Just before Purim this spring, God reminded me of the importance of looking for His “hidden hand” in our lives. In the whole book of Esther, God isn’t mentioned. There’s also no record of God speaking directly to His people or prophets. However, this doesn’t mean that He wasn’t present, moving, and speaking throughout the events that transpired. In fact, we can see how God strategically moved through different individuals to protect His people from genocide.
One day, I was meditating on how rest can be a powerful weapon in the spiritual realm, and Isaiah 30:15 came to mind, “For this is what Adonai Elohim, the Holy One of Isra’el, says: “Returning and resting is what will save you; calmness and confidence will make you strong —but you want none of this!” I often hear people quoting another translation of this Scripture, “in quietness and confidence is your strength.” While these words are a needed reminder, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the last part of that verse—God’s people resisted the call to return (repent) and rest.
Psalm 46:10 (VOICE) “Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. I am the God above all the nations, and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.
When we are yoked with our Creator, there are moments when we’re not going at the same speed that He is. When we are out of alignment with Him, we can feel it as tug upon our soul. Sometimes that tug is gentle, and at other times—when we are insistent in our striving—that tug is much more firm. “Stop striving,” He beckons. “Stop pulling against My yoke. It’s time to come and sit at My feet and just rest. It’s time to remind yourself of Who is leading.”
This call is reminiscent of Psalm 46:10, where God tells us to “be still and know” that He is God. When we dig deeper into the Hebrew of this text, there is beautiful insight into what God is asking us to do in the moments when we feel that tug upon our souls. The command “be still” in Hebrew is raphah (Strong’s H7503), which means “to sink, relax, sink down, let drop, be disheartened.” One definition according to the Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon is “to leave off anything, e.g. a work begun, Neh. 6:8… Psalm 46:11 ‘leave off your own attempts and know.’”
Think of a field hand diligently working the soil in a field. His supervisor suddenly calls out to stop work and take a break. So the field hand immediately stops, lets go of the tool in his hand, and walks away to take that break. In much the same way, when God tells us to “be still,” He’s calling us to stop striving over a matter in our lives and come into a place of rest.
Yet there’s a second layer to this call. God asks us to “be still and know” that He is God. Not only must we stop striving, but we must also be intentional to realign our focus on God. In Psalm 46:10, the Hebrew word for “know” is yada (H3045). Yada alludes to a type of knowledge that involves an intimate perception of something. Yada is also used euphemistically for the intimacy between spouses. (Genesis 4:1 says that Adam “knew” his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore their son Cain.) When we really comprehend a person or matter, we obtain intimate knowledge. We gain a unique clarity of perception.
In 1 Corinthians 13:11-12, Paul says, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” (NKJV). When we feel the call to “be still and know,” God is calling us to realign our focus in that moment. This is a precious gift, an opportunity for us to enter the Holy of Holies and have a “face to face” moment with Him. This is a call to reconnect with the Source of Love.
When we are striving, there is a misalignment in our spiritual vision and our misperception of love concerning a particular matter. Clarity can only be found when we’re seeing the matters of life the way that God sees them. By the flesh, we have a cloudy, distant perception of life, but with God, we have access to a full level of disclosure.
Are you anxious and afraid over a matter? Do you feel alone and without answers or help? Or perhaps, you feel exhausted and weak, facing a challenge in your life to which you feel at a disadvantage. It’s time to “be still and know.” It’s time to reconnect with your Creator and remember that He has everything under control. Let His love and peace wash over you, and allow Him to give you fresh revelation for the road ahead.
Psalm 69:9 (TPT) My love for you has my heart on fire! My passion consumes me for your house! Nothing will turn me away, even though I endure all the insults of those who insult you.
Beloved, attune your ear to My heart. Be so consumed with My Word and My standard of righteousness that our desires meld into one. Allow My passion to burn as a fire in your veins, and rise up as My covenant defender.
As you walk in My zeal and choose to remain united with Me, you will be moved to speak and act on My behalf. I have stirred a desire in your heart to hold up My Word as a standard and proudly lift it high no matter the opposition you might encounter. Yet true godly passion is balanced in its outworking. While zeal drives you to care for My heart and the advancement of My Kingdom, I urge you not to lose sight of yourself or your fellow man in the process. I call you to love yourself and your neighbor with the same fiery love you have for Me.
Ultimately, the fabric of My covenant is love and the foundation of righteousness is love. Love is what covers all sin, making a way for My children to be knit as one into the Body of Christ. Beloved, yield to My heart and the all-consuming passion of My nature. Be zealous with My zeal and allow My love, through you, to burn away the works of darkness.
Indeed, I have anointed you for this holy work. Just as a surgeon has skilled hands capable of removing disease while preserving life, so I have anointed and trained you for the healing work of My Body. I will give you wisdom and confidence to tear down the works of darkness while also caring for the hearts of My beloved ones. As My love comes to burn in every heart, all that will be left is the pure gold of My Kingdom on earth.
Proverbs 10:12 (AMPC) Hatred stirs up contentions, but love covers all transgressions.
1 Peter 4:8 (TPT) Above all, constantly echo God’s intense love for one another, for love will be a canopy over a multitude of sins.
Psalm 17:8 (VOICE) Keep close watch over me as the apple of Your eye; shelter me in the shadow of Your wings.
At some point in my childhood, I was seriously convinced that the moon was the eye of God. Before I would go to bed, I would sit by the window and stare at that bright light in the darkness sure that the One who loved me was staring back. At this time, I didn’t know about the Scripture that says the eyes of the Lord are always upon the righteous (Psalm 34:15) or how we are the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8). Yet somehow, I instinctively knew this truth.
This bright, unblinking eye in the sky didn’t scare me though. In fact, I was sure that even though I was going to sleep, my Big Daddy above didn’t sleep; He would be keeping His eye on me, and I would be safe. God was so big and yet so close to me all at once! He was completely involved in my life and certainly not too busy running the universe to watch me while I slept. I would wrap myself in that truth and fall into a deep rest.
Although I’m an adult and now know what the moon really is, I have to admit that that pure, childlike truth about my Heavenly Father remains a powerful part of my life. Sonship is a beautiful and ever-unraveling revelation. Our Father is infinite, a sovereign over all created things. Yet sometimes we can feel lost in the midst of this creation and the chaos that sin brings. And when we feel lost, we lose sight of who we are and Whose we are. But when the eyes of our heart can manage to refocus on the truth—that we are much-loved children of the King of the Universe and God of Angel Armies—then it gets pretty hard for the troubles of life to overwhelm us. We may be adults in the earthly realm, but from a heavenly perspective, we never leave the watchful and loving care of our Heavenly Father. His thoughts towards us our vas,t and His care over us never changes. His love and favor are truly the only security blanket we need to find rest in this world.
Dance with Me, beloved. Hear the sound of heaven, that eternal song that calls to you and reminds that you are already home. Let your heart soar in songs of praise and worship and let your soul arise. As you worship, My presence washes and lightens your spirit, and you are caught up into My embrace. In My presence, the cares and the weights of the world will fall away, every power will bow, and all things will naturally align into their proper place. For where My Spirit is, there is freedom.
While your feet may be rooted upon the ground, worship reminds you that your life is forever rooted in Me. You are seated with Me in heavenly places, and the Kingdom of Heaven is where you eternally dwell. So come soar with Me, beloved. Bask in the delight of our unity. Let our combined joy carry you away into the heights of the Spirit, and enter My courts with song.
2 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NKJV) Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Psalm 100:4 (TPT) You can pass through his open gates with the password of praise. Come right into his presence with thanksgiving. Come bring your thank offering to him and affectionately bless his beautiful name!
For many years, I was always curious when I came across the Psalms known as the “Songs of Ascent” (Psalms 120-134). I wondered what this special title meant and the story that sets these psalms apart. Over time, I discovered that these psalms are known as the Pilgrim Songs. Some scholars believe they were sung by worshippers as they ascended the road to Jerusalem to attend the three pilgrim feasts (Deuteronomy 16:16). Others believe that the songs were sung by Levitical priests as they ascended the steps of the Temple in Jerusalem. Another theory suggests they were written after the rebuilding of the Second Temple. Finally, there are scholars who think these songs were individual poems that were collected and given a title that would connect them to the Jewish pilgrimage after the Babylonian captivity.
As I have studied these psalms and even listened to them when they were put to song, something beautiful happened as I meditated on them as a picture of our spiritual pilgrimage. I had already done many studies of Scripture through a Hebraic lens; I was in awe of lengths that God has gone through to honor His promise to Abraham to bring his children back to the land of Israel—the land of promise. From the forefathers of the faith to the different generations in captivity, God would always create a road for them to return to the Promised Land and to Jerusalem, the very place of His throne. He created a way for them to dwell in His Presence.
Now, as much as the land of Israel is a physical land set apart by God, I couldn’t help but see in the Songs of Ascent that the process of return required a spiritual ascent of the soul. Truly, this road echoes a higher call that we have in Christ. For our Kinsman Redeemer has freed us from the captivity of sin, making a way for us to “ascend the hill of the LORD” again. Our inner man is called to make the pilgrimage to the Jerusalem Above as we submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
To me, the Songs of Ascent are a reminder of what inspires our praise and worship. We worship God because He has made a way for us to dwell in His Presence again. We rejoice over His continual deliverance. We express our gratitude that He has chosen us and sanctified us as His kings and priests in His eternal Kingdom. Praise and worship elevates the soul as we set our mind our higher things and our upward call in Christ.
1 Peter 2:4-5, 9 (NKJV) Coming to Him [as to] a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God [and] precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. … But you [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Just be, beloved. There is a time and season for all things—time to learn, to do, and to explore in life. However, in every moment, no matter what activity it contains, I call you to simply be. Breathe, live, and move in Me, beloved. Pause to recognize how My Spirit fills you and gives life and purpose.
In the midst of the chaos of life, it can be easy to lose sight of your connection and existence in Me. Therefore, I desire that you would make space in your days and weeks to simply pause and recognize that I Am always with you. When you come into a place of stillness in your being, you make room for My Presence to fill that space. Anxiety, doubt, and other things that grieve your soul can be replaced the Eternal One, Am your anchor point. I Am present in every moment, ready to empower and keep you through all things. Whether you take a moment, a day, or a season to pause before Me, you can be certain that that time is never wasted. Such times of rest encourage your internal focus to shift back towards Me. I Am able to refresh your soul, renew your vision, and give you spiritual fuel to continue your life’s journey.
Remember, beloved, that by My very name, I AM, I define what it means to exist. While I give you purpose to with run with and ideas to pursue, I never want you to lose sight of the fact that I first and foremost created you to simply be. Therefore, release the yoke of heavy burdens. Recognize and comprehend what it means to have your existence within Me. Make room in time and space for Me and watch as My Presence comes to fill all things.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT) For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
Psalms 46:10a (TPT) “Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God.”
Acts 17:28 (VOICE) For you know the saying, “We live in God; we move in God; we exist in God.” And still another said, “We are indeed God’s children.”
Psalm 33:6, 9 (NKJV) By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. … For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
To read the first chapter of the book of Genesis, I never cease to be in awe of how God brought about creation through the breath of His mouth. What He spoke came forth into existence just as He envisioned. And what began in chaos and void, was shaped and filled into a thing of beauty. Creation is God’s canvas and the very the manifestation of His thoughts. But have you ever considered how creation is still responding to God’s words? Even more, have you ever considered how you and I are being created—or recreated—by the words that God speaks?
The following is a Word of Comfort for those who may feel as though they are turning a corner and have had limited sight over their future. This is not unusual—God is about to do something new! If you have become weary in the waiting—hold on. God is moving whether we realize it or not!
I was listening to the Piano Guys, a song called “Begin Again”. This was quickened to me because I had just watched a video recently by a Facebook friend of mine; she wrote a beautiful tune on the piano for this past New Year’s called “New Beginnings”. The Lord really spoke to me through it, for a “new beginning”, “fresh start”, and “fresh page” has certainly been a word in season!
As I got up to grab a bite to eat, I suddenly heard intercessions in the heavenlies with a melody that was similar to the notes of “Begin Again”. Swept up by the song and the words I heard in the spirit, I began singing along to it:
I will not be moved
I will not be overcome
Create in me a clean, clean heart
In the midst of singing these words over and over in a variety of combinations, I heard the Lord say, “Heads over tails.” I got the impression that the time has come for a reversal of fortunes (Psalm 126:4). It saw this like a coin being flipped over from tails to heads. This felt like a coin flip at the beginning of a football game that is meant to determine who has control of the ball. I knew that the decision was being overturned. I sensed now the Lord has decreed that there are those who have been like Josephs and have lived for a long time as “the tail”; He will now make them the head. And as for their enemies who have been the head and have pursued them relentlessly, God has now ordained that they will be the tail.
Deuteronomy 28:13 (NKJV) “And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.