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The Art of Looking Up

1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.
2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. 3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. 4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. Psalms 5:1-4

The word “up” is one of the most interesting words in the English language.  It is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word.

It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.  At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, try building UP a list of all the UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it gets the earth wet and often messes things UP. When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so it is time to shut UP about up!

Looking Up

Except to say this: Make up your mind that life is all about looking up.

It seems simple enough, maybe even simplistic.

When things are going well, we say that “things are looking up.”

When we try to talk someone through a crisis, we say, “look up.”

When we are trying to restore confidence in someone, we tell people to “look up” to them.

When we are trying to change someone’s focus from negatives, we say “look up.”

Looking Down

Looking down conveys a totally different thought than looking up.

People look down when they feel depressed, sad or discouraged.

People look down when they feel worthless or ashamed.

People look down when they are intimidated or unable to compete.

People look down when they are browbeaten and hopeless. 

The Bible has a universal appeal to man about the direction of our gaze.  We are constantly encouraged to look up instead of down.  Evidently, David knew something about this.  That’s why he wrote, “O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”  

But even in the light of this knowledge, David confessed that he couldn’t always do it.  

12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me. Psalms 40:12

Someone may be sitting here this morning thinking, “I’m trying to look up but I just can’t!  Innumerable evils have surrounded me; my sins, my demons have taken hold of me.  Every time I try to look up, things push me down.  My job, my kids, my spouse, my siblings, my boss, my teacher, my friends, my bad luck…everything is stopping me from looking up. 

I submit to you today—not to make light of all of your problems—but you are not looking up.  You are looking around all around you.  You are looking to the right or left, in front of you or in back of you.  It was when Peter started looking around him at the wind and the waves that he began to sink. 

Looking up has nothing to do with your job, you kids or all the rest.  It has to do with you making a decision in your heart that you know where you help lies. 

1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep .5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. Psalms 121:1-8  

Ever wonder why we look up to pray?  Because God inhabits the heavens!  Heaven is His throne and the earth is His footstool. 

1 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.   2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. Psalms 8:1-2

God occupies the space above us.  That makes us lower than God.  David talked about that too. 

3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Psalms 8:3-5

If God is above us, then the only way we can see or talk to Him is to look up.  Not so with Satan.  Anytime we read about Satan, he is either on the same level or plane as us or else he is lower than us. 

18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Luke 10:18

The only time God looked down was to take the form of a man so he could identify with us.  When Jesus came to earth, he went down as far as he needed to go to save lost souls.  When he reached bottom, he turn around and headed in the opposite direction.  From that moment, He has never reversed his course.  Not only that, but he reached out to the church and joined us to him.  We are going in the same direction! 

The direction of the church is never down.

The calling of God never leads us on a downward path.

God will never put you down, push you down, keep you down or let you down.

Any interaction we have with God always lifts us up to a higher plane of existence.

He picks you up, holds you up, sits you up and fixes you up. 

1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:1-7

This leads us to a critical message for the church in this hour.

It is time for us to recognize the importance of moving up into higher realms of spiritual authority, of the operation of Spirit in our daily lives, into redemptive relationships, and into sacrificial living that separates us from the world and into the presence of God. 

We have an incredible task ahead of us.  Here is how the Apostle Paul described it: 

6 That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:Ephesians 3:6-11

This is the setting in which the church is found.  Now, here is the purpose:

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Ephesians 3:16-21

He is not talking about a church that is struggling over where to draw the line between the church and the world.  This is not a church that is caught up in policy fights, internal squabbles, carnal pursuits or political correctness.  This is not a weak, anemic church that doesn’t even know why it is in existence.  This is a church that is way past all of that.

This is a church that understands it is time to start moving up!

It is time to wage spiritual warfare.

It is time for intense intercessory prayer.

It is time operate in the dimension of the Holy Ghost.

It is time for Spirit-driven evangelism.

God is looking for some first responders.

God is looking for some trail-blazers.

God is looking for some Elijahs and Elishas. 

I am addressing people who have been here for many years.  I’m talking about leaders, about ministries. We have to look beyond the things we’ve always done.  We have to look beyond the default position that we fall back to so often.  

Spiritually speaking, far too many people are in a rut.  Vance Havner said that a rut is just a grave with both ends kicked out.  

We just had a revival impact that stirred us and made us think.  I saw people touched by God in this revival that have been dry for a long time.  We heard a sermon last year about ignition.  God has given you enough to get you started.  Now, you have to make the commitment and have the want-to to keep it going. 

God spoke to me and let me know that the evangelist may have helped us to open the door.  Just because the evangelist has left does not mean that the door is now closed!  All the power and potential that was here before is here right now! 

Are you ready to move up?  Are you ready to look up?

Maybe it is time for God to take charge of the situation like he did with the blind man.  

22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. 24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. 25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. Mark 8:22-25  

I am praying that God will come down and grab some folks and make them look up!

God can do it through circumstances that he allows into your life.  God can put you on your back so that the only place you have to look is up! 

That’s what happened to Jonah.

That’s what happened to Saul of Tarsus.

That’s what could have happened to Judas.  Jesus tried to put his hands on Judas and make him look up, but instead, Judas ran out into the night. 

If God moves you into situations that are hard to understand, he is trying to narrow your options.  He is trying to make you look up! 

I don’t know how much longer the church has to work.  The age of grace will not last forever.  The bible tells us about the midnight hour approaching when the call will go forth, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!” 

10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: 11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. Luke 21:10-11

24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.  27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:24-28

The things that are happening in the world today are having an effect on the church—they are making the church look up! 

Look up:  Understand that your help comes from Heaven.

Look up:  Quit looking down, around and everywhere else.

Look up:  Get out of spiritual kindergarten.

Look up:  Redemption time is drawing nigh.

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