Posts Tagged ‘hearts’

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)

Nothing Impossible

Nothing is Impossible
“If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there; and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Mt 17:20)
“Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mk 9:23)

So now that we have begun to fall in love with Christ… nothing is impossible. More and more it is becoming the ”norm” rather than the exception, that no act of obedience will be impossible for us. No task will be too great, no circumstance too difficult and no suffering too severe, because believing moves us into supernatural dimensions of power and resources.

You might ask how? or why? and I would tell you of the greatness of His love toward us who believe.

Something Happened!

“…God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:5-8)

The Apostle Paul tells us of the avenue to which God’s love reaches us… it is “poured out”. I like that thought. Its poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who God has given to each of us that trust in Him. The New International Version says that His love was “lavished” upon us. There is a word only used in extremely generous expressions. God is extravagant, but never wasteful. I believe that!

I believe God’s gift of love is extreme and extravagant.

From the beginning of each day; through the routine of my personal daily experience, His Presence is interwoven into the very fabric of my life. He is pouring  His love into me, to be reflected back to Him through praise and honor. He loves me and captures my heart, so that my love for Him becomes an expression of relational bliss in partnership with His will for me.

Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commands” (Jn 14:15).

Amazingly, He made this loving process a signature reality to recognizing Him in life. When you love Me, My Father will love you and I will manifest Myself to you (Jn 14:21). So I love Him, because I see Him in my experiences and recognize His hand on me… and nothing is impossible, because He is in the midst of all those things that “seem” overwhelming! In spite of those “mountain-sized” problems that hide my destiny, nothing is beyond my believing. His love is greater. I am more than able, because of His love for me. I am more than up to the challenge, because of His anointing resting upon me. Nothing is impossible, because of the situations He has already turned into testimonies, in and through me. I can praise Him, because I’m part of His story for all the world to read!

The Garment of Praise

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

The answer against a “spirit of heaviness” is to put on the ”garment of praise.”

Satan hates praise:

Praise exalts Jesus no matter what the circumstances may look like. It engages our trust in God and activates our faith like nothing else can do. You see, praise introduces light and supernatural life into our circumstances. It is the ultimate release of spiritual freedom. Just listen to the following verses and let something click inside.

(2 Cor 3:17) “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

(Gal 5:1) ” Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

(Jn 8:36) ” Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Praise is Agreement with God!

Praising the Lord and agreement with the truth of God’s Word, renews the mind and lifts the spirit of heaviness off your shoulders. Notice the Prophet Isaiah says that your life is designed to reflect your calling as “trees of righteousness”. Its your destiny to become the “planting of the Lord”. As you praise Him daily, you will release the stature of Christ within you… “that He may be glorified”, seen and celebrated as your Deliverer! Nothing so clearly displays the power of God like our freedom in the spirit.

The Effect of a Spirit of Heaviness:

It darkens our countenance. Our hearts are down cast. This spirit brings a “heaviness” over us and dims our vision, robs our hope and crushes our sense of purpose. There are testimonies I’ve heard from people who say “when this spirit comes it even makes the room feel darker”. It brings a heavy and oppressive atmosphere that restricts and quenches our perception. It may come like a cloud hanging over you or your location, but the most difficult part to deal with is that it causes isolation. The devil’s goal is to remove you from the atmosphere of love and approval. Think about it, if Satan can get you isolated, then he can break your spirit and remove your source of inspiration and hope.

Recognize it:

This is the first step. You are a Child of God! This is not God’s will for you!  “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) Don’t believe the lies… Praise God instead! Accept no criticism and carry no extra baggage. You must learn the art of selective hearing, so that you choose the things you ignore and the things that come from the Throne of Heaven. We destroy arguments and pull down strongholds, so that every thought is made captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5). That means I am actively discerning where my thoughts are coming from and believe me… I can rule over them with praise!

Put on the Garment of Praise!

This literally means to be “wrapped up in praise”. God has given it to be worn and provide insulation. So put it on like a jacket every single day. Take a few moments each morning and every time there is a battle raging, to put it on like armor on a soldier. You will watch your enemy run for cover with his tail between his legs… like a whipped puppy. That’s right, praise is your most effective tool in magnifying God and shrinking the influence of the devil. Get loud, get aggressive and set your heart on spiritual freedom!

It is the anointing that breaks the yoke! (Isa 10:27)

Evidence of Glory

What transpires as humanity moves toward the culmination of all things… is it disaster or restoration?

Scripture reveals that the Kingdom of God will come in all of its fullness… that the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the LORD and culminate in a great awareness of His Presence and Preeminence. Our God shall come enthroned saying, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

And He who sits on the throne will say, “Behold, I will make all things new.” (Rev. 21:3-5)

The Bible reminds us that the great tragedy in the Garden of Eden was not just sin, but separation and the fact that man had “fallen short of the Glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Although many, professing to be wise; have “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Rom. 1:22-23)… this tragic estrangement was never God’s intent. His delight is with man, sharing fellowship in the brilliance of His Glory (Gen. 3:8)(Ps. 8:5).

Man was created for experiences in God’s Glory (Isa. 43:7). The Children of Israel saw the Glory of God in the cloud (Ex. 16:10), and on the mountain (Ex. 24:17). The same Glory that shaped the hearts of Moses, David and Solomon; was seen filling the tabernacle (Ex. 33:7-11 & 40:34-35) (2 Sam. 6:2) (2 Chr. 5:13-14). Both Isaiah and Ezekiel saw visions of God’s Glory. From the earliest of days until now, the knowledge of God’s Glory has been a topic of prophetic importance (Hab. 2:14). The Hebrew prophets envisioned a day when God’s Glory would increase; impacting the nations and transforming the fabric of cultures and governments. For example, Isaiah prophesied the following decree of the Lord, “I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see My Glory” (Isa. 66:18). Ezekiel proclaimed, “The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and behold, the Glory of the LORD filled the temple” (Ezek. 43:5). Each of these Old Testament people insisted that the same Glory they had experienced, would be manifest on the earth.

Just listen to these words: “The Glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isa. 40:5)

Overlooked by many, this reality began to emerge during the time of the New Testament. Jesus came as the Glory of the Father (Jn. 1:14), announcing the coming of the Kingdom of God (Mt. 4:17). Through the person and work of Jesus, a great shift took place. Strongholds of darkness were torn down. God’s Presence was increasingly experienced on a level that rivaled ancient encounters in the Garden. Reflecting on this wondrous reality, the Apostle Paul boldly declared: “We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s Glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).

It appears that many are looking for more… driven by concerns about darkness and fear. They’re not cognizant of the ever-increasing glory. They’re blind to the fact that they’re actually living in the age that the prophets longed for. Everybody keeps asking when we’re going to experience God’s Glory? Not realizing that the day of the Lord’s Presence has already begun. Jesus said, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the Glory of God?” Therefore if we, who believe; would only open up our hearts, we would finally discover the desire of the ages.

Just look into the eyes of Jesus… and there you will find the knowledge of the Glory of God (2 Cor. 4:6).

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