A Lament And The Fire Of Grace

There are times, even during my favorite time of year (around November 1 through January 6), when I have all I can do to hold it together emotionally. I know how important it is to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in every circumstance. Yet the picture comes to mind of a soul out of breath, and out of energy entirely, exhausted, dutifully climbing up some impossible and treacherous hill one more time. Yet he does not know why he is obliged to do so, and is weary beyond belief at this seemingly meaningless task. Yet here it is. And here am I. That soul depicted in imagination symbolizes me!

At such times I must cling to this: “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23 NASB). All I can do in such moments – those moments which teach me what a sacrifice of thanksgiving really means – is to rely on His promise which is attached to this verse – that it is through this that we actually come to “see” salvation.

It may be that some hidden stronghold of the flesh is being consumed by the divine fire of Grace through the Holy Spirit. That’s what animal flesh does when it is sacrificed. It is consumed with fervent heat. And this is why it must be divinely accomplished by Grace. We do not comprehend what is being done, yet we are aware that it is being done.

At such moments we become keenly aware that we have nothing to offer God – except the needy bag of impossibility and complexity that we have become in our fallen state. Yes, “just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me” becomes the theme. Even when we have walked with the Lord for many years, the work of being restored as a son of God brings us to moments of fiery Grace – where the fire of Divine Love must once again do its work! And there’s nothing for it but to surrender ourselves to it, “show up for work”. Not yours. His! And “burn, burn, burn, like a ring of fire!

It’s easy to rejoice and offer thanks when things are going my way. But what about when they aren’t? It’s so much more tempting to go into “cuss and fuss” mode than it is to even inwardly (if I cannot manage it verbally) say, “I don’t know what You are up to or why You call upon me to pass through this route. But by faith I acknowledge that Your Good is driving all Your work within me, and I will offer You a sacrifice of praise – in spite of my feelings – to acknowledge that my Heavenly Father knows best, and I acknowledge that Your plans for me are plans for my wellbeing and not for disaster, to give me a future and a hope.” (See Jeremiah 29:11)

For this truth I give thanks!

P. S. At times like these, when we’re “weary, feelin’ small, when tears are in your eyes” … the Holy Spirit comes in on the wings of a song like this one, a Bridge Over Troubled Water. Even when He seems to take us apart, at the end of the day He “takes our part”.

Originally published on my website:

Praise And Prayer

It’s been awhile since I posted anything. Has anyone else noticed the strong opposition coming at whatever the Lord has called you to do? The spiritual warfare is intense these days! Could it be because the time is short, and the “occupying forces” have received their final eviction notice?

However, of late there has been something of a breakthrough – the first in a long while, since my last post. It had to do not only with the contents of this message, yet also perhaps a new and renewed wave of intercessory ministry involving praise and prayer, with a strong emphasis on praise.

At the very least it is a reminder that the follower of Jesus Christ must be personally attune to the same mission of which He partook and still does. Or do we forget that this is a spiritual war zone? But dare we ask specifically what that may imply for us?

Can I say with Jesus the Christ that I must be about my Father’s business?

Do I truly understand that my kingdom is not of this world?

Am I one with Him and the reason He was manifested – to destroy the works of the devil? Have I prayed about what the implications of that are for me and my life? Do I actually want to know?

Do I understand what it means, if I have put on the Mind (attitude) of Christ, that “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work”?

Am I seeing with the eyes of Jesus, in full agreement with His view, as He says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise”?

Do I truly affirm and embrace Jesus’ promise, “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come”?

Is it a living, vibrant experiential reality that, “… the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you”?

What I was hearing, specifically, personally, and inwardly over the last several days went something like this:

Be about the business of praise! There is no time to analyze, to theorize, to diagnose, or to prescribe. There is no time to plan. Just be about the business of praise in any and every circumstance. Call down the Presence of God and angelic majesties through praise! It may be sung, spoken, or silent – but devote yourself to the work!

Stop living by the world’s modus operandi while still referring to yourself as the body of Christ. Instead be the body of Christ. The weapons of your warfare are not carnal but mighty through God for the purpose of tearing down the adversarial strongholds.

Be the holy temple of the Holy Spirit, and the house of prayer that I call upon you to be – wherein is carried out the work of praise. Then, in so many ways, the Earth will shake, the shackles will fall off, and the prison doors will open.

Let there be devotion to praise in all the Earth, whether alone or gathered together with others.

Hearken to My Spirit alone and what you will hear Me speak to you within the stillness of your interior devotion. Yet this can only happen when My people who are called by My Name humble themselves, pray with the intention of listening, seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways – relinquishing them in favor of what you will hear of the Still Small Voice. For therein is the power whereby the Earth and its people will be set free and transformed. Do your part. My yoke is not burdensome.

Whoever is called to the work of praise, embrace it with your whole heart and without ceasing.

Scriptures given for encouragement in the ministry of praise:

“But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our Fathers trusted in Thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.” (Psalm 22:3,4.)

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.” (Acts 16:25,26)

“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 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 5:15-20)

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises in their darkest midnight hour. What is the Lord showing you that you need to do with yours?