Broken crayons still color….let God complete the masterpiece!
Let Judah go up first. Send Judah up. Judah shall go first. Judah went up…
In the Old Testament, whenever the children of Israel inquired which tribe should go first against their enemy, God ALWAYS responded with…SEND JUDAH UP FIRST.
Judah…Yehudah…simply means praise.
“Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.” Judges 1:8
Translation: If you wanna set your city on fire…SEND JUDAH UP FIRST!
If you wanna set your situation on fire…LET JUDAH GO UP FIRST!
If you want God to move on your behalf in any way…SEND JUDAH UP!
Y’all hear me talk about this topic A LOT, lol. The praise was…is…and will always be…in the front…on the front end…in advance…God’s credit is good with me…He has NEVER failed and He NEVER WILL!
Praise = Mouth & Motion
“O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.” Psalm 47:1
What goes up…MUST come down!
Judah was the KEY of David…
“And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” Isaiah 22:22
Think about that friends…Judah (specifically the Lion of Judah)…praise… WAS THE KEY…of David. Why did Christ choose Judah who wasn’t the firstborn? He inhabits the praise of His people!
“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3
David had much favor with God largely in part due to his lifestyle of praise. David was the only human in scripture to receive this God nod:
“And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” Acts 13:22
David was a man after God’s own heart. If that isn’t an exceptional God nod…I don’t know what is!
God chose the tabernacle of David vs the tabernacle of Moses. We must ask ourselves why. There were many similarities in both tabernacles. The main difference was that David’s tabernacle had no walls which placed the praise happening inside on full display to those on the outside. BOOM!
“And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.” 2 Samuel 6:14-15
Here we see David again writing:
“That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.” Psalm 9:14
David was a fierce praiser!
Praise is why we are here! Prior to his fall, Lucifer was head praiser so to speak in the heavenlies. He was heaven’s worship/band leader and REFLECTOR not PRODUCER of light.
Sidebar: He was also heaven’s treasurer in control of heaven’s economy. (Judas…ring a bell…again we see a link between praise, finance, and betrayal.) So many church splits happen over these two areas…music and money…just saying. But, we’ll save that nugget for another post.
Back to Lucifer: He fell taking 1/3 of the angels with him. Who were those angels…I heard it supposed they were those in his (Lucifer’s) charge…heaven’s praise team if you will. I tend to agree.
Sidebar: (This one’s free, lol.) Pride was Lucifer’s #1 issue…this is why we too often see such pride issues among praise singers/musicians. The struggle is real. Pride is essentially the act of robbing God of the glory due Him. Lucifer said in his heart, “I will be like the Most High and ascend.” Dangerous mental posture. Guard your heart against pride at all costs!
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:12-14
Back to my point: We have been created to fill that void. Consequently, this is also what fuels Lucifer’s rage against man. We have essentially taken his place. Creations who will worship God freely of their own accord!
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;” 1 Peter 2:9
Praise is not only why we are here but it is also one of our most powerful weapons next to the Word of God…the Sword of the Spirit. If you want to get REALLY SERIOUS, whip out both weapons at the same time…put the Word of God in your mouth as you praise…praise Him with His Word. He loves it! It shows we believe what He has said. It is an act of faith that demonstrates our belief in every promise written. We are calling it out (invoking it) over our own lives! This is what it TRULY means to stand on the Word of God. Pure power!
So today, give it a go…
SEND JUDAH UP FIRST MY FRIENDS AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS!
The Fruit Of Praise
“And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,” Acts 9:11
Hey Ananias, go to Straight Street, to Judas’ house and ask for Saul…he’s praying.
Translation: God sees you. He knows the street you are on and whose house you are in. He sees you praying and has dispatched your answer!
“She [Hagar] gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi [the”well of the Living One who sees me”].” Genesis 16:13-14
One morning, I found myself pouring over the Creation account again during my devotions. I usually try to linger in prayer, worship, or Bible study until I receive a daily download from God. Right now word. Right now anointing. Right now stirring. I wait for the word fitly spoken before launching my day. At least, this is what I aim for most mornings. This particular morning, I lingered in devotions far longer than time permitted and I finally had to close up and move on. Don’t get me wrong, you never go wrong engaging in prayer, worship and Bible study. However, I walked away that day still dry. Still thirsty. Still heavy. Still overwhelmed. I had followed the leading of the Spirit that morning and read through the account of Creation again. And yet I wasn’t seeing the rhema, lifted revelation, I desired that day.
Later that day as I headed out the door to leave, I was considering what I’d read that morning and actually asked aloud, “Why didn’t God create the whole of creation all at once?” I mean why not skip the evening and the morning were the first, second, third day stuff? After all, God is all powerful. Why the breakdown?
As soon as the question rolled off my tongue, I heard the Spirit answer in a still small voice, “One day at a time.” That’s all I heard and yet I instantly knew what God was speaking into my situation.
Why did God take a day by day approach to Creation when all He had to do was speak the word and it would be done in totality? The answer…He did it for me. For you. His example was to approach the enormity of Creation…one day at a time. For those of you, like myself, facing an enormous situation in your life, take a pause and breathe. Slow down. Put one foot in front of the other. One day at a time you will reach your destination. You can make it through this…day by day.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
Don’t focus on the days, weeks, months, even years ahead. We learn this lesson again in the account of the Exodus. (Exodus 16) Can we agree this was indeed an enormous situation facing the Israelites? Yes, they were on their way out of bondage. Yes, God had already done miraculous things for them. Was it still a trying time? Of course! There was so much uncertainty awaiting every morning especially for young faith. How were they to make it through the wilderness? How would they possess the promise? Why did God instruct them to collect only enough manna for the day at hand? Again, He was showing the way by orchestrating their circumstance in such a way to constrain their thought for the present day alone. Keep your mind focused on Christ and your life committed unto Him and He will lead you through!
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 2 Timothy 1:12
Trust God! Yesterday’s mistakes and shortcomings are just that…yesterday. His compassion kept you yesterday and His mercy awaits you again today!
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Lamentations 3:22-24
In Bible times, it was common practice for fishermen to use a cast net to trap schools of fish. A cast net was circular and had heavy weights around its edges with a pull cord attached to the center. When a school of fish was spotted, the fishermen would toss the cast net into the sea above the school allowing the weights to drag the net downward trapping the fish beneath. Once the fish were trapped, the fishermen would tug on the pull cord to draw the net either into the boat or to shore if the catch was too large.
It was this manner of fishing being employed by Peter and the disciples in John chapter 21. They had toiled all night without success.
It was oftentimes difficult for fishermen to see exactly where a school of fish were located beneath the surface of the water. Why? The fishermen and the fish were on the same level…shoreline. The fishermen’s line of sight didn’t grant them the best visual vantage point. This was most likely the problem in John 21. Peter and his band couldn’t see the school of fish from where they were standing. The solution? Jesus. He wasn’t on their level. He was on the coastline above the shore. From His perspective, the school of fish was easily seen on the other side of their boat. My point?
Sometimes, we cannot see the solution to our problem. We’re too close to it. The good news? All we need is the vision of the Master. We need the divine line of sight that is above where we are presently toiling. He can see what we cannot. Keep your eyes and ears inclined unto Him and He will reveal where to cast your net!
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 58:8-9
Every Easter, I try to learn something new about the Passover, the Passion, or the Good Shepherd. This morning, I began to think about a shepherd’s toolbox. There were a few interesting items in his tool chest including the sling, staff/rod, scrip, and reed pipe.
Today, the tool that piqued my interest most was the reed pipe used to soothe the sheep. It was common practice for Biblical shepherds to fashion a musical reed pipe from two pieces of hollowed-out cane. The sound was made by blowing across a sharp edge. Notes were controlled by blocking holes with the fingers in each tube. This Biblical reed pipe is an ancestor of modern day “reed” instruments such as the saxophone, clarinet, oboe etc.
The materials for making Biblical reed pipes were very plentiful and readily accessible to shepherds. They were also extremely easy to make. Because of this, it was common practice for the shepherd to break and dispose of a torn reed choosing rather to craft a new one versus repairing the torn one. It is this custom that Isaiah referenced when he prophetically spoke these words:
A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench; he shall bring forth judgement unto truth. Isaiah 42:3
You see, even though it was the custom of Biblical shepherds to discard a torn reed, it is not the practice of the Good Shepherd to do so. Jesus does not break and toss out the torn, bruised, and broken. He is and will always be a repairer of breaches. If this Easter finds you torn and broken, take heart…there is a Good Shepherd who will not cast you aside.
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. John 10:11
Your brokenness does not repel the Good Shepherd. Your bruises do not offend Him. In fact, He was bruised for you. He bore your grief and carried your pain. Your peace is upon Him.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5
The Good Shepherd will not break a bruised reed. Jesus is in the mending business!
Once, during a particularly tough trial our family was facing, my husband saw an image of Pinkie (above right) in prayer. At the time, we had no idea what God was trying to say. Being artists and art lovers, we decided to dig a little deeper. What we discovered profoundly changed our lives.
We stumbled upon a very unique relationship between The Blue Boy (above left) and Pinkie. Like many, we’d seen them together many times throughout our lives. My husband’s mother had replicas of both on display in his childhood home. It was this image that God called to his remembrance in prayer. These two works of art have been displayed together over the years on everything from drink coasters and magazine ads to esteemed exhibits at the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, CA. Even the set designers of the TV show Leave It To Beaver frequently paid homage to their special bond.
I’d studied The Blue Boy masterpiece by Thomas Gainsborough in school. Being widely known as the most famous work by a British artist, it’s masterpiece status is questioned by none. In 1921, The Blue Boy was sold to American railway pioneer Henry Huntington for a record setting $640,000. To keep things in perspective, this $640K was equivalent to over 8.5 million dollars today.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Because the two works of art are frequently displayed together, many erroneously believe both to be masterpiece works of Gainsborough. The truth is…Pinkie isn’t even considered to be a masterpiece at all. She was painted 25 years apart from The Blue Boy by another notable British artist named Thomas Lawrence. Lawrence’s works, unlike that of Gainsborough, would never achieve masterpiece status in the art world. In fact, Pinkie would become the most notable of Lawrence’s works due to her connection with Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy.
Pinkie and The Blue Boy weren’t associated until 1927 when she was purchased by The Blue Boy’s owner, Henry Huntington. She was immediately put on display facing The Blue Boy where she remains to this day. I’ve come to call her resting place the Gallery of Grace.
the free, unmerited favor of God
Because of her relationship to The Blue Boy masterpiece, she has been heralded alongside him on exhibit at the Pageant of the Masters time and again.
My point, and more importantly God’s point in the midst of our struggle, is that Pinkie didn’t need to be a masterpiece after all. She has experienced every honor and esteem possible in the art world solely because of her relationship to the Master.
We realized, like Pinkie, we are esteemed and lifted from obscurity because of our relationship to Him and Him alone. The Syrophoenician woman understood the significance of being in close proximity to the Master.
And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Matthew 15:27-28
Incredible things happen at the feet of the Master. He can take us to unimaginable heights if we’ll only do what Pinkie has done…remain in the presence of the Master. The splash-over blessing (crumbs) of His glory is more than enough to accomplish anything in this life. He will take you from the prison to the palace Joseph. He will move you from the lion’s den to the King’s advisory panel Daniel. He will lift you from captivity to the throne Queen Esther.
You need no one and no thing save a relationship with the Master!