Posts Tagged ‘trust’

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)

Believe

Jesus says it best: “When you pray, believe.” (Mark 11:24)

Crisp, clear and to the point, Jesus tells us exactly how to have an effective fervent prayer life. We can create all kinds of theories and teach about the five ways to approach God or three hindrances to our answers; but the key is “FAITH”. Believe in God’s ability to do what He has said He will do! And can I suggest something here… get over the issue of sounding religious! Faith is most easily found in relationship; because it works by love, not by rituals or perfect theology (Gal 5:6).

Faith Hears in the Spirit:

Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” (1 Kings 18:41)

This verse illustrates the confidence of the Prophet Elijah who believed God for what He had promised. I will repeat that “…for what God had promised”. The story of Elijah’s prayers holding back the rain in Israel is only climaxed by his bold confidence in proclaiming Ahab’s demise if he didn’t make haste for Jezreel. Rain is coming, because God said so… and I can hear it!

What exactly was it that Elijah heard? Nobody else seemed to hear the rain nor did they see it. The fact is, there was no indication that even one drop of rain was going to fall on any part of Israel! But faith comes out of a spiritual kind of hearing (Rom 10:17). Faith operates from a platform of putting hope in the promise of God (Heb 11:1).

Confidence:

Elijah heard the rain before it was manifest, much like we might trust our friend to send us a package in the mail. If the promise is good, then our confidence dictates our hearing. I will be looking for that package in the mailbox and praying in faith for its arrival. I’m speaking to God in prayer and speaking to others with testimony from a confident stance. “The Promise is on the way!” Its not to be hindered, not to be delayed, not to be distracted or crushed or stolen or intruded upon in any way… God has promised and I’ve heard it in my spirit.

Real Grace

The word “grace” has significant meaning for our relationship with God, ourselves and one another. Grace is God’s love offered. As a gift is freely given, so grace must be received to be appreciated. God offers us something beyond ourselves, yet within our reach. The power of this gift called grace, grows when we truly understand how it works in connection with faith and trust.

Grace is a Person:

God so loved the world that He gave us the gift of His only Son (Jn 3:16-17). Jesus is the gift of grace to all mankind. He is the way, the truth, and the life of God, given as the full representative of grace. Through Jesus, God comes to us and reveals Himself to us, because we cannot by ourselves find God. Jesus as our advocate with the Father comes to help us know Him and believe in Him as He really is. We cannot do this by our human limitation, because we get so blinded by carnal perception. We need God’s grace.

Religious Perceptions:

Religion can be negative to our perception, as it creates a way of seeing through boxes of morality, judgment and expectations. In fact, so many people are bound to religion that Christianity is often defined more by what it rejects than what it believes.

If we are sinful (and we all are), we may not want to come to God, thinking that God is unapproachable and will punish us for our sins. We may get the idea that we must be “good enough” to be acceptable to God. But this is where grace becomes so significant. Its the gift of God!

Understanding Mercy:

All sinners experience guilt, brokenness and emotional pain. But faith is our humble belief in God’s mercy. Mercy is simply God not giving us what we deserve so that grace can become visible. When we understand mercy, we naturally turn toward the one showing us that mercy. This turning is an act of humility, because we recognize the favor (grace) being shown us is undeserved and it causes us to feel like a burden is lifted from our shoulders. There are all kinds of burdens that mercy lifts when someone favors us.

Clarifying Our Focus:

It is important that we reject sinful behavior, but never reject ourselves or the person we see sinning. Unfortunately, in real life, many of us have the tendency to blend the two into one: we often associate the behavior with the person. In this way, we become condemning and judgmental, hypocritical and proud.

This is where God’s grace becomes visible. Jesus is not a policeman, but an advocate. An advocate is somebody who pleads the case for mercy and stands on behalf of the guilty before the accuser or the judge.

Restoration and Hope:

In the parable of the prodigal son, the father is not judgemental and condemning, but a restorer of broken relationship. Jesus tells us, he throws his arms around the returning son and kisses him, while his servant is commanded to prepare the house for a party.

Consistent with Grace:

Jesus would have us see God as the waiting Father, who runs to embrace the son at the first sign of his turning toward home. “This son was lost, but now has come home! Bring out the robe, the ring and the sandals, for my son was dead and is alive again. Prepare the fatted calf… tonight we feast!” (Lk 15:20-24)

Walking in Real Grace:

The other son is caught up in the epic battle with religious seeing and self-righteous attitudes. Jesus does not approve of that moralistic attitude, because it is hypocritical. In offering grace to others, Jesus wants us to embrace people at the first sign of turning toward home. Its not that we condone what they have done as much as we embrace who they really are. He wants us to know that grace is God’s unconditional love revealed at the first sign of humility. The Apostle Peter said “…be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet 4:5).

Rending Heaven

“Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your Presence. To make Your Name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your Presence.” (Isa. 64:1-2)

Like many of you, I have felt the despair of this season. We are in a very narrow place and even as the nations rage, there is a sense within my heart that all is not well. Everything that can be shaken is being shaken. If we are not careful, each of us might be tempted to believe that we are alone in this season. The Tempter would love for us to believe that God is not with us, that He doesn’t care about our challenges and that no one, not even our closest friends, are concerned about us. Yet, we must not allow the devil to cause us to surrender one step or one inch of our Kingdom posture. We must stand on His Word and tell the devil, “It is written!”

Releasing His Word:

When God says He will rend the heavens, He means that He will tear open a portion of heaven for His entry. He intends to come down by releasing His Word to us. The word “rend” is connected to the same word in Greek which means to “call out”. God is calling out! He has violently ripped a hole in the spiritual atmosphere and come into our world… His Word has become flesh and dwelt among us. As unsettling and unnatural as it was for a virgin to conceive and as foolish and unacceptable as it was for the world to embrace; God was rending the heavens and making Himself known to the nations. Why? Because His very Name is life, peace and salvation!

Let me repeat: His Name is Life, Peace and Salvation!

This “calling out” means several things. First, it implies that God will call out to us. He will make His name known to us, to call us to accountability. He knows us by name and He desires that we know Him… that we know His voice and His Presence. That we recognize love when it is demonstrated by a cross. It also implies a calling out to our enemy… His adversary! That’s right, can you picture this? Not only is God rending the heavens and calling out to us with words of life, He is also calling out to our enemy; the accuser, who accuses us day and night. What’s He saying… “It is Finished!” The day of vengence has now come…

  • I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:19-21)

God is once more rending the heavens and coming down to us, by releasing His Word. Will we hear Him? He is speaking concerning our breakthroughs, as well as exposing the strongholds that are blocking His advancement in the Earth. He is speaking new strategies and equipping His people with power to transform the culture one person at a time. Shaking is not a new thing, its a God thing… God is revealing His purposes in the Earth and exposing the enemy at the same time. Our responsibility is to walk in God’s Promises and trust in His Fathering Heart.

Understand His Intentions:

Position yourself to hear the Voice of Your Redeemer! Remove the old garments for the Bride Groom stands ready. Cast aside the influence of Babylon (the world system) and Mammon. Shake yourself free from discouragement that latches onto your mind. Renewal and refreshment are awaiting the Bride as she sees with the eyes of faith and love. This Bride Groom comes with fire in His eyes, declaring His intentions. The Lord is extending peace like a river and the wealth of the nations like flowing streams (Isa 66:12). He comes anouncing His intent… “I have come for My Bride!”

The Good News:

There is a good word in these times of shaking. “Though sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning” (Ps 30:5). God is not finished and He has no intention of holding back… for in rending the heavens He is making His Name known among the nations. The mountains will shake, but those who have their hearts set on their Beloved… they will welcome the sound of His footsteps.

“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)

Fueled by Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 15:13)

OK, Spirit Filled Believer - the time to evaluate your trust level is now! Joy and peace are the evidence of a healthy faith in God. Its time to get honest and recognize the difference between busy energy and the power of the Holy Spirit. One gives temporary relief, while the other fuels us with the supernatural power of hope. The God of hope wants to fill you up so completely that you overflow with hope!

A Fueling Station:

This is the stuff we talk about endlessly in our Christian huddles, but cannot find when the going gets tough. Remind yourself today that this kind of fruitful lifestyle gets into our lives by pulling upon the power of the Holy Spirit. God has given us a fueling station to plug our hearts into. You cannot work it up or prop it up with flattering words… its only gonna come from soaking in the Presence of the Holy Spirit. You will need some time with God.

Soaking in His Presence:

Emerse yourself in His love and awaken your perception to the flow of mercy and grace from the spiritual realm. Praise God for His kindness to forgive you of your sin and let go of all your concerns about measuring up to some arbitrary standard. Just let it go for a moment and see how different it feels to be accepted without performance… without trying, doing or being anything but yourself. Let God have you, not your sacrifice, service or plans.

God Loves… You!

You are who God loves, completely and unconditionally. Take that in for a moment and let it settle on the busy-ness of your mind. Wait… just wait for a moment until that thought of “God loving you”, gets past your mind and settles your heart. Can you sense God’s heart toward you? You see our greatest challenge is not that we cannot receive the Lord’s discipline, its that we so easily forget how deeply He loves and accepts us as His Child (Heb 12:3-8). That is where the hope is.

Our Father:

The hope is in the fact that He is on our side and will deliver us from all harm. He covers and comforts, watches and waits on us; He listens and comes closer than the breath that we breathe… because He truly is the God of Hope. He is our Father, the defender of the weak and the healer of the broken and His delight is to fuel our lives with hope.

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