When we are in excruciating circumstances and at our wit’s end, Jesus, our greatest Treasure, is still worthy of our whole-hearted worship. And…the rejoicing of genuine, whole-hearted worship is the sustaining strength of our hearts in the midst of the battle. These are the dual lessons we have been learning in the book of Psalms. The following two testimonies, from Alive at Five this morning, thrill my heart! You gals are living proof that He is alive! The more trials we face, the more boldly we run to Jesus, joyfully declaring our hope in His Word! The more we cling to Him, the more we grow in the joy of knowing Jesus as our greatest Treasure! I love His perfect ways!
FROM KELLY TARR:
As Devon spoke on the last morning of our fall Fully Alive at Five meeting, my heart was bursting to the point that I had to exercise restraint in not shouting or jumping up to dance right then and there. I also couldn’t stop the tears that were flowing down my face.
We were learning that dance is a key to spiritual warfare. We saw in the Bible that dance is an appropriate response of praise to God. He is worthy of receiving worship with every fiber of my being. Even in my weakest moments; in times of sadness, or when I don’t “feel like it,” God is moved by my offering of whole-hearted worship. This is my testimony.
You see, a few years ago, God allowed some painful circumstances in my life. It was very hard. Although, at first, I did not understand, He was awakening my heart in love for Him in a new way. He was removing false comforts. He was making me desperate for an encounter with Christ!
I had allowed depression to become a way of life. This deep pit was the hiding place where I was held captive for years, unable to express my deepest pain, unable to express my heart to God. Depression often turned to despair. It was during this desperate season that Jesus reached down into my pit of despair and loosed my chains by teaching me to dance before Him!
Opening the Word of God and declaring God’s love and His promises with my heart, with my mouth and with my feet set me free. Set me free! I am free to worship the Lord Jesus with everything I have, no matter who may see, simply because He is worthy, and He has shown me His worth. Oh, my testimony is that I cannot keep from dancing anymore! I now have many testimonies of how Jesus has transformed my heart in the midst of difficult circumstances, as I have danced before Him with His Word on my lips.
I am not a trained dancer, nor am I the most graceful. But I know that it moves the heart of my God, when I dance. I also know that He meets me when I dance. I am changed. My heart is aligned with His Word, and He takes His rightful, preeminent place in my heart. I can say along with David, “You turned my mourning into dancing, you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” (Psalm 30:11).
FROM BETHANY DEWITT:
I listened to Kathy speak of the battlefield of life, the invisible war…and I know. Oh, I know! I remember how just the night before, my heart had been thrown against the wall, breathless, anger rising from the huddled heap on the floor. I remember how I felt powerless against the Enemy’s lies. I had awakened this morning at 4 am to attend Alive at Five. I doubted that my battered heart, full of hardened ancient stone, would even respond to the Jesus whom I love in my spirit. I wondered if I had let myself go too deep back into despair and confusion. Then the Sword found its mark, splitting marrow and bone and I could see!
For though we walk in the flesh, we are NOT waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to DESTROY strongholds. We DESTROY arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every though captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
The yearning of my heart to please Him began to surface—true reality shining through my dim eyes. When Devon spoke, I saw who I really am, really. I am royalty in the court of the Living GOD, beauty desired and seen by Him and led to His chambers in robes interwoven with gold. What JOY and GLADNESS! I entered the palace of the Fairest One, Majestic in Righteousness, Valiant for the cause of Truth and Goodness. I could see once more, and oh, how quick I am to forget! Instead of praise so often shame surrounds me, a dirty cloak.
“Precious are you in My eyes, and honored, and I Love you with an everlasting Love.”
This is the voice of my Beloved! How could I not know? Does He not cherish me every day, and still I look to the perceptions of man for my acceptance, bound by worthless shackles of my own choosing, and passed over by everyone but Him. How could I not choose Him? I made my choice.
I had learned from the Psalms to lift up my voice and cry out to God in prayer. I had learned to worship Him with singing and dancing. This morning, I became impatient to try out these tiny wing-buds. I was eager to express what the Spirit in Grace had revealed! YAHWEH is the Holy One of Israel, Everlasting King and Intimate Lover of my heart—I felt the fire within and the words tickling my lips. I had the urge to SHOUT: “RISE UP FOR ME, O GOD!” I wanted to cry out to Him in faith. And then, I did! I cried out from the darkness that held me and I rose up in faith! I moved toward the back of the sanctuary as we began to sing.
You make all things new!
All things new!
And then, I twirled. I twirled and twirled and twirled! My arms moved and my heart moved and my feet left the ground as I danced with my all my might in the house of the LORD my King! His beautiful one seeking after His Beauty. . . I could see, and I was seen and something in me is was made whole.
I am free. And He has made me glad!
Fully Alive at Five Info:
When: Every other Tuesday morning starting new semester on January 7th. See full calendar here.
Time: 5:00a.m.- 7:00a.m.
Where: Christ Church of Knoxville (Click here for a map)
*photo credit: Talitha Piper