Thursday, February 13, 2014

Praise and Worship God!

God has been supplying our needs in a great way.  2 weeks ago, the back lights (florescent) went out and we couldn’t afford to get new ones, so we just left those lights off (they are the ones that highlight the Jesus mural in the back of the store).  Anyway, while at work yesterday, William found 4 florescent 46” bulbs that didn’t fit anywhere there, so they were going to throw it away … William brought it to the store and they work perfect!  Imagine that!  Then yesterday, I had several people come through to paint – one after another all day.  One asked me to make a list of supplies I needed and she said she’d bring them to me today .. . and she did!   I got $20 in donations yesterday ($65 in sales last week and $7 in donations), so things are picking up around here!  I’m counting on God to at least break this place even – a minimum of $800 a month.  In Jan. and so far in Feb. we’re at $100 a month, so we’re getting there.

February 13 - I find it fascinating how God  is using artists and musicians (Ex. 35 and 36, 1 Chron. 25) at this hour for His glory … like that new book says, An Army Arising: Why Artists are on the Frontlines of the next Move of God by Christ John Otto, “Not only did their work become the access point for the people to meet with God, it became the origins of the holy imaginations  of the Jewish mind.   … The artisan is a renaissance person, able to do many things and create many things of beauty.”   And that is what is happening today … so many new worship songs are coming out that minister deeply to me, and I’m sure to many others.  This army of new musicians and artists ARE becoming the access point for people to meet with God, bringing people into a deeper place of worship.  Was it any different 500 or 1000 years ago?  No … 800-1200 AD a rise of artists brought the Word to more people in not only written form by way of the Illuminated Manuscripts, but on the walls of the glorious cathedrals that graced the landscape from one land to another.  Then again, the debauchery  of the 1300-1400’s led to the revivals of the 1500-1600’s.  History does repeat itself and we can learn from it if we look back.  I am even more amazed and blessed that I am to be used by God in this way.

Again, I find cool things in my daily devotionals:
Our Daily Bread, Oct. 6, 2013, 2 Chron. 20
While millions watched on television, Nik Wallenda walked across Niagara Falls on a 1,800-foot wire that was only 5 inches in diameter.  He took all the precautions he could.  But added to the drama and danger of both the height and the rushing water below, a thick mist obscured Nik’s sight, wind threatened his balance, and spray from the falls challenged his footing.  Amid – and perhaps because of – these perils, he said that he “prayed a lot” and praised God.
The Israelites also praised God in the middle of a dangerous challenge.  Theirs involved a larger group of warriors who had gathered to fight them (2 Chron. 20:2).  After humbly asking God for help, King Jehoshaphat appointed a choir to march out into battle in front of the Israelite army.  The worshipers sang:  “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever” (v21).  When they began to sing, the Lord caused the enemy forces to attack and destroy each other.
Praising God in the midst of a challenge may mean overriding our natural instincts.  We tend toward self-protection, strategizing, and worry.  However, worshiping can guard our hearts against troubling thoughts and self-reliance.  It reminds us of the lesson the Israelites learned:  “The battle is not [ours’, but God’s” (v15). – Jennifer Benson Schuldt

That is what we have found, that when we sing praised to God, when we worship God through song, our load lightens and our joy is restored.  I had a wonderful week last week praising God throughout every day, then this week, the enemy came against us from many different directions to try to shut us down (everything from finances, to lack of provisions, to even coming home last night to find the electricity out to our entire building – for many hours) – I found that I had to ‘praise away’ the depression that kept coming against me – that heaviness that tried to shut down not only my singing, but my artistic creations on paper.  I also found that I could not rely on myself, my own preparations to make life easier.  In the past, I always had a lot of candles, an alternative heat source, a grill, bottled water stashed away, and so on and so on.  I didn’t even have candles last night, let alone anything else (a neighbor gave me a couple).  We found ourselves getting rather irritated and snappy.  It made us stop, realize what God is trying to prepare us for (total reliance upon Him), and that no matter what happens around us, we have to look to Him, continue to praise and worship Him, to keep the Joy of the Lord … “Bless the Lord O my soul, Worship His Holy Name!  Sing like never before, O my soul, I’ll worship Your Holy Name!” (10,000 Reasons)  We can still sing even if we don’t have a mechanical device to play it for us!

The Chronicles passage reminded me of when we were in Crescent City ( and William dressed as Jesus on Good Friday and walked the cross through town to the lighthouse.  A band of worshipers followed, singing loud all the way!  They battled through song and God’s presence is making a difference in that town!  We don’t know what all was accomplished in the spiritual world, but the stories we heard after were amazing!  No matter what happens around you, stand and SING praises and worship to God and strongholds WILL break down, battles WILL be won!