EXCELSIOR

EXCELSIOR

(Latin – “still higher,” “onward and upward”)

Tuesday Bible Study

May 21, 2019, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

 

As we praise Him we behold Him, and as we behold Him we are changed into the same image from glory to glory (2 Co. 3:18).

 

 

The Holy Word of God exhorts Christians to excel (abound) in love, praise, thanksgiving, gifts of the Spirit, wisdom and prudence, just to mention a few of those graces of which we are encouraged to excel.

 

Excelsior means “still higher, ever upward.”

 

Ps. 8:1: O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

 

 

This message today is again taken from Making His Praise Glorious by Frances Metcalfe from the book, Ladies of Gold.   I have chosen to add comments of my own joyful praise.  My voice is not a skilled instrument of praise, yet my Spirit rides upon the cloud of His Habitation as Heaven joins us in our worship and we join with Heaven worshipping before the throne of God.  

 

Oh how excellent should by your praise!  O may we excel in praising and glorify you!

 

High praise is like rare frankincense, costly and most desirable unto the King.  With it is mixed the myrrh of the pain and sorrows that have afflicted us in times of darkness and desolation. 

 

In the presence of His Glory, His abiding presence is in the midst of our praises. From our Spirit comes forth a glorious joy of His love toward us, a He saw our tears in the midst of the pain and sorrow.  This is when our spirits soar higher, ever upward in His Presence as He inhabits our praise, we count it all joy! 

 

Not until we have descended into the depths of the death of the carnal soul, self-death, and devastation of our own strength and will can we be projected by the Holy Spirit into the heights of heaven.  Our cries are resolved into shouts of highest praise.  Our very anguish and distress have now stretched and tuned our song and instruments as we worship the King.  As we praise together our incense is blended into a fragrant, fuming cloud of glory in which our God appears in new splendor.

 

Frances Metcalfe describes experiencing the special anointings of the Holy Spirit which enabled the ministry to praise the Lord in beautiful ways.  But the Spirit then begin to deal with her about what she refers to as practical praise---a praise that extends into every function of our daily life.

 

She writes, "I caught a glimpse of the transformation which would take place in me and in each of us if we met everything in the attitude of thanksgiving and praise."  The Word of God commands us to do so.

 

Psa. 100:4 - Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

 

Unchecked Copy BoxEph 5:20 - giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

 

She writes in obedience she refused to think negative thoughts and speak negative words, or even have negative feelings.  This takes discipline.  It means purging ourselves from many things which do not seem evil to us, and yet which are definitely not in keeping with positive praise.

 

“The Word of God declares that all things works together for good, and that in all things we are to glorify the Lord.  This includes our looks, attitudes, as well as feelings, thoughts, and words.  One poet said, ‘O may my every look be love!’  Well praise is divine love singing its highest song, so I am saying, ‘O may my every expression be praise!’  There are many forms of Heavenly praise, and we know little about them.  We are limited to the lower forms.  The HIGH PRAISE shall be given to us, by the Spirit, after we have learned to live praise out in every action of our daily lives.  At least this is the way the Spirit instructs me.” (F.M.)

 

“One thing most frequently stressed about praise is that it must be pure.  The Lord has been revealing that much praise is mixed with other ‘ingredients,’ and is not holy and altogether acceptable.”

 

When we praise, let us clear our minds of all things that are troubling us in spirit or soul.  Let us focus totally on the LORD and worship Him.  We should not let our minds wander.  In the year 2019, we should not be on our cell phones during worship.  We should not be on our cell phones when we are in church.  We should come to the LORD seeking Him and worshipping Him.  Everything else should be secondary.  This is not some “church rule” to be followed.  This should be the posture of our heart that we may ride in the Spirit into the High Praises of His Presence.

 

“God is to be praised primarily because He is deserving of praise; because His Word declares that He is to be praised, regardless of whether He answers any of our prayers or not.  Our praise must be divested of thoughts of reward and enrichment…As I praised with pure devotion, I realized He has already freely given us all things in Christ!  As we praise and believe, we do receive that which is in order and will for us moment by moment, just as the plants draw from the sun all they require, and can utilize no more. 

 

There is a greedy spirit in most of us, and that greed can be diverted from material things to spiritual things if we are not careful.  I saw that pure praise brings about a greater purification of our hearts…The Beloved languishes and thirsts for your praises.  Give Him a special offering of praise.  What I say unto you, I say unto all---Praise!  Show forth your love for him by lauding Him.  Lift up your voices with strength, be not afraid.

 

Span heaven and earth with an Arch of Triumph.  Triumphant praise!  Tunnel through the rocks; make dry paths through the seas; water the deserts with praise.  It has great power! “(F.M.)

 

1Jo 3:1 - Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God (i.e. praisers of God).

 

John Wesley: “Till we cast our crowns before you, lost in wonder, love and praise…”  We do not need to enter into physical death to be lost in wonder, love and praise.  It can become a present reality.

 

Psa. 84:4 - Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee.

 

“Blessed are they who dwell in Thy house,

They will be always praising Thee.

They will be singing of thy glory,

And lauding Thy name unceasingly.

Blessed are they who dwell in Thy house;

They will be always praising Thee, in joy or pain,

Through loss or gain, they will be praising Thee.” (Frances Metcalfe)

 

She writes, “I learned that the praise that ascends during times of pain and loss is more costly and fragrant to God than that which we can offer in times of joy and gain.

 

“Praise not only perfects the fruit of our lips and brings it forth in delicious ripeness, but it greatly assists in perfecting all the precious fruits of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. (Gal. 5:22)

 

These thrive and develop in an atmosphere of praise, but are often blighted when we become depressed and doubtful.  These precious fruits are brought to perfection in an atmosphere of pure praise.  I saw tat it was like the warm summer sun that comes to ripen the fruits.  We have sown in tears, watered the seed with prayer, have known much testing and exercising of faith.  Then we are brought into a higher-realm where praise and thanksgiving flourish constantly and all the precious fruit of our lives is greatly benefited by our living on this higher plane. (Excelsior)

 

“Faith has caught the joyful sound

The song of saints on higher ground.”

 

1. I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
Lord, lift me up, and let me stand
By faith on Canaan’s tableland;
A higher plane than I have found,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

2. My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground. (Johnson Oatman).

 

Jesus gave constant thanksgiving to God---in every attitude, thought, word and deed!  If we obeyed His Word more fully and allowed His grace to operate in us more perfectly, we would find the same pattern being wrought in us.  We would breathe out thanksgiving in every breath.  We would be overflowing with “the great grace of gratitude.”  From morning until night this would be our theme. 

 

Thanksgiving and praise is the way to victory in every situation.

Praise is the way to victory!

“God does not ask for our praise because of His need, but because He has formed us for His praise and as we truly worship we are raised to our highest degree of communion and awareness of Him.  Praise is ennobling, elevating, energizing, healing, and even creative---for as we praise we behold Him, and as we behold Him we are changed into the same image.

 

“The cherubim and seraphim who worship at the throne

They lift their “Holy, Holy, Holy” in such adoring tone,

And worship their Creator as of yore.

These cherubim and Seraphim are sending help to earth,

And from on high they come to teach us here.

Oh may we learn this worship and bring it to full birth,

Distilled from love and reverential fear.”

 

Isa 38:19 - The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day:

 

Unchecked Copy BoxPsa. 8:2 - Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger

 

 “O may it be said of me that I am one of ‘the babes’ in whom he perfects praise.”

 

Frances Metcalfe: “Recently the Lord whispered these words to me:  “I want you to become praise personified.”  How this thought took possession of Me!  To become an embodiment of praise in the earth---a temple filled with His glory by day and by night.  I saw that heaven is indeed filled with His praise and glory.  It is here on earth that praise is lacking.  It seems that above al l things He desires habitations of praise, pure praise, true praise, fervent praise. He was calling me (Francis Metcalfe) to be praise.  What more wonderful calling could be given to a mortal? …I saw how far short I was in every way---for perfect praise cannot be manifest in us until thee is a perfecting of all the fruits of the Spirit.  This means utter death to self and a maturity in Christ far beyond that which I have attained.  A high calling indeed!”

 

“No sooner did I begin to live praise in earnest---not just spasmodically as heretofore---thank I was beset with a series of most severe trials.  Strange new difficulties developed in almost every realm of my life.  My body was afflicted with various aches and pain, all clamoring for attention and inviting alarm.  I found it a real battle to ignore these things and just keep on praising in spite of them…

 

Not only is God revealed in praise, but Satan also is revealed.  He is determined that praise be smothered, and wherever the flame begins to leap and dance, he is quick to rush in and put out the altar fire, if he can…

 

It is to be expected that Satan will especially attack praise.  Lucifer’s fall was brought about through a jealousy of the worship of JHVH.  Satan has been trying to extinguish His worship ever since, or if that is impossible, to corrupt it.

 

The Holy Spirit has been speaking to me in various ways, and especially in the Scriptures about the “Throne-praise” of God coming down into the earth.  He has given me a new revelation of the purity, beauty, perfection, and glory of the praise that is offered by the Cherubim, the elders, the angels, and the saints who worship at the throne of God.  We are to be attuned unto this higher praise that we are to be like an antiphony in the earth, answering to and blending with the highest types of praise.  This is supernal worship.

 

F.M.:  I experienced a call from the Lord similar to the call to the ministry when I was in the “church order.”  I felt this down to my very toes.  It has gripped me as nothing else has.  The holy fear of God settled down over me and I feel I must arise and obey this call.  I know it is from the Most High Himself.”

 

“The glorious company of the Apostles praise Thee.  The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise Thee.  The noble army of Martyrs praise Thee.”  And my own heart and voice are joining in with them!  More and more I am aware of the fellowship of “The spirits of just men made perfect” and of the holy angels, as portrayed in Hebrews 12:22…a sea of high praises rolled, boomed, and broke! And I was lost, swallowed up in a rapturous ecstasy of love, worship and adoration---swept out of myself and into the depths of God’s being.  Floods of most exquisite, intense, penetrating joy enveloped me.

 

These waters seemed to be a cleansing, purifying, ennobling, sublimating, powerful force.  Tears of joy flowed with exultant praises…New fountains, new rivers, have been opened to me.  Floods to swim in!  My God, my All!  Who is like unto Thee! 

 

As a few of us were gathered unto the Lord, the spirit began to move upon us in earnest, fervent praise.  Very soon I saw, in the Spirit, a high mountain, and was given to understand that it symbolized the “High Order of Praise.  When the trumpet began to sound, I heard the words, Ascend, ascend, ascend!  Leave the lowlands; make haste and ascend the Mount!”

 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote His famous poem, Excelsior.

 

The poem describes a young man passing through a mountain village. He bears the banner "Excelsior" (translated from Latin as "higher", also loosely but more widely as "onward and upward"). The traveler disregards warnings from villagers of fearful dangers above, and an offer of rest from a local maiden. The youth climbs higher until a last distant cry interrupts the prayers of the monks of Saint Bernard. "Lifeless, but beautiful" he is found by the "faithful hound" half-buried in the snow, "still clasping in  

his hands of ice that banner with the strange device, Excelsior!"

 

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

www.eastgateministries.com

I entered into the labors of Frances Metcalfe, Ladies of Gold, The Authorized Compilation by James Maloney, Westbow Press, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, In. 47403