Wakefulness Through a Song
Evangel Tabernacle | On 30, Jul 2019
BY: Michelle Lao / 28 July 2019
KEY TEXT: EPH 5: 15-19
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,
If I remember it right Kathryn Kuhlman once said that the greatest sin is to IGNORE the presence of God. You heard it. It is not a small matter to IGNORE His Presence – to ignore God who resides in our hearts because we are just so preoccupied with our daily concerns, thoughts and habits.
When I heard this, I thought hard about where my thoughts wander during the day and how I want for this constant fellowship with God to be my habitation.
Is our love for God like mist and dew which evaporates easily and have no substance?
The Bible says in Hosea 6:4
“O Israel* and Judah, what should I do with you?” asks the Lord. For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight.
We might begin and end our day prayerful and mindful of God perhaps but in the ‘HOURS -IN -BETWEEN’- where we do the common, ordinary things- is when we usually take a nap and become spiritually unreceptive. During these ‘hours in- between’ our minds become so absorbed with the world and ourselves and God is just so out -of- place and ignored.
This morning, I would like to share a message entitled WAKEFULNESS THRU A SONG!
Wakefulness here means 2 things: simply to NOT BE ASLEEP and to STAY AWAKE.
To NOT BE ASLEEP is to be free from what I call as MINDLESS DISTRACTION which I’ll explain later and to STAY AWAKE is to remain CONNECTED with God in our hearts thru a song as we wait in love for our bridegroom who is Jesus.
My aim here is to bring to light the need to overcome the SPIRIT OF DEEP SLEEP that we are battling with in these last days by having the SPIRIT OF ADORATION in our hearts – that is, for us to be DISCONNECTED from distraction and CONNECTED with God in love.
Our KEY TEXT in Eph 5: 15-19 talks about how we should use our head and know the dangerous condition we are in. To live as wise and not like fools by understanding what the Lord’s will is! These days are evil and we are warned not to be asleep but be mindful, careful, and thoughtful of the way we do our daily activities.
V16 tells us to make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. These are desperate times that’s why we have to be INTENTIONAL and URGENT about WHAT FILLS OUR TIME, WHAT OCCUPIES OUR MIND AND WHAT SPRINGS FROM OUR HEART.
What we do in our day- to -day affects whether or not we will come closer or farther away from God. The activities we are doing either connect or disconnect us from the presence of God.
This morning I’ll not talk about the “big” things that we do for the Lord as Christians but about the common, ordinary activities that we do everyday and how often we find His presence ignored from such.
As we WAIT for our bridegroom, who is Jesus, do we act like the pure, sober and watchful brides that He expects us to find? Do we guard our hearts and discipline our thoughts not to wander because these days are evil?
The Bible strongly warns us that the “end is near” (Rev.1:3), “the end of all things is at hand” (1 Pet 4:7), “the hour has come” (Romans 13:11) but it seemed to me that the SHORTER our time is the more that we are getting more oblivious to being oblivious.
It baffles me about how well we know that we are living in the end times but we care so little about staying connected with His presence more than our FB, TV shows, sport shows and computer games – myself included.
This is why SLEEP OR SPIRITUAL UNRECEPTIVITY received the sternest and most repeated warnings from Jesus: “And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake” (Mark 13:37).
I. MINDLESS DISTRACTION
My husband is the “no alcohol since birth kind of guy” but I’m not. Believe it or not I’ve tasted alcohol before and I’ve been intoxicated a lot of times in my younger days. I remember the main reason why I want to get drunk then was because I WANT TO FORGET my problems, to SHUT MY EYES from the pain of my present reality and to wake up in pleasure of a false reality. I was trying to ALTER my reality thru alcohol by stepping into another reality.
Clearly, you see that there is a SHIFT in our mental awareness here when we are drunk or intoxicated.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
The contrast in v18 is very clear – Do not get drunk on wine instead, be filled with the Spirit.
Aside from getting drunk on wine, may I add that we can also be drunk from too much ENTERTAINMENT? And this I call as MINDLESS DISTRACTION.
MINDLESS DISTRACTION for me is when our minds are darkened and confused because our thoughts are fixed on a reality that is neither physical nor spiritual but on a far, more dangerous reality that does not even exist but has the power to make us FORGET ABOUT EVERYTHING. It is this place in our mind where we can be lost in. We lose the clarity of our minds since we are so drunk on entertainment which alters reality.
And this made me see a very important thing -that a distraction which has the power to make us forget everything can cause us to SLEEP SPIRITUALLY. Distraction is powerful because it makes us forget and the more that it makes us forget the more we wanted it, isn’t it not minding that it can put us to sleep.
This message was birthed when I was so upset about something that my first thought and act was to turn on the tv and be ’lost’ in my favorite TV series that I’m watching in Netflix. I chose to enter into a space in my mind where I can forget everything instead of staying sober and pray. I stepped out of my reality and stepped into another reality where God is totally out and I’m totally disconnected from Him.
Then while immersed into this world of entertainment I felt a gentle rebuke from the HS telling me how wrong this was. But I was so dull and drunk already that I did not see something that is so clear.
I wanted to stop but my flesh cried out, ‘just one more episode.’ And that one episode led me to finish one season and my flesh cried out again ‘just one more season’.
It’s common for us to resort to entertainment when we have problems isn’t it? To choose to be entertained than pray. “Ma relax ako anay kay damu ko ginapanumdum,” and with that single click we entered in. Some can get out but some can’t and become addicted.
I was enticed to sleep and I willingly closed my eyes and even prepared my bed not wanting to be distracted from distraction. It’s like saying don’t distract me because I enjoy being distracted.
I ignored His presence but I could get so very excited about the characters I’m watching. I indulged in my flesh and neglected my spirit.
Such media induced distraction is an overwhelming obstacle to keeping our minds “on things above” ( Colossians 3:1) and from hearing God’s voice from within us.
Why can’t we come to our Father God instead of the TV, FB, Games or of choosing to blast our eardrums with loud music in times when we want to forget? Why can’t we step out of the problem by stepping into God’s presence?
I do not know if what is your distraction right now. It may not be like the ones I’ve cited but it is highly apparent that when we are connected with one we become disconnected with another, which in my opinion is a form of modern day idolatry.
Either we are ‘OUT OF OUR MINDS’ because we are so deeply entrenched in the spiritual or ‘OUT OF OUR MINDS’ in this state of mental mindlessness.
It’s hard to place when nap time began actually. That’s why car accident is the leading cause of death in the world, because ‘napiyungan lang kita sang makadali’ and suddenly we are dead.
We didn’t plan for it to happen and our intentions are not wrong at the start but it is only AFTER we have woken up that we would realize that the sleep we entered in is not the good kind of sleep. It’s not the one that refreshes but the kind that makes us sleep some more because WHILE ASLEEP our DESIRE FOR GOD vanished, our time for fellowship gone, and God’s dwelling place replaced.
Jesus prophecied in the last days that there’s going to be a GREAT FALLING AWAY. Perhaps this is the deep sleep, slothfulness, and slumber coming upon us Christians right now. Are we beginning to drift because of distraction? Are we backing away from our first love because distraction had put us to sleep?
Let our prayer be that of David’s in Ps 27:4. To desire just ONE THING, to ask just one thing, to seek just ONE THING from the Lord that is to dwell in His house, to behold His beauty, to ask for His guidance, to meditate on his temple for ALL the days of our lives. May we have this ONE THING for ALL the days of our lives. This one desire to be connected with God for all the days of our lives. Just like in marriage, just one husband or wife for all the days of our lives.
David’s desire was to live in God’s presence each day of his life. This is why the book of Psalm is so anointed for it is the result of constant seeking and fellowship with God.
Do we desire this moment by moment companionship with Jesus? Do we ask for an unbroken fellowship with Him? Do we desire this sweet smelling smoke from the incense of our hearts to ascend to the altar in heaven uninterrupted? Burning this incense must be continuous just as we are to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17).
Jesus has called us to be awake and alert to His Word, His will and to make the most of every opportunity in these last days. Our daily goal is to drive away from our minds everything that is capable of interrupting our thoughts of God – these mindless distraction and mental mindlessness that can induce us to sleep and sleep some more.
And they went to a place called Gethsemane and he called his disciples, “Sit here while I pray …Remain here and watch.”…And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour?… And again he went away and prayed… And again he came and found them sleeping… And he came the third time and said to them,” Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come.” – Mark 14:32, 34,37, 39-41
It’s difficult not to see how prophetic the scenario is to our time now. The disciples fall asleep over and over again. They’ve fallen asleep not once, twice but three times! I’snt this what we are doing now?
What is our spiritual attentiveness fully knowing that Jesus is gonna come down soon? Are we (1) wide awake, (2) awake somehow but drowsy and drunk in the ‘in-betweens ’of our time, or (3) are we fast asleep and we don’t even know it since we are enjoying the transient pleasures of being in deep sleep?
As Christians, do we have the form of just the outward godliness and we are STUCK in there because what we do in the “in- betweens’ of our time- what sites we go to in the internet for example, the pastime or hobbies we choose- is not sanctified?
I realized that somehow it is easy to be spiritual in a spiritual environment but not quite when we are in a NON-SPIRITUAL environment and we have all the means to please ourselves with worldly distractions. It is easy to do ‘holy’ things while in the church but what happens outside when we are by ourselves is totally different.
For most of us we don’t struggle about going to church on Sundays but our true struggle is in being disconnected from our distractions. I wonder is this why the world is plagued with mental illness -because it seeks to be DISTRACTED than to FOCUS? We focus on the distraction than on preparation.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
DISTRACTION if not controlled will certainly lead to our eventual destruction. Are we futile in our thinking, or are our minds darkened and confused right now because what it seeks is to be distracted more than to FOCUS on God?
I’m not saying that you cannot watch your shows anymore but if watching tv shows will by any chance lead you to fall asleep and shift your focus away from God as I was -then perhaps you also need to re- evaluate.
We heard of ministers like KKuhlman and HBaker who host the presence of the Holy Spirit 24/7 and because of this they live in the lifestyle of the supernatural everyday. Signs and wonders follow them because their habitation is in the Lord.
And so given my reflections here, I asked the Lord about how I can sustain a kind of SPIRITUAL ATTENTIVENESS that will not cease even during the ‘hours in between’ – when I’m in my everyday environment, doing the common and ordinary.
I don’t understand the term ‘Practicing the Presence of God’ before but I kind of get it now somehow. There is no special trick here, it’s just what we should do – practice! Practice having a consciousness of God on a moment by moment basis. I remind myself everyday of God’s constant presence and I hold this thought in my mind by SINGING.
2. AWAKENED TO SING
Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, – EPH 5: 19
Music plays an impt. role in our worship. Some of the famous songs in the Bible are: Moses’ SONG OF DELIVERANCE AND PRAISE after God led them out of Egypt (Ex 15:1-21), David’s SONG OF THANKS AND PRAISE to God for rescuing him from Saul (2 Sam 22: 2-51), Solomon’s SONG OF LOVE celebrating the union of husband and wife (Song of Songs), Isaiah’s PROPHETIC SONG about how the redeemed will sing in the new Jerusalem (Is 26:1), the ‘NEW SONG’ of the 24 elders acclaiming Christ as worthy to break the seven seals of God’s scroll (Rev. 5:9,10).
Coming from a non-singer like me, my depiction of singing is like that of a water fountain flowing out from my heart to my mouth in my own sweet and personal melody of love to the Lord. The pitch may not be perfect but it’s my own. Nobody can sing it for me – I have to sing it for God. It comes from this place of love in my heart for Him.
True worship overflows because the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us moving our HEARTS TO LOVE GOD and moving our LIPS TO SING. . “Out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water,” according to John 7: 38.
We sing melodies to the lover of our soul, who is Jesus, because we simply cannot help it. We are compelled by this power underneath, who is the Holy Spirit, releasing this song of love, from our heart to our lips. Ps 89:1 says:
Ps 89:1 Your love, GOD, is my song, and I’ll sing it!
I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are.
God’s love is our song and what are we gonna do with it? We will sing it!
We as a Church are called to be the radiant bride of Christ. We are promised, we are pledged, we are engaged to Jesus right now to be married to Him in a profound spiritual union during the marriage supper of the Lamb.
2 Cor 11:2 says, “I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him.”
Let me ask are we brides in love? Do we have lovesongs pouring out of our hearts for Jesus? Can we stay pure in this engagement period from now until Christ’s return?
It is very important that Jesus’ bride be “ready” for Him. “His bride has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).
The Parable of the 10 Virgins in Matt 25 talks about our PREPARATION as bridesmaids awaiting the return of Jesus. We are to prepare our lamps and take on enough OIL in the last days so that we can remain faithful in waiting.
Do we have enough OIL for our lamps as the 5 wise virgins or will we be among the 5 foolish ones whose lamps are going out?
The Bible symbolizes the ANOINTING OF THE HS as OIL. God gives His Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32). If we let our oil supply run low, the fruits of God’s Spirit will begin to disappear –this LOVE for God will be replaced by our self-centered thoughts and actions.
They will not be invited to attend the wedding—because they will not be ready when the Bridegroom arrives.
Where will you be when the door is shut? Do you want Jesus to shut the door in your face because you are a stranger to Him?
Worship is all about God and the matter of worship is between you and God not about other people singing it for you. You cannot just ‘come and see’ because you are not here to watch a performance but to connect with God and know Him more.
It is very clear in this parable that we cannot borrow oil when that cry at midnight is called out. Remember, there is no borrowing of oil here that’s why we should tap directly and connect with the Holy Spirit for our own personal abundant supply of oil. Preparation is to be done BEFORE that cry and not during.
1 JOHN 5:21 NLT
Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.
We can all agree that love should be the theme of every wedding right? For this is the strongest bond between a man and a woman. Let us therefore, keep away from distractions and let our hearts be made brand new today because God is looking for hearts to love Him.
I personally believe that our LOVE FOR JESUS can make us ALIVE AND AWAKE as we wait for His coming.
God wants to release the ANOINTING to LOVE Him this morning, to awaken us brides with loving affections for Him. This love will move our hearts to pray without ceasing and to sing and make music from our hearts to God.
God spoke to me one day about how often I ignore His presence when I do the common and ordinary things in my everyday life. I cannot be conscious of God because I allow things, activities and people to interrupt my thoughts of God and I’ll be lost in them.
I connect with God at the beginning of the day, become mostly disconnected during the remainder of the day and will reconnect again at night. During these ‘in -between hours” I take a break from God and I am more centered on ME. Because it’s my ‘me-time’ I do what I want – with just me, not me and God.
I realized that this is wrong. It should not be up to me to decide whether or not to connect with God but I should do my thing conscious that He is always around. I’m the one who should follow Him and not fit God to conform to my schedule.
It’s my holy ambition to keep my mind consciously in God’s presence 24/7 UNINTERRUPTED in spite of my daily preoccupations wouldn’t you? I don’t want the reality of Him to thrive in my sanctified imagination only but I want all my senses to be ALIVE to His presence and I was awakened to SING songs coming from the Spirit.
I was quickened by the Holy Spirit to sing in my own personal melody to make me more aware and conscious of His presence. There is this beautiful, intimate connection when I’m making my personal music to the Lord. It’s like my heart is trying to reverberate back this love that He has for me when I sing songs from the Spirit. His love for me and my love for Him is becoming ONE thru a song.
I sing because of His love and not because I’m a singer. I sing when I pray to God, I sing when I pray for others, I sing when I’m being prayed for. I just feel a special connection with God when I sing.
I believe that God is releasing an anointing to love in these last days do you agree? As brides of Christ are we willing to avail of this love, to be awakened by it and to stay in love in these final days?
The anointing to love is not just to abide in us but it has be released when we preach, pray, sing for healing, salvation and deliverance.
For me, it is not about whether or not we have an outstanding talent in singing, or a keen spiritual ability in healing and deliverance but our focus should be on God’s love for the people when we minister.
I remember praying for Pas Carlyn hours before her surgery. I normally feel shy when I pray for Pastors thinking that I don’t have the spiritual ability but the HS led me to just singularly focus on God’s love and sing for healing and by the grace of God His presence was felt in the room.
Somebody said this, “we sometimes think of the Great Commission as if it is a project, but we forget that the command is really the result of a spirit working from the inside, that spirit is LOVE.”
The church of Ephesus is commended for their many good works and hardwork, for hating sin, for taking a stand against false doctrine and upholding the gospel but Jesus said, “Nevertheless I have this against you that you have left your first love.” Rev. 2:4
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and all discernment
10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.
Brides of Jesus wake up! Wait in love! For if we wait IN LOVE we will not get sleepy and our oil will not run low. God is glorified when He is being rejoiced in the songs of our hearts.
I remember years ago I said this to God once when I was so wounded in my heart and I don’t know who to blame for what happened to me. I was so afraid that the hurts I’m feeling will change my love for Him and all I did then was to repeat this prayer over and over again during our altar call, “Take not the love song from my heart Lord for this is the only thing left in me for you.”
I don’t know what I meant then but perhaps I was so afraid that my heart will grow cold and that I won’t be able to feel His love in my heart when I worship.
The worship of our hearts and the fullness of the HS in us comes out thru our singing. We can sing while in pain and in love. We can sing of freedom. We can sing in times of trouble. We can sing in gratitude. We can sing at all times. We can sing our whole lives.
Psalm 104:33 New King James Version (NKJV)
33 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
This is a time to prepare not a time to be distracted.
Are we too disconnected from God and too connected to distraction? Are we too drunk from the things of this world?
In an age of distraction we can easily slip and sleep.
Now is the time to reconnect back to God.
SINGING will grab the attention of all our senses and focus us on God.
Let’s have then this SPIRIT OF ADORATION in order to overcome this SPIRIT OF DEEP SLEEP that we are battling with in the last days.
Let us receive the anointing to experience God’s love today and be alive and in love with God’s glorious presence.
Sing and make music from your hearts to the Lord!