Posts Tagged ‘Mary’

His Word to You

Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” (Lk 1:28)

Here we have the amazing story of how Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel who told her she would become the mother of the Messiah. Naturally Mary was shocked and asked how such a thing could be, since she was a virgin. The angel did not go into a longwinded explanation, but simply told her “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Lk 1:35). That was good enough for Mary and she responded with a powerful declaration of faith: “Let it be to me according to Your Word”.

Discovering Favor:

That simple reply is at the heart of the mystery of answered prayer. Mary came to believe that as a virgin she would become pregnant and give birth to Israel’s long awaited Messiah. There were probably a lot of young Jewish women that might have hoped for that privilege, but Mary didn’t just hope it – she lived it. She knew a secret, because God had revealed His Word to her. Yet, she would come to live it out, only as she discovered her favored estate with God. For Mary to have felt favored by God would seem normal and expected in Jewish households, but a divine revelation from the angel Gabriel would have certainly emphasized its reality.

Favor Establishes Faith:

Now there would be nothing absurd about Mary’s belief in God, because she was finding His favor in His Word to her. It was rooted firmly in the Word of God’s supernatural encounter. God’s Word to her made faith… reality and had made the ridiculous… reasonable. As the angel told her, “With God nothing will be impossible!” I can almost hear a shout of “Amen!” as she embraced the words. “I am Your maidservant! Let it be to me according to Your Word.”

Receive His Favor:

Most of us are not likely to experience a visitation from Gabriel, but we have encounters with the Holy Spirit waiting for our embrace right now. The Bible is filled with words for us from God and there are angels that accompany our activities everyday. As Kingdom Agents, we are designed to walk in the favor of God and establish an atmosphere around our lives that allow His voice to become recognizable.

Like a fragrance, Mary found that favor longs to be discovered. You can be told that it is there, but it must be received and experienced, to be sought out and appreciated. God’s Word to you is like Mary’s secret, dependant upon your willingness to recognize His favor.

Excellence and Passion

To do things with excellence requires passion. To love well, run our race with an enduring strength and pursue a life with no regrets, requires something bigger than ourselves… something we are passionate about. Doing things well is part of living the abundant life and should be the standard for Kingdom People. We are called to walk in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. An excellent heart comes from who we are in God and who God is in us.

The Counterfeit:

Excellence is not the same as perfectionism. In fact, it comes out of a totally different motivation. Perfectionism is a desire for approval that flows from a religious spirit. There is no creative flow to perfectionism, because it relies upon human reasoning as its standard rather than passion and love. People who come from this motivation are often judgemental and find fault in almost anything they see accomplished.

A good example of this is when Mary pours out an expensive ointment on the feet of Jesus and Judas speaks up with a contentious attitude. To Jesus this expression was an excellent display of affection, but to Judas it was a terrible waste of money (Jn 12:3-6). Although the room was filled with the fragrance of worship, the heart of Judas was filled with criticism and judgement. Interestingly the Scripture gives us a hint of what motivated Judas. He had no concern for the poor, but was taking money from the money box, because he was a thief.

Power to Excel:

Dunamis is the Greek word for power that described the Holy Spirit’s outpouring on the day of Pentecost. Jesus said “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is poured out and you shall be witnesses to Me… in all the world” (Acts 1:8). Notice that this power would become the motivator for the witness they carried out in the world. The Holy Spirit would release such passion that they would bear evidence of a lifestyle from another world… Heaven.

Heaven’s Purpose:

Now there is some excellence in Heaven. There are some creative ideas in Heaven. There are things yet to be accomplished through Heaven’s creativity and purpose in the Earth. Jesus wanted us to accomplish the things of Earth with Heaven’s resources. Passion, creativity, wisdom and ability are designed to be released through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Its part of our delegated authority in the natural world to be a witness of Heavenly standards. “Gold, silver and precious stones rather than wood, hay and stubble” as the Apostle Paul would say. Your work will be tested by fire and the only thing that will endure will be that which had an eternal quality (1 Cor 3:12-15).

Be Creative:

Being creative does not mean everything has to be original or amazing, it just needs to carry our unique flow of expression, passion and gifting. You and I are the Children of God that the creation has been waiting to see, waiting with groaning and birth pains (Rom 8:18-23). We carry a glory that must have expression!

  • There are songs, yet to be written and sounds, yet to be heard!
  • There are inventions, yet to be seen and businesses, yet to be created!
  • There are cures for diseases, resources for the poor and justice for the downtrodden that must break forth!
  • There are revelations to be discovered and dreams to be dreamed!

All because of the Holy Spirit’s anointing… we have been blessed with the glorious liberty of excellence and passion.

Come Follow Me

Peter and Andrew leave their nets (Mt 4:18-20), Matthew his tax table (Mt 9:9), James and John a bewildered father (Mt 4:21-22)… because of the words: “Come, follow Me”. The woman at the well leaves behind her bucket (Jn 4:28), blind Bartimaeus runs off and forgets the cloak in which he gathered his coins from begging (Mk 10:50). Mary left behind an alabaster flask (Mt 26:7). Lazarus leaves behind an empty tomb (Jn 11:43)…. and on it goes. All these stories demand that we answer the question, “why have so many left so much to follow Jesus?”

Transitions require it!

Leaving things, dropping responsibilities and laying aside all that hinders is the way of those whose hearts have been captured. We are the generation that longs for more. We are the disciples that invested in the Kingdom of Heaven rather than the kingdoms of darkness. We have no regrets because there was no difficulty letting go. It was the God who allowed light to shine into us, from the very face of Christ that has shone into our hearts (2 Cor 4:6). He is all we seek now, for who else can offer the words of eternal, supernatural life. He has ravished my heart… I finally know where I belong!

“Come, follow Me?” Are you kidding, do You have to ask?

Shekinah Glory

The word Shekinah does not appear in the Bible, but the word “shakan” clearly does (Ex 24:16) and is often translated as “tabernacle” or “dwelling” of God. This reveals a wonderful truth about God’s desire to be intimately involved in our daily lives. He wants to become more real to us and give us a dwelling place for fellowship and covenant relations. It points toward our greatest quest… to know God personally.

The word “Shekinah” was coined from Jewish history as Rabbis struggled for a way to define the cloud of glistening substance that so permeated their worship and their tradition. Although the experiences of Biblical characters seemed difficult to define; they were nonetheless, powerful seedbeds of revelatory truth that could only be preserved, if they could be documented. The oral traditions of the day were simply not enough. Israel held strong convictions that their worship history was filled with divine visitations of the Presence of God. Seasons and moments in the Shekinah Glory were significant markers that could only be replicated if they were described and handed to the next generation. What they wanted us to know is that God could concentrate His Presence and actually display a manifestation of Himself and His activity.

Shekinah Glory was the visible Presence of God.

The Shekinah Glory was perhaps most evident when the Israelites set out from Succoth in their escape from Egypt. Appearing as a cloudy pillar in the day and a fiery pillar by night, the Glory brought direction and comfort to God’s People; while at the same time, keeping the approaching Egyptians at a distance. “After leaving Succoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people” (Ex 13:20-22).

Shekinah Glory reveals the Goodness of God.

When God speaks to Moses out of the pillar of cloud, it was to assure him that His Presence would accompany the Israelites in their wilderness journey (Ex 33:9-11). Notice how God speaks to Moses “face to face” out of the cloud. When Moses asks to see God’s Glory, he is told: “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (Ex 33:18-23). Amazingly God would step out of hiding and show Moses His Goodness… guarding him within the cleft of a rock and the shade of His hand. Why? Because God wanted Moses to know Him intimately. 

  • The Apostle John said, “We beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14).
  • The Apostle Paul said, “…beholding as in a mirror the Glory of the Lord, (we) are being transformed…” (2 Cor 3:18). 

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ was the dwelling place of God’s Glory. The clear expression; Word of the Father, that became flesh and dwelt among us. He was the Goodness of God made manifest and every person He healed, restored or delivered from demons was experiencing the Shekinah Glory for themselves. They were understanding for the first time the intimate grace and truth of God revealed through His Son. 

Spiritual Signposts in the Glory!

The Holy Spirit is the Shekinah Glory. His purpose is to brood over us like He did Mary, clothe us like He did those disciples in the upper room and equip us with ministry tools like He did Steven, Philip or the Apostle Paul. Shekinah Glory is still as real as ever and we must actively seek the Lord for signposts and spiritual markers that enable us to know His Presence in our journey. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (Jn 14:21). What He was saying is; that as the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling in our hearts, we would come to know Him intimately. The word manifest means “to make known”. The Holy Spirit makes the Presence and Glory a tangible part of our daily worship as we are loving and living in relationship with Christ.

Jesus said, “the works that I do, he (you and I as believers) shall do also and greater works than these…” (Jn 14:12). How? In the Glory provided by the Holy Spirit, as you live and move and enjoy the Presence of God. Experiencing the Goodness and abiding in the Shekinah Glory… its where the People of God find their dwelling place.

Just Lighten Up

Going "All Out"

Won't You Come In?

Okay, so my wife continually tells me to lighten up, because I can easily get a bit intense. I’ve got one of those type “A” personalities… driven, agressive and leadership oriented. Yea, you know the type, right? Well, its another Christmas season and we try to do this time of year, “all out”. The lights outside on the house, the three trees inside and some wonderful parties that bring folks together, to celebrate with us of course. Yahoo, its an entire family thing.

Well… I am struggling with one of our Christmas trees.

Its the most visible one; in the living room. There are three sets of lights on the tree and the middle set has half of the lights that won’t light up. They worked when we put them on there. So when the living room lights are off our tree looks as though it is wearing a belt! OOOH this erkks me. Are you catching my frustration here…. I just can’t look any longer. And to top it all off, last night when we had some folks over… guess what; they didn’t even notice!

Okay big breath – the bottom line for me is that Christmas is all about Jesus. So having a Merry Christmas this year is going to be about enjoying an imperfect tree. Makes me wonder how God puts up with us, amen? Or how Mary dealt with the concept of a barn delivery? Not perfect, but still capable of embracing the Savior.

PS. It just occurred to me; I could go down and fix the tree… or just lighten up. Help me Jesus!