Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

Access to Glory

Lake Victoria

Our access to God’s Glory is through entering into His Presence. We enter the gates of God’s Presence with thanksgiving and step into the courts of His Glory with praise (Ps 100:4-5). The Psalmist tells us that in doing this we will experience God’s goodness, mercy and truth in ways that both transform and increase from generation to generation.

The Glory Realm:

When we spend time in God’s Presence, we are accessing the Glory Realm. Its an atmosphere that revives the heart and renews the mind of the believer. I remind folks often that we enter the Glory Realm through the Presence, because Scripture clearly tells us that Jesus is the only Door into the Father’s heart. Through activities like praying, meditating on the Words of Christ, praise and worship, and looking into His eyes, our faces reflect His influence in our hearts. At the same time, we are being changed on the inside so that our lives begin to reflect His character. As we are transformed in this way the supernatural light that radiates within us illumines our path and increases with even greater splendor.

Moses Our Example:

“When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands he was not aware that his face was radiant, because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. When Moses was finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with Him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.” (Ex 34:29-35).

Glory is Visible:

From this passage, it is abundantly clear that the Glory of God on Moses was visible; it was not merely a spiritual or moral characteristic. His face was radiant. This means that there was a shining or a glow about it. We also observe a cause and effect relationship here. Whenever Moses would spend time in the Lord’s presence and speak with the Lord, this glory would appear on his face. We also know that this was limited to Moses at that time, as it did not happen to all the Israelites. It was so unusual that everyone else who saw him was afraid of the splendor radiating from his face. That’s why he covered up his face with a veil.

New Covenant Access:

Now under the New Covenant, the Glory Realm is not limited to one man. All believers have access to God’s Presence and the Glory that radiated from the face of Moses is available to all who know Him. In fact, this glory is even more glorious than what Moses experienced. Notice how the Apostle Paul spoke of the ministry of the Spirit to the Corinthians:

“Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with Glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its Glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness?” (2 Cor 3:7-9)

The Ministry of the Spirit comes with even more Glory!

“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away…But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:12-13 & 16-18).

Priority for Prayer

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” (Mk. 1:35-38)

Early in Jesus’ ministry, He experiences great success. His fame is spreading through Galilee as He casts out demons and heals many sick people. After one particularly busy day of healing, Jesus pulls Himself away. I want to highlight this moment, because I believe its a key that unlocks the doors we so often find frustrating in the ministry.

Three Observations:

1. Jesus prioritized prayer as the way to effectively minister to people.

He didn’t use busy-ness or success with people as an excuse for neglecting prayer and solitude with God the Father. He realized that in order to meet people’s needs, He personally needed time alone with God. I need this reminder often in the ministry! If we neglect prayer for the sake of ministering to people a breakdown will eventually come. I find my words becoming idle and even critical when prayer is not my highest priority. I hear of pastors and leaders suffering from burn out, or becoming proud of  “success”. True spiritual power, the kind that brings hope and spiritual transformation must come to us as God’s resource. Somewhere along the way we must pull ourselves into a quiet place and find prayer and fellowship with the Holy Spirit to be our refuge in the midst of life.

2. Jesus’ prayer was done in solitude, away from distractions.

Jesus needed to focus on the voice of His Father and seperate Himself from outside voices veying for His attention. This is why Jesus woke up very early in the morning, while it was still dark. He knew everyone else would be asleep and He could be alone. Jesus tells us that when we pray, we should shut the door behind us and meet with the God who hears in private (Mt. 6:6). That is so valuable… we must shut the devil out and shut our hearts in with the Holy Spirit.

3. Jesus’ time of solitude and prayer with the Father enabled Him to stay focused on His calling… to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.

While everyone was looking for Him and while He had experienced amazing acceptance and success; He left that comfort to focus on His calling to the Gospel of the Kingdom. Maintaining a “vision” requires nothing less than our undivided attention to the highest priorities. Through prayer, Jesus was able to stay focused instead of being enamored by success. Human success and Kingdom success are not the same thing. The only way to discern the difference is to find our identity in the prayer closet. Valuing our time with the Father will help us stay on track with a passion for the Kingdom rather than a desire for popularity. Powerful things are accomplished for those who stay loyal to the heart of God. In prayer the Holy Spirit reveals a Kingdom heartbeat and renews our mind with dreams that resonate in heaven (1 Cor. 2:9-16).

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6)

First Things

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Mt. 6:33)

When we seek first the Kingdom of God every part of our life is effected. Our values, choices and even our dreams come into alignment by some very significant Truths… Truths that are foundation to a Christlike lifestyle. To place something first means it carries the most influence, weight and authority in our lives. It most often makes the most sense to us and appears first in rank or preference.

The “first thing” is the most important thing!

When we make the decision to follow Christ and put our faith in His power to lead us; we are immediately struck by the reality, that other things will challenge us for the position of “first place”.

First place is the high place!

Devotion and discipline are huge factors in our ability to maintain our goals to serve God with our gifts and honor God with our hearts. Yet it was Jesus’ own promise to us that if we would seek first the Kingdom of God; all the important things we value most, would come after our obedient lifestyle.

Seeking transforms our focus and aligns our desires with His will.

It is a sure thing that our commitment will be tested, but we can trust our Heavenly Father to deliver on the Promises of His Word. Seeking first the Kingdom of God actually releases the Holy Spirit’s Presence in our lives, for discernment and convictions to come to the surface. As we process life on spiritual levels, our hearts are moved and behaviors are adjusted by a sense of the peace of God, which passes our understanding (Phil 4:4-7).

Four things are required in the seeking first model:

  1. Rejoice in the Lord always… Praise and Activate Your Trust!
  2. Prayer Maintain Communication with Heaven!
  3. Supplication… Ask and Keep on Asking in Faith!
  4. Thanksgiving… Be Grateful for His Promised Best for You!

Making a lifestyle out of seeking God for the first things in our life will cause us to recognize all those less important things, that tend to release worry and fret. Worry does nothing to change our situation or shape our future for the better. Worry actually is the first thing our spiritual enemy (Satan) will look for to try and bring destruction through lies and fear.

Worry is irresponsible and distracting.

The Apostle Peter said “…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Pet 5:7) Trusting God’s character and faithfulness, is often the biggest test of our heart, but when we press through and renew our courage… we become more tenacious with a testimony on our side. Recognize God is more invested in you coming into your first things, than you are; because He cares for you!

Continuous Praise

“My mouth is filled with Your praise and with Your glory all day long.” (Psalm 71:8)

If your mouth is full of praise, then your life will be clothed in glory as well!

When you continually praise and worship the Lord from the heart, you will find it difficult to be critical and negative. Praise and thanksgiving transform the human reality by negotiating the atmosphere around us. There is spirit; realms of dominion, that when we set our hearts upon God, surround and cover us in Glory. Should we not prefer this atmosphere than all others?

The Spirit-filled life is a praise-filled life! The Scripture says, “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:18-20)

Praise releases the life of God into your present reality, into your relationships and into your destiny. Praise releases the benefits of the New Covenant to you. Have you any need? Praise releases God’s victory into your situations and circumstances. Praise puts the angels to work!

When you’re in the midst of a test or trial… and heaviness and sorrow try to overtake you, remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength! (Neh. 8:10).

Put off the spirit of heaviness by putting on the garment of praise and you’ll walk in victory all of your days… beginning today! (Isa. 61:3).

Kingdom First

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Mt. 6:31-33)

The first thing is the most important thing. When we seek first the Kingdom of God every part of our life is effected. Our values, choices and even our dreams come into alignment by some very significant Truths that are foundational to a Christlike lifestyle. To place something first means it carries the most weight and authority in our lives or appears first in rank or preference.

When we make the decision to follow Christ and put our faith in His power to lead us; we are immediately struck by the reality, that other things will challenge us for the position of “first place”.

“First” Place is the Highest Place!

Devotion and discipline are huge factors in our ability to maintain our goals to serve God with our gifts and honor God with our hearts. Yet it was Jesus’ own promise to us that if we would seek first the Kingdom of God; all the important things we value most, would come after our obedient lifestyle (Mt 6:33).

“First” Seeking Transforms Us:

What you seek… and how you seek determines your focus and the alignment of your desires. We want our heart to align with His will. It is a sure thing that our commitment will be tested, but we can trust our Heavenly Father to deliver on the Promises of His Word. Seeking first the Kingdom of God actually releases the Holy Spirit’s Presence in our lives, for discernment and convictions to come to the surface. As we process life on spiritual levels, our hearts are moved and behaviors are adjusted by a sense of the peace of God, which passes our understanding (Phil 4:4-7).

Four things are required in the seeking first model:

  1. Rejoice in the Lord always… Praise and Activate Your Trust!
  2. Prayer… Maintain Communication with Heaven!
  3. Supplication… Ask and Keep on Asking in Faith!
  4. Thanksgiving… Be Grateful for His Promised Best for You!

“First” Things are Vital:

Making a lifestyle out of seeking God for the first things in our life will cause us to recognize all those less important things, that tend to release worry and fret. Worry does nothing to change our situation or shape our future for the better. Worry actually is the first thing our spiritual enemy (Satan) will look for to try and bring destruction through lies and fear.

Worry is irresponsible and distracting.

The Apostle Peter said “…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7) Trusting God’s character and faithfulness, is often the biggest test of our heart, but when we press through and renew our courage… we become more tenacious with a testimony on our side. Recognize God is more invested in you coming into your first things, than you are; because He cares for you!

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