July 23, 2014
The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.
The Good Shepherd
The Lord is sufficient for every need that we have. One of the hardest things for us to do at times is to lie down in green pastures when in our perception all there is dead grass. One of the most important things that the Lord wants to teach all of us is to rest in Him. That is hard to process when the natural world around is falling apart, bills need to be paid, physical afflictions are besetting us. It is hard for us to rest when our children are in rebellion, our spouse is leaving us or that special someone is in critical condition.
God is not in our fears, He is in our faith and faith causes us to rest when everyone else is franticly trying to do something to solve the problem. Some problems are out of our control. They are bigger than we are and there is nothing else we can do except believe and trust in the Lord. We can never put God in a box and say if I just do this, then He will do that. Sometimes He doesn’t rescue us out of our disasters, but He will always be there with us as we go through them. Sometimes God works through miracles and sometimes it is through our hard life experiences. The important place for us to be is in the Shepherds arms. The Psalmist David rested in the profound truth that the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He knew from the experience of being a shepherd that a good shepherd would always act in the best interest of His sheep. Sometimes that meant rescuing them out of trouble and sometimes it might mean breaking their leg, so that they would learn not to stray. Whatever was necessary the shepherd would act out of his love for the sheep. They were an extension of him and his purpose, just as we are an extension of Christ and His purpose.
Today, the good Shepherd is watching over you. If you truly believe and rest in Him, then you shall not want. ‘He is able to meet all of your needs according to His riches in glory.’ “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)
July 22, 2014
The Subtlety of Compromise
2 Corinthians 11:3
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
The minds that God has given us are marvelous in their ability to help us function, remember, reason and navigate life. They can also be extremely susceptible to deception and wrong reasoning and thinking. How many times have we heard people say, “My God wouldn’t do that or isn’t that way, or is this or that.” Who is their God? Who is our God? We know God through the revelation and knowledge of His Word. We know Him through the life of Christ we see recorded in that Word. We know Him by His Holy Spirit that He has placed within our hearts and we come to know Him personally and experientially as we walk with Him in obedience and relationship. Like Eve, our minds are not only open to hear the voice of God, but other voices, reasonings and spirits as well. How blessed we are to have the foundational truth of the Word of God; to have absolutes and firm values of what is God’s will and righteousness. Satan’s purpose is always to pervert, twist, misconstrue and ultimately to lead us away from the Truth and to destroy our faith. He is probably not going to have much success if he is too obvious. If he came up to you today and said, “God isn’t real. You need to just relax, enjoy life and forget about this God stuff.” We would obviously refuse that and rebuke the devil. The devil is known for his subtlety. If he can influence our flesh to make small compromises, he will chip away at our moral fiber until it crumbles and falls. “What can it hurt if I just do this little thing?” It is the little foxes that spoil the vine. It is the little compromises that add up to major falls. It is fleshly and false reasoning that undermines our foundation of truth. One day something comes along and because we have compromised the integrity of our values that we knew to be right we set ourselves up to make a major blunder that devastates our lives and the lives of those around us. We all have areas of weakness in our lives where we are prone to be given to the flesh and to sin. The enemy will find the open doors and windows to creep in unawares and devastate our spiritual lives.
God is continually warning us throughout the Word to guard our hearts from the deceitfulness of sin. Deuteronomy 11:16 says, “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them.” Psalms 98:5 warns us against the hardening of our heart that can come through life’s trials and testings,” Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, [and] as [in] the day of temptation in the wilderness:” Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Ephesians 6:10-12 exhorts us, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Knowing that our minds and hearts are prone to evil, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us about how to combat these compromising temptations. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Our compromises are the imaginations that we don’t pull down and we allow to have place. Many of us are dealing with these compromises in our lives today in one area or another. The last thing we want to do is become stiff necked, hard-hearted, having eyes, but we cannot see and ears, but we cannot hear. Let us repent of our compromises and be restored in those areas we have let imaginations and strongholds come in. Let us be faithful in love and all humility to restore one another in the areas we see our brother or sister falling into compromise; taking heed that we also do not stumble in disobedience. We are not judges, but we are watchmen, watching out for one another in love, knowing that all of us are subject to compromise. Let us deal quickly with our sins while they are small, before we reap the consequences of what they will produce in us.
July 21, 2014
Make of Me an Instrument of Praise
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, [even] praise unto our God: many shall see [it], and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
Do you know what is the sweetest and the most precious instrument of praise in all of the earth? It is the song of the redeemed. It is the song of the Lord’s beloved bride lifting her voice in heartfelt adoration and worship. It is that new song that arises out of true spirit and truth worship from the innermost being of each believer. It’s not about how high or low the notes, the range or tonality of the voice. It doesn’t matter if you can carry a tune in a tin bucket; it is about your heart’s expression towards the Almighty. That song isn’t one we just wait until we get to church to sing. It is a song that resonates throughout our day, throughout our lives. It is the expression of our spirit to the most-high God. It is not always made up of carefully crafted and arranged tunes and words. It may be us simply giving expression to the Spirit praying through us. Whatever its form of expression, its intent and purpose is to glorify the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Revelations 5:9-14 says, “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” At the heart of each spiritual being is the need and the desire to worship. As people, we have the ability to worship many things other than God and those of the world often do. Even we, as His children, often misplace our worship, adoration and desires for things other than Him. There are many pitfalls of idolatry in which our worship becomes misplaced and we rob the One who alone is worthy. There is no greater defeat to a Christian than robbing believers of true praise and worship. Many of us go to church and go through the motions of singing our songs, but we never enter into a place beyond the mental exercise of singing. We may court the Lord, but never enter into intimacy with Him. In order to be intimate you have to get naked. You have to take off those garments of pretense, of religion, of self-righteousness. You must be willing to expose with honesty all that you are. Nakedness often brings shame, because all that we are is exposed. We can’t hide anything. This is the way true worship is. It is letting down all the walls we have built so that others wouldn’t see who we truly are. God has already seen us for who we are. As we come before Him in naked honesty, expressing our truest form of worship and love, in spite of our faults and shortcomings, He covers us with the robes of His righteousness and garments of praise. There is such a freedom and joy in giving yourself, without reservation, to the one you love above all others and all else.
Worship has many expressions. There is not one formula you can package and take home in a box. Worship is a union, a dance, a fellowship and communion with the Lover of your soul. That new song within you rises out of that intimacy and union with the Spirit. When this type of worship is expressed corporately through many individuals with the same mind and heart for true spirit and truth worship a song is born that truly blesses the heart of God. Psalms 22:3 says, “But thou [art] holy, [O thou] that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” It is often in those times when spiritual Israel comes in the heart of true worship that the presence of the Lord is so rich and wonderful. There are many in the body of Christ who are looking, desiring and longing for this intimacy and closeness in their worship experience. When we partake of the real heart of worship, when we truly learn and sing the new song of the Spirit, then all else becomes shallow and superficial.
The true body of the believers are the instrument that brings God the highest praise. In this atmosphere our spirit is truly united and in concert with His and we are one. We become lost in the rhapsody of our love for Him as our heart searches for the words of expression that fully communicates how much He means to us.
May it be our prayer and heart’s desire that He will make us an instrument of His highest praise that in every expression of life our song is, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Amen.
July 18, 2014
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
When Life Isn’t Fair
There are times in life, when life doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t seem just and our natural minded inclination is to hold God responsible and blame Him. After all, He is God. If He is in control then why couldn’t He have changed it or prevented it?
Why??? is often our question and our cry. We may not get some of those answers and closure until we get to the other side. What we do know is that God gave man a dominion and authority that he turned over to Satan by Adam when he and Eve sinned. That authority then made Satan the prince and power of the air. That sin and darkness has affected every one of us from the beginning of time. Those consequences have impact on the just and unjust alike.
We can blame mankind, global warming, overpopulation and even God for a lot of our problems, but at the root of it all, it is a sin issue that can only be resolved by the blood Jesus shed for each one of us. Jesus came as the Son of God into a sin-sick earth; leaving His position and humbling Himself, He took on the form of a servant in the likeness of man to show mankind what the love and salvation of God looked like. He lived and walked among all the darkness and depravity of man. He felt the full weight and furry of man’s injustice when He was unmercifully beaten and nailed to a cross. Was that fair? Was that just? Why didn’t God stop that? It was His only begotten Son?
Sometimes the things that work and affect our lives have a greater purpose than just an immediate solution or deliverance from their evil and ill affects. Sometimes, we, like Jesus, are faced with persecutions, trials, losses, calamities of various kinds, so that we learn and exercise our faith in Him alone that is above all these things.
Are we always going to understand them? No.
Understanding isn’t always the most important thing, but faith and trust in our heavenly Father is. God wouldn’t have sent His only Son to die for us, if He didn’t have a higher purpose for those that believe upon Him. Jesus was the ambassador and representative of God in the earth. He lived, walked out and showed us what that looked like in word and deed. Through His death, burial, resurrection and asscention Jesus passes His example and His Spirit into us, as His body of believer, ‘for as He is, so are we in this world.’
What we must understand is that it is not always the immediate results that are important or that define the victory, it is the process of what we walk through and what we learn to faithful and obedient in. Hebrews 5:8 says, “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.” If we are to be like Him, should we think that for us there should be some kind of shortcut. The lives of the early disciple and apostle was filled with much persectution, trial and sufferings, but Peters says in 1 Peter 4:12-13, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” Paul tells us in Romans 8 that ‘if so be that we suffer with Christ, we shall also be glorified with Him.’
There are many forms of suffering in this world, but God knows that this suffering can do a deeper work in us than all of the greatest blessings and benefits. God loves to bless His children, but even more, He desires for us to grow up in His image, likeness and character.
Hold fast your faith and when you don’t understand His hand, then trust His heart.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30
July 17, 2014
The Groan Within
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
As much as we can love the Lord and desire to be filled with the fullness and glory of His divine life we find that as long as we are still of this earth we are still tethered to our body of flesh. It is this body of flesh that poses our limitations; it is the dust to which we are bound and upon which the serpent feeds. This flesh is ever demanding our attention and our care as it provides the earthly housing for our spirit man. Yet it is the spirit man within us, redeemed and conformed to the image of Christ, that so groans to be set free from the limitations, the hindrances, the weakness, the sin and the failures that the flesh prompts and facilitates. Every day must be a recommitment to crucify this flesh, hold fast our faith in Christ and walk in a manner that glorifies Him. Yet every day it seems the enemy is at work in our lives to undermine, to seek some avenue of darkness that he might exploit in us. Everyday it is necessary to set ourselves in array with our spiritual armor to combat our spiritual foe. The battle is waged not so much without as it is waged within. We battle our thoughts that are impure or out of alignment with the Word of God. We war with our passions and our impulses to act out of our flesh rather than our spirit. We war with the individual weaknesses that are characteristic and inherent within us. “Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of sin and death (Romans 7:24)?” Isn’t that our groan and cry to the Lord? We often hate what we are still manifesting in our flesh, but we seem so powerless to gain the victory and righteousness that we so desire to see. It is this reality that we continually face that causes us to know that we are the products of God’s grace and mercy alone and through no righteousness of our own. It is His righteousness and life with which we now relate and identify. The answer to our cry and groan for the deliverance from this body of death is still Jesus Christ.
We groan to see that full deliverance from the influence and power of our body of sin, but God in His infinite wisdom has chosen that even in salvation that we must walk in faith and trust for the in-working of righteousness and deliverance in us. God has structured it in such a way that it is only in a holy and sustained union with Him and identification with who we now are in Christ that we walk each day in faith, working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Our day to day victories are only accomplished as we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that has set me free from the law of sin and death. There are two laws operational in your life today. Whichever law you make the choice to serve that is whose servant you are. We know that, in ourselves, in this flesh, dwells no good thing. We know that the heart is deceitfully wicked and who can know it? This is why we need an ally to prevail over this body of sin.
Romans 8:12-13 tells us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” The key to a victorious life in Christ is living and walking in the Spirit and by the power of the Spirit putting to death the passion and misdeeds of the flesh.
It is not often an easy walk. Sometimes we grow weary or complacent. Sometime we allow the moldy corruption of our sinful desires to have place under a cloak of righteousness, but eventually the stink of our misdeeds will be revealed. Yes, we are often weak and we can all stumble. We need to pray for one another. We need the ability to be transparent with one another without judgement so that we can minister grace and encouragement to each other. We are the body and with the life of Christ within each of us we must minister and function to the good and health of the whole. As we hold fast our faith and hope, one-day that groan will be turned to the shout of victory, as we will triumph fully in Christ Jesus.
July 16, 2014
2 Timothy 3:14-17
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Strong-willed people are most often very opinionated and usually convinced that their way is the best way. This can be a great leadership quality if these people are moving by the Spirit and direction of God, but often they may be convinced they are even if they are not. Perhaps you are a strong-willed person or you live with one or know one in your life. Often one of the weaknesses of this characteristic is that it is very much set on getting its own way. The strong-willed person may try to convince, persuade, intimidate, manipulate, use guilt trips, lie, cheat or deceive in order to get things their way. Now I’m not saying all strong willed people are this way, but to the degree they are strong-willed and given to the flesh they can be this way. Strong-willed people often feel very passionately about not only what they think is right for them, but what they think is right for others as well. As a result those who have strong-willed people in their lives may often find that they are trying to dictate what is right for you as well as themselves and whoever else who will allow them to control the issues at hand. In order for the strong-willed person to have this attribute be a positive for them they must first learn to submit that strong will to the will of the Father. That often is a battle for them to do. Strong-willed people often have a real problem with authority, because they want to be in control and do things their way.
The danger with strong-willed people is that they will lead and influence people of a weaker persuasion who will allow them to do so. You may have someone who is strong-willed in your life that is strongly influencing you in a direction that may well be contrary to God’s will for your life. Now the strong-willed person may feel very strongly and impress upon you very strongly that their will and opinions are the will of God for you. A strong-willed person, if not submitted to the Holy Spirit can be a very self-willed person. Most all of us have some of that self-will at work in us, but the strong-willed person who is also self-willed, will not accomplish the will of God and what is more they will lead others from the will of God as well, into an error of disobedience and rebellion. If we look back at the beginning of chapter 3 in 2 Timothy we see a description of what selfish, strong-willed and self-willed people can look like. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was.” These people can have a form of godliness, as they do things in the name of God to accomplish their own selfish end. In truth, they are in rebellion and are leading others in rebellion to God’s set authority. It reminds us of those that Moses had in his camp that thought they had a better way and that they could do better than the leadership that God had placed over them in Moses. We could go through the Bible and find many such examples of strong and self-willed men.
The exhortation the Lord has for us is that people of strong opinions and influence aren’t to replace the Holy Spirit in your life. From such as these turn away. Especially those of us who may be given to follow stronger personalities in our lives. While you may not be a strong decision maker or always feel like you hear the Lord’s voice, look to His Word, follow your peace and get these other voices out of your mind when making decisions concerning God’s will for you. Many people have followed such charismatic people to later find their lives and their faith shipwrecked and in ruin. Paul says to Timothy, ” And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Don’t forsake or allow men to lead you away from the foundations of your faith that has been established on the first principles of God’s Word. Stand strong upon the witness of God’s Word that you possess in your heart. We can’t afford to take at face value all that men present to us and call spiritual. Just because they put God’s name on it doesn’t make it right. God’s Word is the standard by which we establish and accept truth. While there are increasing depths and revelation of God’s Word, God will not lead us contrary to it. All truth should come into alignment with His Word.
Strong-willed people in the right spirit are a good thing because they usually get done what the rest of us would only procrastinate about and put off. Be discerning in how you are influenced and don’t allow manipulation and control to move you in ways that you don’t feel led to go. While we submit to one another in love, that is not an open invitation to control. The Spirit will lead you to be in control of the influences around you. Let the will of the Father be the strong will of your life.
July 15, 2014
This is what the LORD says:
“Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me?
Where will my resting place be?
2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD.
“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. 3 But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a person, and whoever offers a lamb is like one who breaks a dog’s neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig’s blood, and whoever burns memorial incense is like one who worships an idol.
They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations; 4 so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring on them what they dread.
when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened.
They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.”
5 Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word:
“Your own people who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said,
‘Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ Yet they will be put to shame.
6 Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple!
It is the sound of the LORD repaying his enemies all they deserve.
Here in Isaiah the Lord is giving His people insight into what He is looking for in His people. What Father desires is not an earthly edifice to dwell in or sacrificial acts or animals. Heaven is God’s throne and earth His footstool, why would He want a natural house that we could build for Him?
So many through the ages have only known a Christianity of works, ceremony and the sacrifices they could produce, offer and perform. Many have gone through the motions of religion and never known the intimacy of relationship. Such were the religious men of Jesus’ day and such are many in this day, but God is opening the eyes of many to the substance of what He is looking for. He says, “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” God has no heart for outward religion and show. Perhaps nothing on earth has brought more shame and discredit to His holy name than people operating under the cover of His name while committing abominable and ungodly acts. Religion isn’t the answer to finding the heart of God, it is your heart condition and attitude that He is looking for. It was religion that put to death the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was no friend of religion even though it feigned itself in truth. Jesus told his disciples to do as they say, but not as they do. They speak out of the word of truth, but they don’t live the truth in their heart and attitudes.
“But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a person, and whoever offers a lamb is like one who breaks a dog’s neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig’s blood, and whoever burns memorial incense is like one who worships an idol.”
They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations; 4 so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring on them what they dread.”
Now why would God say that when He was the one that instituted these acts of sacrifice? It was because they had lost sight of the truth behind the sacrifice and were simply going through the motions while they still did whatever they wanted.
“They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations; 4 so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring on them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.”
They were much like the wise and foolish that Jesus talks about in His parables. The foolish came to God and they heard God, but they didn’t do what He said. The wise man came and heard, but then he built his life on the foundation of the truth through his attitudes and actions, so that when the storms of life and even the judgements of God came, his house stood while the foolish man’s was destroyed.
“Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word:
“Your own people who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said,
‘Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ Yet they will be put to shame.”
It is those who say they are God’s who will often be your greatest persecutors thinking they do God a service. It was these religious ones that condemned and had Jesus put to death. It was the spear of Saul’s religious spirit that attempted pin David’s anointing to the wall. Know that if you are walking in the true Spirit of Christ, it will often be those of your own household, even the household of faith, who are your greatest persecutors. Wheat and tares may grow in the same field until harvest and then there comes a time of winnowing and separation.
Father is looking to abide in those whose hearts are so ripe for Him. Those whose heart cry is for Him. Those whose only desire is to please Him. He is still looking for that intimacy of relationship with His people who aren’t just interested in going through the motions, but passionately they want the substance of God’s reality in their lives. These are the ones who are pregnant with the life seed of Christ in them. These are the ones that will bring forth a nation in a day. They love Jesus with all of their hearts and they only want to go where He is leading them. God is calling out for the hearts of His true people, of His true house and dwelling place, for them to gather unto Him with all of their being. He is coming in those who know the substance of His Spirit and Being, not just the outward showing of an appearance of godliness. It’s the real deal or no deal.
“Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple!
It is the sound of the LORD repaying his enemies all they deserve. (Isaiah 66:6)”
July 14, 2014
Oh Come Let Us Adore Him
1 Chronicles 29:20
And David said to all the assembly, Now adore (praise and thank) the Lord your God! And all the assembly blessed the Lord, the God of their fathers, and bowed down and did obeisance to the Lord and to the king [as His earthly representative].
God is so good all of the time. He is so worthy to be praised even in our darkest times. We celebrate holidays that commemorate Christ and it is good that He receives honor in days such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. The truth is every day should grow sweeter and sweeter as we live it in Him. Everyday we should want to come and adore Him. None of us have to think very long or go very far to realize how many blessings He gives and how much goodness He bestows. Certainly if I ever grow up to be like anybody, I want to grow up to be like Jesus. He is the bright and Morning Star. He is the glory and the lifter of my head. In times of trouble we cry out to Him and He hears us from His holy hill. How precious and rich is the grace of the Lord over our lives. He protects us, keeps us, prospers our ways, touches our infirmities, and comforts us in our time of loss and grief. How empty, meaningless and hopeless our lives would be if it were not for the One who has created us to love us and for us to love Him. Everyday the cross of Calvary should bring us to tears, as we comprehend in some small measure the grace of God that was and still is extended to us through it.
Who can really comprehend God, laying down His very own life in His son to reconcile us back to Him? I can’t fathom that great of a love. What grieves me is how lightly and commonly I respond to that majestic love. How worthy He is of all our love, praise and adoration. How we often reflect so little of it in our daily lives, in our actions, words and deeds. Sometimes we praise Him with our mouth, but our hearts are far from Him. I know that the fuller our hearts are of Him and the more intimate we are in our relationship with Him, the richer and more sincere the praise and worship that we offer up.
One of the most precious things about King David was the anointing he had to praise and worship God. No wonder David was so precious to the Lord. David just knew how to love on Him.
He gives a convocation at the dedication of the Ark of the Covenant in 1Chronicle 16. There, in verses 8-36 he declares, “8Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. 9Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. 10Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. 11Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. 12Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; 13O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones. 14He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. 15Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; 16Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; 17And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, 18Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; 19When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it. 20And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people; 21He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, 22Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. 23Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation. 24Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations. 25For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. 26For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. 27Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place. 28Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. 29Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. 30Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved. 31Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth. 32Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein. 33Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth. 34O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. 35And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise. 36Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD.
Today, let your heart just rejoice in the Lord. In our thoughts and in our words let us acknowledge Him for His awesome greatness, goodness and love. May our lives be a sweet sacrifice of obedience and our will, mind and emotions fully bowed down before Him. May all that we are, all that we do and all that we are becoming be to the praise, the glory and the worship of His Holy Name. Just take the time to really love on Him, ‘cause His goodness never fails us and His mercies are new every morning.
July 11, 2014
Bottleneck to a New Age
And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do [exploits]. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, [many] days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And [some] of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make [them] white, [even] to the time of the end: because [it is] yet for a time appointed.
In the time of travail and childbirth for a woman a child has moved into position to come forth, but there is a bottleneck they must pass through to come from their world into ours. Only through great pressure and pain can that infant child be birthed.
There was a birth through the travail of Calvary. When Jesus offered up Himself there was a tremendous sacrifice of pain as Jesus gave His life. As His side was pierced out flowed blood and water, the issue of life and the womb. Out of that travail the church was birthed and a New Covenant was established. When the Church has come of age she also must bring to birth a manchild. Revelations 12 speaks of this birth, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man-child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and [to] his throne.” The season is coming for the Church to give birth. This will be a time of great persecution and trial even as it was for Jesus at Calvary. Childbirth is best handled when it is prepared for. A woman may know her season and the emanate time of her birth, but she doesn’t know the exact hour and time it will come. Such is the condition of the Church. Jesus is telling us of this time in Matthew 24:19-22 when He says, “And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” In this day we don’t want to be found in immaturity and still feeding upon the milk of the Word. We want to have grown into maturity in our faith where it can not be shaken, even when our expectations are not met. We won’t see the full deliverance of the Lord at this time and many will fall and suffer. It is the travail and it is our Calvary, but what comes forth will be so much more glorious and wonderful.
The apostle Paul exhorts us in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 and I leave you with his Words. “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as [do] others; but let us watch and be sober. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
July 10, 2014
He Lifts Me Up
But thou, O LORD, [art] a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
How wonderful is our God that when we come before Him in brokenness and humility, when we trust for those things beyond us and our control, He lifts us up. How wonderful that the world we know can come crashing down around us and yet we have hope, because He lifts us up. Our Lord causes us to rise above the storms of life. He is the wind beneath our wings. He causes us to walk in heavenly places even as we walk the dusty roads of earth. Our God lifts and raises us to places and heights we would have never known or imagined without Him. Is it evident to those around us, probably not, except when they see the joy and confidence we have through our trying times of life? The lifting and raising up the Lord does in our lives is often more concerned with our spiritual man. As we grow and mature in Christ we are being lifted up. As the Holy Spirit leads and teaches us through the trying times in our lives He is lifting us to a higher dimension and principles that govern and operate in our lives. He is teaching us to live in a Kingdom economy that operates so differently than the economy of this world. It is important that we embrace the truth that our God has given us “eagle wings”. He has not created us to just exist in the barnyard as chickens always looking down to scratch out their living. He desires our knees and hearts bowed down, but our eyes lifted up. Only as we look up into the heavenlies and into the face of God, can we see where He wants to lift us too. In Isaiah 51:5-6 the Lords tells His people, “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. 7 “Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults”.
It is our faith in our God and His Word that lifts up to a greater hope and perspective than this world can ever hope to give us. We do not lift ourselves up in who we are and what we have of ourselves, but our boast is in the Lord; in His great might and power. Some of us have dropped our heads in discouragement as we’ve sought to walk this walk. The battles have been rough and we have grown weary and feeble in the fight. Hebrews 12:12-13 exhorts us, “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” The Lord wants to lift you up today. He wants to lift up your spirit and lift up your vision and hope in Him. He wants you to remember again who you are in Christ and where your life is hid. Ephesians 2:5-7 encourages us in this as it reminds us, “, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath he quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” You are sitting in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus today. It doesn’t matter if we are walking through hell itself if we truly know the position and authority we have in Christ. We are hid in Him, just as He is hid in us. Jointly we live out of the life and power of the Spirit of God. Be encouraged today. Be lifted up, for the Lord is the glory and the lifter of your head!