Posts Tagged ‘bold’

Access to Glory

Lake Victoria

Our access to God’s Glory is through entering into His Presence. We enter the gates of God’s Presence with thanksgiving and step into the courts of His Glory with praise (Ps 100:4-5). The Psalmist tells us that in doing this we will experience God’s goodness, mercy and truth in ways that both transform and increase from generation to generation.

The Glory Realm:

When we spend time in God’s Presence, we are accessing the Glory Realm. Its an atmosphere that revives the heart and renews the mind of the believer. I remind folks often that we enter the Glory Realm through the Presence, because Scripture clearly tells us that Jesus is the only Door into the Father’s heart. Through activities like praying, meditating on the Words of Christ, praise and worship, and looking into His eyes, our faces reflect His influence in our hearts. At the same time, we are being changed on the inside so that our lives begin to reflect His character. As we are transformed in this way the supernatural light that radiates within us illumines our path and increases with even greater splendor.

Moses Our Example:

“When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands he was not aware that his face was radiant, because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. When Moses was finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with Him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.” (Ex 34:29-35).

Glory is Visible:

From this passage, it is abundantly clear that the Glory of God on Moses was visible; it was not merely a spiritual or moral characteristic. His face was radiant. This means that there was a shining or a glow about it. We also observe a cause and effect relationship here. Whenever Moses would spend time in the Lord’s presence and speak with the Lord, this glory would appear on his face. We also know that this was limited to Moses at that time, as it did not happen to all the Israelites. It was so unusual that everyone else who saw him was afraid of the splendor radiating from his face. That’s why he covered up his face with a veil.

New Covenant Access:

Now under the New Covenant, the Glory Realm is not limited to one man. All believers have access to God’s Presence and the Glory that radiated from the face of Moses is available to all who know Him. In fact, this glory is even more glorious than what Moses experienced. Notice how the Apostle Paul spoke of the ministry of the Spirit to the Corinthians:

“Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with Glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its Glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness?” (2 Cor 3:7-9)

The Ministry of the Spirit comes with even more Glory!

“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away…But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:12-13 & 16-18).

A Faithful Witness

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered.” (Acts 7:51-52)

Mountains Worth Dying On:

Some mountains are worth dying on, because they represent a standard that is bigger than ourselves. Although Stephen’s speech is powerful and bold, it speaks to the heart of what really matters. He reviews the history of Israel for these hostile Jewish leaders. He shows them that they are just like their fathers, who had opposed God’s prophets and rejected God’s word. His passion is not to be misunderstood as the ravings of a mad man, but the desperate cry to a drowning nation… “Stop acting like your fathers!”

Speak to the Heart! 

I understand, this is not the way to get people to like you, confronting them with their sin. But Stephen spoke what needed to be said. He needed to bear witness against these stiff-necked people who were rejecting the Holy Spirit again and again. A faithful witness is not always pleasant, but it must always speak to the heart of our human condition. What was the message?

Stop Resisting the Holy Spirit! 

So, that is what Stephen said and that is why Stephen died. The outraged enemies of God pick up stones and put God’s witness to death. Stephen becomes the first Christian to die for the faith, because nobody wants to hear that they are resisting the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual Circumcision:

Go ahead and try to tell the “seeker-sensitive” crowd that they need to allow the Holy Spirit to move more in the Sunday services. The only thing that will change their attitude is when they get “circumcised in their hearts and ears”. Today is no different than the days of Stephen’s bold statement. Spiritual circumcision is a cutting away of unnecessary flesh that gets in the way of true worship. We as believers must desire that the Holy Spirit “cut away” any of our flesh that would hinder what God desires to reproduce in and through us.

“For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Phil 3:3)

Three keys are evident in this verse that help us identify the spiritually circumcised believer:

  1. Worship God in the Spirit (Eph 5:18-19)
  2. Rejoice in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 14:15)
  3. Have no confidence in the flesh (1 Cor 14:1-2)

Today, if you will hear God’s voice and call out to Him, He will come and transform your heart. (Jn 4:24)(2 Cor 5:17)

Pray in Humility

Humble Prayer

“So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel, bowed down on the ground and put his face between his knees.” (1 Kings 18:42)

Elijah was bold, yet humble before God. This should be the character of all true believers. We ought to come boldly to the Throne of Grace, but in a spirit of humility (Heb 4:16). This is something many believers stuggle with today, because our hearts get so easily overcome with worry or we have become so used to fighting our own battles. We must run to God and fall upon His strength.

Defining Humble:

To be humble is to live in such a way that we are conscious of our frailties and limitations, but we are willing to approach situations with a teachable spirit. Jesus offered an illustration by the use of a child. He said, “whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 18:4).

Vulnerable and Willing to Trust:

It would seem that; although humility creates a sense of vulnerability, it also carries a willful desire to trust and believe the words of those in authority over us. In this case, God is our highest authority; the One in whom we trust and obey and the refuge in which we take cover. In these words of Jesus, we are introduced to a posture of conviction that shifts our approach. We must  approach God in humility, in order to walk in the Kingdom of Heaven properly…  ”like the child”. 

Humility is a Posture:

We can all learn some lessons about praying humbly from the Prophet Elijah. Just a few hours prior to this moment the confident Man of God calls down fire from heaven and now he postures himself in a fetal position at the top of the mountain, where he prays seven times for the rain to come. It was promised, but it needed to be birthed in the natural. His posture speaks to the deep commitment to lean on God. In Christian circles it is called intercession. Praying in humility is our greatest leverage, not to force God’s hand, but to pull upon His heart.

The Cloud… out of the Sea:

This cloud, the size of a man’s hand, speaks potential to me… “it rises out of the sea”. Think about that for a moment. The cloud itself was called upon six other times without showing up and now it appears as the size of a man’s hand arising from a huge resource. It was Elijah’s posture in prayer that released the heavy rain.

Humble Prayer Connects Us: 

We all want to connect to the resources of God’s power and provision in our lives. It releases breakthroughs and victory moments, where the joy of the Lord actually becomes our strength (Neh 8:10). Yet its our humble posture in prayer that will always be the key to reaching His heart and pulling that resource into our need.