Beloved Family… let’s unpack more of the meaning that is in the text we consider so often in our material. By now, this text should be extremely familiar to our FMM Family:

Colossians 3:1-4

“Therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] Life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our Life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in Glory!” (AMP. Emphasis added.)

As noted before, we can see many things packed into this text. Here is one of them: Paul was urging the Colossian disciples to own, and put on, and hold fast to the New Covenant Identity with which their recent submission to our Messiah’s Authority had endowed them. Now they had to learn to see themselves as being habitually immersed in the Truth and Reality that they were now forever one with their risen Messiah. They now had to realize that, according to God’s Blood Covenant viewpoint, He regarded them to be one with His Son, their risen Messiah! So what pertained to Yeshua, now pertained to them, and vice versa.

Therefore, they were required to forsake completely their original former identity that they had naturally inherited from this fallen world. Now they had to consider themselves to be dead to their natural earthly origins and characteristics, whatever they might have been. That included the identity they naturally inherited from their parents, families, ancestral histories and traditions, and it also included whatever identifying traits they had absorbed from their native earthly cultures, languages, societies and earthly regions. When they died with Yeshua, they also died to all of that because they were to become citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven and no longer citizens of this fallen world.

Matthew 10:34-39

“Do not think that I came to bring shalom on the earth; I did not come to bring shalom, but a sword. For I have come to set ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.’

“He who loves father or mother more than Me isn’t worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me isn’t worthy of Me.  And whoever does not take up his cross and follow after Me isn’t worthy of Me.  He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” (TLV.)

So, after that massive reality-shift takes place, all disciples must ‘unlearn’ what originally had been deeply impressed into their brains and souls. What was theirs from this world is no longer attached to them; and they are no longer attached to this world! Whatever Earth dwellers like to call ‘My Life’ has to be left behind forever by all New Covenant disciples. And, conversely, disciples must be taught and trained (with massive repetition) to ‘put on (identify with) the New Man in Messiah’ that they have now become. That’s why, through the apostolic writings of the New Covenant Era, the Holy Spirit was requiring all disciples to forsake all of that and to consider themselves to be totally dead to the identity, and earthly ties, and independent agendas and aspirations from this world, by which they had identified themselves in the past! This is the true meaning of the ‘Exodus Pattern’ God reveals to us in the book of Exodus. He is here to deliver us from ourselves… from what the Sin-corruption we have all inherited from Adam has done to us!

Luke 9:57-62

“As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the Kingdom of God.” Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.” (NASB)

Matthew 10:34-39

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword [of division between belief and unbelief]. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his [own] household [when one believes and another does not].

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me] is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], and whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, Life with Me for all eternity].” (AMP)

Beloved friends, because of the way blood covenants work, this is absolute New Covenant Truth concerning us: When our Messiah, who is our Covenant Representative before God, was taken to the hill of His execution, we were taken there with Him. And when He was crucified and executed for our rebellion and crimes against Almighty God, WE DIED WHEN HE DIED, AND WE WERE BURIED WITH HIM! So Paul is requiring all disciples to always keep this Truth in mind:

“The New Covenant has made me to be one with my Lord! When He died… I died with Him! It is no longer I who live in this flesh; He is living His Perfect, Righteous Life from within my flesh. My Messiah is now my New Life… the only Life I will ever have from now on! And since what pertains to Him, also pertains to me, Yeshua, in the Glorious Resurrection State of His Perfect Humanity, is forevermore, my new and eternal Identity and Destiny! And the Inheritance His Father has set aside for Him, is also mine. Apart from my Messiah, I am dead and have nothing and can do nothing. Apart from His Perfect Human Life, I have no other life, no other existence or heritage or home or destiny. But as long as I abide in Him and interact with Him, all that His Fullness contains is  mine and, in Him, everything is possible!”

So from now on, my Lord, the Living Word of God made flesh, IS EVERYTHING TO ME! He is my New Identity and my Life. He is my Righteousness and Truth and Purity and Agenda. He is my Covering and my Shepherd and All-Sufficient Provider. He is Everything I will ever need from now on! So, in all things and at all times, I look to Him as my Source for all things. What happens to one of us… happens to both of us! I have no other God to which I can look or upon which I can rely, except for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). And His Living Word lives in me, to be my Rock and Endless Treasury. And I need nothing else.”

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [the only God]! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be [written] on your heart and mind. You shall teach them diligently to your children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths] and shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand (forearm), and they shall be used as bands (frontals, frontlets) on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (AMP)

All of this and much more, is contained in that text from Colossians. And it is vitally important that every New Covenant disciple keeps these Truths and Realities that flow to us from our Covenant Union with God, in the forefront of his or her conscious awareness, and to live by, and from, the Power Source that God’s indwelling Spirit  will always be to us. We saw how all of this came into play for Paul and Silas, when we considered what happened to them in Philippi, in Acts 16. The experience they underwent at that time was, in natural terms, utterly brutal, terrifying and overwhelming. It was also outrageously unjust and would have been enough to devastate and finish the life story of any natural, ‘normal’ earthly human being. But Paul and Silas were anything but mere ‘normal’ citizens of this fallen world. They were sons of God and co-heirs with His Living Word! They were temples that were filled at all times with God’s Holy Spirit! And the risen Lord Himself had summoned them into His service and commanded them to follow Him for the rest of their days on this earth, and for all of eternity!

Because of their New Covenant Reality, what was being done to them at the hands of the Roman authorities in Philippi, was being done to God! And, God was with them to deal with the situation and to cover them and provide everything they needed to endure and maintain their testimony to Yeshua in the midst of it. The Fullness that abides in the Word of God was continually being transmitted into them… and revealed through them! And thus they proved that they were true New Covenant disciples and that their resurrected Lord truly was living His Life from within their tortured flesh:

Acts 16:16-24

“It happened that as we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination [that is, a demonic spirit claiming to foretell the future and discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners a good profit by fortune-telling. She followed after Paul and us and kept screaming and shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God! They are proclaiming to you the way of salvation!” She continued doing this for several days. Then Paul, being greatly annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit [inside her], “I command you in the Name of Jesus Christ [as His representative] to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.

“But when her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities in the market place [where trials were held], and when they had brought them before the chief magistrates, they said, “These men, who are Jews, are throwing our city into confusion and causing trouble. They are publicly teaching customs which are unlawful for us, as Romans, to accept or observe.”

“The crowd also joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and ordered that Paul and Silas be beaten with rods. After striking them many times [with the rods], they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely. He, having received such a [strict] command, threw them into the inner prison (dungeon) and fastened their feet in the stocks [in an agonizing position].” (AMP)

So beloved friends… how would any ordinary humanistic, self-adoring type of worldly person react to such treatment? What would such people experience and feel and think in their brains and nervous systems, and minds. How would their wills and natural sensibilities instinctively react, as a result of such unjust and outrageously inhumane treatment? What would we, and the general run-of-the-mill kind of ‘Christians’ of today, with whom we’re so familiar, have done in such dire straits? Would we be able to react to all of that from God’s supernatural Power, like Paul and Silas, or would we have caved in like any worldly helpless mortal would do?

This is extremely important for Last Days disciples to ponder and take to heart, dear friends! Do we not see a tremendous demon-aroused spirit of hatred and opposition and rage against the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at work throughout our modern day world? Isn’t it true that the Serpent is succeeding in getting tens of thousands of people to resent and hold God and His Living and written Word, and His people in deep suspicion, fear and contempt? Isn’t he persuading them instead to see God’s Word as a threat to their freedom, security and wellbeing? Isn’t he deluding millions of people to become glutted with the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? And have you not noticed that same spirit of antagonism and enraged hatred that the pharaoh directed against Moses and Aaron still being spewed against God’s chosen Jewish and non-Jewish people all around the world to this day?

What the saints of the apostolic era had to face is exactly the same thing we of the Last Days Era are being forced to face! Only now that we’re nearing the end of the age, we will face the entire climactic brunt of the venom and toxic resentment in which the world holds the things of God. At the grand climax of human history, the Father of Lies won’t be holding anything back. He will give it his all without mercy or quarter. So should we not be taking all that Scripture has to teach us about this, to heart?

Notice how did Paul and Silas responded to what was happening to them. How did they react to the obvious agonizing pain that was throbbing and pounding throughout the shredded nerve endings throughout the flesh of their backs and legs? Did they focus on that? Were they obsessing over earthly concerns and the injustice and the dire issues that had been imposed upon them by unavoidable circumstances and hate-filled people? Or did they follow the instructions that Paul had given to many other disciples, for example, in that text that he originally wrote and sent to the believers at Colossae:

Colossians 3:1-4

“Therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] Life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our Life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in Glory!” (AMP. Emphasis added.)

The account in Acts that God has provided for us tells us what these two wonderful disciples did in response to their terrible ordeal. They began to worship the Perfect Presence of their Lord, singing and proclaiming their heartfelt praises and worshipful sentiments to Almighty God and His Living Word! And that clearly demonstrates the truth that they had their minds set on ‘things above’ and had not forgotten what God’s Word said, nor did they allow themselves to be sucked into the morass of what was being done to them here on Earth:

Acts 16:25-30

But about midnight when Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; suddenly there was a great earthquake, so [powerful] that the very foundations of the prison were shaken and at once all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer, shaken out of sleep, saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, saying, “Do not hurt yourself, we are all here!” Then the jailer called for torches and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out [of the inner prison], he said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (AMP)

How could those two disciples have responded with such strength and obedient faith in the midst of such horrendous circumstances? They were able to do it because, ever since their salvation took place, they had been trained to practice and rehearse, again and again, the New Covenant Reality that Almighty God was living and fulfilling His revelations, commandments and promises from within them! They had learned to abide with their risen Master, identifying with Him and abiding in His Authority and Strength, just the way the branches of a grape vine abide with and draw from their life source vine! Silas and Paul were feeding continually upon their risen Lord because they believed with all of their hearts and souls that He was actually living within their flesh! Yes, the risen Lord was right there in that dungeon with them… and it was His Resurrection Life that was operating from within them, worshipping and praising His Father in their name and from their heart of hearts.

So by the time they had to suffer this persecution, abiding with Yeshua had become second nature for Paul and Silas. They instinctively and automatically focused all their attention upon their Lord and drew whatever they needed from His inexhaustible resources. And, together with their risen Master, Paul and Silas joined in with His continuous obedient service to His Heavenly Father… doing His Father’s bidding in whatever pertained to them. All of this happened through the Power of the Holy Spirit. By His Absolute Authority, Yeshua, God’s Living Word, was releasing the Holy Spirit to supply everything Paul and Silas would need to persevere and remain faithful and steadfast in fulfilling Father’s will and Plan for them at that specific time, and place, and situation!

So notice that Paul and Silas did not have to plot and scheme and try to invent cute, clever little ways to sneak up on anyone ‘evangelistically.’ They didn’t discuss things like:

‘What can we do or say that will impress the men in this prison and help them to feel conviction over their sins, and persuade them to repent in their hearts so that we can lead them to the Lord and to their salvation?’

No, there was none of that. Instead they allowed Almighty God to take complete charge of them and their situation. They followed the directives that Paul wrote for all disciples, in Colossians 3. They kept their minds and hearts focused on the risen Lord… their Beloved Covenant Friend and Shepherd, with whom they were now and forever ONE! They kept looking to Him, and drawing everything that they and their dire straits needed from Him. They were able to do this, thanks to the omnipotent Power and Activity of the Holy Spirit, who was also abiding within them. So Paul and Silas were being continually equipped and empowered to rely upon and draw from the Infinite Treasury that was theirs according to the New Covenant. Everything was being provided by Almighty God’s Perfect Presence and by His Infinite ALL-SUFFICIENT FINISHED WORKS OF GRACE!

Ephesians 1:3-6

“Blessed and worthy of praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ, just as [in His love] He chose us in Christ [actually selected us for Himself as His own] before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy [that is, consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose-driven] and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will — to the praise of His glorious grace and favor, which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved [His Son, Jesus Christ].” (AMP)

Yes, they continued to feed on Yeshua and to drink of the endless Abundance and Lovingkindness that is always in God’s Word. This was easy for them to do because by that time, they had developed a deep-seated habit of realizing that God’s Word was always abiding within them! Yeshua is perpetually Present and Available to His New Covenant disciples! And Paul and Silas had been well trained, as Israelites, to do the exact same thing that the Holy Spirit had taught David to do so many centuries before, at the precise time when he too had been forced to pass through the ‘Valley of the Shadow of Death!’

Psalm 23

“The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want. He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters. He refreshes and restores my soul (life); He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.

“Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil; my cup overflows.

“Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the House and in the Presence of the Lord!” (AMP)

Dear ones… God was with David too! Even though Paul and Silas had the added advantage provided by the New Covenant’s permanent impartation of the Holy Spirit, God’s Living Word is always with all human beings, whether they are righteous or evil. He is always with each one, maintaining and sustaining them in existence, providing every heartbeat, brainwave and necessity for them even while they insist on continuing to be Sin-corrupted enemies of God and are still given to worldly Self-life ways and agendas.

David and Paul and Silas had trained themselves to ignore their natural earthly circumstances and dire straits by remaining steadfastly focused upon the Living Presence of their Awesome God and Shepherd! Instead of obsessing over their earthly situations and circumstances, instead of whining about their helpless, weakened, disadvantageous state, or generating vengeful resentment against their oppressors, true disciples do what God’s Living and written Word has taught all of us to do… to abide in Him.

So, Paul and Silas remained focused and dependent upon their risen Lord. They filled themselves with Him and therefore began to embody Him and His Everlasting Lovingkindness from within their suffering flesh. They fed upon and drew from the Holy Spirit exactly as their Master Yeshua had done when He was going through His own Death Agony. While His flesh agonized on the cross, Yeshua remained focused on the Infinite Perfection and Reliability of His Heavenly Father, and therefore He was empowered to ask His Father to forgive his murderers! Disciples are God’s ‘Blood Brothers’ so they do what any well-trained Blood Covenant Friend knows to do. They turn to their Blood Covenant Friend, their Blood Brother… to receive from Him whatever they cannot provide for themselves, so that they can do His will and glorify His Name. And their Heavenly Father responded to them in all of His Glory… to Perfection! Yeshua knew His Father would never fail Him! And Paul and Silas knew the same thing because they had been trained to embody their Master at all times, despite what spiritually blinded humans that are around them may choose to do or not do:

Psalm 22:1-5

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning? O my God, I call out by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but I find no rest nor quiet.

But You are holy, O You who are enthroned in [the holy place where] the praises of Israel [are offered]. In You our fathers trusted [leaned on, relied on, and were confident]; they trusted and You rescued them. They cried out to You and were delivered; they trusted in You and were not disappointed or ashamed!(AMP)

So Paul and Silas looked to Yeshua who was living within them. And they fed upon His Infinite Fullness, drawing from His ever-present real Presence and filling themselves with the Grandeur of His All-Sufficient Provision. The Living Word of their Heavenly Father was really and truly with them and they never forgot Him nor did they ever stop drawing from His Lovingkindness. Instead of allowing the evil of this world to suck them into its voracious vortex and crush them, they overcame all of that demonic pressure, thanks to the Limitless Power and Eternal Wellbeing that emanates from the Presence of the One who is Goodness Personified. Because they were one with Him, they were at the very same time one with the Father and His Holy Spirit:

Colossians 3:3-4

“… For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] Life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our Life appears, then you also will appear with Him in Glory!” (AMP)

Matthew 11:25-30

“At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth [I openly and joyfully acknowledge Your great wisdom], that You have hidden these things [these spiritual truths] from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants [to new baby Jewish and non-Jewish believers who never stop needing God and who are forever seeking to fulfill His will and purpose]. Yes, Father, for this way was well pleasing in Your sight.All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Son except the Father; and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son [deliberately] wills to reveal Him.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” (AMP, Some amplification and emphasis from me were added.)

Beloved, in the midst of their pain and suffering, Paul and Silas knew ‘The Secret’ that comes to us from the Kingdom of Heaven. They knew God was always Present to them and so they never stopped focusing on Him and interacting with His All-Sufficient Grace. In this way, our Shepherd is able to look after His human Creation from His Heavenly ‘Throne Room’ perspective. True disciples, like Stephen and Paul and Silas, know that even if their bodies are bleeding and suffering intensely here on Earth… at the same time, their spirits are abiding with their Messiah… in their Heavenly Father! And so instead of allowing their souls to obsess over their situation in the earthly realm, and what was happening to their bodies, their years of training and discipline enable them to remain focused on their God-given Throne Room Reality and Inheritance.

So they are able to abide in the midst of what is always going on between the Father and His Living Word and Holy Spirit! They drink deeply from the Fullness that always flows out of Almighty God’s Infinite Presence… and that equips and authorizes them to operate as true emissaries of God, acting in the Name and Authority of their Master – Yeshua, the Living Word of God. Thus they serve as connecting links between the Presence of God and their miserable circumstances here on Earth. And through this blessed connection, God’s Goodness is able to overcome all the evil that can be found in this demon-possessed world.

Disciples are trained to bring God’s GOOD into whatever earthly situations and sets of circumstances that the Holy Spirit led them to encounter and experience. That is why earthly evil cannot impress or stop or deter them. They are equipped to overcome whatever the powers of Darkness try to throw against them, because they are equipped to respond and stand against the Darkness with the Blazing Light of the Unstoppable, Irresistible Presence, Power and Goodness of the Living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! This is what our Resurrected Lord has made possible and available for us! And, as the obvious Presence of our Resurrected Messiah continues to flow into us and through us, God keeps confirming and testifying to and validating the claims of His incarnate resurrected Son, who is, by the Reality of the New Covenant, fulfilling the promises He has made to all of His Jewish and non-Jewish disciples.

Isaiah 60:1-3

Arise [from spiritual depression to a new life], shine [be radiant with the Glory and Brilliance of the Lord] (that you reflect into this world through the obedience of your faith); for your Light has come, and the Glory and Brilliance of the Lord has risen upon you. For in fact, Darkness will cover the earth and deep Darkness will cover the (unbelieving) peoples; but the Lord will rise upon you [Jerusalem] and His Glory and Brilliance will be seen on you. Nations will come to your Light, and kings to the Brightness of your rising! (AMP, Amplification and emphasis added.)

Ephesians 5:6-21

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly Darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things, which are done by them in secret.But all things become visible when they are exposed by the Light; for everything that becomes visible is Light. For this reason it says,

Awake, sleeper, and ARISE FROM THE DEAD AND CHRIST WILL SHINE ON YOU!”

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; ALWAYS GIVING THANKS FOR ALL THINGS in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” (NASB. Amplification and emphasis added.)

Beloved, can you see yourself remaining focused on the realities into which Colossians 3:1-4 tells you to sink  the roots of your mind? You are never alone! Your Beloved Covenant Friend and Ally is always abiding in you and hovering over all of your earthly circumstances! He is always Present to you, waiting for you to receive from Him, the Perfect Provision from Eternity that He has foreknown and reserved just exactly for each precise and current need you have in this dimension of space and time! Your Covenant Friend has you covered… at all times and in all things! This is the awesome New Covenant Secret!

Philippians 4:4-13

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the Peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. The things, which you have learned, and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the Source] of peace and wellbeing will be with you.

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord, that now at last you have renewed your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned about me before, but you had no opportunity to show it. Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose – I am sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] (AMP.)

Dear friends… the worse your situations become… and the more deadly and dangerous and naturally terrifying the threats made against you become, I urge you to let those situations serve as your ‘trigger mechanisms’… mental reminders that automatically appear on your mental viewing screens… reminding you to abide under the Shadow of the ‘Wings’ of your Covenant Friend as He abides in His Heavenly Realm. Let all these earthly things become your servants that remind you to receive and feed upon the Endless Provision that flows from His Perfect Presence that fills and enfolds you. Your present emergencies are only limited temporary blips on the fleeting horizon of time and space. But the Provision that God Himself is to you and for you, is Eternal and Limitless! It is at those most difficult and excruciating times that the miraculous saving Power of God is ready to come through with supernatural Intensity and Power on behalf of His people! Dire emergencies are the ‘raw material’ God’s Plan provides as a contrasting ‘backdrop’ for the display of God’s Lovingkindness and ever Present Faithful Vigilance on our behalf.

So… when we get to this part of the awesome story we read about in Acts, we see Paul and Silas begin to worship and praise God in what, to most people, would be a very strange and inappropriate time to do so. Nevertheless, that is exactly what we are instructed to do:

Acts 16:25-26

“But about midnight when Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; suddenly there was a great earthquake, so [powerful] that the very foundations of the prison were shaken and at once all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened…” 

But this is the very point of the story the Holy Spirit desires us to catch! Worship isn’t a religious activity that is part of the pre-arranged schedule of a man-contrived schedule! Worship isn’t the practice of singing songs and hymns as part of a staged religious performance! Worship is direct personal interaction between God and His New Covenant Royal Priesthood! We are commissioned to abide in God’s Presence at all times, to minister to Him, and to receive Blessings from Him and to share those Blessings with our human brothers and sisters in earthly situations, in His Name, according to His instructions, by our Messiah’s Authority.

Not only that, but we’re called upon to actually bear God’s Presence within us… interacting personally with Him… so that He may become obvious to whoever happens to be around us! In this way, we can take Him into whatever earthly situation we may be led by the Holy Spirit to enter. This is how disciples are equipped to overcome any and all evils… with the GOOD that is in Almighty God Himself! The people of this fallen world don’t need us disciples… THEY NEED GOD’S LIVING WORD TO TRANSFORM THEM INTO HIS PERSONAL DISCIPLES AS WELL!

When Paul and Silas began to worship and sing to God… they were refocusing their minds and hearts and wills upon Him! They made sure their human faculties of soul remained rooted into the heart, soul, mind and will of their Divine Blood Covenant Friend. By proclaiming their faith, hope and trust in Him, and testifying to their total satisfaction and contentment in Him, the whole jail was forced to become aware of the God that these disciples were honoring and exalting and thanking and praising! And thus, in response to their obedient faith, God responded and Yeshua was free to do whatever His Father’s Plan called for, since Yeshua, Paul and Silas and every other disciple, are commissioned and entrusted with the task of bringing Almighty God’s Presence into every situation. So that’s what these two did in Philippi, with its angry crowd, and brutal, corrupt city officials, and even within the inner confines of that miserable demon-possessed jail.

So… in this sense, we can begin to see that, in God’s awesome Wisdom and Lovingkindness, all of what ensued had been previously orchestrated and pre-arranged in Heaven… to reveal, and testify to, and exalt the risen Son of God… first to the prisoners and the jailers and the household of the warden of that prison, and secondarily to the citizens and officials of the city of Philippi, after they all heard about what had happened after Paul and Silas had been placed in the stocks! Because Paul and Silas were so aware of their Master, and so in touch with His Presence… by that very fact, everyone who was around them was brought into the Presence of God… through their obedient faith.

Romans 12:9-21

“Love is to be sincere and active [the real thing — without guile and hypocrisy]. Hate what is evil [detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness]; hold on tightly to what is good. Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor; never lagging behind in diligence; aglow in the Spirit, enthusiastically serving the Lord; constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength], contributing to the needs of God’s people, pursuing [the practice of] hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you [who cause you harm or hardship]; bless and do not curse [them]. Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty [conceited, self-important, exclusive], but associate with humble people [those with a realistic self-view]. Do not overestimate yourself. Never repay anyone evil for evil. Take thought for what is right and gracious and proper in the sight of everyone. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on his head.” DO NOT BE OVERCOME AND CONQUERED BY EVIL, BUT OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD! (AMP. Emphasis added.)

Such are the characteristics that our Master’s Spirit-empowered New Covenant Last Days disciples are most certainly going to need, in order to fulfill their God-given commissions. So beloved, we would do well to open ourselves entirely to the Holy Spirit. It’s not up to us to try to figure all of this out, or to try to conjure it up by our own wits and devices in order to cause our self-devised agendas to come to pass. It’s up to the Holy Spirit to make sure we’re ready to be part of the Perfect Fulfillment of all that God has promised through His written Word. The Spirit of God will cause the Living Word of God to be dynamically Present and Alive and Active and Fruitful… in our hearts and lives, and in our midst.

Our job is to be totally open to whatever Father has in mind… and totally obedient and submissive to His Word and to His Holy Spirit. And God Himself will do the rest, as promised!

Revelation 12:10-12

“Now the Salvation, and the Power, and the Kingdom (dominion, reign) of our God, and the authority of His Christ have come; for the accuser of our [believing] brothers and sisters has been thrown down [at last], he who accuses them and keeps bringing charges [of sinful behavior] against them before our God day and night. And they overcame and conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, for they did not love their life and renounce their faith even when faced with death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them [in the Presence of God]. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you in great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time [remaining]! (AMP.)