Posts Tagged ‘face’

Clothed in Glory

It’s interesting to me that all of the creatures God made had coverings… except man. Animals had fur, birds had feathers and fish had scales or shells. But man did not have any outer covering, as he didn’t need it before the fall. Why? Because God clothed man in His Glory.

“You made him (man) a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him (or clothed him) with glory and honor.” (Ps 8:5)

God’s Original Intent:

The atmosphere of the Garden of Eden was permeated with the same splendor as heaven. There was no sin in the beginning and man walked with God everyday in a peace filled relationship in the “cool of the day”. This means they walked together in a spiritual dimension where they shared a oneness that was maintained by God’s Glory (a covering) and God’s Honor (atmosphere).

The Garden of Eden was Heaven on Earth:

The original Hebrew word for “crowned” means “to encircle”, “to surround’. In other words, Adam and his wife were surrounded by God’s Glory and Honor. They had been clothed with the Glory of God and didn’t need natural clothing and they were living in an atmosphere of perfect relationship and did not need natural knowledge. God was giving man a wonderful environment to rule, where God would truly be their provision and protection if this stewardship could be maintained.

Losing the Glory:

However, once they had been deceived by the serpent and sinned, they were no longer able to focus on spiritual reality as the Glory that once clothed them, seemed to lift. They found themselves naked. Notice that they immediately respond to their new condition by becoming afraid. They made coverings for themselves and hid from God. This is an interesting response since Adam and his wife felt no shame of being naked before they sinned (Gen 2:25).

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Gen 3:7)

Why would they even consider making coverings for themselves? Weren’t they the only human beings in the Garden of Eden? Weren’t they surrounded by only animals, birds and fish?

Hearing God’s Voice:

The reason is given when Adam is answering God’s call “He answered, I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Gen 3:10). Adam and Eve were afraid, because they were naked before God. I understand being ashamed, but why would they be afraid? They were afraid, because they were naked and had lost their original God given Glory. Now they found themselves controlled by a deception, a satanic lie that they needed natural covering and natural knowledge to sustain their lives. This came as a fulfillment to what God said to them earlier, “…you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen 2:17). The moment they were no longer in God’s Glory, they died spiritually and inner peace was replaced with fear.

Spiritual Death:

We are able to see a powerful expression of God’s Fathering love in the moments following the broken relationship. God, seemingly unaware of man’s location, calls out to man and asks him of his connection to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God says, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Gen 3:11)

Spiritual Life:

Then God makes the first sacrifice, in order to clothe them properly.  ”The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). God would spill the blood of a lamb; one of His created beings, to provide a garment suitable to cover human shame. This would serve as humanity’s first revelation that spiritual life is in the Blood.

The Apostle Paul said it this way, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” (Rom 3:23)

Our spiritual death has its connection to sin by the loss of our covering (God’s Glory) and our relationship (God’s Honor) based on His Presence (Holy Spirit atmosphere). Yet the Apostle Paul goes on to tell us of the reality of God’s grace… God’s favorable actions toward us who trust in Christ Jesus. He  tells us that God has restored access to His Glory and Honor in the free gift of salvation. Access to all that was lost could be restored through the Blood of Jesus. 

“We have been freely justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24).

The Gospel of Restored Glory:

This good news cannot be overstated, because it is not accomplished by anything man can do (Rom 3:20)(2 Cor 5:21). God proved His love by sending Jesus to die for us, in our place and for the spiritual relationship to be restored that once was established in the Garden of Eden. The Bible says that when anyone turns to God in faith, a veil is lifted from their hearts and they are enabled to behold the Glory of God in the very face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 3:16-4:6). As believers who continue to look into that Glory a transformation takes place, whereby we are being changed into the same image (God’s original intent) from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor 3:18).

Jesus Said – Be Clothed In Glory: Power from On High!

“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city (Jerusalem) until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49)

New Things

“Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isa 43:19)

The things of God seem to start in small ways; and even though they might spring forth, we must recognize “spring forth” can mean less than what we typically expect. God is careful with the new thing. He causes it to emerge slowly and suggests that we seek it out… make ourselves aware of it. When Jesus speaks of new things becoming manifest, our ears must prepare for change. He desires to keep His secrets within the context of relationship (Jn 15:15). Recognizing the “road in the wilderness” and the “rivers in the desert” always requires more than just simple observation.

Example:

At Bethsaida the people brought a blind man to Jesus for healing. He took him by the hand, led him out of the town and when He had spit on his eyes, He put His hands upon him, He asked the man if he saw anything. The man, looking up and said, “I see men as trees walking”. The second time Jesus put His hands upon his eyes and told him to look. This time the man’s sight was completely restored. He could see clearly! Notice how Jesus speaks to the formerly blind man. Jesus sends him home saying, “Don’t go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town” (Mark 8:26).

Preserving the New Thing:

New things emerge in a variety of ways, but they must connect to the heart in order for the impact to last. God’s goal is to get us to create testimony so that life is seen in the context of His involvement with us… in relationship. Sometimes when we try to tell others about the new thing God is doing, the devil will use doubts in our mind or cynicism in those we tell, to undermine our testimony. There are times when Jesus has forbidden me to bear witness of a healing or miracle in my body, until my faith is strong enough to stand the testing of thoughts and words that mock my experience. God knows the enemy will try anything to steal our peace, rob us of our joy and discredit the new thing that is emerging in our lives.

Holy Spirit is Speaking:

“Shall you not know it?”

The Holy Spirit speaks to our spirit, to our spiritual perception. ”It’s already here” He says, “but its small right now, really just a seed. Don’t try to interpret it, don’t try to make it more than it is, don’t blow the trumpets. Just consider it. Allow Me to introduce you to it. Allow Me to explain it. Allow Me to reveal what its all about and where embracing it will take you. It’s going to require a shift in your seeing. Are you ready to leave what you know and launch out into the deeper waters of what you don’t know? I’m offering you some mystery… My secrets. I’m offering you, a road in your wilderness and rivers in your desert.”

Discover New Things:

If you are desiring to discover the new thing that God is doing, (in your life, your ministry, in the Church, nation, world etc.) determine to become a seeker, begin to search out the small. Quiet your heart to hear the faint whisperings of the Holy Spirit. Become still and wait for the gentle breeze of God to blow upon your face and then look to where God is directing your gaze. Above all get ready to leave the comfort zone of what you know and allow God to carry you into secret places… places where friends go.

Producing Character

Scripture: ”At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” (Daniel 10:2-14) …and something amazing took place.

Thought for Today: “The Steadfast Spirit”

When I look at the life of Daniel, I see a persevering heart, unshaken by a Babylonian court. He prayed three times a day toward Jerusalem at a time when it could have cost him his life. He interpreted dreams as one who was intimately acquainted with heaven. He spoke of the purposes of God in the face of those with a contrary agenda. And he would not die when thrown into the lion’s den.

The Steadfast Spirit:

It causes me to recognize that the purpose behind our discipline builds character and a steadfast spirit. Daniel was a man known by his character; completely devoted, humble, full of self-control, integrity and courage. These were not spiritual gifts given free for the asking, but fruit… the product of a lifestyle of prayer and fasting. Strength of character emerged from Daniel’s consistent and steadfast spirit. His prayers were powerful, because they came from a heart transformed by the Word of God and the priorities of heaven. He knew God, intimately.

Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.” (Dan 10:12)

Here we see the reward of the steadfast heart. An angel appears before Daniel to say God has heard your prayers and I have come for your words. I cannot help but believe that when we set our hearts to understand, in a posture of prayer and fasting, we attract God’s attention.

Setting the Heart:

Its not just about the posture, its about the steadfast heart. Notice the phrase “set your heart to understand”. The setting of a heart is the posture that lifestyles are created from. To set means to find as one’s single focus. When we set our heart on something it becomes a steadfast, immovable rock or obsession. What Daniel had done was set his heart to understand. What did Daniel understand from his steadfast heart? The Big Picture! More is going on than you can see.

I want to encourage you to persevere in prayer and fasting, because a steadfast spirit will allow you to live in the big picture. More is going on in the heavenly realm than you see with your natural eyes… be part of it!

Appreciation

“I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.” (1 Cor. 16:17-18)

“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.” (1 Thess. 5:11-13)

This morning I opened my email to find 2 wonderful notes thanking us for the work we do in Africa, and that made me think how wonderful the smile that emerged upon my face was to my faith. It was like a breath of fresh air! I could almost hear God say, “I want you to have a smile on your faith!” The Apostle Paul tells us that it doesn’t have to be complicated; we should appreciate the labor of others – tell them… and esteem them very highly in love.

Appreciation is like oxygen for the soul!

How would you describe someone who knowingly withheld oxygen from someone? Then why do we find it so hard to express our appreciation to people who add value to our lives? And by the way, if there’s no one in your life that you appreciate… that says more about you than the people around you.

Emotional Leprosy:

Beware that you do not become an emotional leper or self absorbed, “lone ranger”. Remember the malady of the leper was that they would lose their ability to feel. It is possible to become so obsessed with your success that you stop noticing others around you. Your ministry is not yours and never will be. And can I tell you the truth – God wants it back so it can increase!

Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5). Do we truly understand that we can do nothing in terms of lasting fruit without Him? And second; have we come to terms with the concept that the word “branches” is plural? Jesus wants us to abide in Him as a people in loving fellowship with each other!

Being Grateful:

At its core, appreciation is rooted in gratitude. A selfish, self-centered, and self-obsesses person has no capacity to be grateful. What people do for us must never be overlooked or expected, as the other person’s job or duty. Recognizing the achievements of others begins when we esteem them more highly than ourselves (Phil. 2:3). Let’s notice the riches of other people and stop letting our desire for personal gain or success rule our heart. Its a grateful heart that unlocks the pleasure of fellowship! Tell someone that you are proud of them, today… tell them you see their effort and that you appreciate them for who they are in your life.

And you know what? You might find a smile awakening in their… faith!

The following note was written by my oldest daughter – JoHanna Bateman.

“That moment when you finally clean out your purse and you find a note (you forgot to read) from a girl in youth group. And you just sit there staring at it, reading it over and over and crying your eyeballs out. Realizing that just simply praying for someone and being their friend, can change their life and impact them forever. I never thought simply asking someone how they’re doing every Wednesday could impact their life so much. It helps us believe in a God we have never seen. How beautiful it is, when the love of Christ is shown through people. Is that not what I was made for? To reflect the glorious face of Jesus?”

Two things I encourage you to do today:
1. Ask people how they’re doing… and care about the answer.
2. Clean out your purse. You might find a long lost note that will awaken a smile.

I’m so proud of you, sweetheart!

The Steadfast Spirit

Today is day 14 of our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Scripture: Daniel 10:2-14
Thought for Today: “The Steadfast Spirit”

When I look at the life of Daniel, I see a persevering heart, unshaken by a Babylonian court. He prayed three times a day toward Jerusalem at a time when it could have cost him his life. He interpreted dreams as one who was intimately acquainted with heaven. He spoke of the purposes of God in the face of those with a contrary agenda. And he would not die when thrown into the lion’s den.

The Steadfast Spirit:

It causes me to recognize that the purpose behind our discipline builds character and a steadfast spirit. Daniel was a man known by his character; devoted, humble, full of self-control, integrity and courage. These were not spiritual gifts given free for the asking, but fruit… the product of a lifestyle of prayer and fasting. Strength of character emerged from Daniel’s consistent and steadfast spirit. His prayers were powerful, because they came from a heart transformed by the Word of God and the priorities of heaven. He knew God, intimately.

Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.” (Dan 10:12)

Here we see the reward of the steadfast heart. An angel appears before Daniel to say God has heard your prayers and I have come for your words. I cannot help but believe that when we set our hearts to understand, in a posture of prayer and fasting, we attract God’s attention.

Setting the Heart:

Its not just about the posture, its about the steadfast heart. Notice the phrase “set your heart to understand”. The setting of a heart is the posture that lifestyles are created from. To set means to find as one’s single focus. When we set our heart on something it becomes a steadfast, immovable rock or obsession. What Daniel had done was set his heart to understand. What did Daniel understand from his steadfast heart? The Big Picture! More is going on than you can see. 

I want to encourage you to persevere in prayer and fasting, because a steadfast spirit will allow you to live in the big picture. More is going on in the heavenly realm than you see with your natural eyes… be part of it!

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