Posts Tagged ‘Paul’

Revealing His Glory

“This, the first of His miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed His Glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him” (Jn. 2:11).

“…a cloud came and overshadowed them: and they were fearful as they entered the cloud.” (Lk. 9:34)

“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me, may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My Glory” (Jn. 17:24)

Jesus Reveals His Glory:

What are we seeing in these verses? What is it inside of us that shifts when we truly see the radiating splendor of God? Make no mistake the Glory of God is the key to igniting faith in the human heart!

In the New Testament we see that Jesus revealed His Glory in four major ways:
1. through His signs and wonders (Mt. 11:3-6),
2. through His revelation of the Father’s heart (Jn. 5:19-23),
3. through His transfiguration (Mk. 9:2-8)
4. and finally through His cross and resurrection (Rom. 6:4).

To behold His Glory was to see the essence of who He was… the express image of the Father - His Person (Heb. 1:3). Truly He upholds all things by the Word of His Power; and by way of His completed work in the Earth, He has earned His place at the right hand of the Majesty on High.

Beholding Transforms:

Beholding the Glory revealed in Christ affected His disciples so significantly that the Scripture tells us they couldn’t even talk about it (Lk. 9:32-36). That revelation became the birth place of their faith and all they understood was that they could never be satisfied without it.

Notice this rather odd request by James and John: they wanted to sit in His Glory, one of them at Jesus’ right hand and the other at His left… for all of eternity (Mk. 10:35). They were seeing something that transformed their understanding so deeply that they wanted it for all time.

Ah, But There’s More!

I believe that the more we see of the Glory, the more we want to see. It is inexhaustible! We see so much in Scripture, yet the Apostle John wrote, “there are also many other things Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (Jn. 21:25). Christ reveals the Father’s splendor, character and purpose that can never be seen any other way (2 Cor. 4:6). The lame, walking and the deaf, hearing; sickness and diseases being healed without the influence of a doctor; and demons, fleeing with only a word. The dead, raised at the sound of His voice and the living, transformed at the touch of His hands. How, you might ask? He continues to identify the Glory as the real source of His power (Jn. 11:40).

He would still say to us today, “if you will only believe you will see the Glory of God”.

John was clear about the impact of beholding His Glory… it was the reality of walking in the light (1 Jn. 1:7). Peter was clear about the experience… “joy unspeakable and full of Glory” (1 Pet. 1:8). Paul even prayed that the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened to the riches of the Glory of the inheritance among the saints, in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:17). Does it not make you yearn like Moses…

“Lord – Please, show me Your Glory!” (Exod. 33:18)

Immersed

“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:39)

On the Day of Pentecost, 120 disciples (committed followers of Jesus) were amazingly touched by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). This fulfilled the promise Christ had made to them a few days earlier. He said, “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5).

Jesus calls us to become completely immersed in the Holy Spirit’s power and influence (Lk 24:49). We must recognize that this initial experience of being baptized (immersed) in the Holy Spirit is only the beginning of a lifelong experience. The point is that there is always more! God wants us to remain filled with the Holy Spirit… to remain under His influence. Many accused the disciples of being drunk after the initial experience in the upper room, because there seemed to be no explaining their unusual behavior.

“Don’t be drunk with wine…” says Paul, “but be filled with the Holy Spirit!” (Eph. 5:18)

Perhaps another analogy would help to clarify. As Christians we could be compared to a “reservoir” for producing electrical power, like Hoover Dam. When we accept Christ, construction of our reservoir is complete. We now have the potential to be useful and to affect lives. Yet until the flood gates are opened and the cascading river waters pour through, no power is available. So it is when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit… the flood gates open.

Yielded Lives:

We yield our lives to God and the Holy Spirit pours into us and through us… like power stations. It is then that we become most effective in God’s service. As with the reservoir, this power-generating experience is not intended to be a one-time occurrence. It is to be an ongoing process… a flow. When our spiritual power runs low, we need to return to the Source and let the Holy Spirit pour into us again, bringing fresh power.

Keep on being filled – over and over again!

This happened to the early followers of Jesus. They had already been baptized in the Spirit; but later, when persecution arose, they needed a new surge of spiritual power; so they prayed to the Lord once again and “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:31). Even the building was shaken. As the Spirit-filled believer serves the Lord, there is an expenditure of spiritual power. It becomes necessary for us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, in order that His power may be replenished in us.

Spiritual growth is measured by our capacity to flow in the anointing.

Here is the secret of Spirit-filled living… Stay Immersed! The Spirit-filled life is a continuous process of receiving and giving. We were all made to drink of this One Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). The secret is like breathing… being filled and pouring out to others, of receiving power from God and spending it in Kingdom ministry.

Jesus said “freely you receive, freely give” (Mt 10:8).

A Sense of Promise

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 1:20 NIV)

“Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In Him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident.” (2 Cor. 1:20 MSG)

The Church that we see spoken of consistently in Scripture is a people of promise. Jesus said the very gates of hell will not prevail against her (Mt. 16:18). She is a people of promise (Lk. 24:49), called out of darkness and established upon a platform of Holy Spirit activity (Acts 2:4) and supernatural love (Col. 1:13-14). She has stood in the midst of persecution and multiplied in the midst of division. Her character has been challenged from every angle and she has advanced in every culture. Yet, she fights her greatest battles from within, from the very people who carry her promise. She will prevail, but not without a people who know how to maintain their sense of promise.

Agreement with God’s Promises: (2 Peter 1:2-4)

  • Brings Miracles: (Acts 3:1-9) In this story, Peter and John were going into the temple together to pray when they met a lame man at the gate. Peter told him to rise up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ and immediately he received his strength and was healed. Your prayers of agreement can bring miracles into your lives also, just as they did for Peter and John.
  • Brings Great Power: (Acts 4:31-33) Here is an account of the Apostles praying together for boldness. After their prayers, the place was shaken and filled with the Holy Spirit. They were of one heart and one soul.
  • Brings Abundance: (Acts 4:34-37) After the Apostles prayed for boldness, and gave witness to the resurrection of Jesus, land and house owners sold their possessions and brought the proceeds to the Apostles and they then distributed to everyone who had need.
  • Brings Freedom: (Acts 12:5-11) These verses tell of Peter when he was in prison. The church prayed to God for him constantly. Peter was bound by chains with guards and soldiers next to him. One night an angel of the Lord came and he released the chains from Peters hands and set him free. These prayers of agreement gave Peter his freedom.
  • Brings Deliverance: (Acts 16:25-26) Here Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. Suddenly a great earthquake shook the prison and all the doors opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. (Rom. 15:30-31) Here Paul is asking for prayers that he may be delivered from those in Judea. (2 Cor. 1:8-11) Here is another account of Paul in Asia where the help of others praying together delivered him from a sentence of death.

Silence and Double-mindedness:

  • Offers Nothing: (Heb. 11:6) Remind yourself that without faith it is impossible to please God. (Jms. 1:5-8) The Apostle James emphasizes this point by telling us of the foolishness of doubting, saying that it makes us double-minded and unstable in all of our ways. (Jms. 4:2) He also contends that we have lack and confusion, because we are not even asking or we ask amiss, that we can spend it on our own pleasures.

Contending for the Promises:

When the Church does not contend for the promises of God they are stolen by deception, intimidation or religion. The Christian lifestyle was never meant to be a stroll in the park… We are at war! And we are advancing both the very victory won by Christ and the promises acquired through crushing the enemies hold on society (Col. 1:9-13). The very purpose for Christ’s coming in the flesh was to destroy the works of the devil and render him powerless over the people of promise (1 Jn. 3:8). Every time we stand on a promise of God, hold our peace in the midst of the storm or trust God in the midnight hour… all of heaven leans in to offer its resources. Our “Amen” reverberates in the atmosphere and the devil does not doubt the character of our resolve! For Christ Himself is our Advocate with the Father, making sure that the promise is fulfilled and His people are established in truth.

The Political Mountain

Understanding the Political Mountain By Dr. Shawn Patrick Williams

We are at a political tipping point in the United States of America. Jesus Christ told the church to “occupy” until He comes and it is part of the Church’s “Great Commission” to go into all the world and make disciples. That directive was articulated in the seven mountains strategy that Campus Crusade founder Bill Bright received in 1975, confirmed by other prolific voices in the Body.

The 7 Mountain Mandate:

These seven mountains are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion. It is so critical for the Church to have a sound Biblical understanding of the political climate of our nation and what our stance should be as a Body and a believer when we are assessing the political mountain of culture. There has not been such a vicious and divisive political climate that I’m aware of for the past sixty-five years. Not only has this year’s election been dividing the political parties, but it has brought division in the Body of Christ. A house divided cannot stand! I know people are angry about the current state of America’s government. How do we navigate through all of the rhetoric and noise coming from the media? How do we understand our duty as the New Testament Church?

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;” (1 Timothy 2:1-8)


I am convinced that the failed results of the past eight years in the political mountain has produced great confusion and corruption. It is because the majority of the Church spent more time complaining about the current administration, instead of following the Biblical instruction to lift our leaders up in prayer… even if we do not like them or agree with them. A follower of Christ must resolve not to get caught up in political drama. People in all parties should be affected by godly character and deep commitment to pray for the governmental leaders. Throughout the history of the Church, God has placed His people around totalitarian governments and difficult political atmospheres for the very purpose of having their prayers change the governmental mountains of the day.

To gain a deeper understanding of this dynamic, we must grasp the fact that many people are sent to the governmental realm with a “Kingdom Assignment”. God has sent many over the centuries to be a “voice of change” and a “root of righteousness” among world powers. God had Daniel influence the shape of Babylon. The Lord used Paul to impact Rome and the entire known world. Moses was a tool God used to shut one nation down and re-birth another. Ultimately Father God sent Jesus to carry the government upon His shoulders.

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)


The Calling of God:

If you are a believer that feels the call to this governmental mountain, you too will be challenged in these same areas. You will be attacked with all the temptations of idolatry, and your spiritual identity will be tested. You will have to learn to eat lunch with an enemy, but have a resolve to bring the Kingdom into new territory. You will need to be rooted and grounded in your spiritual DNA, in order to not take on a party DNA, as your true source of guidance. The difficult thing will be establishing the Kingdom within the party to which you are assigned. There must be believers commissioned in this mountain in order to occupy it! Ignoring the responsibility of the church to influence this mountain would be a grave injustice. Separation of church and state was instituted to keep government out of church, not to keep believers of government. The first Congress in 1776 was a prayer session.

We must understand two critical things.

  1. God can use and has used evil kings to establish His purposes under the sun. Do not fret about who gets elected or who does not. He used king Cyrus, Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar for His purposes. God is still the King of kings and Lord of lords.
  2. A believer has an obligation to pray for those in government and the responsibility to research the men of God in this political mountain and vote for the candidate that they feel the Holy Spirit has led them to support.  PRAY – DO YOUR RESEARCH – AND VOTE!

When you vote, vote your values and morals. Vote guided by Biblical Truth. Vote your convictions. Above all, pray for all parties and government leaders so we can see unity and a spiritual awakening in our nation!

As an Ambassador for Christ… you carry influence that shapes this mountain!

Unmasking Idolatry

“And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14)

The issue of idolatry in the Body of Christ creates an enormous distraction from the True Light of God’s Love. We are told in this Scripture that the Devil masquerades as an angel of light. His goal is to bring confusion and hide himself in the stuff God values. He wants to destroy the Truth with lies and pervert the grace of God with false promises, false leaders and false worship. What makes Satan hard to defeat is that he appears as attractive, engaging and persuasive …but its all poison.

  • Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Cor 10:14)

Here Paul is saying that we should avoid any sort of idolatry – run from it. We must not be involved in loving or valuing anything more than God. We often think of idolatry as wicked things we actually worship in place of God; but I want to propose to you that anything that impresses us more than obeying God is an idol. Things can carry influence and give Satan access to our heart.

  • Let me repeat: “…anything that impresses us more than obeying God is an idol”

Take notice of the stuff you protect (1 John 5:21).

The fault does not fall only on the leaders of our congregations. When we esteem others more highly than we should, idolatry has taken root. Priorities can get out of focus and prevent us from hearing or seeing with clarity. Our organized religious model often promotes leadership as those who “hear from God”, give teaching and fight the spiritual battles for us. We tend to enjoy the role of spectator… “service” has been turned into a word that means “entertain us” and we sit rather than do much of anything spiritually.

Called to Do as Jesus Did!

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (Jn. 14:12)

Being a Christian is a calling to become an ”anointed one” and live in relationship with Christ, The Anointed One (Jn 14:6). Jesus is to be the supernatural resource of light that shines through us. He is the One we emulate and want to reflect to the world around us. Our faith is not about rituals or traditions or relying solely on teachers or pastors. In fact there are no buildings, pews, alters or communion cups that offer deliverance from sin or power over the Devil. The Bible tells us it is the anointing that is given by the Holy Spirit that breaks the yokes of bondage (Isa 10:27) and teaches us all things (1 Jn 2:20).

  • Trusting Christ is the best way to flee from idols!

Do we need accountable relationships? Absolutely, but only Christ offers the power that overcomes darkness and brings peace in the midst of the storms of life. Trust that is not placed into God’s hand is misplaced and falls into the grasp of convenience, neglect or worse… idolatry.

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