Archive for November, 2013

Fullness of the Kingdom

“For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 14:17)

The Glory of God brings the fullness of the Kingdom of God into our midst. Heaven is not a doctrine, it’s a reality. Actually, its an entire realm of reality where the spiritual can become as comfortable and natural as home. The key is to gain a knowledge of the Glory of God by experience and fellowship in the Holy Spirit. Jesus instructed us to become invested in this reality, by teaching us how to pray. “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:10). He called us to pull heaven into earth… into our daily routine.

How close is the Kingdom of Heaven today?

Jesus said repent, or change the way you think; because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Mt. 4:17). And then He demonstrated its effect on natural reality (Mt. 4:23-25). Can you imagine that? Stretch out your hand. Contemplate the distance from your heart to your finger tips… believe and set your mind to receive – and welcome Him. You will immediately find a door open to you for fellowship. Can you feel that? God has come near by the Holy Spirit. That’s at least how close the Kingdom is to you every day. When we welcome the Presence of God, the Kingdom comes and something begins to shift or make room.

When God’s People seek Him with all of their heart, they are promised to find Him and experience the process of being brought back from captivity (Jer. 29:11-14). What is capturing your heart? God has a better plan and thoughts of a better future! Recognize that the entry of the Kingdom will create space for dwelling. The Holy Spirit will brood over you for access. As you seek Him with a humble posture He will draw near and manifest Himself as Deliverer, Savior and Lord. This process moves out sin, stagnation, religion and anything else that stands in it’s way… in order to create habitation for His Glory (Eph. 2:22)(Jn. 14:23)(Acts 2:12-16). You and I were made for this kind of fullness!

The Church’s Destiny:

It’s time that the Church moves into the fullness of the Kingdom and finds her destiny in God. Scripture tells us that “the Glory of the latter house will be greater than the former” (Hag. 2:9). A lot of people go around looking for the perfect church. They will never find it. God doesn’t promise us that the latter house will be greater. He says that the Glory of the latter house will be greater! Don’t look for the greater house, look for the greater Glory!

Don’t look for the greater house – look for the greater Glory! “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)

What kind of a Church is Jesus looking for? Scripture tells us that He is looking for a Glorious Church (Eph. 5:27). Glorious means “filled with Glory”. At the dedication of the Temple, after Solomon prayed, the Bible says that “fire came down from Heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the Glory of the Lord filled the Temple. And the priests could not enter the House of the Lord, because the Glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s House” (2 Chron. 7:1). I believe that God wants His Church to look like that! Do you think the world will notice the Church if the Glory of God falls on us to that degree? I believe the day is coming when the world will see the Glory of the Lord upon the Church.

  • Listen to these words… “Arise, shine, for your light has come! And the Glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His Glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isa. 60:1-2).

When the Glory shines upon you, people will notice… nothing will remain the same!

He wants to give us a greater and greater understanding of the Glory, so that we can walk in the fullness of His Kingdom. One of the firsts steps we must take is to realize the power of the cross and the victory that was won there. We must realize that without the sacrifice that Jesus paid on the cross, we wouldn’t even have the desire to know Him, let alone experience His Glory. The death and resurrection of Christ opened up a “New and Living Way” for mankind (Heb. 10:20), so that we could really get to know the God who created us… for the fullness of His Kingdom.

The New and Living Way is Fullness!

When I look at the cross, I see two sides:

    *First: I see that the death of Jesus has taken away sin, once and for all! “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29) That is what we are saved from… no more bondage, no more chains – freedom from sin!

      *Second: I see that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ saving us to something, not just from something! We are saved from sin, but we are also saved to enjoy the glorious life in the Spirit. This is the “New and Living Way” He has promised, in the fullness of His Glory; for every believer. This new way of life began the moment you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. You have eternal life now, not when you die. You have it now. The Kingdom is available to you today.

        You can walk as more than a conqueror today! You have been given dominion today to walk in the fullness of the Kingdom of Heaven.

        Resisting Unbelief

        Unlocking the "Promise"

        Unlocking the "Promise"

        “Now the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain against him by bringing a bad report of the land; those very men brought the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the Lord.” (Nu. 14:36-37)

        We often believe partially… like having faith for breakfast, but stopping short of believing God to meet all of our needs.

        Let’s look at what happened in the Bible. God had Moses lead the people out of Egypt. Then He said I’m giving you a Promised Land that flows with milk & honey. So Moses sent out spies to check out the land God promised them. Joshua and Caleb came back in agreement with God’s promise (the land is good). The other ten spies came back with a bad report, focusing on the giants in the land and doubting God. How you see… is more important than what you see!

        Seeing & Believing:

        I know how tempting it is to focus on the negative instead of believing what God has promised! You must actively allow God to shape your perception while you look at realities that seem contrary to the Word of God! Seeing and believing are two very different issues. The Bible says that the people believed the spies with the bad report and wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb. Imagine fighting to agree with lies… that is where doubts lead us. It is amazing to watch reason or “how we see”, bring people into complaining and away from belief in God and His Promises. Doubt requires no creative energy at all, in fact it is an open door for a spirit of unbelief. When we are struggling to trust God, we need to resist the spirit of unbelief, because it is stubborn and will lead us into deception and paralyze our vision. You must exercise your faith in God’s Word, if you want to see the “promise” in your promised land!

        • God is truth!
        • He is not a man who would lie.
        • In Him there is no darkness at all – He’s not even capable of telling a lie.
        • The devil is the father of all lies, he is the deceiver and thief.
        • God is good, and His plan for us is good.
        • God is faithful and will always make Himself available.
        • He will never leave us, nor forsake us.

        Don’t Open the Door to a Plague!

        Doubt is not something that God puts in us. The Bible says that God gives every man a “… measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3). God has placed faith in our heart, but the devil tries to negate our faith by attacking us with fear and doubt. Doubt comes in the form of thoughts that are in opposition to the Word of God. This is why it’s so important to know the Word, speak the Word and walk in the Word. If we know the Word, then we can recognize when the devil is lying to us. Realize that he lies in order to steal from you… he is after the “promise” of the Promise Land. He wants to undermine all that Jesus revealed to us in His life and purchased for us at the cross, through His death and resurrection.

        Don’t let the devil rob you of your inheritance!

        Encourage yourself in God’s Word and speak out loud who He is and what He has purposed for you. Give no room for the devil to deceive you. If you allow doubts to become a stronghold of unbelief in any area of your life, not only will you miss out on your “promised land”, you will end up living under a “plague”! The stubborn heart will make you feel as though you are dying in your personal wilderness. Fight the good fight of faith… and don’t entertain negative thoughts that contradict God’s Word. Take those thoughts captive and fight for fresh vision and promise (2 Cor 10:3-6)!

        Faith opens the door to your spiritual inheritance! Remember the words of David, “no evil, no harm and no plague shall come near your dwelling” (Ps. 91:10), since faith comes by hearing, and hearing (breaks the spirit of unbelief) by the Word of God.

        Carrying Glory

        “And David became angry because of the Lord’s outbreak against Uzza; therefore that place is called Perez Uzza to this day. David was afraid of God that day, saying, “How can I bring the ark of God to me?” So David would not move the ark with him into the City of David, but took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house three months. And the Lord blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that he had.” (1 Chro. 13:11-14)

        It was quite a shock… as King David comes to recognize that the Glory of the Lord cannot be handled with a casual attitude. Everything seemed to be going great until the ox stumbles, causing it to shift on the new cart. That’s when a man named Uzzah reaches out to stabilize the ark. And as he touched it, God’s wrath pours from the ark killing Uzzah and ruining the day. The event was tragic… and the blood was on King David’s hands. This was his first official activity designed to celebrate God’s choice of him as king and his unique leadership over Jerusalem as well as the Nation of Israel. The people knew he was a great warrior, but leading a nation required additional skills… like humility and a sense of stewardship. This parade included thousands of soldiers, leaders from all parts of the country, and months of planning. When you realize what a public embarrassment and significant failure this event was, we understand why the Scripture says “David was angry”.

        Yet, after three months of David’s discouragement, he learns about the blessing of God resting upon the house of Obed-Edom. This was where the ark was left when the journey was delayed. It was in these days that David began to truly grasp the value of the Glory of God. As a man after God’s heart, he made some foolish mistakes. His second attempt to bring the ark into Jerusalem reveals some important principles for carrying the Glory. Now, he would take a different approach to accomplish a task in which he felt a more humble sense of destiny and passion to complete.

        1st. Obey God’s Word:

        The first principle of carrying the Glory of God and overcoming failure is to submit to Scripture. After failing to bring the ark to Jerusalem, David researched the Scriptures to discover the specific instructions for transporting the ark (1 Chro. 15:1-2). This revelation has enormous application for New Testament believers. What does God require of the born again, Spirit-filled believer in order that there is a sense of humility and stewardship… that we obey God’s Word!

        2nd. Be Sensitive to God’s Purpose:

        At the first effort, David was dressed as a king, because he wanted to display his military exploits. By the time of the second attempt, David grew in his knowledge of the Glory, at the cost of one of his soldiers lives. God requires humility before He allows us to have access to His Glory. So the king of Israel refused to wear the royal garments. Instead he wore the same linen garment as a common priest. The second journey was all about God, and less about David!

        Scholars believe Psalm 24 was sung as the ark was being brought into the city. It asks the question, “Who is the King of Glory?” The answer illustrates the effort to move all attention away from King David and give praise to Almighty God. “Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty. The Lord mighty in battle” (Ps. 24:8) and again “Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts. He is the King of Glory!” (Ps. 24:10). To carry the Glory of God, we must treat the sacred with reverent sensitivity and walk in an awareness of who the King of Glory really is.

        3rd. Sanctify Your Heart:

        Part of being sensitive to the heart of God is preparing yourself through the renewal of your mind (Rom. 12:1-2) or sanctification, which means to be made holy or set apart for divine purpose. The Bible describes David’s exhortation, and it was for the priests to “consecrate themselves” in preparation for carrying the ark of God (1 Chro. 15:12-15). As New Testament priests we must also allow God to cleanse us and sanctify ourselves daily, so that His Glory will manifest in our lives. The Bible says if we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9-10), so that we will have the hope of walking in His Glory (Rom. 5:1-2). The Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to cleanse himself to be a vessel of honor, made holy, useful to the master and equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 2:21).

        Powerful Words of Jesus:

        “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.” (Jn. 16:1)

        Clearly, it was the desire of the Lord, Himself that we would not stumble in our effort to walk in the Glory of God. Yet Glory is not freely given… it must be stewarded and maintained as our life is being transformed. In other words, it will increase as we will grow in our ability to carry the “weight” of the Glory of God (2 Cor. 4:6 & 16-18). The more you behold His Glory, the more you will grow and be able to carry. We are told, “we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor 3:18). Scripture also explains that it is “Christ in you” that is “the hope of Glory” (Col. 1:27).

        Today if we will hear His voice – He is calling us to carry the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord to the nations! (Hab. 2:14)

        Platform for Reality

        “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered Him, We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, You will be made free? Jesus answered them, Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:32-36)

        Perspective is 90% of reality… and Jesus here challenges the perspective of the Pharisees so that they would choose a different platform to base their reality. They believed that their connection to Abraham would serve as their platform of truth and Jesus makes it clear that only those who are disconnected from sin would find access to God’s House. Even in the opening chapter of the Bible, two important facts lay the foundation for us, if we can understand them; we will all gain a fresh perspective and a solid platform of reality.

        1st. Creation was God’s Work!

        “And God said… And God said… And God said”: This phrase beats in cadence all the way through the chapter, a chapter that mentions the word “God” thirty times. And in this first chapter, the very first glimpse of God is as an artist, who speaks the worlds into existence. Creation was His masterpiece! Butterflies, waterfalls, bottle nose dolphins, praying mantises, kangaroos… they were all His idea. This entire world is the product of His creative flow. God, no one else; is the Master of the Universe, and all that follows in the Bible reinforces the message. Behind all of history… all of reality, there is God. And from His mouth (His Word) will come the fabric that holds an accurate assessment of where we go from here… where we get knowledge, wisdom and truth.

        2nd. Creation Was Good!

        Another sentence tolls softly, like a bell, throughout this chapter: “And God saw that it was good”. In our day, we hear alarming reports about nature: the greenhouse effect, polluted oceans, vanishing species, the destruction of rain forests. Much has changed, much has been spoiled; since that first moment of creation. Genesis 1 describes the world as God created it, as He wanted it, before any corruption. Whatever beauty we sense in nature today is a faint echo of that pristine state. Our view from the outside looking in is of a Garden called Eden. A place where animals and plants may have looked very different from today, but they were good; the atmosphere was good and the Crowning achievement, the Man – Adam, was “very good”.

        Freedom:

        In Christ, God is restoring Creation through redemptive glory (Jn. 1:14)(Heb. 1:1-4). When we consider the heavens and the earth in all of their beauty, it behooves us to know what the plan of God was in the beginning, before sin entered our existence and clouded our perspective on reality. Freedom means something to God that it does not mean to us. By God’s own initiative, His creation was given more than just an environment. It was given order and governed by a daily experience with its Creator (Gen. 1:14-17)(Gen. 3:8). To man He said, “have dominion over the fish… the birds… the cattle… over all the earth” (Gen 1:26). And as God looked upon all that He had created and set in order, He was pleased… pleased because He had created a man in His own image and likeness for fellowship and love. This was His greatest hope… freedom, to share unhindered love. Remind yourself today that, “as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gives the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of flesh and blood, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:12-13).

        Jesus reveals freedom’s goal: “A Son abides in God’s House forever” – to share unhindered love!

        Recovering Lost Glory

        God’s Amazing Adventure:

        When God created Adam, He made a powerful decision. He asks Adam to name the animals. In doing this He was teaching Adam a basic principle about Glory. He was demonstrating to Adam, that when you look into the nature of something it will eventually reveal its character and purpose. When these things are discovered, “naming” it becomes simple. But it also creates a platform for relationship with the animal being named. Adam would need to discover how a porcupine was unique to the elephant, lion or bear.

        The Point:

        This training would serve to help him value the Glory of God.

        In this process God was making Himself vulnerable to the desire of Adam, because this training would serve to help him value the Glory of God, and recognize when it was lost. Adam would sin and fall short of the Glory of God (Rom. 3:23) and all would be lost except the memory of God’s heart toward Adam. As God returns to the Garden of Eden to find the man hiding himself, it was not man who could not find God… it was God who could not find man (Gen. 3:9-10). Oh, God knew where he was, but his sin now created desire for separation and spiritual death. It would now become impossible for man to have fellowship with God, because disobedience stood as a barrier between the perfect and the fallen. God calls this man to Himself and clothes the man with the garment of a lamb, shedding innocent blood and forever revealing the pattern of recovering lost Glory (Gen. 3:21). Something would need to die… a sacrifice sufficient to cover the nakedness of man’s condition.

        The Power of Love:

        God takes the initiative because of the power of love. It was love in the Garden that made all the difference and it will always be love that restores Glory… “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (Jn. 3:16). Like a Lamb lead to the slaughter, the sinless Son of God became the ultimate offering for sin; so that all who would call upon Him for mercy and forgiveness of their sin might live. Everyone who calls upon Jesus now receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Promise of the Father and adoption into the family of God (Acts 2:38-39).

        …where Glory becomes the atmosphere of a restored garden within the heart (Jn. 20:19-23).

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