Posts Tagged ‘good news’

The Timeless Gift

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink’, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (Jn. 4:10)

There is something wonderful and compelling in this invitation by Jesus. His encounter with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well carries with it one profound timeless truth – the gift of God is “living water”. Still today, “Living Water” is the most timeless gift of God!

Thirsty People:

I have found myself imagining this story, as so many searching and thirsty people; drink from one broken cistern to another, only to find the wells have all gone dry and ignorance is not bliss. It never occurred to her that lifestyle choices were leaving her dry… this woman’s ignorance of truth left her in bondage and prevented her from finding her way. She was more aware of her religious tradition than her moral conduct… in other words – she was lost!

Her story is being repeated a billion times over in our world today. Tragic and unnecessary… thirsty people remain at broken cisterns. Yet the ultimate challenge for the Church, is to offer a Kingdom Culture that is deep and lasting… like a well of living water. We are called to be a life giving stream from the well of living water.

Called to be… “A life giving stream from the well of living water.”

Let’s understand that meeting at Jacob’s Well is no guarantee that you and I can deliver the same message that Jesus gave her. We can talk a good talk and even shout and dance with the best of intentions, but to deliver and impart to others requires an anointing from the Holy Spirit. We need a touch from God… our own timeless gift. We cannot give what we are not experiencing!

Let the Rivers Flow:

There is Good News, however – if we are drinking of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12-13) and overflowing with the life that Jesus promised, then out of our bellies will flow rivers of living water (Jn. 7:37-39). We must drink deeply from the well to produce the kind of joy the world needs to see!

So jump in and go deep… let the river flow!

Becoming Flesh

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14)

This verse is arguably the most profound and exciting statement in the Bible. We know Jesus came to seek and save the lost, but the good news goes much farther than that. Salvation is not merely the removal of our sins, it is access to life as a new creation. Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us to offer a radical transformation of what it means to be human.

Christmas is not only about Jesus; it’s about you and me!

True Humanity:

When John wrote that Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us, he used an ancient image the Jews were familiar with. The word he used that is translated “dwelt” literally means “to pitch one’s tent”. It was a reference to God’s dwelling among the Israelites in the tabernacle, a special tent that was the precursor to the temple of Solomon (Exod. 40:34-38). The difference is that the Word, “Jesus” didn’t just dwell among humanity, He became human. He actually put on flesh and became like us… in our frailty and our vulnerability.

As the perfect human, Jesus comes to define everything it means to be human. Whatever Jesus is, that is what He has made humanity to be in Him. To be fully human is to know God (Jn. 17:3)! To be fully human is to live in the knowledge that He loves us, wants us, and will never let us go. Jesus heals and restores our full humanity, becoming for us the Glorious Revelation of how God feels about humanity.

“For God so loved…” (Jn. 3:16).

Jesus shows us what life is all about. It’s about walking in communion with God, being in relationship with the One who created us, loves us, dwells among us, and adopts us as His own precious children. In becoming flesh, Jesus showed us the Father’s love and compassion toward us. He “pitched His tent” among us, because He wants to be with us… to identify with us. God didn’t turn His back on sinners, He came to live among them, to love them and to heal them.

Getting out of Midian

This is not our destiny!

Midian is not our destiny!

There is a powerful story in Scripture about Moses running to the land of Midian. It happens after he kills an Egyptian who had abused one of his Hebrew brethren (Ex. 2:11-15). In this circumstance Moses expresses a common feeling… what most of us feel in the midst of injustice.

In verse 12 it states the problem… “He looked this way and then that; when he realized there was no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand”. The spirit of strife arose inside of Moses to such a degree that it blinded his heart… forsaking the command of God in regards to murder.

Choices are the fruit of a heart’s focus!

Raised an Egyptian and coming to grips with the Hebrew heartbeat was like standing in an intersection and not knowing which way to turn. Moses’ wrong choice released the confusion that resided in his heart and created an enormous backlash among his brethren. The next day he went out to find two Hebrew men fighting. He spoke to the man who started it: “Why are you hitting your neighbor?” The man shot back: “Who do you think you are, telling us what to do? Are you going to kill me the way you killed that Egyptian?” Then Moses panics… “oh no, word’s gotten out; people know about this”. Secrets are often difficult to shake free from. Pharaoh hears about it and tries to kill Moses, but Moses gets away to the land of Midian. He sits down by a well with his confusion and there receives the call to be the “hand” of deliverance for God’s people (Ex. 3:1-4).

Midian is not the place Moses chose to go…

But God would meet Him there. Interestingly the word Midian means “striving” or “habit” and the Midianites were the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son from another season of bad choices. Oddly enough its very rare that one generation’s poor choices do not become a crucible for our life later, but that is another blog topic. Yet now, in order to escape punishment for killing the Egyptian, Moses runs away to Midian, a place of habitual strife. He finds himself face-to-face with… “himself”.

Sounds like God’s intervention…

Running away takes Moses to a burning bush… with a broken heart.  Moses became a stranger in a strange land, separated from his home and family… and he needed a new identity. It took many years after this incident for Moses to be ready to serve God. The good news is that Moses did trust God (Heb. 11:27) and leave Midian. Moses found the God who transforms our identity!

We must recognize the God who transforms us as quickly as possible and allow His priorities to shape our life choices. If not, we may find ourselves visiting the land of strife. Leaving Midian can only happen when we have felt the crushing reality of God’s intervention in our character. Yet it must happen if we expect God to use us, bless us, or prosper us.

Character transformation is the defining reality of what makes a leader attractive to those who follow.

When I find myself on edge, offended or bitter toward others, there is a good chance that I am hanging out in “Midian, the land of strife”. There are spiritual realities that effect my thought life, choices and behavior patterns. God takes us into places that test us and show us what resides within our hearts. He does this for our good, as His way of chastening His children.

God chastens those whom He loves and accepts! (Heb 12:4-11)

The Christian attitude toward anger and strife should be consistent with God’s heart. There is just no room for angry outbursts or strife ridden behavior in the processing of Christian relationships. We should call it sin and repent of it or we give place to confusion. Like Moses, we could wind up in the land of Midian until it gets burned out of us.

Here is what the Bible says: (Ps. 37:8)(Prov. 19:19)(Prov. 27:4)(Eccl. 7:9)(Gal. 5:19-20)(Eph. 4:31).

Living in Midian is like living next door to a volcano that only explodes once every couple of months. I believe many folks live in Midian, a land cursed by a spirit of strife and although the erruptions only occur every few months; life is lived in confusion and fear, waiting for when and how destructive the next outburst will be. This must not be our legacy, because it is most certainly not our destiny.

Getting out of Midian is as easy as recognizing the sinful behavior and repenting of it. Ask the Holy Spirit to deliver, then begin to rest upon the Truth that God is faithful to meet you in Midian with the power to transform your heart.

Excellence Manifested

“There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.” (Dan. 5:11-12)

The Evidence of Excellence:

An excellent spirit looks like something! With Daniel, we see there were earmarks to his character that caused many to find in him the excellence needed to be promoted in life and ministry. God is the ultimate Judge and Instigator of our promotion… but He places us in position and sets His favor upon us by how we live and move. This is what we commonly call grace… the favor of God toward us. Its as though God were shining His light upon us in order to direct attention in our direction. You might think you are hidden, but if you are walking in excellence God will promote you, because He will always have need of you. Those with an excellent spirit rise with Kingdom influence!

I have highlighted the areas where Daniel was bearing the evidence of an excellent spirit: “knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel” In the following chapter of the Book of Daniel it says, “Now Daniel so distinguished himself… by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.” (Dan. 6:3) The qualities in Daniel’s character were powerful realities that showed an anointing of the Holy Spirit. These abilities were sharpened and developed in relationship with God, not man… and held influence beyond even their level of development. The reason is because they offered God an opening to move among a people group completely unfamiliar with the ways of the Kingdom of God. The keys that open spiritual influence are embedded in our character… just like they were for Daniel!

Daniel’s Life Was Firmly Planted in God!

  1. He stood as an expression of God’s Wisdom! …with Knowledge and Understanding
  2. He stood as an expression of Consistent Integrity! …speaking Truth, Honorably
  3. He stood as an expression of Real Solutions! …Solving Problems and Explaining Mysteries


The Good News:

We are better placed in this generation than Daniel. Why? Because we have the indwelling Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth (Jn. 16:13). God has given us His Holy Spirit to reveal to us what the world can not see (1 Cor 2:6-16). By this Spirit, you will have the opportunity to see the mind of God and release treasures through your life and ministry. The key to getting an excellent spirit is to realize it is given by God and received by those who are willing to be lead by the Holy Spirit. You and I can have the mind of Christ, know things that are only revealed by the Spirit of God and walk as people of excellence every single day of our life.

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One and you know all things.” (1 Jn. 2:20)

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)

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