Waiting in the Wings

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

Tag: worship/praise

Consecrated to God

Refreshing Worship” by Meghan Williams of Dyed4you Art

Romans 12:1 (AMP) Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.

{vision} I saw a woman waving her arms up and down in worship. Her eyes were closed, and I could sense she was fully enraptured and focused on God. I got the sense that as the motion of her arms was meant to symbolize the rising of incense, I could sense her soul ascending in some way and recognizing its oneness with God.

This vision came to me as I was meditating on the subject of aliyah, the immigration of the Jewish people in the diaspora to the Land of Israel. In Hebrew, “aliyah” means “ascent.” As I shared in my post, “Our Songs of Ascent,” my studies of Scripture through a Hebraic lens have given me a deep appreciation for God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants. And while I, along with many others in Christ, eagerly await the fulfillment of God’s promises to manifest in the earth, I always find there’s much to learn about our spiritual pilgrimage through events in the natural.

As my friend author Meghan Williams often says about the story of Scripture, “All along God has only wanted one thing: that He would be our God and we would be His people.” From Genesis to Revelation, we see the lengths that God has been going to in order to restore humanity to oneness with Him. He desires to make His dwelling place with us. Humankind sins, yet again and again, God makes a way to redeem us; He makes a path for us to return to Him.

Much like the Jewish people’s return to the Land of Israel, our spiritual return to God is an ascent. Through Christ and the path of holiness and righteousness, God lifts our lives out of the captivity of sin and into His marvelous light of freedom. Yet this ascent to the Jerusalem Above is a daily process, a walk that is paved with grace. Like the children of Israel in their cycles of captivity, our aliyah requires consecration. As Psalm 24:3-4 says:

Who can possibly ascend the mountain of the Eternal? Who can stand before Him in sacred spaces? Only those whose hands have been washed and hearts made pure, men and women who are not given to lies or deception (VOICE).

What I sense from my vision of the worshipper about aliyah is our need to continually consecrate our lives to the Eternal. The worshipper symbolizes what it means to be a living sacrifice. We must close our eyes to the physical realm in order to realign with what is true—the fact that our lives are hidden in Christ and He now lives through us. Like the worshipper lifting up her arms, we willingly give our hands (our everyday actions) to the service of the King.

Many Jewish scholars share how keeping the commandments are meant to elevate the mundane activities of life and make them spiritual. When Israel sinned and was carried into captivity, their return back started with a return to the covenant of God. We too can see that, through our own repentance and redemption, we receive the Holy Spirit, and God writes His commandments upon our hearts. Our actions, great and small, suddenly become elevated as we are led by the Spirit. We become pleasing in the sight of God.

Yet, in order to be led by the Spirit, we must make room for the Spirit. There are always new areas where God desires to redeem us from captivity and cause us to return to Him. Therefore, we must clear our minds, turn our focus upon the King, and expand our hearts so that He can write more of His Word upon it. Much like the children of Israel before Mount Sinai and the followers of Christ before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, there is a call to consecrate and prepare ourselves to come up higher in the things of the Spirit. God desires to flip our perspective so that we come to see our everyday lives through heaven’s eyes.

Beloved of Christ, God desires to enlarge your heart to receive more of His Kingdom. This paradigm shift will elevate the mundaneness of everyday life onto the level of the holy. For He has called you to be a king and a priest, to live a life that is set apart and pleasing to Him. Receive the fresh revelation the Spirit is pouring out. Allow Him to write His Word upon the tablets of your heart so that His ways become your ways, your hands become His hands, and your actions become His actions. Allow Him to flow through you, move you in a new way so that you act as one. Tarry and make room to receive more of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Exodus 19:10-11 (NKJV) Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

Luke 24:49 (NKJV) “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

Acts 2:1-2 (VOICE) When the holy day of Pentecost came 50 days after Passover, they were gathered together in one place.  Picture yourself among the disciples: A sound roars from the sky without warning, the roar of a violent wind, and the whole house where you are gathered reverberates with the sound.

Revelation 21:2-3 (NKJV) Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them [and be] their God.

Come Soar with Me

Dance with Me, beloved. Hear the sound of heaven, that eternal song that calls to you and reminds that you are already home. Let your heart soar in songs of praise and worship and let your soul arise. As you worship, My presence washes and lightens your spirit, and you are caught up into My embrace. In My presence, the cares and the weights of the world will fall away, every power will bow, and all things will naturally align into their proper place. For where My Spirit is, there is freedom. 

While your feet may be rooted upon the ground, worship reminds you that your life is forever rooted in Me. You are seated with Me in heavenly places, and the Kingdom of Heaven is where you eternally dwell. So come soar with Me, beloved. Bask in the delight of our unity. Let our combined joy carry you away into the heights of the Spirit, and enter My courts with song. 

2 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NKJV) Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Psalm 100:4 (TPT) You can pass through his open gates with the password of praise. Come right into his presence with thanksgiving. Come bring your thank offering to him and affectionately bless his beautiful name!

Our Songs of Ascent

Open the Gates with Praise” by Meghan Williams of Dyed4you Art

For many years, I was always curious when I came across the Psalms known as the “Songs of Ascent” (Psalms 120-134). I wondered what this special title meant and the story that sets these psalms apart. Over time, I discovered that these psalms are known as the Pilgrim Songs. Some scholars believe they were sung by worshippers as they ascended the road to Jerusalem to attend the three pilgrim feasts (Deuteronomy 16:16). Others believe that the songs were sung by Levitical priests as they ascended the steps of the Temple in Jerusalem. Another theory suggests they were written after the rebuilding of the Second Temple. Finally, there are scholars who think these songs were individual poems that were collected and given a title that would connect them to the Jewish pilgrimage after the Babylonian captivity.

As I have studied these psalms and even listened to them when they were put to song, something beautiful happened as I meditated on them as a picture of our spiritual pilgrimage. I had already done many studies of Scripture through a Hebraic lens; I was in awe of lengths that God has gone through to honor His promise to Abraham to bring his children back to the land of Israel—the land of promise. From the forefathers of the faith to the different generations in captivity, God would always create a road for them to return to the Promised Land and to Jerusalem, the very place of His throne. He created a way for them to dwell in His Presence.

Now, as much as the land of Israel is a physical land set apart by God, I couldn’t help but see in the Songs of Ascent that the process of return required a spiritual ascent of the soul. Truly, this road echoes a higher call that we have in Christ. For our Kinsman Redeemer has freed us from the captivity of sin, making a way for us to “ascend the hill of the LORD” again. Our inner man is called to make the pilgrimage to the Jerusalem Above as we submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

To me, the Songs of Ascent are a reminder of what inspires our praise and worship. We worship God because He has made a way for us to dwell in His Presence again. We rejoice over His continual deliverance. We express our gratitude that He has chosen us and sanctified us as His kings and priests in His eternal Kingdom. Praise and worship elevates the soul as we set our mind our higher things and our upward call in Christ.

1 Peter 2:4-5, 9 (NKJV) Coming to Him [as to] a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God [and] precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. … But you [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

A Throne-Room Perspective

“Throne Room Glory” by Meghan Williams, Dyed4you Art

There was once a point in my walk when I was afraid to have a throne room encounter with God. I was still healing from a broken sense of identity at that time, so I was certain that an encounter with Him would “put me in my place.” Certainly, the presence of the flawless Eternal One would only confirm the sense of unworthiness I felt on the inside. Yet nothing could have been further from the truth.

My encounters with the Divine have always had a way of radically transforming the way I perceive both God and myself. I begin to grasp the face of perfect love. (And no matter how many encounters I have with the Eternal, it will only really be just the beginning.) He is limitless, all-powerful, all-knowing, and truly, none can compare to Him. Yes, He is so flawless in His beauty that words often fail me. However, I am moved to spend the rest of my existence (here and in eternity) looking for ways to describe the impossible.

Yet to grasp a glimpse of the glory puts our identity into a breathtaking perspective. The One who is seated on the throne above all thrones has chosen to make His home within us. When unified, the followers of Christ are indeed a body through which the Divine moves and expresses Himself. Our relationship to Him is like a crown upon our heads.

Encounters with the presence of God restore our dignity and rightful identity as sons of God and living stones of His temple. We remember who we are, whose we are, and why we are alive. In this light, I can say it is easy for me to cast my crown before the throne. However, I no longer fear I have to cast my crown out of a sense of unworthiness. Instead, I am moved to honor my King out of gratitude and love for this precious gift of life.

Revelation 4:10-11 (AMP) the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and they worship Him who lives forever and ever; and they throw down their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they exist, and were created and brought into being.”

1 Peter 2:5 (TPT) Come and be his “living stones” who are continually being assembled into a sanctuary for God. For now you serve as holy priests, offering up spiritual sacrifices that he readily accepts through Jesus Christ.

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