I have a message for you:
Your sins are already forgiven.
Jesus paid for all sin, past, present, and future; and God accepted His payment on our behalf.
God is not shocked or surprised by your sin. He knows it all and has seen it all before, yet He still sent His Son, loving us all enough to let His Son choose to pay the price we owe for the evils He did not do. And Jesus did so willingly out of love, delivering all who receive His gift of saving grace, delivering us from sin’s death – separation from God, desiring to give us life with God for all eternity.
There’s only one sin God will not forgive and Jesus doesn’t cover: the sin of refusing to believe and trust the truth of the work of God’s Spirit in birthing Christ to a virgin; living through Him, performing miracles and teaching truth; letting Him die on a cruel cross on our behalf so He (the Spirit Power of God) could raise Him to life again; taking Him up in ascension to sit on God’s throne as King of kings and Lord of lords. If we refuse to believe these truths of the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension to Lordship of Jesus Christ, only possible because of God’s work through the power of His Spirit, we cannot possess eternal life with God the Father. When we possess eternal life in Christ, He gives us the Spirit Power of God, making us a new creation, bearing the fruit of the nature and image of God in us. Eternity begins when we let God in.
Your sins are forgiven. Receive your gift by believing in Christ, receiving Him as Lord, and you will be saved to eternal Life.
“… You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name. He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen.”
Thank You, Father, that You desire our heart – for us to be wholehearted toward You, practicing our faith through surrendered trust in Your faithfulness.
You have taught me that my faith can only stand firm on You when my focus is Your faithfulness. We too easily make our faith the god that determines our outcome. Faith to believe and trust You is important, for without faith, it is impossible to please You; but, as Your faithfulness did not stop because of Abram and Sarah’s faith that took a wrong turn, in their attempt to make their own way to the promise by using Hagar, so Your faithfulness will prove itself in us and our situations as we put the focus of our trust in You. You still kept Your word to Abraham. You – who know our hearts – will be found faithful by us.
It is Your faithfulness that must be our focus for our faith to stand in agreement and cooperate with You. I pray for discernment of Your promises, trust to take You at Your Word, and clear vision to follow Your lead as we keep our focus on Your faithfulness with earnest expectation and hope in You who will do it. You will accomplish Your Word. Not one tittle of Your word will fall or fail, for, however long the wait, You are faithful and will show Yourself strong. This I’ve seen. This I know of You. In You I trust. In Jesus, amen.
“One of the greatest lessons I ever learned was that in order to seek God consistently, you need His assistance. The truth is we have an adversary. There exists a being that does not want us to succeed or to grow deeper in God.” Jovita Sheppard
I know many parents who are in deep grief over choices made and hardship suffered by their kids and grandkids in these days. I know that, for me, I have wondered what on earth happened; what I did wrong: such thoughts leading me to feeling like a failure as a parent.
None of us are perfect, and I certainly had my childhood baggage to get rid of as I learned more godly parenting skills. As Christians, we all realize our own issues and growing pains as followers of Christ and as parents, and we all hope and long to give our kids godly resources that help them live life stronger and better. When they don’t succeed at seeking and trusting God, we grieve and feel the failure. So, the other day, crying out to God again, He came clearly to my mind with this clear understanding:
“You were not a bad mother. You prayed to Me for your children and grandchildren from before they were birthed, giving them to Me. You spoke of Me to them and took them to My Word. You got them into church, and you instructed them in My ways. You continue to encourage them to seek Me. You live your faith before them and love them with My love. You have trusted My lead and followed Me as a parent. Trust me now.
“Stop beating yourself up and keep doing what I taught you to do: loving, praying, encouraging, instructing at every opportunity. They need you to be an ally and support. Don’t allow the enemy of your soul to take you into a defeated spirit where you cannot do these things with confidence in Me.
“I got you through all you experienced in life, using it to get you where you are and make you who you are. I will do exceedingly abundantly in their lives as well. You keep trusting them to Me and My glory will be known.”
Maybe you, like me, were not raised in church or taught about God and His ways. Perhaps, like me, you had to learn godly parenting through on the job training. Keep doing what God taught you to do, knowing He will not fail His good purpose and plan. He will bring good out of the mess we see.
Perhaps you have only recently become a Christian. It is not too late. Seek God and lay your cause at His feet. Trust Him to instruct you. Keep praying for those you love and live the faith you have boldly and unapologetically. Watch with earnest expectation and hope to see what God will do.
May God bless you and yours in these strategic days.
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
1 John 2:15-17 NASB
The world or worldly. This passage defines “all that is in the world” as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. Considering this malady today, my thoughts settle on the eyes.
I know that lust resides in my dead flesh. The flesh wants what it wants. When revived from the death of sin bought for me by Jesus, that flesh with its passions and desires rises to draw me away from God and His desires for me. That enlivening begins in the eyes.
When my eyes fall to something flesh desires, the lust of the eyes excites the flesh. Then that flesh woman in me raises up from the dead to spark life back into the boastful pride of life in me as it did in Eve.
The lie of Satan is seed that is passed from parent to child. When lust of eye tweaks lust of flesh to resurrect itself, that seed of Satan starts talking in my own voice. “Surely one taste won’t hurt. I am strong and can just have one. God won’t mind as long as I reassert my self control. I can do it.”
I’ve fallen to this trap of fleshly lust over and over, especially in my way of eating. One reason for that is my knowing that no food is evil in itself. It’s my lust of flesh that is evil, and it knows how to trap me into making food an idol that too readily enslaves me. The lie is thinking “I” can be strong enough for anything. The trap is pride that ignores the first step into it: the focus of my eyes on an idol that too easily enslaves me.
Today, as I consider these things, I realize that the first step toward victory over the lust of my flesh is to look away from that which caught my eye’s attention. This may be the physical sighting of a delectable morsel, or it may simply be my mind’s eye allowing it’s focus to shift off course. Look away and turn gaze back on God.
Step two: do battle with pride. Take every prideful thought captive and make it bow to the name of Jesus as Lord and the Spirit of God as ally to our ability to do anything, knowing that “I” is unable to do anything apart from God. Take self thoughts captive to God’s desires for me, His power to overcome given to me. Refocus on relationship with Him and my desire to please Him above all else, keeping Him as the Lord and one true God over me. Set my mind and keep it set on walking in eternal victory. Keep it set on Temple life.
“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”
James 1:12-15 NLT
The lust of the flesh keeps me in the grave of sinful passions. But God! By His grace, it is no longer “I” who live as flesh, but Christ lives in me through the power of His Spirit. His Spirit gives true life to me as I walk in believing faith and trust in God. By God’s Spirit alone, I have power to overcome the passions and desires of my flesh. Walk in victory with me and let’s be made whole.
Respect. What is it? And what determines the giving of it?
According to The Free Dictionary: respect is a feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem. The state of being regarded with honor or esteem: a leader held in the greatest respect. Consideration or appreciation. Due regard for something considered important or authoritative: I.e., respect for the law.
My personal answer to both questions is “me”.
In my opinion and, prayerfully, in my personal life, respect is an attribute I must possess and practice. Respect, like love, is who I am and choose to be. It flows out of love, honor, and loyalty, first to God, then to self and others, and finally to the institutions of life: family, church, job, law, nation, etc.
With God in first place, respect is given out of love, honor, and loyalty to Him. He calls us to love Him out of one’s entire being as first, most vital relationship, and love others as self. Respect is first and foremost an act of love that honors God as Lord.
God tells us to honor our parents. He does not specify honoring parents who are worthy. We honor our parents, whether or not they are good at parenting, because God is our God. Honoring parents, honors Him as God. One way we do that as children of God is by living as honors Him in such a way that it makes our parents look good as parents. Honoring Him expresses honor for those He birthed us to. It can be hard, especially if the relationship is a bad one, but God, who requires it, equips us for it.
Loyalty to God spills over to respect self as the temple He chooses as residence. Loyalty to self chooses to BE as He is, through love, honor, and the loyal practice of all He places in us and calls us to. Desire to BE all He desires for me, and all He is making me to BE, requires me to be loyal to self in requiring the best in me. Out of loyalty to being who I am and desire to be, I give respect, at all times, to all people, including myself, in loving care as His temple.
We are called to respect parents, which includes grandparents, because God says to and we respect Him. We are called to respect governing officials, which includes law enforcement, because they are given charge by God to reward good, and punish evil. Respect honors a parent’s wishes through obedience as a love action toward God first. Respect obeys the laws of the land for the same reason. Respect obeys God above all: His laws and requirements take precedence over all others.
When we ignore a request or order given, or do a half hearted job of it, we disrespect God first, denying His Lordship; then we disrespect self, sullying our reputation as God’s representative; and lastly we disrespect the authority figure we dishonor through disobedience or halfhearted service.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T begins and ends with “me”, who I am, who I want to be. And it reflects my true relationship with God, in whose image I am called to live.
Father, as I think on these things and write these words, I can see areas of needed practice using my respect muscles. Make me better at living this necessary attribute. Empower the attribute of respect to flow from me out of love, honor, and loyalty to You as Lord in all my relationships. In Jesus, amen.
And checking it twice.
“Set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.” ~ Colossians 3:2 AMPC
I read a devotional in one of my YouVersion’s Holy Bible App Christmas devotionals that suggested making a God List. The author, Samantha Hanni, defines a God list as follows:
“A God list is a list of qualities you’d like to develop or things you want to learn about the Lord. …If I were to make a God list right now, one of the things on there would be help in renewing my mind, resting in His love, and continued courage to wait on Him.“
This will go well with what God led me to do as my New Years resolve many years ago, so I’m excited to add this to my New Year’s preparations. For many years now, Father has led me to seek Him for a scripture to direct my focus for spiritual growth and maturity in the coming year. The last two years have focused on living the resurrected life: Galatians 2:20 (2018) and Galatians 5:24 (2019).
Today, in preparation to share these thoughts, Father highlighted my 2020 focus. As I looked up the verse Samantha used in her devotional, Colossians 3:2, 3:1-17 being one of me life passages, I was led to add verse 1 and use the Amplified Classic version of scripture. There it was, my verse for 2020:
“IF THEN you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.“ ~ Colossians 3:1 AMPC
In 2018, I grew strength in realizing Christ, living through a more surrendered me. In 2019 I grew stronger resolve to surrender my passions and desires to His. And now, with Colossians 3:1 as my focus and Samantha’s encouragement under my belt, I will begin today to make a God list to aid my focus to “aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above”, available for those living a resurrected life.
Are you ready for Christmas? Are you ready for a New Year? More importantly, are you ready for the breath you breathe now. Our now-breath is all we can know as ours to live for sure. Enjoy this season as God gives breath for it. Plan for a new year that honors Him. And apply your resolve to each new breath so your life honors Him.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I love the story of Noah. He was good at everything I aspire to.
When everyone else catered to thoughts snared by mortal flesh, he held to thoughts of God and His ways. While everyone else catered to the ways of the world and fitting in with friends, Noah loved God and ran hard after Him.
Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord, being numbered by Him as “a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time”. And “he walked in close fellowship with God.” (Genesis 6:9 NLT)
Noah was so close to God that God not only let him in on His plans to destroy the evil, but entrusted to him the job of saving the good and preserving life. Noah’s relationship with God pictures everything I want my relationship with Him to portray. The last verse of Genesis, chapter 6, gives the clue needed for achieving this life goal:
“So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.” (Genesis 6:22 NLT)
We’re not told whether Noah questioned God. What we are told is that Noah obeyed. He TRUSTED God and followed His every dictate out of that trust. This fellowship with God is possible for you and me, too. God has provided for us to possess this relationship.
“I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I (Jesus) go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…” (John 16:7-8 NASB)
God gives us His Spirit so, through Him, we may fellowship with God. This Spirit empowers us to live lives that cooperate with God in accomplishing His will, His way. Our Spirit filled and led love work with God to convict the world of sin that separates from God, righteousness that unites with God, and the coming judgement that is already set against this world of sin. It is this knowledge imparted to us that led us to choose The Christ and receive the seal of His Spirit. And how does He do that?
Through the Spirits work in us, we learn of God, His will and His ways. And by that Spirit power, we choose obedience. We see it in this same work of the Spirit: granting understanding of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
Once we understand our sin nature and God’s provision of righteousness in Christ, receiving that gift to escape the power of the judgment of sins death, the Spirit works in us for change and transformation. As we grow in fellowship with the Father in the power of His Spirit, the Spirit empowers us to look through God’s eyes at every choice that comes. He empowers us to discern the path of sin, evil, death, and the path of righteousness, goodness, Life. He imparts good judgment to us so we may choose the path of obedience to God. Our lives become a testimony to those watching this change in us, making us partners with God in saving some.
Beloved, who is your hero of faith. Like me, you may have many. Look at their lives and realize that God makes a way for us to follow their example. By grace, in the power of God’s Spirit, we, too, find favor with God in following hard after Jesus, empowered by the Helper Spirit of God.
Bear with me for a pause from Hebrews. Sharing with friends about having a bad attitude and trying to head it off, one replied, “I am working on my own attitude. I just read, “Instead of counting to 10, try saying the first 10 words of the Lord’s prayer several times.” Sounds good!”
I thought so too and began immediately! But I was led to add the next 14 words, 24 total.
“Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.”
It dawned on me as I said those beloved words, that if we truly grasp what this first part of our Lord’s outline says, we are set for Life!
God’s Kingdom and His will is to Father us. That has always been true. His is not the role of any old dad, though. We can take the descriptions of all the greatest dad’s, add all we can imagine in the makeup of dad-greatness, and we will never come near to understanding and grasping that of our Daddy-God.
Not only is He truly the Father who knows (and does) best, but He is GOD. Our God is higher and greater than we can fathom, the one we can run to day or night. Even running into His throne room unannounced, with no greater desire than to sit on His proverbial lap and be near Him for a bit, we will always find His scepter ready to receive us in mercy and love, as the king did for Esther.
Beloved, I believe this is the greatest truth about our God that there is. His will and desire is and has always been that we recognize and honor Him as our true Father, our One True God, the Good Shepherd we look to and follow. That is Who He is. Think of all that those role-descriptive words imply and know God. When we grasp hold of this truth and choose Him, desiring all He has for us, the remainder of the prayer is unnecessary, for the rest of the outline is fulfilled in Him.
He is Daddy God, our Shepherd, ready, willing, and able to tend our every need to perfection, according to all He knows is best. He is also King, ordering our steps and giving us purpose. We can run with that, having no need to pray the middle, because His will is to take care of us, leading, guiding, and directing our path to His full supply. His desire for us far exceeds all we can fathom, deeper than our greatest thoughts.
When we can trust Him enough to be still and know God, we can skip to the end and worship His glory, honor, and praiseworthy Presence with us, fully satisfied in and by Him. Is this not the picture given us in Holy Writ of Heaven’s splendor?
In Part 3 of this series, we covered Christ’s Priesthood, how His sufferings were purposed by God to grow Him in His ability as a Priest on His way to possessing His place as the eternal High Priest. We spoke of His experience being an example to us who are called to the priesthood in Christ. We, too, earn the right to share our comfort with those in need through the experiences of suffering we possess.
Today, looking at chapter 5 in Hebrews, we begin the journey to uncover it’s instruction on the priestly role we are called to possess, as exemplified by Christ. Breaking it down, we discover:
~ Our inherited appointment (covered today)
~ some of the duties of our priestly role (beginning today and continuing tomorrow)
“The High Priest is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.”
Jesus gave Himself, once for all, as the sacrificial Lamb, never having to offer such sacrifice again. He was called of God to this role, and through Him is our call.
Since there is no longer the need of a sacrifice for sin, our role as priests unto God is now to offer gifts and sacrifices of praise with thanksgiving for the freedom the gift of Jesus provides us.
Jesus “deals gently with us” out of His understanding of the battle in human flesh. As we learn and grow in our priestly role through lessons of suffering, we learn mercy and grace towards others who struggle with sinful flesh.
“No one takes the honor of the Priesthood to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.”
Jesus is blessed with the call of God to His Priestly role “in the order of Melchizedek.” Melchizedek was King of Salem and Priest of The One True God, said to be without beginning and without end. Jesus, too, is from before the beginning of time and without end. He, too, is King and Priest. He, however, exceeds Melchizedek because He is also God Incarnate.
Jesus being High Priest forever, we are called and equipped through our union with Him to that order in the line of the King and Priest of Israel, of the lineage of Judah in Christ Jesus, the Son of David and Son of God. Through our High Priest we have our being as the sons and daughters of God, The Father, being of the Royal court, of the Holy heritage and priestly order.
We will stop here today. Next post will continue from here to look at more in Chapter 5 of Hebrews, where we find more clues of our priestly heritage and responsibilities through Christ.
“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’ ….” John 2:1-11 NASB (http://bible.com/100/jhn.2.1-11.nasb)
I love reading this account often called “the first miracle of Christ”, however, I believe it is most likely the first RECORDED miracle. It’s just pretty obvious to me that His Momma knew from experience what her Son was capable of doing. She also knew that her Son would give her what she asked Him to give. I see, in this passage, three things that sound to me like good advice for us all.
Know what God can do. Learn of Him. God responds to faith. Faith comes by hearing; and hearing by the Word of God. When we have a need, we turn to what we know. Mary knew her Son, so she turned to Him for the need she perceived.
Ask of Him. Mary knew her Son and what He could do, so she asked Him for it, knowing He could and would supply. Later, Jesus, after training His disciples, told them, ““If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7 ). Like Mary, when we know God through Christ and believe what He can do, we gain confidence to ask with faith of receiving.
The third, vital lesson to seeking and receiving are in Mary’s words, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Like these servants, to experience and participate in God’s miracles, with ability to recognize what He does for us, we must also listen to Him and do what He says. Like with these, the instructions God gives may seem strange to us. Can you imagine: needing wine and hearing, “fill these pots with water and take it to the head waiter.”
My first, real experience of this happened many years ago. I had a headache that would not go away. For weeks on end, I could get it dulled, but not gone.
One day, after a particularly excellent quiet time with the Lord, praising and praying to him, that headache had a stronghold on me. Already having taken the med for it with no results, I told the Lord I was so tired of that headache. To my heart came clear instruction to lay down.
As I laid down flat on the sofa, I told the Lord, “This is weird to me, but I trust You.” The Spirit led me to relax, eyes closed and focused fully on God, beginning with my feet and working up. With His coaxing, I relaxed so deeply that I felt like I sank into the cushions.
When we reached my neck, a very small circle of light appeared in the darkness behind my eyes. Watching it, the circle grew bigger and brighter. Then the image of an angel appeared, flying up through the circle of light and out the top of my head, fist clenched in front of him and the biggest, laughing smile on his face. Followed by one after another in like fashion, those angels kept flying through my head until my entire skull was full of light so bright that I squinted trying to see. I laid there totally relaxed and in stunned awe for a bit, before sitting up, absent the headache.
That healing lasted for many weeks, not having any type of headache at all. And I’ve not had that particular headache again since then.
Scripture tells us God’s ways and thoughts are not like ours. When we seek Him to do a work only He can do, trusting Him when the clear instructions sent seem strange to us is vital to our experiencing His answer to our need.
Learn to know Him, Beloved. Be quick to seek Him in faith, believing. Then listen to His instruction, which can come through His Word, through the insights of those around us, or in that knowing place in us that houses His Presence with us. Once His instruction is clear, do what He says, and get ready to stand amazed.
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” John 5:39-40 NASB.
Be careful where you put your faith.
Look carefully to where your faith for eternity lies. In Jesus’ day, many let their faith slip off of the Word Giver and land on the word given. Without God behind it, the word is nothing.
We, today, see faith slip off of God to many things:
– a continuance of the Old – placing faith in His word instead of in Him;
– in our own righteousness instead of in Him, Who is our righteousness;
– in the church we attend;
– in the strength of our faith;
– in the baptism we receive.
All of these are part of our faith walk, but, apart from Jesus, they are nothing! Make sure that your faith is standing firm on God in all His fullness, not on the things of God.
““And you will, even of yourself, let go of your inheritance That I gave you; And I will make you serve your enemies In the land which you do not know; For you have kindled a fire in My anger which will burn forever.”
“Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD. For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:4-10 NASB
After this revelation from God, Jeremiah cried out in verse 14, “Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; Save me and I will be saved, For You are my praise.”
God’s wrath remains kindled against sin: all that stands against God, denying His Lordship, and refusing His way, which is found in relationship with Jesus, who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Each person is judged by God’s standard, according as He sees to be their individual heart toward Him. A nation is judged according to the culmination of the judgment against its people. Thus it is better to stand alone with a right and true heart before God, than to follow the crowd into chaos. Seek the Lord through the saving grace of Jesus, the Christ, and let your heart be healed.
Yesterday morning, I had a vision that I believe to be from God. Lying in bed, hoping to go back to sleep, eyes closed, in that darkness I clearly see our bedroom filling with white smoke. Immediately following my asking the Lord, “What’s going on?” two angels step into the smoke and lift holy hands to God. I cannot hear what they are saying, but I sense worship in the air and step forward, joining the angel’s song. As I do, the image changes. I see many scenes of people all over the world, running in a panic from something. I get the strong sense that whatever is causing the fear and panic is allowed or sent by God. My heart of worship continues and the vision ends.
Last night, thinking on the vision from yesterday morning, I sought God for greater revelation. As I considered the scene of the Angel’s song, God pointed my heart to the position from and to which all occurred. Noting the position of things, I recognized the smoke, coming from the west, is the sacrifice of praise and worship coming from God’s people. The Angels came up into that worship from the southeast and turned to face due east. All the hosts of God’s creation who believe in and seek Him, were watching for and working to be ready for the King’s arrival.
I said above that I stepped forward to join the Angel’s song. I did not see myself do that. I was not seen in the vision, I was part of it, physically joining in the worship going on. It was a heart movement as I mentally and emotionally turned my focus to the East and began to worship God with full control of my very alert faculties.
As soon as I did that, the scene literally swiped away from the southeast where the Angels came from, to the northwest, being replaced as if seeing the screen of a video swiping up to replace the view of those worshiping God, changing to many scenes in a collage of views from everywhere on the earth.
The first, most evident scene was a woman, climbing a big hill or mountain covered with huge boulders, panic stricken, moving north. The next was a couple in a well-groomed, middle class neighborhood, running in a panic, the man looking over his shoulder to the west where the worship was coming from, dragging behind a woman with a panicked expression. Another had city skyscrapers surrounding many people on the run, with all I can recall seeing looking back as if to escape some approaching enemy, having facial expressions of panic. I vaguely remember scenes including a Japanese style building (a pagoda and huts), forest or wooded areas, and there was more my mind could not focus on before the vision quit.
God told me yesterday that the meaning of the vision would be found in my next portion of scripture reading. I finally got to focus on my reading last night, which was 2 Thessalonians. There, in chapter 1, verses 3-10, God reveals it.
“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, AWAY FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD AND FROM THE GLORY OF HIS POWER, WHEN HE COMES TO BE GLORIFIED IN HIS SAINTS ON THAT DAY, AND TO BE MARVELED AT AMONG ALL WHO HAVE BELIEVED—FOR OUR TESTIMONY TO YOU WAS BELIEVED” ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10.
Those who believe God run to Him in every avenue of life, their very being expressive of the true worship of God. Those who do not believe God run from any evidence of His presence and fight against the knowledge of God that makes Him evident.
I believe God is calling all who truly seek Him with a whole heart, desiring and recognizing His presence, to be more overt in our worship of Him in every way that the Scriptures reveal to be the true and evident heart of worship (1). Every part of our being must seek to possess and remain in the presence of the Lord through a holy life that truly and sincerely worships and honors Him as Lord. Those who do not want to know His presence will flee from us because they recognize and do not want the presence of the Lord. We are not to turn from worshipping God, as man pleasers, but as God-seekers, our focus is to be on the presence and power of our soon returning King.
Every act of our worship reaches out to Him as the savory aroma of the sacrifice of praise. Glorify the Lord with every breath, for the day of His return is nigh (very near to us, quickly approaching).
A few passages that instruct in the true worship seen in the saints of God: Isaiah 58; John 4:22-24; Romans 12:1-3; 1 Corinthians 14:24-25; Philippians 3 (esp. AMPCL).
“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not drive it out?’ And He said to them, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you’” ~ Matthew 17:19-20.
Last post we discovered that the “littleness” of faith Jesus warned of was not a lack of enough faith, as Jesus says that it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains. The “littleness” Jesus speaks of in this analogy is faith that is immature, being unable to sprout forth and grow. It does not matter how much faith we have if that faith is immature: incapable of growth producing the fruit of the Seed. Faith, inadequately mature for growth, is useless, even though we possess enough of it to pile it up to mountainous heights. However, the smallest amount of faith, made ready to grow, is powerful, to the removing of mountains. That is the teaching of Christ I see.
No doubt, we each have many seeds of faith within us, each in various stages of maturation, some already grown into large, mature trees. Trees sprout forth in fruitful glory when, having experienced God enough in some areas of life, we no longer question His ability and willingness. Instead, we readily and easily trust Him in areas kin to our experience. In those areas, we bear much fruit to the glory of God, for we know from whom our help comes.
Facing new needs requiring faith, finding just that tiny seed available for the new situation standing before us, our past-experience of God helps prepare the new seeds of faith, making them ready to germinate at the unction of God’s Spirit. Just a little time with God’s Presence, receiving instruction regarding the path ahead of us, assuring our hearts of His faithfulness, and roots spring forth to produce a harvest. In the process, mountainous issues fall away into nothingness as we grow to know how great God is.
The problem the disciples had hindering their faith was that Jesus, the one who instructed them in the heart of God and His purpose, was unavailable for consultation. The Presence of God they knew was nowhere to be found in that moment of need.
Last post, covering this understanding that the seed Jesus sights as having “littleness” is immature, we ended with the thought that we must realize the mountain God has set His sights on removing. Knowing the mountain set by God for removal with hope set on Him who powers it is vital to victory.
Beloved, we will never, this side of eternity, have sufficient understanding of God and His ways so as to never have need to plant new seeds of faith. There is always new growth and fruitfulness to possess in our knowledge and understanding of God. The thing I am learning is that the mountain we think we see in front of us is most often potting soil, set in our path by God as the soil required for our faith-seed to grow.
We see the difficulty standing in the middle of our road; the hardship that we cannot get past. That thing standing in front of us, causing such frustration and doubt as it refuses to move, becomes enormous in our eyes as we fight the challenge we deem an obstacle. Wanting not to have the difficulty that challenge presents us, we decide it must be a mountain to cast off. Failing to recognize the soil made ready for seeds of faith’s growth, discontented in the place God plants us, we find ourselves fighting against God, thinking we are working with Him to move the mountain in our eye’s sight.
The truth I find is that the bigger mountain God is always after is those things in us that hinder our knowledge of Him and His ways, destroying our trust to believe Him and take Him at His Word. Let us look at our disciples again to glean from that example and see that, though they failed to heal the boy, a mountain did come down.
Before their mission trip, Jesus gave the disciples an assignment (Mark 6:7-14). They listened to the Creator of all things, The Living Word sent from the Father. He prepped the seeds of faith they would plant for fruit bearing as they faced each challenge set before them. That seed fertilized by God through Jesus’ words, commanded what they were going on mission to do, giving them authority to do it. The mountain was not the challenges lying ahead of them, but the things within that would stop up the growth of their faith to believe the command of Christ who gave them their authority. Believing Jesus, they overcame the challenges as they went forth in victory to fulfill Jesus’ Word to them. Their seed, impregnated by His instruction, grew to a fruit-bearing tree as they came to each challenge to their faith. They learned that they too could follow the instruction of God in the power of His supply and accomplish the great things of God’s choosing by trusting Jesus.
Now back home, the disciples faced a similar situation as that successfully met on their mission journey. Unable to perform the work they easily faced before, what happened to their faith? Why were they unable to heal this one brought before them now? I believe God was working on a new seed of faith they needed to germinate in preparing for the ministry ahead of them, but they had their eye on the wrong mountain. They saw the potting soil set before them in this one needing healing, and failed to see the mountain found in the lack of their knowledge of God that made for their littleness of faith. The healing of the boy was God’s will. Healing Him was within God power to accomplish. The demonized boy was soil prepared by God for a growth encounter that would remove a mountain of doubt standing in the way of the effective ministry He had for these disciples to possess.
Jesus, the one they communicated with to know the Father’s heart, was off doing something else. He was not there, readily available to instruct and prep the soil of their hearts by speaking to them the truth of God’s authority given to prepare their seed of faith to see the boy healed. They apparently did not realize fully that they could speak with and know the Father’s will for themselves, receiving His instruction and authority with power. Prayerlessly skipping the communication phase of their journey, doing what they had done before without clear direction for the “now” situation, they tackled the challenge with immature faith that could not sprout. Chopping at what they saw as a mountain to defeat, they failed to plant the seed of faith there and watch for what God would do. They tried to heal the boy with no root of authority and power established for that particular work. Good as the work they wanted to do was, they were working off depleted resources, using seeds of faith that Jesus called “littleness”.
In this account of the disciples little faith, I see that the disciples needed to grow to know that when Jesus was gone, the Father was with them to help them. They lacked faith to understand that the Father hears and responds to them personally. All they needed was to call to Him and seek His face with earnest expectation and hope of receiving His response. That is the mountain I believe God was after, their lack of reliance on Him as Father, and understanding to know that He was with them even when Jesus was gone. The next verses in the Mark account of this faith encounter, shows Jesus, beginning to prepare them for His soon departure. Jesus being about to leave the earth, we can see that it was vital they grow to know and seek the Father for themselves.
What mountainous challenge are you facing, Beloved? Are your sights truly set on the one to be cast away, or is that challenge in your sight truly God’s field of fertile soil made ready for your seeds of faith to germinate as you discover and overcome the true mountain God is after? If a situation stands, immovable, perhaps it is time to ask God to reveal the true mountain He is working cast away as He uses the experience to mature seeds of faith in you. Seek the Father with faith that knows He is faithful to respond in due season. He will show you what you need to know on the journey to cast out every mountainous obstacle to your mature and effective faith.
Listening prayer is a lifestyle of ceaseless communication with God; making every step and every breath an act of obedience flowing from a living and active relationship with Him as our Lord, our very breath of life. This lifestyle is vital to our function in this age in which we live and to our ability to overcome the challenges of a world that is daily moving farther from Him. In closing out this focus today, I am reminded of the purpose and goal of such a vital, God-breathed lifestyle of prayer.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6.
The goal and purpose of listening prayer is to make all our being and all we do and think acknowledge God as Lord, knowing that He is our first and most vital need. He is our Treasure: our eternal Inheritance. To be still within, lifting every breath to Him, the One in whom we place our trust, acknowledges His right as God over us, and our need of Him in all our ways. Here in Proverbs, God promises that, as we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will make our paths straight.
As I read this proverbs passage today, I found myself praying for God to reveal anything at the heart of my life that fails to acknowledge Him as Lord; anything hindering my seeking first His Kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Shortly after that prayer, a book I am reading led me to Deuteronomy:
“The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live” ~ Deuteronomy 30:6.
Circumcising the heart is the removal of all that separates us from complete allegiance to and relationship with God. God reveals the things we lean on or want more than we do Him, and He begins the work of removing from our lives all that hinders our relationship with Him. Some things God graciously removes with hardly any notice of it or work on our part. We just suddenly lose all desire for that thing that interfered with our communion with our Beloved. However, there are some things where God will reveal the interfering offender and then tell us, “Circumcise your heart” (Deuteronomy 10:12-21 *vs. 16). Some things God requires us to do the work; He wants us to choose Him as much as He chooses us.
God holds us as the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8). He loves us so much that He made a way for us to have relationship with Him by sacrificing His Son on our behalf (John 3:16). God’s desire is for us, not wanting ANY to perish, but ALL to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Repentance means to let go of one’s own way, aligning self with God and His ways, so that we walk beside Him in unity of mind and heart, fulfilling His purpose and plan. That requires us to love and desire Him as He does us.
The question is, do we hold Him as the apple of our eye – the center, most prominent treasure we seek to obtain and hold dearest to our heart when possessed? Do we desire relationship with Him so much that we willingly deny ourselves, and, taking up our cross of self-sacrifice daily, determine to follow Him at all cost (Luke 9:23, see AMPC)? Do we truly see God in all His triune essence as our first, most vital need and necessity, so that we choose Him above all else?
The goal and purpose of this call of God for us is that we may grow to love Him and desire Him above all else, fully possessing the eternal relationship He purchased for us. The love He calls us to grow in our possession of as we practice a living, life-giving, listening-prayer life that fully relates with and works alongside Him is best expressed in these words of Paul:
“Grace (God’s undeserved favor) be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with undying and INCORRUPTIBLE LOVE” ~ Ephesians 6:24, AMPC.
Loving God with a love so strong and sure, eternally binds us to Him. Nothing can draw us away from relationship with Him, corrupting our walk, when we come fully into this living, breathing walk of love with Him.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.
“By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence. And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” ~ 2 Peter 1:3-4, NLT.
The promises of God my King, Savior, Champion, Companion. We are in a season that has me leaning heavily on God and His faithfulness.
It has been a couple of weeks since my last post. In that time, we busy ourselves with life as we go through the beginning of what may bring us to a long medical challenge in my sweet hubby’s life. He has a biopsy coming up to determine if his issue is cancerous, so we stand, waiting, to see what the Lord will do. (Prayers appreciated)
That said, I am so grateful that, though this life has its twists and turns that can throw us for a loop, we stand fixed and stable because of God’s faithfulness. Here in our focal passage, the author instructs us that we can share the divine nature of God as His image bearers and escape the world’s corruption caused by fleshly desires, by standing, firm in faith, on the promises of God.
God’s promises come to us by His grace alone, but most all we enter into by way of some act of obedience. Jesus promised us His Spirit to guide and equip us for life abundant and full in Him, but that Spirit comes only as we choose to believe the truth of Christ and His life, work, and sacrificial death. Most promises have something we must do to take our stance on that Rock.
This week, as I contemplate what life holds for us in these days of facing whatever we may face with Hubby’s health issues, God speaks to me through 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. Through this passage, God reminds me that His promise to reveal Himself through me comes to pass as I go about my daily life, keeping my hands busy with the tasks at hand. Through this season of unknown challenges ahead of us, standing firm on God means doing what comes next with hope in Him to accomplish His will through even the most mundane of tasks.
God promises strength in our weakest hours as we make Him our greatest joy and song (2 Corinthians 12:7-10; 13:4; 1 Corinthians 1:27; Hebrews 12:13; Nehemiah 8:10). Knowing God’s promises, receiving His instruction, we take our stance on the Rock of our salvation, fully trusting that God will reveal Himself to and through us in this season we enter in to possess for His glory.
“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” ~ 2 Peter 1:5-8, NASB.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” ~ Hebrews 10:23, NASB.
“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” ~ Philippians 4:12-13.
Beloved, I ask you, have you come to the place in your relationship with God where you truly and fully know that you “can”? No matter the storm; no matter the hardship; no matter the challenge; no matter the duty; no matter the appearance of weakness and insufficiency: do you knowingly proclaim in full assurance “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”?
God grows me daily to understand that “I can.” Is it always easy? Is it always pleasant? Is it always with courage? Is it never accompanied by struggle or pain? Of course the answer to all is a resounding “no!” However, God continues to teach me truths that make the struggle worth the growth pains. Today I share one with you that only recently formed in me. Before I do, let me preface this word with one truth you must understand. I am NOT, in what I am about to tell you, saying that we can be God or take His place in any way. Know now that is not what I am telling you, or you will miss what I am saying and the power for life it gives to fully believe, “I CAN do ALL things through Christ!”
Reading John 5:16-18, these words grab me: “(Jesus) calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” The Scribes and Pharisees raged at Jesus, angered by this connection, but this is true of Christ like it can never be for us. Jesus is God incarnate. Jesus came to show us the Father and make Him known to us. Jesus came with the calling and equipping of God to make us one with Him in Christ. Now bear with me.
As I contemplated that thought, “Making Himself equal with God”, asking Jesus what He wanted me to see, He spoke, “Our Father, who art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). Instantly I realized Jesus, instructing my heart that our ability to know “I can do all things through Christ” requires we find this same expression of unity with the Father for a life of power. He must be “FATHER” to ME. The thing the Pharisees accused Jesus of, He instructs us to seek the Father from that very stance: we are the image of God.
Jesus, our example, tells us in John 14:7-15, “…He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?” Jesus, in John 17, prays that we will be one with Him and the Father as He and the Father are one (vs. 22). If Jesus prayed it, it must not only be possible, but expected. We are the people called of God, equipped through Christ, beloved, to be one with the Father, expressive of His glory in Christlikeness. This is our position in Christ.
“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, 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 the Father” ~ John 14:11-12.
Jesus calls and equips us for greater works, beloved. He empowers us to express the reality of the Father: His person, character, nature, and power in the earth. That comes with authority and full provision for the task. When we grasp hold of our unity with Father through Christ and fully possess it as our own reality, knowing He plans for our success in fully accomplishing His good will in His good way, pouring Himself through us to do so, then we will know beyond doubt the “I can do all things” that God holds out to us in Christ.
I am only now getting acquainted with the writings of Neil Vermillion. He writes as a prophet of God to encourage the people of God. Some do not believe in such, but I do. I believe that any word we speak to encourage others in Christ better be from the heart of God, for only there is truth found for any situation, and that, beloved, is the heart of prophesy.
True prophesy is always linked to the character, sovereignty and truth of God and His Word, for prophet and prophesy cannot stand apart from Him. True prophesy always leads the hearer to faith in God alone. Neil Vermillion ministers a heart of faith in his posts, and in the few days of my time with him, God has helped me through his words.
Through Neil today, God reminds my heart that He’s got this! Whatever mess we are in today, God’s got it covered. He has a plan. He has a purpose. There is no being and no power big enough to thwart God’s will. On this difficult day, I needed that word. Perhaps you do as well, so let me introduce you to Neil Vermillion through his post, “My Plans For You Will Be Accomplished.”
Meet Neil at Daily Prophetic Word.
“Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith” ~ Philippians 1:25.
A plaque hanging on my wall displays this G. K. Chesterton quote, “The only faith that wears well and holds its color in all weather is that which is woven of conviction.” Today, as I read in a devotional the words, “I am convinced,” I know that one’s ability to remain in Holy Habitation with our Living God depends on a heart of conviction.
Conviction stands firm on that which we are fully convinced to be true. Today seems a good day to begin looking at truths about God that we must be convinced of if we are to weather the storms of this life, and the place to start on a day focused on love, is…
“I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” ~ Romans 8:38-39.
The stones of conviction we must have under our feet to stabilize our path and keep us alert to God’s forever presence with us, begin with knowing beyond a shadow of doubt that God, our Father, truly loves us. His love never fails or gives up on us who have entered His love through Christ. He loves because He is love and He cannot deny Himself: He is duty bound to be who He tells us in His word that He is.
No matter what harsh thing comes to life that causes one to wonder if God truly loves them, it is vital for that one to take their stand on this truth. Believing God’s love by faith, despite the difficulty found in this fallen world, will sustain the soul weary from life’s difficult challenges.
“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” ~ John 1:5.
In this passage, Apostle John gives Jesus the descriptive name of “The Light”. One responsibility Jesus had in His time on earth as a man was to correct misconceptions people had regarding God and the truth of His will and way. Reading this passage in The Message Bible the other day, Eugene H. Peterson’s interpretation grabbed me with renewed fervor and comprehension.
“What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out. …The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life he brings into Light. ‘…my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize Him (The Life-Light) as the God-Revealer’” (says John the Baptist) ~ John 1:4-5, 9, 31, MSG.
Here, John the Apostle describes Jesus as the Life-Light, the one who makes true life in God known. He quotes John the Baptist as proclaiming Jesus as the God-Revealer. This is the work of The Light. Jesus made God known and brought His reality into view for all to see.
Beloved, Jesus calls on us as His ambassadors, to do the same. In John 8:12, Jesus proclaims, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus passes the responsibility on to us who follow Him out of the darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9): “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
We, the called of God, are to be The Light, shining out to dispel the darkness of this world by being His representatives, equipped as God-Revealers in the likeness and fervor of Christ. Later in the reading of this John Passage in The Message bible, John the Baptist pointed out Jesus to some of his followers. Two of them followed Jesus. Getting His attention, Jesus invited them to see where he was living.
“They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day” ~ John 1:39, MSG.
As people seeking to live in Holy Habitation with God, it is vital that we develop a relationship with Jesus, The Light, who reveals the truth of God to us in our daily situations. Only then can we be Light that rightly represents Him. When we stay with Him throughout our day, in close union with Him, He shines through to reveal Himself in us.
Jesus calls us to be His Light in the world. Light must have a power source. Plug into Him every day and stay plugged in so His Light may continue to shine. Do not hide the Light or fear its brightness dispelling the dark and exposing things hidden in blackened corners. Shine bright in this day and glorify the Father in the name of the Son.
“… So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. … Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner. …” ~ Exodus 17:8-16.
Over every nation I know of flies a flag representing that country. That flag flies over capitals and government buildings. Displayed during special events or during governmental addresses, it inspires national unity. It goes with that nation into battle: whether in war or in sporting competitions. Everyone, from governing officials to the people of the land, desiring to show their allegiance, displays the flag of their nation. Often the displaying of it speaks hope of all the good that nation desires coming to completion.
The same is true for the Kingdom of God and in Exodus 17 we see that the Lord is that banner. Here in this account where Moses reveals a new name to memorialize God and the victory He brought to Israel, Moses uses the words “Jehovah-Nissi”: the Lord our Banner. When we lift God High for all to see His sovereignty in our lives, we align ourselves with His Kingdom and purpose and see His hand move, leading us to experience His victory. In Holy Habitation with God, we acknowledge His right to reign over us and we align ourselves with His desires, goals, and purposes, to accomplish His plans that build for Him a Nation of glory. Under the Banner of God’s Kingdom, we find inspiration to represent His interests as ambassadors of Christ. Inspired when looking upon our Banner, we find strength to trust His supply.
We lift Him up as our banner when we bring every thought to obedience in Christ, take every step at His command, breathe the breath of His presence and glory into our daily lives and encounters, acknowledging our need of Him first and foremost with assurance of His supply for every need and good deed. Through Jehovah-Nissi, The Lord who says to us, “I AM your Banner”, we walk continually in Holy Habitation with God, bringing a glory to His name that He uses to inspire others to come in under our Banner with us.
“Then Moses said to God, ‘Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you.” Now they may say to me, “What is His name?” What shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.”’” ~ Exodus 3:13-14, NASB.
“I AM WHO I AM…I AM (Jehovah / Yaweh ) has sent me to you.”
The Lord ~ Jehovah (The I AM. The self-existent One)
God reveals many names He goes by throughout scripture. We will look at many of these in the days to come, seeking the holy habitation with Him that reveals knowledge of Him, equipping us to represent that aspect of His nature in the world around us.
Yesterday we introduced the need we have to realize Jesus, living in and through us, and our need to be one with Him in unity as His representatives in prayer, voice, and action, just as He is the Father’s representation to us. Today we consider this name of God, Jehovah / Yaweh, found in our Exodus focal passage, as we look this month at several of the names of God, their expression of His nature to us, and our responsibility to represent this aspect of His reality in the world through holy habitation with Him.
Exodus 33 tells us that we realize God’s glory as He proclaims the name of “The Lord” before us. The Name God uses in Exodus 33:19 is Yaweh, or Jehovah. Often translated “The Lord”, this word truly expresses the reality of God’s existence. God is not a created being: He is, always has been, and always will be. He is the Creator of all things; The Omniscience, all knowing, having no need to be taught. He is Omnipotent: all powerful, finding nothing impossible or beyond His reach. He is Omnipresent: all present, being everywhere at all times. GOD IS. The greatest realization about God we must possess as we seek to come into Holy Habitation with Him is that HE IS and He is the One who is with us always.
Whether we enter king’s palaces or prison’s gates, we will find Him there. Whatever life brings to us in this world, the place to begin as we seek the glory of God ~ the realization of His presence with us, is to bow down to His Lordship with assurance of understanding that He is God I AM, and He is with us wherever we are, the great reward for seeking Him with whole heart and trusting faith. There is none before Him, and none will come after Him. He is.
Many of God’s names we will cover begin with Jehovah: I AM. Those names remind us that He is a reality, He is all and in all, the answer and solution to everything. Coming more fully into holy habitation with Jehovah means realizing beyond a shadow of doubt that His is, and He is the very great reward for all who seek Him from the heart.
“‘Then with a deep longing you will seek Me and require Me as a vital necessity and you will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and I will free you and gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile’” ~ Jeremiah 29:13-14 (see also 1 Chronicles 28:9).
“Then Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you…’” ~ Exodus 33:18-20, NASB.
Happy New Year, beloved. I pray your Christmas was indeed blessed and that you are ready to press forward with God for another year of partnership with Him in the work of Life. As we begin our journey anew to develop a life in Holy Habitation with God, let us begin today with the glory of God seen in His proclaiming His name before us.
Beloved, to understand the importance of this aspect of God’s glory revealed to us, we must understand how vital the name of God is to us and how His name over, in, and through us empowers our lives. Before peeking at the proclamation of God’s names as seen in scripture, let us understand the purpose and power found there.
To begin, realize, beloved, that Jesus never taught us to pray to Him, but to the Father in Jesus’ name. “Our Father who art in heaven…” is the model Jesus gave us to follow in praying to God. And He instructs in John that we are to ask in His name: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” (John 16:23-24; See also Matthew 6:9; John 14:10-14, 26; 15:16).
Here is the thing about our prayer life and holy habitation with God in Christ Jesus, beloved: all that we do, all that we pray, all that we say, and every thought we think is to be in Jesus name, as rightly and truly represents Him and His interests. There is power in the name of Jesus as we realize our call to be His ambassador’s, representing His interests and kingdom purpose in our lives, thoughts, prayers, and ministries. God grants power to those sent forth in the name of the King to do kingdom business. This is what we are, ambassadors with the authority of the King behind us.
Jesus is our example who tells us that He came and lived in the name of the Father, representing Him in the world: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14:10).
He calls us to this same unity of life and purpose:
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. … If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me” ~ (John 16:18-21, 23-24).
Jesus came to teach us of the Father. He did so by being a representation of God’s nature, purpose, work, and interests, in the power of oneness with the Father. He, as our example, calls us to do the same in representing Him and His interests, thus proclaiming His name in the world. Living, breathing, speaking, and moving in the name of Jesus is the power of God toward us, doing His work in the earth through us.
“…Then the Lord said, ‘Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen’” ~ Exodus 33:18-23, NASB.
Have you ever been through a season of trouble where, though your mind may run crazy with all that the storm is tossing around before you, your heart remains stable, held by the peace of God? I am in such a season even now, and as in many times before, my heart is at rest. Though my eyes see the trouble and begin to ask those “why” questions of turmoil and confusion, God steadies my heart to know that He is in control. In that, He begins the work of setting me securely in the cleft of The Rock: the Holy Habitation of God’s protective cover.
Like Moses, I cry out, “Lord, I need to see You. Show me Your glory in this situation, that You are indeed with us and working on our behalf to bring good out of this trouble.” God graciously begins by placing me in the cleft of The Rock.
Think of this scene portrayed in our Exodus passage today, beloved. Realize that sitting in the cleft of a rock blocks our view. Add to that, God, covering our ability to see still further by putting His hand over us, protectively, and the ability to see what is going on becomes impossible. Until God removes His hand and we see the backside of Glory, faith to trust Him is required.
Realize also that being in the cleft of a rock blocks an enemy’s ability to get at us. Add to that ~ God. Blocking the one way in with His mighty hand, we come to know the protection of God for us. No enemy can prevail when God places us in The Cleft and covers us with His hand.
Trouble in life often requires faith to sit in the spot in which God places us and wait until He passes by. He often will do all He wills to do before He allows us to see the glory worked by His presence. During our time in that cleft, faith requires us to practice Psalm 37:
“…Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and [knowing] He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. …” [author’s thought]
In our family’s current trouble, we wait to see the Lord. Though we do what we are equipped to do to help as God leads, we trust God to fulfill His will in all the details – especially in that which is beyond our ability. We watch with earnest expectation for those tossed about in the storm to land securely in the hand of God.
The purpose of every trouble life brings to our table is God – working to make Himself known as He brings us to Himself. In the process, He fulfills His purpose of making us lights that draw others to increased faith.
“…He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord …Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land…” (vs. 3-8, 34a).
Where does God have you in a cleft, beloved? Are you cooperating with hope of the Backside of Glory; or are you fighting against the work of God in the situation? Choose the cleft, beloved, and get ready for His glory.
(Note: we will break here for the Christmas season, returning to continue this focus by January 15. May God bless you to know His presence and may you have a very Merry Christmas and a happy new beginning to a glorious New Year.)
“Then Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.’ But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!’” ~ Exodus 33:18-20, NASB.
God’s glory is the manifestation of His reality into our finite existence. Moses, the man who stood as close to face to face with God as could be experienced, wanted more of the manifest presence of God. He wanted to see God so as to recognize Him and His work in his life. I am sure with the pressure of leading millions of people who could be exasperating in their demands, his overwhelmed mind and heart needed a little extra assurance from God. God graciously responded by telling Moses how to recognize His glory at work in His midst. Breaking this down, we find the evidence of God’s glory that is available for all who see: His goodness, His names, His grace, and His compassion.
“I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you…”
~ Scripture tells us that, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17). Anything coming into our life that is truly good and good for us comes at the hand of God, working on our behalf, making Himself and His power known to us.
Jesus made it known that God alone is good (Mark 10:18). There is no good besides Him or without Him. He is the same always and at all times, so anything coming to our lives from His hand, though perhaps hard in the moment, will work good in the end. Trusting these truths, watching for every sign of His goodness, being grateful for the smallest good we find, helps us realize His presence with us and empowers us to walk through the most difficult days.
Look at your circumstances, beloved. Watch for even the smallest good there and give God glory for it. It truly is His glory shining: God waving at us, “Here I am. Take courage, stand strong, knowing this too shall pass.”
“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose” ~ Romans 8:28, AMP.
“So understand that it is the people who live by faith [with confidence in the power and goodness of God] who are [the true] sons of Abraham” ~ Galatians 3:7, AMP.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” ~ Proverbs 29:18.
The Amplified version of this passage explains “vision” as “the redemptive revelation of God”. Without ability to recognize God and His work in our midst, we fall away. That is what happened to Israel during Moses’ 40 days on the mountain.
I am greatly inspired by such patriarchs of faith as Moses, the friend of God. Exodus 33 contains my favorite visual example of his relationship with God. However, that chapter comes on the heels of the fall of Israel. What happened to cause these people to deny the true God and make for themselves a graven image even after personally experiencing the miracles of God?
Setting Moses in God’s place, they failed to discover personal relationship with the Real.
God created us physical beings with senses that greatly help our lives. We do best with what we can see, hear, smell, and touch. When we cannot physically see, hear, smell, and touch something…well…“out of sight, out of mind”…“I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Up until the moment of their fall, the people looked to Moses as the expression of God they could comprehend and follow. In his absence, unsure if he still lived, they lost their moral compass because of their distorted vision, so they made a god that made sense to their senses.
Like Israel, we struggle to follow God because we cannot touch Him with our physical senses. The solution? We must seek first the Lord to enliven our spiritual senses. Like Elisha, we must pray for God to open our eyes to see His realm (2 Kings 6:17).
Father, my heart is helped when I personally see Your movement and discern Your voice. I often smell the essence of rose when You draw near, and my skin tingles with Your touch. Knowledge of Your presence touching my spiritual senses in ways that influence my physical comprehension helps my faith and keeps my feet on the firm foundation of Your reality. In Jesus, I pray vision for Your people, O God, so each may know Your reality and follow You.
“You in Your lovingkindness and goodness have led the people whom You have redeemed; in Your strength You have guided them with care to Your holy habitation” ~ Exodus 15:13, AMP.
I have, for years, had in my heart to do a series of devotional thoughts that lead the reader to their seat at the feet of Jesus, our Lord, and of the Father God. It amazes me the number of Christians who do not realize personally the nearness of God. I am not talking about a “feel good shiver”. I am talking about assurance of heart that has no doubt of His nearness.
People who fail to know God’s nearness too easily fail to recognize His voice: His way of communicating to them in personal and applicable, heart knowledge. That inability to recognize God speaking His instruction for life in our personal situations leads to our stumbling about in darkness, struggling to find our way to the other side of chaos.
I cannot fathom life without this knowledge of God, so real, near, and dear to me; and yet many go through life never achieving this deep and fulfilling relationship with the Father of all eternity. How very difficult our life is when recognition of His sure presence with us eludes us.
Recently Father reminded me of this call and desire to write devotionals intended to help the seeker of God to find this place of His sure presence, impressing upon me that now is my time for this project to flow forth from His heart, through mine, to you. As I began the journey, God led me back to this recently read Exodus 15 verse in which two key words grabbed me, drawing me to seek even greater, more consistent realization of God, His presence with me, and His desire for me.
The desire for God’s presence with us is a desire that will constantly see fulfillment and will not come to full satiety until we enter the eternal with Him. This desire for God is there to keep us seeking, wanting more of Him until we see Him face to face. Holy Habitation: Those words altered the title of this devotional focus and intensified its purpose.
In this devotional series, we will see how God’s glory is recognized in His lovingkindness and goodness expressed toward us. Out of that lovingkindness and goodness, Exodus 15:13 tells us that God supplies the power for us to come into this ‘holy habitation’ relationship with Him. Every detail of our lives is His instrument, carefully used to lead us to this place of understanding His reality with us, and His desire for our lives.
Holy ~ the word is pregnant with meaning: set apart to God; sacred; personal; unified oneness with the Eternal; commitment to His Likeness; obedience to His headship, as a hand moves with the impulses of the brain, as feet go where those impulses point. Holy…
Habitation ~ the state or process of living in a particular place: in this instance, being continually in this state of holiness. The act of inhabiting or the state of being inhabited. Note the unity of this a Holy Habitation: “me” in God and Him in “me”. Habitation is the work, process, experience and reality of possessing the Promised Land of God’s holy presence with us, now and forever made one together with Him.
Look up the word “Kingdom” on this site, and you will find many devotionals and articles on my journey to realizing that we are here and now a part of the Kingdom of God, with all of its resource and responsibility ours to possess and walk out each day. We are people of destiny, having eternal purpose in every experience of every breath. No trouble in this life is without this eternal purpose, providing us opportunity to fulfill our destiny.
Number one in that purpose is to KNOW God as surely as you know the person most important to your reality. He is with us and for us. He longs to know us and for us to know Him. He reaches out to us, desiring we possess such great oneness with Him that we become the extension of His reality in the world.
When we enter the eternal Kingdom at the exhale of the final breath of this life, He wants us to recognize Him when we take our first breath on the other side of glory. He wants us to be one who has long known His voice and become accustomed to His features. The Eternal should not be strange, foreign, or different to us when we enter that Kingdom ~ though we will see completely who and what He is and have our desire for Him fully satiated only then, there should be familiarity that causes us to recognize Him as our most intimate, well known Lover, Companion, Life Partner.
Our entry into that eternal Kingdom should be the greatest homecoming ever experienced, fully entering into the familiar place of His eternal presence, having lived it every day in the Holy Habitation of God’s sure presence here and now. Are you ready? Watch for each excerpt of Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet.
PS: This introductory post will most likely be the longest post of the series of devotional length excerpts. Enjoy and be BLESSed, refreshed in His reality with you.
“For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:2.
I believe the gift of tongues is still active in the body of Christ today. It was not until recently that I have sought the Lord for deeper understanding of this gifting. The teaching I have heard has downplayed this gift. It also has told me that this “tongue” is the language of the “angels” and that Satan cannot understand it. That never came across to me as true because Satan, fallen as he is, is an angel. He knows the language of the angels. That being true, to seek that gift and long for it rather than for greater experience of God puts one in danger of a false tongue. That raises up fear in me that hinders my desire for the gift.
I have heard stories of people who received a false tongue and the work of the demonic that came with that to hinder their effectiveness as God’s instruments. One such story reports from a missionary of a time on furlough when he stopped in for worship while traveling to his destination. The church he visited was a tongues speaking church. They had people come up to the interpreter with their tongue and the interpreter would expound on the message of the speaker. After one particular message, the missionary stood up. Apologizing for interrupting when he was but a guest, unknown by the body, he explained that he was a missionary to an Asian area of the world. Then he told them that the last person speaking was speaking in the language of the people group he worked with. He said, “In that language, this man just cursed God and Jesus.” Tongues can be falsified and work in the heavenly realm and on the earth to do harm if we are not careful to seek God rather than a language.
Nevertheless, I have experienced the gift of tongues and the interpretation of it enough to desire the closeness with God and I have prayed many times that, if I can have more of Him with it, I want it. Yesterday that desire increased as I contemplated the scripture above and God instructed my heart with understanding that corrected the teaching I have received. He brought to my heart the memory of the language of twins (triplets, etc.). On the earth it is observed many times that twins from the same egg often share a language that is known by no other than themselves. Parents and other siblings may pick up on the language as they observe the twins. The twins may teach the language to another, but it is their own voice, and no others. Suddenly I understand that the true “tongue” of God to His people is not the language of the angels, but the language of the Triune.
Now I see how no one else would know it, not even the devil. Wow! Now I see how awesome this gift is and my desire is increased by the understanding that this gift can only be had by those whose desire is for Him and greater understanding of the Triune Glory.
Now I see why tongues edify the person speaking it. It is a sign of the nearness of God, personal communion with Him in His personal language. Not even the angels have that. It is God’s gift to us who house the Spirit of God, given to those with whom the Spirit wills to share it. I experience the groaning of the Spirit often, even as I type this. How blessed it would be to me to know the language, not only to speak it, but to interpret it so my mind is edified and I can share it with others. Now I pray with increased understanding and faith in God, who can protect from the false, if it be Your will, O God, here am I.
“Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:39-40.
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” ~ Philippians 2:9-11.
On our journey to discover the pathway to godly promotion, the words, “this reason,” beacon us to discern the reason mentioned for Christ’s promotion to the Name above all. Finding the answer and discovering the pathway to our own promotion requires we go backward in the passage from here. Doing so, first we look at the example of Christ that is the reason for His promotion.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” ~ 2:5-8.
Jesus had it all. He was in the Eternal, the Omnipotent, Omnipresent God, with full authority as God. He chose to leave the Eternal, coming into the limits of a flesh being so-as-to set the example and live the life that led to sacrifice for the eternal hope of all humankind. That journey led Him back to the eternal for all time, imparting to Him as Christ, the Son of God and man, the Name above every name as King of kings and Lord of lords. Simultaneous with Jesus’ promotion, God imparted to us the Way to Truth and Life Eternal in Christ.
Jesus began where He wanted to be, came willingly to where we are, then returned to the throne that was His all along, making a path for us to follow. Christ’s example points us to two things necessary for godly promotion:
- The emptying of self.
- The humbling of self to the point of obedience.
Jesus left His high position, emptying Himself of all He had and was, to come on our behalf as Christ, Savior and King. He calls we who are in this Beloved union through Christ to the same. “Emptying self” is the call of Christ found in Luke 9:23:
“And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me’” ~ NASB.
We must do as Jesus did, denying self-interest in order to take up the cross of self-denial as exemplified in Christ. The Amplified version of this verse tells us that to deny oneself means to disown oneself by losing sight of self-interest and concern, laying down one’s own interests, to refuse and give up self-centered purposes. Denying oneself takes up God’s purpose, plan, will, and way as one’s own.
Then the Amplified Bible explains that we take up our cross as we follow Jesus, cleaving steadfastly to Him, conforming wholly to His example “in living and, if need be, in dying also.” To empty self is the mindset expressed by Paul in Galatians 2:20:
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
The Persona of Pre-Jesus, described in our Philippians passage as One existing in the form of God, willingly chose to relinquish who He was and all He had in order to walk in human flesh as the promised Messiah—fully man, while rightly God. We follow His example by emptying self of our flesh man to take up His likeness in Spirit and in Truth. Emptying oneself lays down the person we think we are and desire to be in order to discover the person He destined us to be. It lays down our individual, selfish want and any claim on one’s own life in order to take up Jesus, give Him full reign, and allow Him to complete His work on earth through us. In so doing, we become the body of Christ. This is the humbling of self before Him to the point of obedience at any cost.
God “WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation” ~ Romans 2:6-8.
Godly promotion requires dying to self-interest, humbling self to obey God, trusting Him to be God, lifting us up and taking us to higher ground in His way and on His timetable. He knows what our promotion in life looks like and what it will take on our part for us to get there. Note that Jesus received a type of promotion through a degree of renown in the earth that led to thousands following to see what he would do next. However, even the closest of His followers scattered and denied Him when He was taken into custody and only a little over 100 followers of Christ remained in that upper room after He bore His cross. The true promotion of Christ came to Him as He took His seat at the right hand of the Father in the Eternal.
We too readily work for a promotion we can see here and now, failing to focus on the treasure of Heaven. If our promotion is not what we expect, bringing hardship and challenge to us as it did to Jesus, Paul, and others of Bible times, we too readily fall away and quit working for the things of God. The heart of Jesus often hurt over those who turned away, but He did not view His success from a worldview. He saw with eternal eyes and trusted the will and way of God. God’s idea of promotion and prosperity is not worldly, but eternal.
Jesus set the example to show us the way to godly promotion through emptying of self and living humbly as servant of God, trusting all to Him. Next post we look at what God expects of us who would receive promotion.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” ~ Matthew 6:19-21 (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
“If then you have been raised with Christ to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead, aim at and seek the rich, eternal treasures that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above, the higher things, not on the things that are on the earth” ~ Colossians 3:1-2, AMP.