Does Psalm 144 Contain a Unique Strategy for Stopping Riots?

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As is often the case, when I read a Psalm, I find that the words relate to a situation that concerns me. As I recently read Psalm 144, I found a verse that seemed to refer to looting and shouting in the streets. It grabbed my attention, so I wondered if it offered solutions to the riots that have been happening around the USA and in other parts of the world.

… that there be no breaking in or going out…That there be no outcry in our streets (Psalm 144:14b)

This made me look more closely at the chapter to see if it offered keys to bring a stop to looting and angry cries.

We Live in Distressing Times.

We watched in anguish the killing of George Floyd by police officers. Along with millions of others, my heart, was disturbed and broken. I know that this has especially distressed my friends of color, for it is a stark reminder to them of times when they and others they know have been mistreated.

People are taking to the streets with shouting, accusations, and demands. Their anger toward racial discrimination, mistreatment, and unfair treatment in the criminal justice system is understandable.

However, in many cases these demonstrations have resulted in mounting anger, violence, and rioting. Obscenities are being shouted. Many police officers have been shot or have had objects thrown at them.. Businesses have been vandalized and looted.

Much of the looting has happened in low income neighborhoods and has hurt and even closed businesses which were hoping to recover as quarantines from COVID-19 are lifted. The loss of these businesses will likely lead to even more poverty in these neighborhoods.

Sometimes it’s hard to find words to convey and express grief and concern about all this without entering into words of anger. Those of us who know and follow Jesus must express caring and concern, while giving a listening ear to those who are dealing with raw emotions.

In our distress, we are looking for answers.

What Is The Solution?

As I have been crying out to God to heal our land and bring peace to our streets, I have wondered how we can see changes in a nation that is so torn apart right now.

I realize that many want to take extreme measures in a physical and political sense. But the true solution to evil in the world is for hearts to soften and change. Psalm 144 reveals a process that happens supernaturally – not by man-made means.

Spiritual Warfare

The Psalm begins by saying that God trains us for war. This training is for spiritual warfare. In the New Testament, we are shown that we are in a spiritual war that can’t be won by fighting and opposing people. We are fighting against unseen powers of darkness which do their best to influence people and nations.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV)

We fight an ongoing spiritual battle through prayer, speaking God’s Word, and binding and breaking the power of these demonic spirits. Only God can train us for this warfare. We can’t fight it in our own strength, but find victory through the power of the blood of Jesus.

In any war there are times in which the warriors need protection and rest. In Psalm 144:2 we are told that God Himself is our fortress, high tower, deliverer, and shield. We run to Him for strength, protection, and His leadership.

Prayer for Deliverance from Lying Words

Prayer, in the name of Jesus, is a powerful weapon against the attempts of the enemy to put divisions and hatred between individuals and groups of people.

A prayer in the middle of Psalm 144 gives insight into one important thing that we should pray for. It is a direct prayer for deliverance from deceivers and liars who are not of God’s kingdom. Satan is the father of lies, so it makes sense that he influences people to lie and to believe lies.

As we listen to those in the news media and to politicians, it is easy to be deceived. It’s hard to know who or what to believe, for leaders and journalists use persuasive words to sway us in the direction they want us to go.

Therefore it is important to seek God to make clear to us what is true and what is false. In my own prayers, I also ask God to remove the veil of deceit that blinds us and others to truth, and that He will reveal truth in our society. As He shines His light into our nation, He can make the truth come out, regardless of how much people try to hide it.

Numbers 32:23 warns, “Be sure, your sin will find you out.”

Praying for truth to be revealed is an important part of our spiritual warfare. I have found that when I try to question lies that people believe, my words to them do not cause them to change or to see the light. It is only the power of God working in them that will reveal this. My prayers for them are more important than my words to those who are deceived.

I must do this with a spirit of self examination as well, asking God to show me if I am believing something that is not true and is not from Him.

Praise and Worship Bring Change.

Psalm 144:9-10 shows us another important factor in doing spiritual battle. To the natural mind, spending time in praise and worship doesn’t seem to have anything to do with seeing changes in society or seeing riots stop. But God’s ways are not something we fathom with our natural minds. We can only understand His ways through the Holy Spirit living in us and revealing them.

These verses reveal that lifting our voices and musical instruments in praise to the Lord brought protection to David, the writer of this Psalm. It also brings us into to blessings of God.

True worship is more than just making music. It is lifting our spirits to God and allowing Him to work in us as we worship. In a way that we can’t quite comprehend, the work that He does within us, as we worship, flows out to others. And it brings changes even into our communities and nation.

Our praises change the spiritual atmosphere. Thirty or forty minutes of worship time once a week at church may not be enough to bring huge changes. We need to regularly spend time in personal worship and in group worship. The more we praise and worship Jesus, the more we will see God do.

We Receive Blessings Through Spiritual Warfare and Worship.

By entering into the spiritual war through prayer, proclaiming God’s Word, by running to God, and through worship, we enter into His blessings. The rest of this Psalm lets us know that abundance is the reward. Jesus said He wants to give us an abundant life.

The abundant blessings mentioned in Psalm 144 are these:

  • Prosperity
  • Seeing our children being blessed
  • Living without fear of looters coming into our homes
  • Having peaceful streets.

The Psalm concludes with a simple, but profound statement in verse 15:

Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!

It seems to me that this Psalm is saying that believers doing spiritual warfare, praying for truth to be revealed, and truly worshiping, reap a harvest of blessings from God, including peace and happiness.

This was posted by Karen Roberts’ Daily-devotionals.com on June 8, 2020.

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Things To Do In Heaven

For those who are checking out this blog for the first time, this is a sequel post to Scared of Eternity? In the previous post, I discussed a fear of Heaven I had as a teenager due to the measurements given in Revelation 21. I also shared hope that was given through the water of life recorded in Revelation 22 among other quoted verses regarding God’s creation.

Today’s blog post will share other details that I believe can cause quite a concern for those suffering with anxiety like me. I encourage you to read the Scared of Eternity? post highlighted above.

Work?

I don’t know why the idea of “work” is such a distasteful word these days. Everyone seems to want to make as much money with doing the least amount of work possible. I had a pastor call me co-dependent because I was offering to work for no money. But, I didn’t want to work because I’m co-dependent, I wanted to work because I enjoy it.

Now, on topic, in the New Heavens and New Earth, we will work. In the original design, God made man work.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it
and take care of it. (Gen. 2:15)

Now, God’s original design, after He created all things, was for man and woman (Gen. 2:18) to work. As we know, the man and woman start talking to a snake, eat a fruit, and are guilty of sin. Let’s relook at this ‘work’:

To Adam [God] said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food…” (Gen: 3:17-19a)

This is the first thing that I want to illustrate is that “Work” is not a necessary evil. We are designed with capabilities to think, create and work. So for those who think of Heaven as sitting on a cloud, playing a harp, eating Philadelphia Crème Cheese, think again.

This brings up step two.

Worship?

This topic needs to be discussed, not just about Heavenly worship, but also on earth. But for now, I’ll focus on the New Heavenly worship. While there are various texts to point to an inactive worship, I’ll share one:

Day and night they never stop saying:
“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”
They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they were created
    and have their being.” (Rev. 4:8b& 10b-11)

Now, the hard part with interpreting prophecies, I believe, is that they can be in allegory. Whereas Jeremiah 29:10, for example, gives a specific time of 70 years of captivity, others are left with more of an interpretation. So, I think, it’s best to interpret godly worship.

In the previous blog post, I share how God is bigger than the highest Heavens. King Solomon says this when he is dedicating the temple to God. So we must talk about godly worship.

New Covenant of Worship

First verse is when Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman. Culturally, Samaritans and Jews were not allowed to associate with each other. This is part of the conversation:

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:19-24)

This woman believes that the only place to worship is in Jerusalem, the temple Solomon built. Arguably rebuilt since the siege of the Babylonians. But Jesus said that a time has come where it won’t be about the place. “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in Spirit and in truth.”

Our second verse comes from Apostle Paul. Like Jesus, Paul is sharing the message with non-Jewish people. He tells them:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)

The Image Of God?

I had a professor in college who believed that in the New Heavens and New Earth we will create like God. We will speak planets into creation as God did in Genesis 1. I’m sorry, but I strongly disagree. If our only understanding of God is his ability to create, we are greatly lacking in understanding God’s holiness. Allow me to share some verses:

And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man,
so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man. (1 Cor. 15:49)

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:5-7)

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Phil. 3:20-21)

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3)

Creativity?

God created us as an eternal being and calls on us to be holy. And, I believe, in the New Heavens and New Earth we will design and create. Proverbs 9:16 says,

In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.

I believe that we will create and design, space ships and submarines, to seek more of the creation that God has done. We will land on distant planets and examine things we have never seen.

This Day

This day, I encourage you to seek after God. God’s love for you so much that he paid to cover your sins. In the Garden of Eden, God sacrifices an animal to hide the shame of Adam and Eve’s sin (Gen. 3:21). Now, God has sacrificed his Son, Jesus Christ, to cover our sins.

Let us seek holiness above all things. And when you find yourself unholy, that God for Jesus Christ who cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

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How To Worship “Online” During The Virus Crisis by Lewis Erickson

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I’ve felt it and I’m sure you have too.  It’s hard to worship the Lord when watching my church service online from home. It’s not like being at church and worshipping in the midst of a lot of people. Much like when we watch a sporting event or the evening news, we can become a spectator to an online worship service rather than a worshipper of the Lord God Almighty.

What if this “virus crisis” isn’t over soon?  How can we change from being a spectator to an “online worshipper”?  The answer may depend on what we consider being an “online worshipper”.

For example, how did Paul and Silas become worshippers of God while in a Philippian jail cell with their feet locked in the stocks? This was right after they had been beaten with rods. The Bible says they were praying and singing hymns at midnight and the other prisoners were listening to them. How could they worship in those awful circumstances?  There was no worship band, no hymnals, no worship leaders. They weren’t even comfortable at home in front of their TV, but in a hostile environment instead.

I believe it’s because they had learned to be “online worshippers”. They had learned to tune in to the worship service that goes on in heaven and never stops.  See Revelations 4 for more about that worship service. Regardless of their circumstances and where they were, they were able to pull away from their environment and focus on their audience of One. Rather than seeing just themselves, they were able to see the rest of heaven that they were joining in worship.  They were going online in a spiritual sense.

This is what our Christian family must do in countries that are hostile to the gospel. If they are caught, they will be beaten, fined and jailed. So, they must worship quietly, sometimes in strict silence, but going “online” in their hearts and minds to join the heavenly worship service that never ends.

How can we learn to worship earnestly, a/k/a “online” like Paul and Silas and our spiritual family in hostile countries? Primarily, we have to learn that worship is a matter of our heart.  Jesus has to be someone more than we just know about. He has to be someone we love and that we long for. If He isn’t that for you, pray right now and ask Him to become that for you. Then make it your goal to live like He is your “first love”. If you want me to explain more about that, let me know at godthefatherrevealed@gmail.com.

Beyond our heart, here are some other practical suggestions:

  • Put away your phone, tablet and anything else that may distract you. You wouldn’t be messing with them while trying to worship God at church. Don’t do it while worshipping at home either.
  • If you stand up and worship at church, stand up at home.
  • Sing when its time to sing. Don’t just watch others sing. Your audience of One is watching you. He’s not listening to how good you sing. He’s listening to your heart and mind.
  • Prepare for online church. Just like you would go to bed on time and get up in time to shower, shave, eat and then drive to church, don’t stay up late the night before binge watching Netflix.  Get to bed and get up on time so you have time to prepare to be ready to participate in online church without distractions of a hungry stomach, morning breath or bed head.
  • If you have kids, help them to prepare too. Talk about how you are looking forward to worshipping Jesus during online church. Share that all of you are going to act like the people on TV are actually in your house visiting you. If your kids are really young and must have attention, give them your attention. Hold them and worship like you would if they were sitting with you at your normal church service.

The Lord willing, the virus crisis will end soon, and we will resume going to our churches to worship.  Perhaps this time of “online worshipping” will help us learn to push out distractions that we can avoid. Perhaps we will learn to focus on worshipping the Lord despite distractions that we can’t avoid.  Finally, perhaps we will learn to go online no matter our circumstances or wherever we are to join the worship service that never ends.

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