What transpires as humanity moves toward the culmination of all things… is it disaster or restoration?
Scripture reveals that the Kingdom of God will come in all of its fullness… that the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the LORD and culminate in a great awareness of His Presence and Preeminence. Our God shall come enthroned saying, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
And He who sits on the throne will say, “Behold, I will make all things new.” (Rev. 21:3-5)
The Bible reminds us that the great tragedy in the Garden of Eden was not just sin, but separation and the fact that man had “fallen short of the Glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Although many, professing to be wise; have “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Rom. 1:22-23)… this tragic estrangement was never God’s intent. His delight is with man, sharing fellowship in the brilliance of His Glory (Gen. 3:8)(Ps. 8:5).
Man was created for experiences in God’s Glory (Isa. 43:7). The Children of Israel saw the Glory of God in the cloud (Ex. 16:10), and on the mountain (Ex. 24:17). The same Glory that shaped the hearts of Moses, David and Solomon; was seen filling the tabernacle (Ex. 33:7-11 & 40:34-35) (2 Sam. 6:2) (2 Chr. 5:13-14). Both Isaiah and Ezekiel saw visions of God’s Glory. From the earliest of days until now, the knowledge of God’s Glory has been a topic of prophetic importance (Hab. 2:14). The Hebrew prophets envisioned a day when God’s Glory would increase; impacting the nations and transforming the fabric of cultures and governments. For example, Isaiah prophesied the following decree of the Lord, “I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see My Glory” (Isa. 66:18). Ezekiel proclaimed, “The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and behold, the Glory of the LORD filled the temple” (Ezek. 43:5). Each of these Old Testament people insisted that the same Glory they had experienced, would be manifest on the earth.
Just listen to these words: “The Glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isa. 40:5)
Overlooked by many, this reality began to emerge during the time of the New Testament. Jesus came as the Glory of the Father (Jn. 1:14), announcing the coming of the Kingdom of God (Mt. 4:17). Through the person and work of Jesus, a great shift took place. Strongholds of darkness were torn down. God’s Presence was increasingly experienced on a level that rivaled ancient encounters in the Garden. Reflecting on this wondrous reality, the Apostle Paul boldly declared: “We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s Glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).
It appears that many are looking for more… driven by concerns about darkness and fear. They’re not cognizant of the ever-increasing glory. They’re blind to the fact that they’re actually living in the age that the prophets longed for. Everybody keeps asking when we’re going to experience God’s Glory? Not realizing that the day of the Lord’s Presence has already begun. Jesus said, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the Glory of God?” Therefore if we, who believe; would only open up our hearts, we would finally discover the desire of the ages.
Just look into the eyes of Jesus… and there you will find the knowledge of the Glory of God (2 Cor. 4:6).
I am invested in the idea of maintaining fruitful lips. Like David I want to be found praising the Lord seven times a day… and seven days a week! Why? – Because Praise accomplishes things that nothing else can. It effects hearts, renews vision and awakens passions that have grown cold. Praise gets the attention of the enemy of our soul and pushes back against the kingdom of darkness. My finest hour is not when all is well… but when all is sheltered beneath the shadow of God’s Presence.
Rejoicing Releases Peace:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:4-7)
When we praise Him He shows up right in the middle of our circumstance! God wants to bring us the victory! He is not insecure… He doesn’t need our praise to prop up a sagging self image. Praise does far more for us than it does for Him. The Apostle Paul tells us that rejoicing praise and thanksgiving will get us beyond our limited imagination, small thinking and mere understanding… it will guard our hearts and minds with the power that Jesus Christ offers. Don’t be anxious and worry about things, unlock your ability to trust God in the midst of storms and uncertain circumstances… and the peace of God will be released! Jesus is the Prince of Peace… let Him show up as you rejoice in who He is!
Never Allow Yourself to be the Victim:
When the Apostle Paul and his good friend Silas were arrested for preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. They were chained, beaten and cast into prison. They were locked down and positioned for defeat. They had every reason to be angry, depressed and discouraged; but instead they praised God. And at midnight; what looked dark to most people, looked like daybreak to Paul and Silas. They would be found rejoicing and singing hymns of praise to God. The other prisoners were listening, when suddenly a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the jail. All the doors immediately flew open and all the prisoners’ chains broke loose. (Acts 16:25-26)
- In the midnight hour when things are dark, Praise Him!
- When you feel mistreated or misunderstood, Praise Him!
- When you are facing physical or emotional pain, Praise Him!
- Don’t wait for things to get better. Praise Him and things will get better!
“This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My Praise.” (Isa. 43:21)
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” – Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” – Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” – Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (Jn. 1:47-49)
Although I have been a Christian for over 30 years, I am still coming to terms with what it means to have a Kingdom perspective. It is not a religious worldview. It is the worldview of being a royal son of God. I want to see myself the way Christ saw Nathanael, as a man without guile or deceit, as a true spiritual disciple waiting for the King. I have come to understand that mental barriers are bigger than natural barriers when it comes to stepping out of the shadows of orphan-hood. Jesus has seen us, knows us and is calling us out of the shadows and into the Kingdom of His love and power. It is time to make the “disciple shift” – and truly learn from Him!
A Disciple Called Nathanael:
I love the story of Nathanael (John 1:43-51). In order for Nathanael to follow Jesus, he had to undergo a change of perspective. He had to shift his thinking from a traditional Jewish worldview to the Kingdom perspective that Jesus demonstrated and taught. Yet, not only was Nathanael successful, but he would experience the greatest move of God of all time. He became a passionate disciple of Christ and Apostle in the Early Church. He listened to the teachings and experienced the ministry of Jesus, watched the healing and participated in the miracles. This was the Kingdom of God with power and it was rushing in to sweep him up into a lifelong commitment of fresh perspectives. I believe that Nathanael’s story can be seen as a prophetic picture of where the Church needs to go today… from religious tradition to Kingdom discipleship.
Four Key Shifts:
- From Servants to Sons: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (Jn. 1:12)
- From Future to Present Kingdom: “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (Jn. 1:45)
- From Human Reasoning to Spiritual Reality: ”Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (Jn. 1:46)
- From Broken Dreams to Open Heavens: “Nathanael answered and said to Him, Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel! Jesus answered and said to him, Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these. And He said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (Jn. 1:49-51)
Shaking ourselves free of the former perceptions of tradition and religiosity causes us to rise from the shadow of Nathanael’s fig tree and become Kingdom Disciples. Jesus tells His Church to once again “Come and See!” We are not of those who shrink back to lame formulas without power, because we are Kingdom People (Heb. 10:39). We have shifted the way we think, because we have experienced the love of God and been washed in the Blood of Christ Jesus. He has made us kings and priests to God the Father (Rev. 1:5-6) and our experience with the Holy Spirit has clothed us in the Glory poured out at Pentecost (Lk. 24:49). We do not need to live with only the dreams of the past or hopes of a future move of God. We can live in a present move of God!
These things are available to Kingdom Disciples. We do not need to wait for revival, but we do need to change the way we think. Revival is here – we live beneath an open heaven! This is our triumphant inheritance through Christ!
These are the Kingdom’s vital signs! Jesus is manifesting the Glory of God (Jn. 1:14), so that “thirsty” people can become believing disciples.
Still today, God is taking the pulse of His Church to find signs of life. He is looking for people that He can reveal Himself in and through their daily lives (Jn. 14:16-17). How does He do it… through greater manifestations of His Glory. You see, the Glory of God is available and within reach… and His power is on full display if you can believe.
It is His love, His wisdom, His creativity, His anointing, His purposes, and His wealth… the sum total of all that He is. Jesus revealed it; full of grace and Truth, and now His desire is to release that same resource into our lives.
Humanity was designed to reflect His Glory.
- Isaiah 40:5 Says that His Glory would be revealed and that all flesh would see it together.
- Psalm 19:1 Says that the heavens declare the Glory of the Lord.
- Hebrews 1:3 Says that Jesus was the brightness and expressed image of the Father’s Glory.
- 2 Corinthians 3:18 Says we are being changed and increasing in Glory through the Holy Spirit.
It Requires Fellowship!
We cannot manifest God’s Glory until we gain some personal experience in God’s Kingdom and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Like Jesus; we simply cannot live our lives fulfilling the purposes of the Father, without the anointed leadership of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 4:18-19). We too must be equipped and empowered (Acts 1:8), so that we reflect Him. Jesus’ promise to us; is that when we have experienced the Presence of the Holy Spirit, we will do the greater works, because of the influence of the Glory (Jn. 14:12)
The Believing Factor is The Heart:
Notice: The key to our stewardship is our “believing heart”! As we abide in the Glory, effective spiritual growth and fruitful ministry begins to flow freely. Jesus said, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover” (Mk. 16:17-18). In these days, God is raising up a believing generation, those who will walk in great passion, see amazing things and carry the Kingdom to the farthest corners of the Earth! Its the revelation of God’s Glory that marks the believing heart as “Chosen”, “Royal”, “Holy” and “Special”… and sets us in position to proclaim the praises of our King (1 Pet. 2:5-10).
Have you checked your vital signs lately?
I love the opportunities that God has placed before me. Everyday there are moments where I am learning, making decisions and growing in my awareness of God’s plan for me. The Christian life is meant to be this way… abundant and full of promised goodness (Jn. 10:10). Everyday has some divine potential that God expects me to take advantage of. I must take responsibility for my perceptions and enter every moment with anticipation that God’s plan and purposes will emerge before me. What I need is less analysis and a whole lot more praise to establish the day. In this way I can redeem every moment… by choosing to glorify God in the midst of uncertainty.
Its what the Apostle Paul meant when he told us to redeem the time, because the days are evil (Eph 5:16). His encouragement was that we give thanks or glorify God, in the midst of all things (2 Thess 5:17) “…for this is the will of God for us, in Christ Jesus.”
God wants to teach us how to see!
- First we must trust God that every moment is a Divine opportunity;
- And second we must grab the greatest potential from the moment we are experiencing – through praise.
- Third – we will begin to see what God is doing in every step we take… because the Divine opportunities will emerge.
Better & Brighter Days:
The wise King Solomon wrote that the path of the righteous grows brighter and brighter until the full day (Prov 4:18). Brighter days are better days… established days! That idea of a “full” day in the Hebrew (kuwn) means a day that is firm, stable and established. How does a person “establish” a day? They do it by how they think about it, speak into it and rejoice in its opportunities. We must learn to be deeply confident that God has a plan in every day to reveal His Glory! We must become fully persuaded that God is good and that He has good plans for us just waiting to emerge in the “brightness” of each day.
“The Lord is good, a Stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.” (Nahum 1:7)
It does not matter where you are in life right now… God has much more in store for you! You may be disappointed and confused, because of recent bad news: His plans and purposes are beyond anything you can imagine. You may feel betrayed and rejected, in an impossible marriage: His mercy and grace are beyond anything you can imagine. You may be doubting and defeated, weakened by a serious illness: His healing and deliverance are beyond anything you can imagine. You may be desperate and lonely, concerned for your wandering children: His compassion and fathering heart are beyond anything you can imagine.
“No eye has ever seen, nor ear heard, nor has any man imagined the wonderful things God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor 2:9).