Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Tag: shout

Wonder

Sometimes I jump for joy,
that Jesus Christ is God and died for me.
Sometimes full of wonder,
how can the very author of life die?

What sacrifice for me….
He took my sin and satisfied God’s wrath.
Now He has made me free!
I am thankful, I exult and praise Him.

I clap my hands and shout.
Jesus is worthy of the highest praise.
 King of kings, Lord of lords:
He beat darkness and He defeated death,

In wonder I worship
Jesus the Nazarene and Son of God.
In awe and in wonder
I kneel at Your feet and give you my heart.

Rahab’s Journal: Forgiven

What a week. I don’t quite know what to make of it, really. At least we’re all safe and together, me and my family.

Not long after the spies escaped, we saw the Israelites camped outside Jericho. The king closed the gates and prepared for a siege. There was an odd stillness in the air, as if the very presence of God was here. Quite unnerving.

One week ago today, we heard trumpets blowing. My dad and brothers and me ran up onto the roof of my house to see what was going on. What a sight met our eyes. The Israelite army marched along followed by seven priests blowing trumpets, sunlight glinting off the instruments. Behind, was the famous and much-feared Ark of the Covenant as their rear guard.

Aside from the trumpets, there was absolute silence. Not one of the soldiers spoke. It was eerie.

Although I’m a grown woman and a prostitute, I felt for my dad’s hand and held it fast.

‘You’re sure the spies will keep their word, Rahab?’ he said.

‘If they are like their God, they will,’ I replied. I slipped downstairs and double-checked the scarlet sash was visible in the window.

For six days, the same thing happened. The army marched around the city walls once in silence, with the seven priests blowing the trumpets.

Everyone in Jericho was terrified. I wished they would listen to me so they could be safe too, but they continued to pray to the useless gods of Jericho for salvation.

This morning, the army and the priests with their trumpets and the Ark of the Covenant walked in silence around the city walls seven times. I noticed some of the soldiers looking up at the scarlet sash in my window, and my heart beat fast. I was certain something was about to happen.

As they completed the seventh lap, the army let out a great shout. And – I’m still shaking from the shock of it – the huge, thick walls of Jericho went crashing to the ground as though something powerful had struck them.

At once, the two spies I’d hidden, came looking for me and my family. They took us to safety, to their camp.

As I’m writing this, I’m overwhelmed with the enormity of it. My mum can’t stop crying, it’s all been a bit much for her. I know how she feels. The whole city wall collapsed, just like that. But my house and the part of the wall it was built on stayed standing.

The only thing I’m sure of right now is that the God of Israel is my God. I reached out to Him in faith and He heard the cry of my heart. I know I am forgiven, and I’m determined to leave my life of prostitution behind.

 

 

 

 

Joy

I rolled around on the floor laughing till my stomach ached. Adi looked on bemused. We were at a prayer meeting and there I was, belly-laughing on the floor.

A couple of days earlier God had delivered me from a spirit of fear that had been rooted deep inside since childhood. The Holy Spirit kept whispering the word joy to me. And then in the prayer meeting, His joy flooded me until it gushed out in peels of laughter – filling up and healing all those inner places where fear had reigned in my life.

Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
He has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.

Zechariah 3:14-15

My word for 2015 is JOY.

I have tasted God’s joy in the last eighteen months and it’s intoxicating, strengthening, healing. It is part of the inheritance Jesus died to give me, and I am keen to enjoy more of my inheritance in Him.

Sing aloud, shout, rejoice, exult (show triumphant elation/jubilation) – this is about emotion being fully engaged. I used to be conservative, even disapproving of Christians who showed any kind of emotion in worship.

We sing and shout over what we’re truly passionate about. When Jessica Ennis was running for gold in the 2012 Olympics, for all I was quiet, shy and unconfident, I stood yelling my head off for her while watching a big screen at Trent Embankment with several hundred other people – and I jumped up and down celebrating for her when she crossed the finish line. What about football supporters at a match? They sing, they shout, they put their hands in the air, they hug.

Showing such emotion makes you vulnerable. People see what is really in your heart.

Sing aloud, shout, rejoice, exult with all your heart – this is a command. Yet His commandments aren’t burdensome. God created us with emotions and He meant for us to use them.

Why should we be glad and rejoice in God?

I rejoice in Him because He has taken away my condemnation. I deserved judgment and death for rebelling against Him and going my own way. But because Jesus took the punishment I deserved, God does not condemn me.

God lives inside me. My Father has generously given me His Holy Spirit so that I can understand the things that are important to God, to prove that I’m His adopted daughter, and as a guarantee of everything He has promised me for the future.

God has cleared away my enemies. I used to be trapped in an invisible prison, the walls of which were lies and deceit, shame and defeat. But God has rescued me from the domain of darkness and brought me into His own Kingdom. The evil one has no legal right to me anymore because I’m in a new Kingdom now. He is powerless to hurt and trap me while ever I choose to believe Truth. Jesus has set me free and I don’t need to be afraid of evil. If demonic nightmares try to break in on my sleep, the name of Jesus is powerful enough to send them packing.

In these two verses, God twice calls me His daughter. That makes me so secure because to be a daughter of God is to be accepted and beloved and precious.

So I refuse to be conservative in worship. The more I comprehend what God has done for me, the more I must give him whole-hearted, emotions-fully-engaged worship. He deserves nothing less. What can I say? He has rescued me and set me free, and I love Him with every fibre of my being. That doesn’t make me perfect, but it does fill me with joy.

Joy is contagious. When Adi and I were visiting Hampton Court Palace in the autumn, I was struck by this fountain. It gushed exuberantly high into the air, scattering droplets in a pebble effect and showering us with spray. That is what the joy of the Lord is like – my prayer is that He will fill me until I overflow with His joy, and that as others see His joy in me, they will want to know Him for themselves. Because He is the most amazing and wonderful God. My Father, My Deliverer, My Hero.

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