Posts Tagged ‘grace’

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)

God Shaped

“…but now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.” (Isa. 64:8)

According to the experts, clay has to be in the exact center of the potter’s wheel. If not, then the clay will eventually tear apart and become marred in the potter’s hands. The desired result will not be achieved and the beauty in the potter’s imagination cannot be released.

I find it helpful to remind myself often that I, as a believer must stay centered. We are as clay, and God (the ultimate Potter) shapes us into the masterpiece best suited for His purpose. “For we are His workmanship (His masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10) We must be in the middle of the Master Potter’s wheel, if we want to become suited for Kingdom success. Our anointing, the touch of God upon our lives and the flow of spiritual influence; is hinged to staying focused on Christ. At the very center of the Potter’s Wheel is the most vulnerable place, and the most wonderful place; to live your life!

Needing a Savior:

The first step of being in the middle of God’s will is to recognize we need a Savior. We have fallen short of God’s original intent and we need someone to lift us up onto the “Potter’s wheel” again (Rom. 3:23-24). That position is where something significant can begin to take place. Being centered in Christ means we live a life of full surrender to what God, the Master Potter, wants to do in our lives. Surrendering to Christ allows Him to remove the most significant barrier – sin, and restore our originally designed relationship between the Potter and His clay. When we accept the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, He becomes our Savior and everything becomes new… our hearts, our focus and our future (2 Cor. 5:17).

Trusting His Lordship:

The second step is allowing Him to become “lord” and follow Him as His disciple. In order to see the kind of spiritual transformation we need, we have to submit our lives to Him. The Greek word for “lord” is kurios, pronounced koo-rios. In Ephesians  it says, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:2). Note that the Apostle Paul recognizes Jesus as our Lord and God as our Father. When Christ is truly Lord in a person’s heart, He becomes supreme in authority and is allowed to govern the heart and mind by grace. Something to remind ourselves, is that grace is a favor that the Holy Spirit opens up to us (2 Cor. 3:17-18) as we learn to walk in humble obedience to the Father’s will and purpose for our lives (Jms. 4:6-10). Through the practices of prayer of reading God’s Word, (the Bible) we are awakened on the inside (our spirit) to the force of God’s shaping hands. This is the power of the Holy Spirit at work transforming and renewing our minds to follow His will for our life.

The Master Potter:

God is the ultimate craftsmen, shaping us with His hands and perfecting us for His Glory. We trust Him to mold us, to shape us into a vessel fit for Kingdom use. It requires faith to believe in something you haven’t seen, but as you process all that God does within you spiritually; there is an assurance that grows and shapes even the way you think. The Bible tells us that there is a renewal of strength (Isa. 40:29-31) and a restoration of heart (Psa. 63:3-7) that comes as we position ourselves before the Father. This is because He loves us with an everlasting and unconditional love. He sees in us something beautiful, something we cannot see, something that He alone will cause to emerge. And emerge it will… to display His pleasure, power and passion!

Remind yourself today that you are: “His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Pet. 2:9-10)

Recognize The Gift

I have often wondered if what disqualifies me for success in the eyes of the world, is oddly attractive to God. Maybe He chose me precisely because others would not have. Maybe my brokenness and frailties are His prerequisites.

The Bible says that God chooses the weak things of the world to shame the strong and the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1 Cor 1:25-29). Maybe that’s what He could do with me… “shame the strong and wise”. Maybe that’s what He could do with you, too.

The Words of Critics:

Many of us have been told all our life that we can’t, that we won’t or that we shouldn’t. Over time you may have believed this line of reasoning. These words can become watermarks etched in our memories… the images and expressions that undermine our faith; but God refuses such words! He is bold to refute those can’t and won’t and shouldn’ts in our memory.

God has put something inside of each of us… to display His Purposes!

  • In defiance, God takes the outcast and does the outstanding!
  • He takes the misfit and does the miraculous!
  • He takes the improbable and does the impossible!

He rules in the midst of weakness!

The Apostle Paul said it would be this way; that grace would reign in the midst of frailty (Rom 5:17). Nobody needs another example of perfection… Jesus did this for all of us. We need authenticity and when people see that in us… well, let’s just recognize the gift and honor Him for His mercy.

Can I Get a Witness?

“Return home and tell how much God has done for you. So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” (Lk. 8:38-39)

Jesus sent him away saying, “Can I get witness… would you stay and testify to all that God has done for you?” We must catch this! God has designed that the Gospel be expressed through the vehicle of our testimony. When we show up with a fresh word of God’s goodness, extraordinary things happen; power is released to lead people to faith in Jesus.

The word “testimony” is a legal term. The dictionary says it’s an “outward sign”, “evidence in support of a fact or statement” and/or “proof”. Our personal testimony stands as proof of the truth of the Gospel… evidence that it is life-changing Good News. The root word for testimony, comes from a word meaning “witness”. Our testimony provides a witness to others of what Jesus has done for us. And what He has done for us, He can do for others!

More than Words:

Testimonies speak of encounter! Your testimony is the story of how you first encountered Jesus! Lives are changed when we encounter Christ. Accepting Jesus, as Lord and Savior calls us into a new realm of reality (Jn. 1:12). When we tell our story and testify to the change that happens when sins get washed away, our experience powerfully illustrates the Gospel Message. Its good news to those who feel overwhelmed by their frailty and it offers hope to those who cannot save themselves. The ongoing stories of God’s Divine intervention in our lives have tremendous power to stir faith in the heart of the seeker.

Jesus expects us to become a witness (Acts 1:8)… talk about Him!

  • How Jesus impacts your life every day…
  • Answers you have experienced through prayer…
  • What God has spoken to you…
  • How you have seen Him at work in your life each day.

Through hearing someone’s experience in God’s grace, we relate to the spiritual thought that God is moving and active by way of the Holy Spirit. In fact, often a friend’s witness is the only clear explanation of the Gospel people will listen to. Most of us want to know what is taking place in our lives. What it requires of us is that we “keep it real”. People are not fooled by the hype… and they are not really scared by the “mystery”… but if they are expected to believe what we tell them; then it needs to be truth! God will empower the Truth!

The Psalmist David said, “He has put a new song in my mouth, praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” (Ps. 40:3)

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