Archive for February, 2011

Encountering Glory

Beauty is released

Encountering Glory

The Glory of the Lord is the most awesome sight in Heaven. It moves the Angels to sing of His holiness and bow to His majesty. Although, the Glory of the Lord may be experienced; it is often misunderstood and seen as a rare occurrence here upon the Earth. The Bible talks about the Glory in many ways in both the Old and New Testaments. Still it remains only a vague concept to most Christians. It is my belief, that the Glory of God should be a central focus for the Church and a passion for all who long to know Truth.

  “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:4)

In Scripture, Moses contends for God’s Presence with a passionate plea, ”If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” (Ex 33:15-17). We need to contend for the Presence of God in our lives and never settle for our perception of reality.  Note that Moses pulled upon God’s Presence with earnest expectation and God says, “I will do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”  He wanted God’s Presence to go with him, but he wanted something greater. He wanted to see evidence of God’s goodness and encounter His Glory.

 He said, “Please, show me Your glory” (Ex 33:18).

 What a prayer! He not only wanted to know that God was with him, he insisted upon the manifestation of that Presence… God’s goodness. We could say, he wanted God’s Presence made known to him, made visible and tangible. Think about it… if Moses could see the Glory of God, why shouldn’t we?

 I believe as a Child of God; I can see the Glory too.

We must understand that the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord. The Bible speaks about our ability to see the Glory with the eyes of faith.

  •  ”But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the Glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor 3:18)

 The Bible also points to where we find the knowledge of the Glory of God.

  •  ”For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6)

 Spending time alone beholding Him and worshiping Him, will cause us to have a greater hunger for His Presence and His revealed Glory in our lives. Seeing Him in the pages of God’s Word and knowing that there is more of God available in our lives, will cause us to search for deeper experiences with Him. We can begin to have Glory encounters of our own, where we get firsthand knowledge of His goodness and His power.

Promised Goodness

Some promised goodness

Friendship...

The Bible is filled with God’s promises for life. It speaks about mercies being new every morning and compassions that never fail. The question most folks have however is, ”How do I recognize His promise when it shows up at my doorstep?” 

The answer: You will need to be expecting it!

 Its no mystery that if your mind is on a ball game, you might miss the mail carrier, who just dropped off a gift. You might catch the big play; but unless you are looking for the mail, you will probably miss the delivery. Its all about getting your eyes on the Carrier. 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (Jms 1:17).

 We can have the best intentions and still miss God’s promised goodness in our lives. Just consider the greatest gift of all! Jesus, God’s only Son was given to take away the sin of the world (Jn 3:16-17). Yet, millions of people are living everyday without embracing the goodness revealed in His death upon the cross.

 Its a strange thought for those of us who have experienced His love, but not so strange for many who believe God to be an angry judge or abusive parent. Our experience or faulty religious teachings can mess with our views on the goodness of God. “Would He? Could He? or Can He?” These questions become difficult to answer, because they require healthy beliefs about ourselves and the True nature of God. 

Let me focus on the 2 most important ideas about God’s goodness:

  1. God is for you! His heart for you is always good and perfect… He is a loving Father. God never gives second class gifts, because His nature is to love us and nurture fruitful living (2 Cor 5:17). 
  2. Forgiveness opens our eyes. It is the greatest gift of all and enables us to recognize that He is good. The Father of lights shines upon our heart; not to condemn, but to free us from sin and guilt that blinds us to His goodness (2 Cor 4:4-6).

Healing and restoration, free us to live our lives in expectation of the goodness of the Lord being experienced everyday. We can recognize His love all the time and connect to His goodness. No matter how difficult the circumstance; believing and expecting the good and perfect gifts of God, will transform the way we see life.

 I’m not talking about extraordinary things. I am talking about living in His promised goodness and prospering as His Blessed Child. Its a choice we can make in everything that happens. It also helps free us to understand that things are not happening to us, they are happening for us (Rom 8:28).

 I see God pouring out His good gifts over me today, gifts that are too wonderful to define by simple observation. I would rather live in mystery than to define everything and possibly be wrong, simply because I live with incomplete information. The gifts of God must have a season to reveal their significance in my life.

So… I’m thankful in all things; and I’m willing to trust in His Fathering, because in this I don’t miss a thing. I can expect to experience more and more of His promised goodness.

Come, Holy Spirit!

Clothe me in power

Come, Holy Spirit

I would like you to ponder a well known promise from Jesus. Let it soak into your heart like you are hearing it for the very first time. Step away for a moment and then ask the Lord to give you a revelation of its significance.

“You will be baptized with the Holy Spirit… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you shall become witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:5-8)

Have you become too familiar with this promise? Could it have lost its wonder? It is by far one of the most incredible and fantastic possibilities that our minds could fathom. What it suggests to us is that we can be filled and overflow with the very substance of Heaven’s energy.

 Its dunamis power.

 The Greek word for power here means explosive and effective for breakthrough, like dynamite. From the Gospel of Luke we get this picture, “I (Jesus) send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued (or clothed) with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49) Like putting on a wonderful garment of power, we become covered in the Glory of God. This is what the Promise does for us as we believe His Word and step out in obedience to see His Kingdom advanced in our world. It clothes us with power, for the purpose of making us His effective expression of love, joy, peace and righteousness in a world in need of these attributes. It also clothes us with the power to break out of prisons, chains and limits Satan has set up against us.

The Holy Spirit’s power makes us effective “witnesses”!

Christianity is more than a faith to be believed. It is a life filled with Divine power in action. Christian Truth is alive and full of energy, given by the Holy Spirit. Our lives are transformed as we surrender to His influence and listen for His leading. He causes us to overcome (1 Jn 4:4) and He calls us to even greater impact than Jesus had while on the earth (Jn 14:12). 

 We come into the baptism and find ourselves emersed in something that changes how we see and live. It is refreshing like ”living water’, overwhelming like the intoxication of “new wine”, and consuming like a “fire”. Every experience is unique and individual, yet the priority is the same… Revival!

Why revival? Why this Promise of the Father for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Because, as the Holy Spirit breaks into this world with Heaven’s influence; lives are redeemed, hopes are restored and all things become new.

All things become new!

The book of Acts describes followers of Jesus who are drawing on new resources. We see them exhibiting love and compassion, healing and deliverance and testifying to a relationship that is supernatural. They were clothed in dynamic power, because they waited and said, “Come, Holy Spirit”. Their boldness testified to the fact that they were full of God’s Presence, equipped with conviction and authorized to advance against all opposition. Because they continued to say, “Come, Holy Spirit.”

Tolerance or Violence

Tolerance will not be the death of us!

Merriam Webster defines tolerance as “the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance or to a psychological insult, with repeated use or exposure.”

Modern Christianity has become less responsive to the moral and spiritual decay within our nation and world. For more than fifty years, we have hidden behind a banner of passive confusion, called tolerance. Instead of overcoming evil in our government, educational system, economy, and entertainment industry; we have become less responsive. We have bought into the theology of “peace at all cost” and its costing us our dreams. We have failed to realize that peace is established through the Presence of a Person, rather than an absence of conflict.

This didn’t happen overnight. We have been discipled by secular thought and instead of transforming our culture, we are conforming to it. We should be fighting hard to save our cities, holding up the cross as our enduring standard and facing a little persecution along the way. Instead, we have relinquished our influence to the loudest voices, because we don’t like to offend anyone.

Most people only rise when they reach a breaking point! 

The defining moment comes when one provoked revolutionary stands up to his feet, stills his shaking knees, and breaks the silent oppression with a shout, “That’s it! I will not live like this anymore!” (Rom 12:1-2) 

We must have our defining moment, when we say, “I’m going to the enemy’s camp and take back what he stole from me!”

In the Bible, there is a story of David returning home from a military operation only to find that his family and possessions had been taken away by a band of raiders. Just like most people do in similar circumstances, David wept out loud until he could weep no more. Then he “encouraged himself in the Lord”. Through prayer and worship, he asked God what he should do.

Then David asked the Lord, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?” And the Lord told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!” (1 Sam 30:8)

These are the days where we resolve the confusion of our hearts. Will it be tolerance and political correctness that defines our lives; or will we become Kingdom Agents, violent in the face of enemy opposition. Maybe God is saying to you, “Enough is enough! Yes, you should chase your enemy! For you will surely recover everything that was taken from you!” Jesus said, ”…the violent take it by force.” (Mt 11:12)

Spirit and Life

Words effect the atmosphere.

God speaks from Heaven

There is nothing normal about the Spiritual realm. When measured by human reasoning, its beyond comprehension. Yet one law remains consistent in both the spiritual world and the natural world… All things; material and spiritual, are held together by the Word of God’s power (Heb 1:3). To say it another way; God sustains all things by using words that are released from His world- Heaven, into ours- Earth.

For God, words are powerful and essential; like the connective tissue, the glue between two very different worlds. They are creative packages that hold His logic and purposes for life as He would want us to enjoy it… abundant and fruitful. He spoke the worlds into existence (Gen 1:3), He calls those things that are not as though they are (Rom 4:17) and He watches over His word to perform it (Jer 1:12). No matter how we perceive life’s experiences, His goal is for our good and not evil (Jer 29:11). In redemption, He has sent forth His Word to heal, forgive and revive the broken.

 ”The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and Truth” (Jn 1:14).

Our faith grows out of hearing the words of God, believing, knowing  and experiencing the Word of God. Jesus explained, “The Spirit gives life, My words are spirit and they are life” (Jn 6:63). We all must come to the realization that as we live in agreement with God’s Word, all will go well.

God’s words are Spirit and Life!

 David said, “Your words are a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Ps 119:105). Solomon encourages us to hear the Father’s voice, “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to My words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and they are health to a man’s whole body” (Prov 4:20-23). What David and Solomon were saying, Jesus makes very clear when He faces the devil, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4). Abiding in those words offers us the greatest freedom, because His words are Truth (Jn 8:31-32) from God’s perspective.

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