Hands Not Limp are Hands in Worship

“You shall slaughter the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear and on the lobes of his sons’ right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet, and sprinkle the rest of the blood around on the altar” ~ Exodus 29:20.

You knew we would get to this first, right? This verse along with many others in Exodus reveal to us that the hands that are not limp are consecrated for the worship of God and in the restoration of God’s people. Here we see that the ears, hands, and feet of the priests are anointed and consecrated to God for His use in leading the people in worship and restoration. Beloved, we too are priests unto God with a holy priesthood through Christ (1 Peter 2:9).

I have found more times than not that when I am ministering to a fellow believer who is struggling and down trodden, they are best lifted up when I express the glory of God over their situation, helping them refocus to see more clearly the One who can walk them out of their situations. When we focus on our struggles in life, we too often find our hearts in defeat and we fail to worship God with gratitude for Him. But when we refocus to see the one who is bigger than our life circumstances, worshiping Him for Who He is, hope abounds and help reaches us to empower us to press forward while waiting for the moving of His hand in our need.

As I read this passage, I note that not only are the hands anointed for the ministry of worship, but so are the ears and the feet and the altar. Our ears are anointed to listen for the wee small voice of God and His Spirit who empowers our worship and feeds us the words those we minister to need to hear. He instructs our hearts in the way we should go and in the changes we need to make in life as we listen for Him. Our feet are anointed, not only to go out in His Name to minister to others, but they are anointed to live life to the full and to press forward in life to His glory, even as happenstance leaves us wanting to lie down in our misery and hide from life.

The true worshiper that worships in Spirit and in truth not only speaks His glory, but is attentive to His voice and ready to press forward as His representative in life, putting feet and hands to work in the ministry of reconciliation. As I see the consecration of the altar in this passage, I see our lives, our very existence consecrated for sacrifice to God’s use as we take up our cross daily to follow Him.

Another picture in scripture of worshiping hands that are not limp is found in Nehemiah.

anointing5“Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground” ~ Nehemiah 8:6.

When situations in life are difficult, reaching to God in worship that is mindful of His glory, His presence, and His power, care, provision, protection, etc., empowers our hands with strength to persevere instead of letting our hands fall limp in despair. Hands not limp are filled with and used in the worship of God, knowing that the joy of the Lord is strength (vs. 10).

Psalm 26 instructs us concerning hands lifted and made strong in worship:

“I shall wash my hands in innocence, and I will go about Your altar, O LORD, that I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and declare all Your wonders ~ Psalm 26:6-7.

We are called by God to lift up holy hands in worship (1 Timothy 2:8). That means that in situations where we are tempted to be defeated and let our hands fall limp, evaluating our part in the situation and repenting any sin that put us there is vital. So also is the spirit of thanksgiving in the midst of our difficulties. Repentance and thankfulness are two vital aspects in worship

Thus, beloved, when difficulty comes, “Lift up your hands to the sanctuary (which is God) and bless the Lord” ~ Psalm 134:2 (author’s note). There you will find your help and strengthen your hands for the plow, being equipped to press forward to the glory of God and the fulfillment of His kingdom purpose (Luke 9:62).

Hands Not Limp: Introduction

“How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? ‘A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest’—Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man” ~ Proverbs 6:9-11.

Reading a devotional thought this morning, my heart was captured by Zephaniah 3:16:

“In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: ‘Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp.’”

LimpHands12“Do not let your hands fall limp!” The Amplified version adds, “Fear not, O Zion. Let not your hands sink down or be slow and listless.” It is the picture of one caught by surprise and standing, stunned, not knowing what to do.

That is not the only way our hands can be caught hanging limp. Laziness, depression, disinterest, falsehood, lack of knowledge, lack of leadership, failure to be alert: all these things and more can find us standing or lying down on the job, with hands limp, not being ready for dealing with the need of the moment.

As I thought on these things, the questions came, “So what are we to be doing with our hands? In what ways can we be found ready for action with strength in our hands for the need of the hour?”

Next post will begin a series of study using scriptures God led me to in helping me find the answer to these questions. There may be more we can add than these I found as I looked from Genesis through Psalms, but what I found is a very good beginning for those of us who want to be found faithful at His return.

A Trust that Breeds Gratitude

“Trust {lean on, rely on, and be confident} in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, trust also in Him and {He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass} ~ Psalm 37, NASB {AMP}.

God began instructing my heart yesterday that fretting over the past is robbing me of now strength, joy, peace, gratitude to Him, assurance, and comfort.

I seek daily to follow God’s instruction to me for each days tasks and activities, and when I fret over things I did not do or things that did not go the way I thought they should, I deny the work of God in and through me in those things and I deny Him gratitude for the things that were accomplished. I forget that God is in control and can be trusted with my every step in life.

Do I fail to hear and obey at times? Yes. And the instant I realize it, I repent and change course. To repent means to lay the failure on the shoulders of Christ and leave it there with the One who sacrificed Himself for this purpose, that I may have true life and have it in abundance; then to press forward from there with the freedom of Christ to live a better life to His glory and crown. Fretting over failures repented is to pick that heavy load back up and be crushed by the weight of it.

The thing God is instructing my heart to realize is that when I focus on my failures, I fail to see the progress made in God’s work of reestablishing in me the image of God that Christ died to provide for me. Marsha Burns writes in this devotional written in the voice of God speaking to the reader:

“Look how far you have come! The difficulties that you have endured and overcome have instructed you and driven you to find Me in a more meaningful and concrete way.  Your days of trouble are not to be disdained; they are to be recognized as a necessary part of your growth process.  Don’t lament, says the Lord.  Rejoice for where you are now and where I will take you from here.”

With the passing of my Daddy and the struggle he was in with paranoia in his last years, it would be easy for me to focus on things I did not have strength to accomplish in my relationship with him. The sense of loss would be intensified and the weight of the sense of failure would throw me into depression and defeat. But God keeps reminding me how He has grown my trust and reliance on Him as Abba, Father. He reminds me of the freedom from a root of rejection that He has accomplished in me during the days of Daddy’s struggle. So instead of hurt and heartache over unfulfilled desires in my relationship with Daddy, I am filled with gratitude and awe toward my Abba who has helped me and done a work of grace in me, freeing me from the growth of a spirit of rejection to finding my acceptance in Him.

Jesus08We are continually being perfected. Looking back on days gone by is natural to us, but as a people for God’s own possession, when we look back our hearts need to settle with gratitude on the goodness of God that worked a plan through the time of struggle that has worked change in me, making me look and act more like the Father and less like the flesh of this world. When looking back, the question to ask is “what did I learn and how has it changed me?” We press forward from the pits in life with greater strength to persevere when our hearts are filled with gratitude for the work of God in our lives. And we find success in the journey when we remember the promise of God:

“I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” ~ Psalms 32:8.

And “your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it,’ when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left” ~ Isaiah 30:21.

Therefore, beloved of God, “Trust [lean on, rely on, and be confident] in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, trust also in Him and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. [Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass] ~ Psalm 37, NASB [AMP].

A Time to Trust

“I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord—but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me” ~ John 5:30, AMP.

Trusting God for every step, every desire, every word of life is what Jesus portrayed; relying fully on God who directs our path and is fully in control of our destiny. That is what God is teaching me these days.

We just went through a very trying time as my Dad’s poor health issues were revealed. He went into the hospital on a Monday, went home with Hospice on Friday, and died on Tuesday. Just that fast and he was gone.

I always felt that I would be a main caregiver for him when his time came, but when it came, I was sick as a dog: flu, followed by Laryngitis – Bronchitis and the worst cough I have ever had in my life. I would put a mask on and visit daddy for short periods of time. Though I hoped to get over it good enough to help with his care, it never happened.

The last night of his life, I knew his time was close and I should stay, but my health issue flared with fever and feeling so bad I could hardly stand myself. I knew his current state could end quickly or go on for another day or two, so the decision I came to was to go home and wait. Just minutes before my sis called to tell me he was gone and ask me to come, I had such a hard coughing spell that it tore the muscle in the 7th intercostal space (says my doctor). It hurt so bad I could barely breathe, much less move, so again I had to tell her I could not come. It was the hardest thing I have ever done.

Through the entire two week ordeal of trying to get daddy to the doctor and on through the last week of his life, I was hindered from being the help I wanted to be and always thought I would be. Throughout it all God constantly called me to rest in, rely on, be confident in and trust in Him with assurance that He was up to something. I don’t know what He was working in my sister during it all, but in me, He was helping me to grow stronger in surrendering what I think I should be doing to Him who is the Lord of my path in life.

Only time will tell what He accomplished through the experience, for me and my family. But one thing I know more than ever before, God is faithful and I can rest in Him with full surrender to His working His will out in me in His way that shines some light of glory to all who see.

~*~

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6, AMP.

“…Roll your works upon the Lord, commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and so shall your plans be established and succeed.  …A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure” ~ Proverbs 16:1-9, AMP.

Fear Not!

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” ~ Deuteronomy 31:8.

A quote by Will Smith’s Character, Cypher, in “After Earth” caught my attention. I found it to be one of the most insightful and well-spoken viewpoints I have heard regarding the subject of fear. Thus I quote:

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may never exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real, but fear is a choice.”

Wow. That is such a true and thought provoking statement, worthy of meditation. Think about it. Even in an instance of imminent danger, fear comes to the fraction of time in which we allow ourselves to imagine the potential of the next moment that is not yet present reality, and may never be. When we give ourselves to that fear, it brings the mind and emotions to “near insanity,” hindering our ability to think and respond clearly to the danger. Fear, when given a place in our choices, can well lead to destruction. When fear catches our attention, instead of evaluating the danger and how best to address it, we bow to the fear, giving self to its power over us, which leads to running from rather than toward the danger that needs to be dealt with. At the end of the movie, when Kitai was at the point of do or die, he was able to refuse to choose fear any longer. In that instance of calm, he was equipped to face the danger with right priority and discernment of resource to deal with the danger and come out victorious.

It is no wonder that our God tells us over and over to “fear not.” We cannot see the potential for a good outcome and head toward that when fear gets hold of us. And we cannot see clearly the presence and power of our God and His ability to lead us to a right and victorious response when faith to trust Him is hindered by fear.

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love” ~ 1 John 4:15-18, (see also in AMP. Other “do not fear” passages).

Knowing the love of God for us, being assured of His presence and care, empowers us to face danger with good judgment that empowers us to overcome.