Waking Up

In a number of places in scripture there is an exhortation to wake up!

1  Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean Shall no longer come to you. Isaiah 52:1 (NKJV)

11  And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. Romans 13:11 (NKJV)

14  Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:14 (NKJV)

One reason for the call to wake up is that the Lord wants us to see the bigger picture, to understand that our actions have consequences. Psalm 51 is David’s famous psalm of repentance, probably almost as well known as the 23 Psalm. While most of us could likely quote a portion of Psalm 51 the last two verses are likely not the portion we would quote.

18  Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. 19  Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, With burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar. Psalm 51:18-19 (NKJV)

In the Psalm David acknowledges his sin, asks for purging, cleansing and forgiveness then seems to shift gears in closing off this famous psalm. David’s focus shifts from addressing his individual sin to asking the Lord to do good to Zion and build the walls of Jerusalem because  David recognized that his sin not only affected him personally, it exposed Jerusalem to danger. In the same way, all actions have consequences. Whether public or private, if what we are doing is good we are extending His kingdom, if we are engaging in sin we are strengthening the domain of darkness. Hence the closing focus of Psalm 51 and why Paul addressed the issues in the Corinthian church in the following manner.

34  Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. 1 Corinthians 15:34 (NKJV)

So, if we are asleep let’s wake up. If we are awake, let’s remain alert and continue to see His kingdom extended in our sphere of influence.

Find Me Faithful by Jenn Johnson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPOGEjKuLT4

Joined to the Head Part 3

In my first few years of walking with Jesus I read a lot of A. W. Tozer, a prophetic voice to a generation and a friend of Jesus. In an article where he talked about drawing nearer to the Father in intimacy he said one consequence is, “Others may, you cannot.” The idea being that the closer we draw to the Father the more the ways of the world fall away and our path becomes narrower.

He has built into our relationship with Him a structure that carries weight in the spirit realm. The closer we come the less we care about other things.

In the New Testament the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle points to the throne of grace in the New Testament and the main theme of the book of Hebrews is explaining Jesus role as priest of the heavenly tabernacle compared to the earthly one of the old covenant. The invitation of our new High Priest is to come boldly.  

16  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

We are called to come boldly because we come in Jesus righteousness, not our own. At the same time while the writer of Hebrews again talks about our freedom to boldly enter in because of Jesus sacrifice (Heb. 10:19-22), he also warns us of the danger of presumption (Heb. 10:26-27) and says further.

31  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31 (NKJV)  

In the encouragement to enter in, something we can do at any time, there is an encouragement to be more sensitive to His presence in the call to serve Him (Heb. 12:28-29).

One way we serve, as we are joined to the head, is pursuing a growing and deepening sensitivity to His presence. This is something we can regularly pray for and pursue. For example, a fruit of pursuing this sensitivity it that while writing this there was a sense of a call to simply sit with Him and experience His presence so I stopped writing and did that. No flashing lights, no great emotional experience, just a deep awareness of His refreshing presence.  

This past Sunday at church there was a sense in the spirit of a prophetic mantle hovering over the congregation. I came into agreement with His purpose and prayed for it to be released. Perhaps others did as well. At the end of the service the pastor had an altar call for people to lay things down that were getting in the way in their relationship with Jesus. An unusual event there and it did not happen in the second service. This is shared simply to illustrate what can happen when we recognize we are joined to the head and seek to walk in that reality.

A key to this is pursuing His face and asking Him to deepen our sensitivity to His presence and calling and believing that He will. This is how He has structured our relationship with Him. He has much to share but wants us to value and pursue it. Let us come boldly with a sensitive heart!

Jason Upton captures something of this call in the first 3-4 minutes in this clip.

Joined to the Head Part 2

When we are rightly joined to the Head we learn to live from His perspective rather than ours. We are sensitive to hear what the Spirit is saying and live from heaven toward earth. One way to assess our adherence to living from His perspective is whether we are following the guidelines of His word. Yet, there is more than the letter of the law.

When we go beyond the letter of the law we learn to assess both what we are doing and why we are doing it. A simple example. Recently I saw a post on Facebook and the poster was referring to poor customer service at a well-known store. While the complaint was real and appeared justified when I went to comment on the post I felt a check in my spirit. My comment would have been true yet and it would likely have been appreciated. My comment would have also helped entrenched the poster and other commenters in a negative mindset. Which is not what we are called to do as an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). We are called to represent Jesus not our opinions.

One way to embrace Jesus perspective and represent Him is to embrace the twofold injunction in Philippians 4. 8  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. 9  The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 (NKJV)

Paul says think this way and act this way. If we are thinking about things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and the like then we won’t participate in some types of talk even though they may be true. This isn’t about degrees of harm, it is about obedience to the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides.