Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Lord Lift Me Up - Part 6

This series by Nancy Campbell has been so encouraging to me and I hope it will bless you, too.  It's from Nancy's weekly e-mail devotional (used with her permission).  You can sign up for the e-mails on her website.  www.aboverubies.org 

 Today, Nancy continues verses that speak of lifting our hands.  One of the practices of Judaism is lifting our hands to bless the children each week.   I wrote about that in this previous post that I think will be interesting to you:  Blessings

PRESSING ON TO HIGHER GROUND

Part 6



  “And one of them some the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear and healed him”

(Luke 22:50,51).


We continue discovering Scriptures about lifting up our hands.

 

e) We lift up our hands in affirmation to truth



Ezra 8:6: “And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And ALL THE PEOPLE answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands . . .”

 

Do you find you like to do this? I love to raise my hands in agreement when someone is speaking the truth, don’t you? Oh yes, we can agree in our hearts and nod our heads, but did you know that you are allowed to raise your hand? It’s biblical. And there’s something about doing some action! Why don’t you try it in church one day? You can even shout Amen as the people in Jerusalem did! You’ll only have a riot or a revival. More likely a revival!

 

f). We lift up our hands to bless others


Leviticus 9:22: “And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people and blessed them.”

1 Kings 8:54: “And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD from kneeling of his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying . . .” Read also 2 Samuel 6:7-20.

 

Luke 24:50: “And Jesus led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.”

 

It is a lovely thing to lay your hands on those you pray for and bless in the name of the Lord.

 

g) We lift up our hands to bless our children


Don’t you love this Scripture in Mark 10:16: “And Jesus took them (the little children) up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.” The Passion translation says: “Then he embraced (caressed) each child, and laying his hands on them, he lovingly blessed each one.” Read also Luke 18:15, 16.

 

h) We lift up our hands to serve others and help those in need


I love the way God’s Word is so practical and tangible. God writes words to us that get right down into the nitty gritty of how we live. 1 Peter 4:8 says: “And above all things have fervent love among yourselves.” The word fervent in this passage is “ektenes” and means “to stretch out, to extend the hand, intense.”

 

Love is more than a feeling. Love is action. If we have fervent love, we’ll be stretching out our hands. Of course, we do this all day long as mothers, don’t we? We are always reaching out for babies. We nurse them, hold them to us, or wear them in a baby carrier more than we leave them lying on their own. We continually reach out our arms to touch, caress, and hug our children. We cook for them and serve them food. We clean the house. This is love in action.

 

We extend our hands in hospitality. Immediately after reading “fervent love,” we read the admonition to “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” Hospitality doesn’t just happen. You have to cook. You have to prepare a table. Yes, you have to extend your hands. Get them working. But this is fervent love. It is biblical Christianity. It is the lifestyle of the early church. It is part of our “one anothering faith (Romans 1:12).

 

Our God is an hospitable God. He loves to reach forth His hands to bless people, but He is looking for our hands to use here on earth.

 

The virtuous woman “STRETCHES out her hand to the poor; yea she REACHES forth her hands to the needy” (Proverbs 31: 20).

 

When God reveals the picture of the lifestyle of the godly woman, we read that she reaches out her hands to embrace children, practice hospitality, wash the saints’ feet, relieve the afflicted and help those in distress, and continually stretches out her hands to all kinds of good works (1 Timothy 5;10). Nothing happens without reaching out our hands.

 

i)  We lift up our hands to pray for the sick


We reach out our hands in fervent love when we pray for the sick. The word is used in Matthew 8:3 when Jesus touched the leper: “And Jesus put forth (ekteino) his hand and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Jesus was willing to touch the leper.

 

We should always be ready to touch or lay our hands on those who are sick and pray for them, beginning in the home with our families of course. God loves to “stretches forth His hand to heal (Acts 4:30).

 

PRAYER:


“Dear Father, Please help me to be always ready to reach forth my hands. You want me to reach forth my hands in praise to You. You want me to reach forth my hands to bless and pray for others. You want me get my hands working and reach them forth to serve others. Please anoint my hands to be “reaching forth” and “stretching forth” hands. Amen.”

 

AFFIRMATION:


I am not ashamed to be one who raises my hands to affirm the truth. I know God love us to affirm His truth.

 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Lord Lift Me Up - Part 5

 

Are you weary? Are you in despair? Are you in a battle?  I pray this post will encourage you today.

This series by Nancy Campbell has been so encouraging to me and I hope it will bless you, too.  It's from Nancy's weekly e-mail devotional (used with her permission).  You can sign up for the e-mails on her website.  www.aboverubies.org

PRESSING ON TO HIGHER GROUND

Part 5



  “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the LORD of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain?

Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain”

(Zechariah 4:6, 7)



We continue our point No. 6 about lifting up our hands to God.

 

b. We lift up our hands when we are in desperate need of God


Ezra 9:1-7: “And I sat astonished until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness: and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees and spread my hands unto the LORD my God, And said, O, my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.” Do you notice that He cried out to God at the time of the evening sacrifice? This was a specified time to call upon the Lord.

 

Psalm 88:9: “Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.”

 

Psalm 143:6: “I stretched forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land.”

 

c. We lift up our hands to God’s commandments


Psalm 119:48 says: “My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.” Have you ever been reading God’s Word, and something hits you so powerfully that you can’t help lifting up your hands in awe to God?

 

When Ezra read God’s words to all the people, they all stood up and lifted up their hands: and the bowed their heads and worshipped the LORD . . .” (Nehemiah 8:5, 6).

 

d. We lift up our hands when in the battle


I am always challenged by the story of Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ hands to win the battle against the Amalekites. Do you remember this account in Exodus 17:8-13? The children of Israel, under the command of Joshua, went out to fight against the Amalekites? Moses was up on the hill, lifting up his hands with the rod of God. When his hands were up, the Israelites prevailed. When he got tired and let down his hands, the Amalekites prevailed.

 

Let’s read what happened: “And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; the one on the one side and the other on the other side; and his hand were steady until the going down of the sun” (verses 11 and 12).

 

We also have “Amalekites,” haters of God and all that is pro-life, pro-constitutional, and righteous in our land. We have enemies to fight, and our greatest weapon is the power of prayer. Many times the battle is so severe, either personally in your own life, or as we fight the battles in the nation, that we must do more than pray. We must also lift up our hands toward God. There is something about doing this that adds desperation and power to our intercession. It’s not my might, nor by power, but only by the power of the Spirit of God (Zechariah 4:6).

 

We also need one another as we fight our battles. No soldier goes to war as a lone soldier. We go against the enemy as an army. Notice how Israel prevailed against the enemy when Aaron and Hur continue to hold up Moses’ hands up to the Lord. They each needed one another. Gather others together with you in the battle.

 

Blessings from Nancy Campbell

 

PRAYER:


“Dear Father, I reach out my hands toward You as I battle in prayer for the victory. I also realize that we need to encourage one another as we intercede. Help me to never miss the prayer meeting where we can fight in prayer together against the enemies of the Lord. Amen.,”

 

AFFIRMATION:


I am not ashamed to raise my hands in prayer. My intensity in prayer outweighs any embarrassment I may have.

 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Lord Lift Me Up - Part 4

 

Are you comfortable raising your hands in worship?  Did you know that it's Biblical? 

 

I remember the first time I raised my hands in church.  I was scared because my Baptist church looked down on it.  But the day I raised my hands in worship I was set free!  I've done it ever since, even in the church I mentioned.  I'll tell you another story about that at the end of Nancy's devotional.

This series by Nancy Campbell has been so encouraging to me and I hope it will bless you, too.  It's from Nancy's weekly e-mail devotional (used with her permission).  You can sign up for the e-mails on her website.  www.aboverubies.org

PRESSING ON TO HIGHER GROUND

Part 4

 "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down and the feeble knees;

and make straight paths for your feet . . . "

(Hebrews 12:12, 13)


6. LIFT UP YOUR HANDS


There are many Christians who don't like to lift up their hands and yet there are so many Scriptures which encourage us to do this. Apart from the exhortation of the Scriptures, I think it is a natural thing to do. When I am reaching out to God in prayer or lifting up my heart to worship Him in song, I find it is inherent within me to reach out my hands to God. When we are longing after God and thirsting after Him in our inner man, we inherently want to do something tangible. As we lift up our hands to Him, we give action to our inner longings and it becomes more powerful and real to us.


Let's look at the Scriptures, shall we? I think you'll be surprised to see how many there are on this subject.


a)  We lift up our hands in prayer and worship


1 Kings 8:22, 23: "And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: And he said, LORD God, of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath . . ." (2 Chronicles 6:12, 13).


Psalm 28:2. "Hear the voice of my supplication when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle." David was speaking of the Holy of Holies which housed the shekinah glory of God. He longed for God's presence in his life. He couldn't contain it only within his heart. He had to lift up his hands toward God.


Psalm 63:1-4: "O God, thou art my God early will I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee . . . To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live, I will lift up my hands in thy name." How can we thirst and long after God without reaching up our hands to Him?


Psalm 134:2: "Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD." Do you lift up your hands when worshipping God in the congregation of the believers? This is a biblical admonition. Encourage your children to raise their hands as they worship God. Children are not as inhibited as adults and it's the best time to get them into the habit while they are young. It should be a habit of their lives and something they should never be embarrassed about. 


Psalm 141:1, 2: "LORD, I cry unto thee . . . Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." This Scripture gives us the pattern of coming to God every morning and every evening with the lifting up our hands in prayer. The golden alar of incense, which the priest would light every morning and evening, represented the prayers of the saints (Revelation 5:8; 8:3-5; and 9:13).


Lamentations 2:19: "Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the LORD: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street." In the Bible, lifting up the palms or hands is a metaphor for prayer. It is paramount with intercession and prayer.


Lamentations 3:41: "Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens." If our heart is truly lifted up to the Lord, we will want to lift up our hands to Him too.


I must tell you this funny story about a friend of ours. He had grown up in a very conservative church and came into a church where people were lifting their hands in praise to God. He said in his heart that he would never do such a thing and determinedly kept his hands down. As the worship continued a wasp suddenly stung his elbow and immediately his hand shot up! He realized God was speaking to him and he was never afraid to raise his hands in worship after that!


1 Timothy 2:8: "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting."


More next week.


Blessings from NANCY CAMPBELL

www.aboverubies.org


PRAYER:

"Dear Father God, my heart reaches out after You. I need You. I want You more

than anything else in this world. And therefore I reach out my hands to You

too. I cannot help but reach out to You with my whole being. Amen."


AFFIRMATION:

I am not ashamed to reach out my heart and my hands to the One who created

me and also died for me. He is worthy of all my praise and worship.

 

***

I was a member of a very large Baptist Church and on Wednesday nights, the children attended choir classes and then sat down front in the sanctuary during the Bible study time. One night, I was sitting in the balcony looking down on the little five-year old children's choir.  The orchestra began to play an up-beat, toe-tapping song.  A little girl jumped up, clapping, and dancing with with all her heart!  She made it about half-way to the pulpit before a choir teacher grabbed her and led her back to her seat.  It made me so sad.  I thought how wrong it was to dampen her joy in praising the Lord and only wish everyone could feel that free to worship God.

In our synagogue, we raise our hands, sing and dance, wave flags, play tambourines, and even shout for JOY!  I think it's such a blessing.

 

  

**Graphic by MiYah Music - used by permission