the defensive shield of God goes both ways – God provides for it, but we take the step to live under and in it.  It is provided, but we must go there.

Winged and toothless

I got this idea that the enemy is like a Pteranodon. Pronounced “ter-AN-o-DON.” The word means “winged and toothless.” They were about 6 feet tall or long, with a wing-span of 25 to 33 feet. They were flying reptiles with a big beak. Being that large, they were no doubt very scary. You can imagine the screech from a creature that big. You can imagine the fear it would stir in you if it suddenly flew over you or your children, the elderly, the weak, or the infirm among you.

The idea I have about these Pteranodon’s being like the enemy, and by the enemy I mean the demonic entities, is that the enemy’s main strategy is to incite fear and to intimidate. His way is to stop people aligned with God from doing good or exercising their authority. He generally does this through scare tactics and intimidation. Like a little man behind a curtain with a big sound system and projector and smoke machines and weird lights (with mirrors), he is essentially toothless.

If you freeze in fear, he’s got you; and if you run, he’s accomplished his mission. But if you fight back, you’ll find that he’s toothless. This big bad wolf really has no weapon to follow through with his threats, if you’re willing to stand and face him, spiritual sword and shield in hand.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”

Letter to the Church in Ephesus by Paul, Chapter 6

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