We are overcoming fear by praise and worship, our joy flowing out of our intimate relationship with Christ. God is responding by sovereign acts of deliverance.
Charles: A Dream
I think it was an attack. It was something I was doing, with God, a job, I don’t know. I prayed to get through it. And an entity said to me: Oh, you think you get away? I almost got there, and then it put its finger there and stopped me. I have to think it was a satan thing, right?
Judy: We Are Claimed By God
That is the sadistic spirit, the very attitude of Leviathan. This is the monster of the government of man that thinks it can keep us bound, just as Pharaoh was trying to stop Israel from going. God is now setting us free, He is setting this whole nation free. That spirit is continually saying to us, no, you can’t go, wee how far reaching my empire goes. The earth is God’s, and He will show Himself strong. The enemy cannot touch anything that is holy. You don’t want anything of the flesh, it gives that spirit ground to hold you. Holiness is so important. It is God’s fiery touch that encompasses us.
Kai: Sovereign Acts Of God
The Church in Phillipi was very close to Paul. He may have met these people in prison. Paul and Silas had been beaten and jailed in Phillipi, but they praised and worshipped God in response. God acted in power to deliver them, and bring salvation to the inmates and the keeper of the prison. Another powerful intervention of God is reported in the book of Daniel. God humbled king Nebuchadnezzar by reducing him to the state of a wild animal. He restored him back to his throne after 7 years. After that, king Nebuchadnezzar praised and glorified God. Here God was acting sovereignly in dealing with the most mighty king on earth.
In Phillipi, God responded sovereignly to the praise which Paul and Silas were giving. The prison was shaken and the doors were opened. None of the prisoners tried to escape. God had touched their hearts, and they were waiting. This event was preceded by another sovereign act of God, independent of man’s actions, as in the day of Nebuchadnezzar. This act was the sacrifice in which Christ offered Himself. After this sacrifice, God was and is acting in response to our praise and worship, to our readiness to lay down our lives for Him.
In this, is the joy of the Lord. Our joy is not in our circumstances, it is in our relationship with Christ. Out of this comes our praise and adoration, and out of this comes God’s response. Christ tells us to rejoice, when we are persecuted, because so they persecuted the prophets. The Old Testament prophets were God’s only way to speak to His people. In the New Testament, all believers can prophecy, can be a vessel of the Holy Spirit and deliver words of salvation to others. In this spirit, Paul exhorts the Philippians: “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord” (Php 3:1) and “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Php 4:4).
Persecution but confirms this joyful position of the people of God. Paul put great emphasis on unity among believers and on standing strong in the face of persecution. Not being terrified by persecution is an evident token of perdition to the enemies of Christ, and of salvation to His people (Php 1:28).
This dividing between those going to perdition and those going to salvation is a sovereign work of God. We can be confident that God is going to complete the work of salvation within us (Php 1:6), so that we can will and do what is pleasing to Him (Php 2:13).
Lonnie: Dedicating Our Circumstances To God
Deut 20:5 instructs the Israelites that men going to battle have to have their house dedicated first. To dedicate means to initiate, discipline, train up. This is the place we are at. Paul and Silas were actually dedicating the prison to God, they disciplined and trained those around them. This is how you act, then God will show up in a mighty way. We are in a place of affliction, so we have to show people how to get out of it, by bringing God into it.