Turn the World Upside Down – 2016

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, “For He is good; for His mercy endures forever” that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14

What if musical instruments and voices were raised in unified praise of our awesome God today? Could we not expect God’s glory to fill this place to where no one would be able to stand, because of His overwhelming glory dwelling in us and in the world we touch? What if we believed that standing before the Lord in praise was our first occupation, desiring to consecrate ourselves to Christ and allowing Him to consecrate us unto Himself? The world would be turned upside-down.

If the Church was truly so humble before God, then the whole world would assuredly be a different place.

If our faith in an awesome God outweighed our faith in a politician, an occupation, or a relationship, then we would certainly see more “change” in the world around us; a change that conforms to holiness, hope, and freedom from fear. A nation and a people that submit to God are a blessed nation and people, but if the voices of the Church are silent and knees refuse to bend, then the world will never know The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

Too many people are dying without knowing that the world as they know it has been twisted; they need to see the world turned upside-down. And what is it that turns the world upside-down? Truth. God came down from Heaven to save His perverse Creation, and He did not save them by living with them forever, but He laid down His life and rose again, so that He could give victory to every lost soul who seeks Him. He was tortured, mocked, and nailed to a cross. His blood was poured out and flooded the same ground that He formed in the beginning. His breath left Him when He was the One Who first breathed life into man. This was a tragedy, a moment when all hope was lost, when the Maker of life breathed His last. He was laid in a tomb and the tomb was sealed; there was no going back from this fate, a fate that sealed our judgment as the executioners of our Creator. But here is the truth that turns the world upside-down; three days later, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, rose victoriously from the grave! He turned death backwards, tipped the scales in irreversible favor of life, and for all those who believe on His name, they are called sons and daughters of God.

Such a truth is revolutionary, and belief in that truth, more than just reading it and speaking it, is what transforms souls. For those who believe on the name of Jesus, they have been made one family by the blood of the Lamb. Christ’s blood is over all, cleansing all, and the blood of His children mingles with His. Daily, His sons and daughters give up their lives in the pursuit to bring Good News to their friends, family, and total strangers. But for some reason, they are hated for proclaiming love and a way to renew fellowship with the Creator.

I cannot say that I have suffered in the same way as many of my brothers and sisters in Christ, but I must determine in myself even now to serve the One I love, no matter the cost. Someday, I may be asked to deny my King or I may be tempted to deny Him by reason of circumstances around me, but by the grace of God, I will remember the Truth in that day…

Though I lose my job; The LORD is good; for His mercy endures forever.
Though I fail a test; The LORD is good; for His mercy endures forever.
Though I lose a competition; The LORD is good; for His mercy endures forever.
Though I lose everything I own; The LORD is good; for His mercy endures forever.
Though I lose the ones I love the most; The LORD is good; for His mercy endures forever.
Though choosing righteousness and choosing Jesus means that I lose my life; The LORD is good; for His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 136)

I don’t repeat that phrase like a robot or an automatic reaction, I repeat it because it is true, because the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be His name (Job 1:21). All that I own or possess comes from my King. All that I gain comes from Him. All that I lose is according to His will. When I commit my worries, my fears, and my way unto Him, then He will give me peace (John 16:33), He will heal (Luke 4:18 & Isaiah 61:1), He will restore (Psalm 51), He will give rest (Matthew 11:28-30), and He will surely save me and all those who love Him (John 3:16-21).

Therefore, I must not be afraid to turn the world upside-down.

But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason has received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.” (Acts 17:5-7)

Turning the world upside down can be as simple as living a life against the norms of the world, or accepting those who do. If the norms are living for flesh, lust, and pride, then may we wholly lean on Christ to provide us the strength we need to live by the Spirit; producing fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and humility; the kind of fruits that garner either hatred or love, but always turn the world on its head. I say this of myself, though I have a feeling that I am not alone; I am not the strongest, the bravest, or the wisest, that I would be able to turn the world upside-down or produce eternally beautiful fruit, but my weaknesses don’t matter when I am leaning on and abiding in Christ. And the only reason I know that my weaknesses don’t matter is because Jesus told me so. He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Dear Jesus, please continue to be the strength in me to fight against the raging sea of compromise and surrender. The truest desire of my heart is to know You more and to live a life that is holy and devoted to You; an offering of praise and obedience at the throne of Your grace and mercy. Use me as You will. May the world around me be turned upside-down for Your glory and Your kingdom. Amen.

I first published this post on March 18, 2014, and I did not publish another post until almost a year later. That spring was my last semester of college; the end was near! I was so “on fire” for God, writing songs, writing posts, but after the “I want to turn the world upside-down post,” my faith seemed to plateau. Even now, I have been out of school for almost two years and it has taken me this long to finally grasp what this post means.

I have not been radical. I go to church and to Bible studies, read the Word, journal, and since I graduated, I even went on a mission trip to India. But I count all those things as meager steps for the glory of my King. I have been complacent, content with going along for the ride, and trusting that God will bless me in spite of myself. It is true that He blesses me, but it is also true that the knowledge of Jesus Christ and the fact of His crucifixion and resurrection should transform me daily into a radical child of the Kingdom. That means that my life, the way I spend my time, and even the private desires of my heart should reflect Christ in me. That means that the things I do, say, and think should glorify Jesus at all times. For so much of my life, I have been selfish, self-centered, self-seeking, self-satisfying; I reveled in those times of spiritual highs, but didn’t understand why there were spiritual lows. Here is the truth, I had spiritual highs, because I stopped thinking of myself and fixed my eyes on Jesus; I had spiritual lows, because I was thinking how good it felt to be in a spiritual high, instead of seeing how good my Savior has always been. I was always self-centered.

Today, I feel so blessed in the presence of my Savior, but that feeling is not God. Feelings change, but my Jesus never does. If I am in a spiritual low, it does not mean that Jesus has changed or that He has left me, it just means that my faith and focus have shifted to myself… Oh, wretched woman that I am, who shall deliver me from this death? But thanks be to God, Who has neither left me nor forsaken me in my bipolar faith. He sees my heart, even when I want to wrench it out of my chest. He still calls me to His service. Of course He knows what I have done and He knows what I will do, but His desire for me is that my life would produce good fruit at all times. His desire and love for me pushes me to become more like Him. I cannot say that I have attained perfection or even that I seek perfection with my whole heart, but Jesus has been working on this heart of mine, softening it to His Kingdom work and giving me a passion for His Kingdom to come alive in me. It must start within me, because there is no way that I could hope to share His love without reflecting His love. I cannot evangelize or call people to Christ if I still serve the god of self.

There are so many posts that I wrote in the past, while I was still serving the god of self. I urged readers to seek Christ and to live for Him, while I sought myself that day and lived for my flesh. I am ashamed of who I was, and that I did have a bipolar faith, but I cry before the feet of Jesus, and He takes away my shame and calls me to new life.

Dear Jesus; “You, oh Lord, are my sustenance, the One I depend on for all my needs. You, oh Lord, are my sustenance, You’ve shown me not to rely on my deeds.”1 How I long to worship You as You so rightfully deserve. I am poor and I am wretched, but You are rich in mercy and grace toward me; calling me, Beautiful and Beloved. I am Your daughter. I am Your servant. I am Your instrument. Let my life be poured out for Your Kingdom, for Your glory. Let these commitments I have made and these changes that have taken place stand not just for a moment or a short period of time, but may I continue to deny my selfish desires and find my desires transformed to become more like Yours. I revel in Your presence and in Your light, but even if I should be surrounded by darkness, I trust in You. Even if all I hear is silence, I trust in You. Even if all around my soul gives way, Jesus, You are always my hope and stay. Amen and Amen.

References/Inspirations
1. Sustenance by Andrew Hawkinson
2. Prayer (Part 4) – The Nations
While I wrote/edited this post, I listened to this sermon, so I thought it was only right that I should share it.

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