Archive for April, 2017

A Mercy Seat

Where His Glory Dwells

Ark of the Testimony

“Now when Moses went into the Tabernacle of Meeting to speak with Him, he heard the Voice of One speaking to him from above the Mercy Seat that was on the Ark of the Testimony, from between the two cherubim; thus He spoke to him.” (Num. 7:89)

When we hear of Moses walking into the Tabernacle to speak with God, it is almost unbelievable at first. Our heart wonders of the sight… a face-to-face with the Creator of the Universe. And yet, something important comes to mind as I read and re-read this verse. God’s voice comes from a position above the Mercy Seat!

The Tabernacle of Meeting:

It is there and only there, that we find a mercy seat. It is not that way with man’s natural environment. In the world around us or even in nature, there is no seat of mercy. Yet in the Tabernacle of Meeting there is a Throne, a seat if you will, established at God’s initiative, that invites the seeker to see himself differently than the world’s perspective. The Tabernacle of Meeting was designed to be a place where God meets with man, to transform how he sees everything. It was to be where man was able to fellowship in God’s Glory, get his needs met and sense the embrace of a loving Father (Phil. 4:19).

This place offers the revelation of God’s true heart toward our deepest needs! We need this environment, this fellowship - before we have our lives put together. We need to be loved – before we are healed. We need to be loved in our rags and our wrestling. We need a place that has a Mercy Seat!

Our Father’s Heart:

To pull from the parable of the Prodigal Son… must I first hear music and dancing before I can arise and go to my Father’s house? That’s the way that it would work if Religion were my father, but my Father calls out to me in His fullness… an invitation to the orphan heart:

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters;
And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk, Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.” (Isa. 55:1-3)

Thankfully, the One who sits upon the Throne doesn’t call the white-robed crowd, but those clothed in sackcloth. I don’t have to wait for the music or the dancing. I don’t first have to receive the ring or the robe. I can come dirty. In fact, I must come hungry, seeking and poor.

In the Midst of Glory:

The Voice comes from above the Mercy Seat, where the Shekinah Glory rests above the Ark of the Covenant. Make no mistake, this is a supernatural experience that is not duplicated any other way, but standing before the Presence of God. In His Presence is fullness of joy!

Don’t wait until you’re well. Don’t delay until you can find suitable clothes. Don’t put off having this meeting until everything is just right. Come now! Come just as you are! Don’t wait for just the right robe, come in your “grave-clothes”.

  • Mercy means - You will not receive what you deserve!

In my mind, this is one of the greatest truths taught in the Bible. It is in reality the Gospel of the Kingdom! Jesus Christ has offered us the experience of a Mercy Seat… and in so doing He continues to destroy the works of the devil. (1 Jn. 3:8)

Unusual Miracles

Preaching the Word of God

Preaching the Word of God

“Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:11-12)

I love the expression ”unusual miracles”. I’ve personally seen firsthand the extraordinary impact signs and wonders make as they accompany the preaching of the Word of God. Do we truly understand what Kingdom Advancement implies? The Apostle Paul did… and if we are to become ministry leaders who do the unusual in the eyes of the world, we will need to put on a lot more courage and tenacity.

In the city of Ephesus, a shift in the Spiritual Realm was occurring. The Kingdom of God; which is the government of heaven, was gaining influence over all areas of life from the religious practices to the daily routine. Beliefs were changing and faith was being engaged in unusual ways as people stepped into the supernatural, as if unleashed from natural law. Jesus said when you abide in My Word, you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free (Jn. 8:31-32). The Apostle Paul; like Jesus, was pulling them into revelation rather than letting them stay bound to natural limits.

Whom the Son sets free is free indeed (Jn. 8:36). Freedom implies the ability to move, without hindrance or limitation and it brings fresh perspective on the future. Unusual miracles change the way you think about your reality, limitations and possibilities.

Conflict with Darkness:

The immediate result of the Apostle Paul’s experience however, was that evil spirits were driven out into the open. Conflict is first and foremost a spiritual battle that makes every leader do an inventory of their gifts and training. Are they equipped to handle the battle? Their experience and character set the standard for how they will address visible opposition in the spiritual realm. Perhaps most important is a person’s awareness of spiritual authority. Some do well, some flounder, but every leader must get their skills sharpened by their identity in Christ and their experiences in the field.

“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches. Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, over powered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (Acts 19:13-16)

This account is like a backhanded compliment. In effect Satan’s agents were saying, ‘This preacher is achieving something’. Yet, the victories of our advancement must be maintained and enforced by radical followers who know who they are and what they carry. These sons of Sceva were trying to be helpful without the tools or experience.

Paul’s preaching was breaking through and crushing the occult practices in the city of Ephesus. What also seemed to be happening was that many people became very nervous about the incredible beating those without spiritual authority had just experienced. Believe me when I say the word gets out. But God will get the last word, if we are truly doing unusual miracles by His hand.

“This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.” (Acts 19:17-19)

Even in the church world today, we see a lot of folks having one foot in the Kingdom of God and the other in the enemy’s camp. These folks need to see the reality of these kingdoms in conflict. When the Apostle Paul preached, the believers brought the books and tools of their witchcraft and burned them publicly. What an impact that would make on a region. The value of the books was fifty thousand pieces of silver. Each silver coin was a day’s wage… this is estimated at $2,500,000 in today’s market.

Unusual Miracles are only unusual in the sense that they reveal an extraordinary shift from the natural limitations we consider normal. When we begin to see through the eyes of faith, what seems common will change and the impossible will become ordinary.

Aligned for Freedom

We often find ourselves in the awkward position where our strength is not enough… where our wisdom falls incredibly short. So what do the righteous do in the face of real opposition? The Bible clearly says we are not of those that shrink back, but we press forward even to the saving of the soul (Heb. 10:35-36).  This passage tells us of our greatest need… “endurance”. Endurance is a big word, but we all know its meaning… “staying power”.

Are you… am I one of those Christians who gives up easily? My heart finds no endurance in hype and it will not respond to meaningless rules… do this or do that!

I must become trained in righteousness and fellowship in the Truth that sets me free from weak and feeble mind sets.

In this verse we read about the effect of our pressing into the challenges of our faith… our soul gets saved. I think this literally means that my mind gets stubborn and unless I discipline myself I will consistently “shrink” when I’m supposed to “press in”.

Staying Power:

The objective of endurance training is to develop the energy production to meet the demands of the event before us. Someone once told me that endurance cannot be measured until our challenge becomes recognized as a challenge. I think we find ourselves giving up before we even know we are in the race. The Apostle Paul said run the race as one who wins… who gets the prize. He was commanding us to set our minds on the rewards that are gained. When we have done the will of God, we receive the promise. I want the promise, don’t you? Its the reward of my believing.

I am often looking at the struggle like a deer in the headlights, when I should be a valiant warrior taking aim at my enemy. Endure to the end and receive like the victor… Jesus – who endured the cross… that I might be able to carry mine.

Lifting the Broken

Praying for the sick in Kenya“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps. 34:18)

I find myself at times feeling very sorry for the pain I see people go through… both physically and emotionally. Times of stress or struggle can overwhelm the best of us and our character is often tested even when we are in the very center of God’s will. Somewhere in the midst of suffering there is a powerful resource for our future success.

The “Sifted” Need Lifted:

At times it becomes obvious when a person needs the lifting power of God’s grace. Jesus responded to Peter when he was sifted by the Devil (Lk 22:31-32) and we must respond to those around us (Gal 6:2). We must become equipped with the Truth of God’s Word for the downcast and troubled. When we give God our pain, He does replace it with joy. It’s so subtle that after our own personal seasons of heartache, we often forget how the comforting Presence of God lifted us out of dispair and brokenness.

Finding Hope Anchors the Soul (Heb 6:19):

We can find hope in God’s Word, because it serves as the platform for God’s thoughts and purposes for His family, the Church. God says to Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you” (2 Chron. 1:7). The Good News is that He says that to all His children in order to move them into joyful hope.

Jesus tells his disciples, “Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (Jn 16:24) and He prays, “that they may have the full measure of My (His) joy within them” (Jn 17:13). Isn’t that powerful? Those who have experienced this joy know how amazing it is. It goes beyond our mental comprehension and it lifts the broken out of their painful perceptions… even before it delivers them from their painful circumstances. Its the power of hope!

How do we attain this joy?

Jesus tells us that it is hinged to abiding in His love. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (Jn 15:10-11) Love moves us into joy, because it releases hope inside our hearts.

God truly wants to lift the broken:

Here are some more verses that can boost our hope and free us to rejoice in our good Heavenly Father:

  • Prov. 10:24 “What the righteous desire will be granted.”
  • Ex. 33:17 “And the LORD said to Moses, I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
  • Zeph. 3:17 “The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.”
  • Ps. 22:5 “…in You they trusted and were NOT disappointed.”
  • Isa. 49:23 “Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed.”
  • Ps. 21:2 “You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips.”
  • Ps. 145:19 “He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.”
  • Ps. 6:9 “The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.”
  • 1 John 5:14-15 “This is the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us –whatever we ask– we know that we have what we asked of Him.”
  • Eph. 3:20 “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…”

The Lord is so tender to those who are of a broken and contrite heart and desires to be near them. When the humble cry out for help, He is quick to respond even in the midst of the confusion that often blinds us of His Presence. He is kind, merciful and wants to lavish love on His children (Rom 5:5). The discipline is only for a moment, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Ps. 30:5)

Becoming Mighty In Spirit!

To be mighty in Spirit is to know God intimately and to experience the power of His grace daily over pain, fears and struggle. It is a process of establishing more than how a person feels, because it is based upon the fruit that is released when the sifting occurs. It is being sensitive to the purposes of God that aim to advance His Kingdom even in those seasons when mystery is more evident than revelation. Our trials are putting courage into our bones and transforming us to become mighty in Spirit! (2 Cor. 4:16-17) There will always be trouble, but the grace to arise is more than equal to the task of lifting the broken. To be mighty in spirit… is to understand what it means to be “renewed daily”!

To be mighty in Spirit… comes as we know God intimately and experience the power of His grace daily over pain, fears and struggle.

Immersed

“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:39)

On the Day of Pentecost, 120 disciples (committed followers of Jesus) were amazingly touched by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). This fulfilled the promise Christ had made to them a few days earlier. He said, “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5).

Jesus calls us to become completely immersed in the Holy Spirit’s power and influence (Lk 24:49). We must recognize that this initial experience of being baptized (immersed) in the Holy Spirit is only the beginning of a lifelong experience. The point is that there is always more! God wants us to remain filled with the Holy Spirit… to remain under His influence. Many accused the disciples of being drunk after the initial experience in the upper room, because there seemed to be no explaining their unusual behavior.

“Don’t be drunk with wine…” says Paul, “but be filled with the Holy Spirit!” (Eph. 5:18)

Perhaps another analogy would help to clarify. As Christians we could be compared to a “reservoir” for producing electrical power, like Hoover Dam. When we accept Christ, construction of our reservoir is complete. We now have the potential to be useful and to affect lives. Yet until the flood gates are opened and the cascading river waters pour through, no power is available. So it is when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit… the flood gates open.

Yielded Lives:

We yield our lives to God and the Holy Spirit pours into us and through us… like power stations. It is then that we become most effective in God’s service. As with the reservoir, this power-generating experience is not intended to be a one-time occurrence. It is to be an ongoing process… a flow. When our spiritual power runs low, we need to return to the Source and let the Holy Spirit pour into us again, bringing fresh power.

Keep on being filled – over and over again!

This happened to the early followers of Jesus. They had already been baptized in the Spirit; but later, when persecution arose, they needed a new surge of spiritual power; so they prayed to the Lord once again and “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:31). Even the building was shaken. As the Spirit-filled believer serves the Lord, there is an expenditure of spiritual power. It becomes necessary for us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, in order that His power may be replenished in us.

Spiritual growth is measured by our capacity to flow in the anointing.

Here is the secret of Spirit-filled living… Stay Immersed! The Spirit-filled life is a continuous process of receiving and giving. We were all made to drink of this One Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). The secret is like breathing… being filled and pouring out to others, of receiving power from God and spending it in Kingdom ministry.

Jesus said “freely you receive, freely give” (Mt 10:8).

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