April 11, 2009
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
The morning after the 2008 Presidential election that placed Obama in office, I was on my early morning walk when I noticed in the second heaven realm, a spiritual front advancing over the region covering the State of Maine with a high overcast. (Eph. 2:2) I discerned that it was a political covering that comes with authority. The highest natural authority in the land is the Oval Office of the President. Just as a Church provides a spiritual covering for their people, those who rule provide a covering for those they oversee. The quality of the covering (Governmental principality) depends on how close those in authority walk with God in His love.
In meteorological terminology, one of the first signs of an advancing front that precedes a storm is a wind shift along with an increase in cloud cover. This one had a feeling that I didn’t like it. My heavenly Father interrupted my anxious thoughts and said, “I have taught you how to live under an open heaven.” Immediately I shifted my focus to God’s Kingdom where Christ rules. I finished my walk in the presence of the Lord in the comfort of His peace, love and joy “For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink: but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Ro. 14:17).
This is the day that the Lord has made. Every day is therefore a good day to worship and praise the Lord for every day is His day! In every political and economical situation, in every trial and tribulation, we are to give thanks. Not necessary for them but in spite of them. Heaven is our home and the Lord is still on His throne aware of all that is taking place. Our call is to abide in His presence being thankful for all things at all times, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Worship and praise is the doorway by which we enter into His presence.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise: be thankful and bless His name (Ps. 100: 2 & 4).
The joy of our life is found in Christ who is still King who sits at the right hand of the Father “In the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named…” (Eph. 1:20-21). Our call is to dwell in the presence of God regardless of who rules in the land. Our confidence is in a person – the Lord Jesus Christ. Worship and praise opens gates of heaven that we may enter in to find our rest in Jesus Christ who is Lord of all.
The greatest victory ever won is the victory obtained by Jesus upon the cross. In the face of fear, change and uncertainty, we can gaze upon His face to rest in His sovereignty knowing that all things work out for good to those who love Him that are called according to His purposes. (Romans 8:28). We are commanded by the Lord not to let our hearts be troubled, nor to be afraid, but to simply believe. Every day we can thank Him for all things despite everything. Jesus said upon the cross, “It is finished.” There is therefore nothing more to do. That which has been settled in heaven and declared on earth must be established in our hearts. Thanksgiving is the language of faith that declares with praise your trust in God who works on your behalf.
When God changed my focus that morning, I returned to my first love to abide in His presence thanking the Lord for His faithfulness. We can enter in a deeper walk with God to abide in His presence through the ministry of praise anytime we choose. Praise and worship with thanksgiving is the language of faith that releases God and His Kingdom to rule in our heart. As David declared, “But you are Holy, O Lord, that inhabits the praises of Israel” (Ps. 22:2).
Peace comes from the Lord of peace when we settle it in our hearts that we can place our lives in His hands. Every worshipping warrior and watchmen of intercession knows that the greatest battle we fight is not against flesh and blood, or even against principalities and powers, but the battle to abide in His presence and love for “God is love, and He that dwells in love dwells in God and God in Him” (1 John 4:16). We are called to pray for and love even our enemies. Anything that keeps you from entering into His presence to rest in His peace is the battlefront of your warfare. The battle raging today is not only for the heart and soul of this nation, but for the heart of every believer. Faith rest while fear frets! Paul therefore tells us,
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. (5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
As expressed earlier, we can enter into God’s presence anytime we choose. Those who walk under an open heaven have learned to live a lifestyle of worship until they become worship. Worship puts us continually before the throne of God to bask in His glorious presence. Those who understand this touch the heavenly realm that in turn become an open portal for the Kingdom of God to be released on earth as it is in heaven. You are what God is doing.
Worship Enables Us to See
As previously discussed, our faith is in a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. To have faith is to understand that the spiritual realm of heaven is greater than the natural. All of our Fathers resources, provisions and benefits are accessible by faith. The Kingdom of God is realized when that which takes place in heaven is manifested on earth and the Lordship of Jesus Christ can be seen in all circumstances of life. Worship is the language of faith that enables us to enter into the heavenly realm to see God with the eyes of our heart. It was during a spiritual drought that the Lord taught me how to be filled with the Holy Spirit though the ministry of worship and praise. The apostle Paul tells us we can be filled with the Holy Spirit by;
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5: 19-20).
With this revelation I began to practice the art of worship. Soon I was filled daily with the Holy Spirit. I went from a dead battery to becoming a fully charged source of power! I was not only charged by His presence experiencing His wondrous love, but I began to see Him! Before His throne He spoke to my heart to show me His passions, desires and His wondrous glory! Now as I gaze into the face of Jesus to look upon His wondrous beauty, I am filled with awe, His love, His peace and joy. This is how I learned to walk in the Spirit, which is to walk in love – a love for God that is expressed through adoration and praise with thanksgiving. As King David declared,
You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalms 16:11).
Worship is the vehicle by which we see the Lord to receive His thoughts that is our daily bread, the manna of heaven. It is His thoughts that we receive from His heart that empowers us with the truth to minister His life to those around you. Worship brings us before the throne of God where He is enthroned upon the praises of His people. It is here in the Kingdom realm that we learn to see Him and how to be lead by the Holy Spirit.
It is by dwelling in the presence of God that affects our seeing, how we think and our feelings. In these times of change in every circumstance and situation we need to see with the eyes of faith. Thanksgiving is the language of faith that opens heaven’s portals. Our hearts will mirror that which we see – the heavenly realm or the natural.
Although the natural realm carries with it the witness of His greatness as revealed through nature, such as the universe that declares the handiwork of God, it is still seen through the eyes of faith. Those who have eyes to see will see by faith His hand at work.
Look around you and you will see His handiwork. You must believe with your heart in order to see. If you are looking at what is wrong or that which He is not doing, your focus is misplaced and you will fall into despair and hopelessness that breeds a critical and judgmental spirit. Having a wrong focus will eventually lead to fear, insecurity, discouragement and eventually deep depression. The faith that is misplaced will see things from an earthly view, rather than that of heaven where Christ rules. Look to see what He is doing and you will find Him.
The purpose of faith is to see and come into agreement with the heart of God. If you look with the eyes of your heart from the place of worship to see that which He is doing, He will reveal to you His heart. This is the place that He is working – perhaps in your own heart. This is where I become energized, renewed and full of faith. When I come into agreement with His purposes, I am empowered to fulfill them by His grace. There is nothing more exciting than to be use in our Master’s plan.
A Testimony of God’s Grace
Instead of fear, I have faith. Instead of discouragement, I am greatly encouraged. Instead of feeling hopeless, I am full of hope. You might be thinking, “Well that’s easy for you to say, you haven’t lost your job nor are you facing a financial crisis!” And my reply is “Oh yes I do understand!” Let me tell you how I came to abide in this blessed peace of God. I did so by losing everything that I had that I might gain everything.
When I returned home from serving in Viet Nam at the age of 21 I was a homeless person. For months I slept in fields and sheds looking for any place where I could park my head. It was on Thanksgiving Day in 1971 that I ate a loaf of bread that became my thanksgiving meal. I was elated one time when I found a cake in a dumpster in an alley behind a bakery. Being at the bottom all I could do was look up.
I enrolled in college in 1973 where I studied Aviation and eventually become a pilot earning 80 dollars a week. In 1977 I gave my life to Christ. This was a wonderful time in my life as it was a life filled with faith, a newfound joy and wonder. My trust was in the Lord of my circumstances, not in my circumstances. He was my love, security and fortress in whom I gave my trust.
Shortly after my conversion to Christ, I was hired by a large Electric Utility as a substation operator making $800 dollars a week. Suddenly I found myself blessed by God with job that provided a 10 fold increase in pay, a retirement fund, health insurance, with an annual paid vacation.
For 20 years I made a good living, as much as $80,000 dollars a year. Then, due to unexpected circumstances, I lost everything so I know what it is like to go from poverty to riches and back to poverty. The house I had built went into foreclosure when I was not able to make the monthly payments. Along with the $50,000 dollars in equity, I lost my first real home as well as two new cars, my quarter horses and a 401K retirement fund that accumulated to nearly $80, 000 dollars of premium stocks. My wealth was reduced to $50,000 dollars of debt! During this time I kicked and screamed, pouted and shouted at the Lord for my misfortune, but I was thankful that at least I had a job. That is until I became unemployed less than one year later.
All that was left of this destructive whirlwind was a 27 foot Airstream travel trailer that I financed and my old Chevy Pickup. Over time I realized that I didn’t lose a thing! God in His mercy removed these things from me that had become my security that I might live by faith to serve Him. This set me free to return to my home state of Maine where my wife and I live by faith to fulfill my call and destiny in Christ. I have never been happier, more fulfilled or complete. Determined never again to place my security in mammon, I now live for Christ where there is true security, peace and joy
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
In His Heart with love