Posts Tagged ‘God’s presence’

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).

Pray for Sean

This is a testimony through a mutual friendMark Reetz‎ – Core Group “5-Fold Ministry”

Last night at Smokey Row Bible study, Donna brought a 40 year old man named Sean with her. Sean lives in one of the homeless camps near the coffee shop.

He was obviously “under the influence”, as he was high on something. When he spoke to us, he was confused and his speech was garbled. After listening to him for a time, we asked him if we could lay hands on him and pray for him. He then told us he always took a beating as a child. His father had even made him hit himself with a switch at times.

When we began to pray for him, he took my hand and put it on his heart and asked me if I could feel his heart beating. When he did that, God’s Presence became very strong and He touched Sean deeply in his heart… for sure Sean didn’t know what it is like to be loved. But the Father of Love was offering His wonderful embrace!

When we left, he was crying the special tears that only come when the Holy Spirit has touched someone. Sean said he had just accepted Jesus the day before, so we asked him to keep coming back for Bible study.

The new life that Jesus promises has just begun in Sean. He is a new born babe that has a lot of baggage and issues. We want him to know God as his Father and become aware of all that Christ has done for his salvation. Being a new creation in Christ Jesus is the most wonderful 1st step… the Holy Spirit has begun a work of mercy and grace. It is hard for me to consider Sean homeless anymore…

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?
Jesus said to him,” I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (Jn. 14:1-6)

Please pray for Sean… the newest member of the family of God!

A Holy Partnership

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)

Have you ever experienced a need for breakthrough? The kind where you have done all you know to do, cried out for revelation and yet continued to face a wall of opposition? I have! I’ve seen situations that have lingered for years, though I had purposed to walk in complete obedience, sought God, and even received prophetic words promising the breakthrough… yet still nothing! The Holy Spirit dropped a key in my heart one day that helped me unpack a mystery, I heard Him whisper in my inner ear… “Mercy is at the heart of breakthrough!”

As I began to study mercy a wonderful partnership began to emerge… the partnership between mercy and providence. To understand breakthrough I needed to see how mercy is tied to providence. In essence God was showing me that providence is the “Throne of Grace”. Its the place where God’s plans become our reality. That’s why the author of the book of Hebrews says, “Come Boldly!”. When we realize there is access to grace ( favor with the King), we must begin to figure out how it works… and then we must run to Him in the time of need.

Explaining Providence: 4 Defining Truths

  1. Its God’s Knowledge in Advance. God exists outside of time, knowing the end before the beginning. Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundations of the world (Rev. 12:8) and we were chosen in Him before that foundation was established (Eph. 1:4). Our God, knows the battles, roadblocks, and stumbling stones that we will face as we walk out our destiny. He has already prepared victories and breakthroughs for us. His plan is for good, to prosper us and give us a future and a hope… peace (Jer. 29:11).
  2. The Active Governing of God. Governing is the authority to control or manage a people or nation, in order to rule in their midst. Mercy deals directly with our position in Christ. His rule and reign in our lives is literally based upon the reality that we do not get what we deserve. Scripture tells us how Jesus carries out His Lordship by governing our lives through peace (Isa. 9:7). When we cry out for mercy, we are crying out for His rule and reign in our lives. The world system, the strategies of the enemy, the circumstances of life must not be allowed to rule over us. Problems will come, but God has already met the need when we arrive. When providence and mercy, God’s governing authority is allowed to grow in us, there will be peace and Kingdom breakthrough!
  3. It is God’s Protective Covering (Glory). Its the Glory of God that was originally design to crown or clothe man at creation in the Garden of Eden (Ps. 8:5). When we cry out for mercy it pulls us under God’s protection in our lives (Ps. 91:1-2), because it pulls us into fellowship, “walking in the cool of the day with the Father” (Gen. 3:8). Rather than hiding ourselves, we are relying upon His care for us and expressing our trust in Him. We may never know what God is doing in the midst of our struggle and there may be times of stretching our faith, but we must press into God. Fear and unbelief only alienate us from God’s Presence and distance us from seeing God’s plan for good (Rom. 8:28).
  4. The Love and Care of Our Heavenly Father. Fathers exercise a balance of honor and provision. They walk in authority only to the degree that their sons and daughters honor their leadership and delight in their wisdom. Just think about the Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11-14), who stepped away from his father’s providence and could not gain access to mercy. I like to remind myself that authority is established through intimacy… that my success is hinged to the tree of life, not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Elijah’s Example:

Mercy reveals God’s care, but providence establishes our needed resources… long before we even feel our need. A good example of this is when God told Elijah that He would feed him at the Brook Cherith. Elijah would have to go to where the provision was, in order to receive it! When the Brook dried up, so did the provision, which meant Elijah would need to seek God for more mercy and providence… a fresh word of breakthrough (1 Kings 17:2-8). Whatever we need to accomplish in our lives has already been established in God’s providence, because of God’s mercy!

The Apostle Paul said it this way, “and my God shall supply all of your need according to His riches in Glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).

God is Able:

I look back now and see that when I have cried out for mercy, for needed finances or help of any kind, that mercy and providence worked together for the promised breakthrough. I knew something about God; I know, He is faithful and just, He loves and cares for me, and He knows how to “take care” of that which concerns me. This is why I run to the Throne of Grace… to obtain mercy – to hold it as an abiding reality for breakthrough! You see I know that beyond any of my own efforts, God is able to do the extraordinary, the impossible and that which is exceedingly abundantly beyond all that I can ask or imagine. But I am also discovering that it is based upon the power that works in me (Eph. 3:20). This revelation is so powerful!

“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for its time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12)

We see that we have our part, -the possible, to sow in righteousness, to break up the fallow ground and to seek the Lord. But mercy is God’s part of the equation, its what causes us to reap -the impossible! I can plant a seed, water it, but only God can bring the increase (1 Cor. 3:7). We know that it is not by our power or might, but it is by God’s Spirit… that we experience our breakthroughs (Zech. 4:6). So we will contend at the Throne of Grace with a boldness that proves we trust God’s providence and desire to obtain mercy to help in our time of need.

“…So that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor 9:8)

Gift of Discernment

“Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” (John 8:4-5).

This is the big question: What does Jesus say?

Everything we learn about discernment is found in knowing the answer to this question. There will always be pressure to answer. When we find ourselves in this type of situation, it’s likely that we will make the wrong assumption. The temptation is to rely on our natural knowledge. Yet where does the inner knowing come from?

Accusation or Opportunity:

The woman is obviously guilty; witnesses have condemned her, as does the Law of Moses. Stones are waiting in the hands of her accusers. Should there be any further discussion, any mercy? I would like to propose, that if a person moves in the true gift of discernment, then every accusation can become an opportunity to release Kingdom influence.

Christ recognizes her sin; however, His thoughts were higher than that of the Pharisees. He saw this situation as a means to bring redemption to the woman, repentance to the Pharisees, and glory to His Heavenly Father. Stooping down, He wrote on the ground. Then, as the Pharisees persisted with their accusations, He stood and said, “He who is without sin… let him be the first to throw a stone” (John 8:7). This comment goes way beyond clever… this is the voice of peace in the midst of a very destructive situation.

How does a person think like this?

Notice how Jesus testifies to real discernment: “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.  And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”  (Jn. 12:49-50)

  • Discernment is tied to three things only God can give,

    1. Kingdom Authority,
    2. A Kingdom Command
    3. and Everlasting life.

The first reality we have to ask is by what or whose authority we speak. It gets to the essence of motive… and agenda. We must learn how to pause before we speak, allowing the Kingdom to manifest in our midst. Give ourselves a moment to enter the secret place of God’s Presence; and while there, listen to the Father’s voice. The Father’s heart is the source of our discernment. In the pause, we create the opportunity to hear what cannot be uncovered in the natural; postured before Him we can receive spiritual answers, wisdom, and insights that we otherwise would not discern. Words that lead to life are a gift from God that must be received from another realm… but when spoken, lift the hearers into this higher place.

Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The Words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life.” (Jn. 6:63)

Reasons to Pray

I know prayer is important and in this article I want to begin a short series of thoughts that focus on the reasons to pray. It can seem like the primary motivation for prayer is simply to get answers. Prayer can feel like a grocery list: “Our Father, who art in heaven – Gimme, gimme, gimme!” This is sort of a “shop in heaven” way of praying. But I would propose that just filling the shopping list is not the best reason to pray, and more than that – I have found it to be the least satisfying!

The #1 Reason to Pray - Relationship!

I am first and foremost called to pray, because it is the most valuable practice to build and steward my love relationship with Jesus Christ. It is the practice of my faith. Hear me now -this is important. Christianity is not primarily rules. Its a relationship and relationships need to have activity and practices that keep them alive.

Certainly God has standards, but we don’t become Christians because we receive standards. We become Christians because we receive God’s greatest gift, the forgiveness and salvation that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. God loved us and sent His only Son to take away any and all hindrances to relationship. Jesus died for us and lives in us to reveal the Father’s heart and offer us the privilege of abundant life… relational life.

Learning to Live in Love:

What I need, then, is to build my love relationship with Him. I have to learn to allow Him to embrace me, to care for me, to point out my needs and how He meets them (Phil. 4:19). I need to listen to Him and I desperately need to talk with Him. That is the definition of prayer… listening and talking with God.

The Apostle Paul prays, “that you may be able to comprehend… what is the breadth and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge…” (Eph. 3:1-19)

I need to comprehend and “know” His love in all of its facets. The word “know” in this passage is the same word used for the intimate closeness of a husband and wife in sexual embrace. The Apostle Paul is praying that you and I will experience that kind of love with Christ - not sexual, but intimate, deep, close, without distraction. It is so deep that Paul later says it “passes knowledge”.

One place we can experience this is in prayer. When we get honest before God, we have access to His love in a unique way. The Bible calls this experience “fellowship” and seldom do we ever find ourselves closer to Him than in prayer. When we pray, we can experience His love, be bathed in it, clothed in it and overflowing with it… to let it soak into the dry cracks and crevices of our lives and to learn how to give it back. It goes beyond, just being in God’s Presence, we can experience His Glory and Splendor (the essence of who He is) and find His deep affections for us.

A Supernatural Environment:

I could share personal testimony of the wonderful power of prayer. It serves as the environment where our wounds are healed and our broken-ness is restored. As we learn to receive and give love in genuine relationship with the Holy Spirit, God’s power is revealed. Prayer is one place God can get at us and speak to us like He did Moses, ”face to face” as a man speaks to his friend. Prayer is one of the most effective ways for God to minister to us. Think about that for a moment - God wants to minister to you and I. His hope is to walk with us, father us and instruct us in His ways… revealing His thoughts toward us (Jer. 29:11). You and I can taste and see that the Lord is good. We can come to understand that His love is better than life. And when we are captured by love we will reflect that reality to those we come into contact with. Its an amazing relational reality!