Saturday, 30 July 2016

Pray in the Glory. ~ Ganeida

Randall D Kittle once said: If God granted us our desires & poured out His glory in our midst, would we recognize it? Would we be truly excited about it? Would we even still be alive?

As I was preparing this message what I believe I heard the Spirit saying is Pray in the Glory. There are 2 ways to understand this: One is to pray under the Glory.  The other is to pray the Glory in.  I believe God means the 2nd. So today I want to look at  ways that could be done.

I want us to look again at 2nd Chronicles.  Here is our pattern.  This is what it took for the Glory of God to manifest. We will start start in chapter 5, verse 11 but first there are some things I think we should consider.

By the time Chapter 5 opens the Temple is completely finished. The walls are built.  The courts are furbished with the bronze alters, the incense bowls, the golden candlesticks, the menorah, the showbread stand, the water carts, the lamp snuffers & tongs. The decorations of palms & pomegranate are complete, the Holy of Holies has been overlaid with gold, the curtain hung. Lastly Solomon summons the elders of Israel to bring the Ark to the Temple[5:2] then in 5:3 we read the nation gathered to celebrate Sukkot. That this should take place at Sukkot is interesting because it celebrates [amongst other things] God tabernacling, or meeting, with man.  Everything has been constructed according to God’s own very specific instructions. Solomon prays; the Glory descends & fills the temple .

I’ve got a lot rattling round in my head but I will try to go slowly & explain what I am seeing.

Firstly, the Temple did not begin with Solomon.  It did not even begin with His father, David.  It began with God, then with Moses in the desert.  In the desert Moses set out the sacred area, the Tent of Meeting, in the pattern prescribed by God & Israel encamped about it in their tribes. Please note, the Tent of Meeting was central.  Everything else moved around it.  As one entered the sacred spaces they grew holier & holier just as they later would in the Temple. There was always great order, a set way of doing things.  There was great vision.  Moses set out to replicate what he saw in the heavenlies & his vision helped fire David’s desire to build a home for the Name of God. David saved huge amounts of gold & silver & bronze towards the building of the temple & though he himself was not allowed to build the temple his vision & foresight meant Solomon had everything he needed to complete the actual construction.

Inside the ark were 3 things: a gold pot of manna representing God’s provision; Aaron’s budding almond staff representing both God’s anointing & His authority [Numbers 17]; & the stone tablets of the 10 commandments representing God’s Law.

There have been 2 temples: Solomon’s & Herod’s.  The Babylonians destroyed the first, the Romans the 2nd. Today no Temple stands on the temple mount in Jerusalem however there is still a temple.

Paul [1 Corinthians 3:16] informs us that we are the temple!
Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God.

Peter confirms this [1 Peter 2:5]
And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.
Peter also refers to us as a Holy priesthood who offers spiritual sacrifices.

Just like the original temple each of us has 3 spaces: our outer court, or our flesh; our inner court or our soul; & our Holy of Holies, our Spirit which is the new creation & where the Holy Spirit of God dwells within us.

Our Holy of Holies also holds the Law for God promised: "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Jeremiah31:33 & Hebrews 10:16

We are anointed with the Holy Spirit & carry His authority.  And we have been given all we need.
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 marvellous glory and excellence.  2 Peter 1:3

Now we know that the Holy Spirit has sealed us unto the day of Redemption but there is a difference between the presence of God & a manifestation of His Glory.

Just as in the days of old you, as the priest of your temple, have certain priestly duties: Praise [Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”  Psa. 100:4], Prayer [Matthew 21:13 Jesus Himself says My house shall be called a house of prayer], Spiritual Sacrifices: these include the sacrifice of Praise [Hebrews 13:15], Healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead… Matthew 10:8

Are you still with me? So we have our temple & we have our priests.  Hopefully we are all performing our priestly duties.
Now what I am about to speak on has nothing whatsoever to do with your salvation! Nothing! Salvation is a free gift [Eph 2:8] You can get saved & remain a baby Christian all your life & lots & lots of people do that but that is not what God desires for any of His children. He want us to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children [Eph 4:14]

Remember, when we first talked of the Glory of God we said it was the fullness of everything God is & does & that that was fulfilled in Jesus Christ ~ so when we talk about maturity we are talking about allowing God’s glory to be revealed in & through us as we live in Christ Jesus in us.

Now that isn’t just going to happen.  Look at the pattern. 2 Chronicles 5:11 ~ All the priests who were present had purified themselves… Under the old covenant that would have been ritual & ceremonial purification but under the new it is the blood of Jesus & making no provision for the lusts of the flesh [Romans 13:14] but rather clothing ourselves with Christ, renewing our minds & we have talked about the practical ways we can do this. Babies aren’t required to do this.  Babies have no understanding. Babies are incapable of the deeper things of God.

There was a great deal of praise. Please bear in mind this was not a spur of the moment thing.  You can read in first Chronicles how David set up a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 33 years praise effort surrounding the Ark. The Ark wasn’t hidden behind a curtain either. We need to develop lives engulfed in praise.  Again this is not new teaching.  We don’t praise God for affliction or suffering, pain or sickness.  We rejoice because we know the one who redeems, who heals, who saves, who provides, who is always good, who’s lovingkindness endures forever.

There is humility.  Solomon was king over all of Israel yet when he entered into the presence of God he humbled himself before all the people.  Now here is where it gets interesting.  As Solomon prays he asks for right judgement, repentance, intercession. Please turn to 6:41

One: there is an invitation.  We need to invite God in continually to rule & operate through us.  This is His home.  When you enter your home you don’t want to be constantly repairing, renovating, cleaning.  You want to walk in, dump your shoes, toss of your jacket, get a cuppa & rest. Now God will do the work; that’s part of His promise to us but if all He ever gets to do is renovate, repair, clean all your time together will be on busyness rather than rest & it is in times of rest people really get to know each other so…..

Note the 2nd thing is along with your power.  What is the symbol of God’s power in us? His Holy Spirit.  Now the Spirit is always with us & He has a very specific job description.  The Father’s presence cannot abide any sin but 3, oh!  3 is the grace of God revealed because Solomon prays that God’s priests be clothed with His salvation! What a wonderful thing that is! The blood of Jesus washes away our sin. He clothes us with His righteousness. 

Romans 3:22 says: We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 

Now that has a practical outcome. That means God no longer looks upon our sin.  All He sees is the righteousness of Christ clothing us! That means He can abide with us & us with Him.  Not just His Spirit, not just Christ in us, but the Father Himself; the Great I AM.

Solomon finishes with 3 petitions: that God’s people always remember His goodness & how important is that when God is getting blamed these days for Isis & terrorism & racial inequality & paedophilia in the church & a whole heap of other things when the scriptures tell us God can’t be tempted nor does he tempt any one [James 1:13] so all these things are on us & a fallen world; that God’s anointed be not rejected & we have the fulfilment of that promise for Romans 11:29 says For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. If you are a child of God you are called.  If you are called you have been gifted.  That remains no matter what.

Lastly Solomon asks that God remember His unfailing love for His people. God never forgets.  I suspect this was more a reminder for Solomon himself than for God & we too need to remember God’s unfailing love for us: all those times when He’s interceded for us, provided for us, upheld us in times of trouble & weakness.

7:1 says: When Solomon had finished praying, fire flashed down from heaven & burned up the burnt offerings & sacrifices, & the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple.

The key to the Glory of God is prayer.  Not any old prayer.  Not the prayers we commonly pray of intercession, for salvations or healing, or wisdom though all these sorts of prayers have their place. No!  God’s glory is not for our self~ aggrandizement, or to tickle our flesh, or to elevate us to some super spiritual realm where we just get to bask ~ & my flesh would be happy with any or all of that.  Sadly I have found God to be supremely practical & even His Glory has a practical purpose. No.  God’s heart is for people & when His Glory appears the result is the salvation of many souls.

We have been praying for our islands.  We have been praying for people to come to know Christ, to return to God.  

Understand this: The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 2 Peter 3:9
1 Timothy 2:1 says this: I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.

I believe God wants to use us as His church, as His body, for the salvation of many but we have to be prepared to put in the hard yards.  This is work ~ & it is not easy work.  We have to be prepared to turn of the t.v or the radio, stay home, retreat to our prayer closet & get to work & pray for all people.  That is not easy.  Our flesh will scream.  Our minds will protest that it is impossible to pray for so & so but remember, if God could save Saul, a self~righteous murderer & torturer & turn him into the Paul who brought salvation to the gentiles then there is no~one too wicked on these islands for His salvation to reach!

Now Rabqa is going to be teaching more on who we are in Christ & please pay attention when she does because we pray positionally from a position of authority & power & that is almost impossible to do until you really grasp who you are in Christ.  Secondly, next time I speak I believe the Holy Spirit wishes to discuss with us tools & helps for praying out what the Spirit wants to speak through us & there is power in prayer like no other when you buddy up with the Holy Spirit in this way.

Ok Church, now you get to go forth & practice!  Be doers of His word, not hearers only.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Who we are in Christ. ~ Rabqa

We see from 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 that we need to understand
that God wants us—through us, & everyone on earth to be in favour with Him. we also need to understand that the devil can steal that favour through deceit & delusion. Jesus came to restore favour to God's people-& through us to everyone everywhere.

Part of our inheritance is to have & enjoy favour. Part of our ministry is to act as Christ's ambassadors by drawing others to receive God's wonderful gift of forgiveness, & reconciliation & to share in His marvellous grace, which is His unmerited favour.

Those of us who are the children of God know that we don't deserve to be called righteous, but the wonderful fact is that God does call us righteous because He sees us through the cross of Jesus. The full price for our salvation has been paid. We are no longer trying to work out our own righteousness by trying to earn what God has freely given us.

The Father wants all of His Children to learn who they really are in Christ Jesus, what they have in Him, & what they can be in Him. If we have this basic knowledge of our righteousness, we will begin to transform ourselves into the image that God has for us.

The world has given us a mostly negative image of ourselves, few of us escape childhood without damage to our self-esteem, perceptions, & personalities. The image we form is far below the image that God has of us. To Him we are valuable, precious, & worthy of such great love that He gave His Son for us. Jesus became sin so we could become righteous.

God sees us as happy, healthy, & prosperous in all we do. He says we can do all things that are in line with His will because we have a covenant with Him & He is our powerful, loving heavenly Father.

Sadly, many of us never realise that this is God's image of us & never come to share that image of ourselves. Today I can see myself this way, but there was a time when I felt the lowest of the low. Every time I went out I would crawl back into my shell & stay there, not knowing that I should not have felt this way.

I went to a Methodist Sunday School & a Catholic school, I was confused about the practices, doctrines, & beliefs, I didn't know if they lined up with Scripture. Constant repentance & confessionals kept me aware that I was a sinner & totally unworthy of God's love. The Nuns never failed to tell me that I had to work extra hard to please Him just because I wasn't a Catholic.

Right from childhood all the way through to adulthood I felt insignificant, full of guilt & conscious of sin. I knew nothing about the grace of God & His abundant mercy for my mistakes. I felt condemned even when I was doing what was right.

I was dressed in rags of righteousness instead of Jesus' robes of righteousness. Like blind Bartimaeus, who had the sense to cast aside his dirty beggarly garb to rise from the dust when Jesus touched his life, I too should have been able to cast of my dirty garments of sin when Jesus touched my life. Unfortunately I didn't know this was possible.

My problem was I had no idea of the Scriptures, the only time I recall hearing the Bible read was at Sunday School. I loved to hear the Scriptures read aloud, I never had my own Bible till later that year my Grandfather asked what I would like for Christmas, I answered a Bible.

In the years before I was saved I never heard that I needed to be born again, I thought if I loved God that was enough to save me, & if my good deeds out~weighed my sins then I would get to heaven. I was ignorant of the basic facts on how to be saved.
Rom 10:13 Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

John 3:6-7 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You[ must be born again.’

We can't be saved unless we hear that we need to be saved. When we hear the uncompressed Word, it creates faith, to enable us to break free from our reasoning doubts & unbelief so that we can accept Jesus as our Lord & Savour. unless we hear of our need to be born again, we may blindly continue in our traditions, ceremonies & religious church-going, ignorant of the peace, joy & righteous that come with true salvation.

If we need to hear the Word of God to be saved, we also need to hear it, to grow in it as a new creation. Although receiving the Lord was a most wonderful experience of my life, my ignorance of God's Word & His true character greatly hindered my walk with Him.

I was a Christian but a fearful one, even though I loved God & knew I was heaven bound sadly I was living a defeated life. I would pray the Lord's prayer as I had all my life it was quiet plain that I was missing out on the reality of that prayer of the part that says Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Earth to me had become the equivalent to hell on earth, I wasn't happy & thought that life could only get worse. Surely heaven had to be better than this!

I had no idea how to overcome the adversity I encountered in my life as a Christian. Just as I had been ignorant of what God's word said about becoming His child, so I was ignorant of what it said about how he saw me-the basic reality that I was a spirit who lived in a body & had a soul. Like God Himself, I was a three in one, I could only be whole when all three parts of my being were in harmony. The day I discovered 1Thess 5:23 was turning point for me. Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.

Paul is saying that his converts might be wholly sanctified, that is in their whole being-spirit soul & body-may be yielded to the will of God. The power for this accomplishment must come from the God of peace Himself. Peace means spiritual prosperity in the broadest sense.

You can personal this Scripture, by saying I am a spirit, I live in a body, & I have a soul. Keep saying it out aloud to establish the reality of this new truth in your mind so that you can grasp hold of its full significance. Some assume they are are body & have a soul not realising that the soul & the spirit are not the same thing at all. In Hebrews 4:12 it tells us the Word of God can actually divide between our spirit & soul.

AS we establish our hearts in the new spiritual identity through the Word of God, trying to do what is right comes not so much as an act of willpower but from strengthening our walk with God. God's Word shows us shows us that overcoming any evil, whether it be sickness, grief, depression, lack, worry, or sin is far easier if we build our self into His strength rather than
our own. We can choke all our own cares, worries, & anxieties through the Word. What a wonderful promise this from God. Phil 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Here the Apostle Paul is teaching us to pray with thanksgiving in every circumstance. If we cannot offer our current prayer requests from the foundation of a life that is currently filled with thanksgiving, we will not get a favourable response. The Word does not instruct us to pray with complaining; it says to pray with thanksgiving.

It was through God's Word that I learnt to speak back to all the problems that were always speaking to me. Every time thoughts of defeat rose up in me, for example You're never going to make it, you'll never amount to much-I would say NO! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I would say it again & again till those thoughts were dead & buried. When you first accept Jesus as Lord, the fruit of the Spirit comes into your life. You may say for example that you don't have any love, but when you received Jesus the love of God was shed abroad in your heart (Rom 5:5). You might not be walking in that love but it is there. & you can develop it. It takes time for the fruit to grow of course. When you plant seeds in the ground to grow veggies, it takes time to see the fullness of the fruit. But the seeds are there even when the fruit is not obvious. To cultivate the fruit of the Spirit, you start by speaking. When you begin to say what God says about you-what He says about the love He has placed in your heart, for example an image will form of that fruit in your life. You will be able to picture it. Then you will be able to believe it then it will grow. My biggest problem was self condemnation, we learn from the Apostle Paul that the only way he could escape from the condemnation of his past
was to look forward every day to his new life in Christ. Phil 3:13-14 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

The devil wants for us to concentrate on how far we have fallen, rather then how far we have risen. Satan wants us to focus on our past instead of out future & how far we still have to go, rather than how far we have come. He wants us to think of how many times we fail, rather than how many times we succeed. But God wants us to focus on our strengths rather than our weaknesses, our victories & not our losses, our joys not our problems. These verse tell us God wants us press forward & respond to His upward call & forget about what lies behind us. Pay attention to what you focus on & magnify the works of the Lord. Do not believe the lies of the devil.

The key to condemnation we find in 2 Corin 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Every time self condemnation came to me I would say No yesterday's gone. Old things have passed away, all things have become new. I am a new creature in Christ. I would repeat it over & over again until the word of God choked the weed & drove it out of my life. When you think & speak that way to things that hold you captive, the wonderful day comes when you look for them & say "where are they? where they ever part of me? The same is true of the things that people have done to us, many people wallow in grief & injustices of the past. They love going back over the old. They embrace it; it's part of their life. The past maybe sad or tragic, but it is worse to stay imprisoned by it. We can try to live our past in our present, but it will steal our wonderful future from us. The past is finished. Let God avenge you & bring to justice those who have in any way done evil to you. If you will let it go you will be free of it, & all of the unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, hurt, rejection, jealousy, & grief will not poison your life.

Thankfully most of us desire to go on with the new. There is not much behind us that is worth hanging on to. Good memories are fine, but sad & tragic memories are best forgotten. The only way to truly forget the past is to fully immerse ourselves in God's Word & see the wonderful future He has ahead for every one of us. It is not how we begin that counts but how we finish.

 The ability to truly put off the old life is a wonderful thing. Most of us have suffered to some degree through the world of darkness, despair, & pain. To look forward with expectancy & total faith in God, knowing our life can be worth living & living well, brings joy, peace & contentment that the world knows nothing about.

Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. This verse tells that God has a plan for each of us, a plan that should give us great hope for our future. It is our destiny. But that plan is a possibility not a positively. If someone prophesies over us wonderful things in the name of the Lord, what they say may express the heart, will & desire of God for us. But that does not mean that it is going to happen just as it is prophesied. This is because it cannot & will not come to pass if we refuse to cooperate with God or to stray away from His will. God does have a plan for our lives, but we have to participate in that plan for it to come true, God is not likely to do anything in our lives without our cooperation.

We need to cooperate with God every single day of our lives in order for our potential to be developed. Every day we ought to learn something. Every day we ought to grow. Every day we ought to discover something. Every day we ought to be a bit further along than we were the day before. We should be life long learners. We must understand that no other human being on the face of the earth can develop our potential for us. we must each discover our own God given gifts & talents, & what we are truly capable of, then put ourselves to the test of developing those gifts, talents, & capabilities to their fullest extent. God has a plan for each of us, it is a good plan, an uncommon plan, a great plan; it is not an average or mediocre plan. I encourage you to seek that plan & cooperate with God so that it will be wonderfully fulfilled in your life.

Acknowledgements Dr Margaret Court.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

An introduction to Walking in the Glory of God.~ Ganeida

Last time we spoke of the Glory of God.  We said it is not a thing; it is the presence of God made manifest ~ all His goodness, all His character in operation.  Not the Holy Spirit.  Not the anointing. Not just an atmosphere, though it effects the atmosphere. It has weight.  It has Light. It can be seen.  It can be felt: God Himself present amongst His people bringing His peace, his shalom.  The root of shalom is wholeness & in Jewish thought is tied to the idea of shelemut, perfection. So God’s Glory has this concept of perfection, wholeness, goodness, lovingkindness, the tov of Genesis, nothing missing, nothing withheld, & everything operating exactly as it was designed to operate.  Here there is no death, no decay for God is the very source of life itself.

How many of you understand that a manifestation of God’s glory begins with us?

John 14:21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Remember we looked at this verse when we were discussing grace.

Love is agapaō, not philo, keep is tēreō, protectively watch over, commandment is entolē,but it can also mean commission. It is not our keeping God’s commands that proves whether we love Him or not.  He already knows whether we do or not, just as we know the truth about ourselves.  Rather John is saying that when we love God above all else we are motivated to keep His commandments because love desires to please. Love desires to do what’s right.

Did you notice that there is a promise attached to these instructions?
Hold that thought.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins:
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Genesis 1:27 So God created human beings in His own image.  In the image of God He created them; male & female He created them.

If we begin at the beginning what do we find?  We find mankind created in the image of God.  We are so far removed from what that meant that it is almost impossible for us to wrap our heads around it.

What do you imagine when you read: Now the man & His wife were both naked, but they felt no shame? Gen 2:25 What about Gen 3:8 ? When the cool evening breezes were blowing the man & his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden.

We have a problem.  Start with some of the physical things we know about God, not His character or characteristics but how He manifests His presence.

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth ~ John 4:23

For our God is a devouring fire. ~ Hebrews 12:29

 He walks upon the wings of the wind; Psalm 104:3

He will come like a rushing stream Which the wind of the LORD drives. Isaiah 59:19

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said… Job 38:1
And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

We have talked about the cloud of Glory that filled the temple & went before Israel as a cloud by day & a pillar of fire by night. 1 Cor 3:7 declares that man is the image and glory of God

We see that God is wind, & Spirit, & fire.  We also see that man is made in God’s image.  In the garden this reflection of God in man was perfect. He was unaware of His nakedness because he was covered by the Glory of God.  He lived in that Glory. There was no death in that garden.  There was nothing unclean or defiled until sin entered so Adam & Eve were perfect reflections of the Glory of God. When they sinned they immediately became aware of their nakedness.  Why?  Because the glory lifted from them.  There was immediate spiritual death ~ & they knew it.  They couldn’t hide their sin because the departure of the Glory left them completely exposed.

I don’t want to get side-tracked but again & again in scripture you find images that represent God’s covering from the prayer shawl of the O.T to a woman’s hair in the New. We were made to enjoy God & without Him we will literally hunger & thirst for a replacement ~ any replacement: drink, drugs, sex, money, anything at all that will give us that sense of being perfect, loved, secure.

Say with me John 14:21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Stay in Genesis with me for a moment.  Who led Adam & Eve into sin?  Satan, or Lucifer.  Now to start with I want you to just consider his names. His original name was Lucifer.  It means light bearer, heylel, in the Hebrew. Now he is known as the Prince of Darkness. He was one of 3 archangels mentioned:  Michael, the warrior, Gabriel, the Messenger; & Lucifer, the covering angel. From Ezekiel 38 we get the impression He was Heaven’s worship leader & His place was to always be in the presence of God. He walked amongst the fiery stones [E 28:14].  He was covered in precious stones.  We know all precious stones are formed in fire & the temple in the New Jerusalem is made from precious stones so Lucifer may have played a part in building that but what strikes me, & what I want you to note, is that he was continually in God’s presence until sin was found in him & he was cast out of heaven. Until that moment he had abided constantly in the presence of God.

And so you find him in the garden & I would suggest to you that his over~riding emotion on seeing Adam & Eve was one of jealousy.  They had what he had lost!  They enjoyed God’s presence free from guilt, free from fear, free from shame, untarnished by pride. They were His image bearers & not only beheld His glory but reflected His glory. Jealousy seeks to destroy what it cannot have itself.

When they sinned shame, guilt & fear were the immediate response.  They tried to cover themselves to compensate for the glory they had lost.  They sought to hide from God ashamed that their nakedness had been revealed & they were afraid for the very first time in their lives. And guess what?  Satan wanted them to stay there!  It would have been even better if he could have gotten them to eat from the tree of life as well as from the tree of knowledge because then Adam & Eve & every soul since would have been separated from God forever, just as Satan is, destined to be unable to die, never again able to enjoy the presence of God.

Praise the Lord!  He knows the End from the Beginning & had already prepared a way back to him in Jesus, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

I don’t think you’ve got it yet.  Through the shed blood of Christ & the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we can enjoy the manifest presence of God!  Hallelujah!

If we are spirit filled, born again Christians we have the Holy Spirit present within us.  That in itself is an amazing & wondrous thing. His primary Job is to point us to Christ & Jesus says if we have seen Him, we have seen the Father.  Jesus is the embodiment of all God’s Glory.

You want to see God’s Glory?  You want to see God’s presence manifest in this place?  You want to see God move powerfully on these islands?  It is very simple. Nope, I’m not going to tell you to keep His commands.  That’s been tried already & we know only one person ever managed it: Jesus.  No, we must learn to love God.  We must learn how to love Him more; more than our own flesh & blood; more than our parents, more than our spouses, more than our children. We must learn how to put God first in everything we think & say & do.
Now I have thought & studied on how one goes about loving God for years.  God is Spirit.  We can’t see him, touch him, or even, mostly, hear Him ~ not in the way we do other human beings.  Again & again we see loving God tied to keeping His commandments but we know we can’t keep His commandments so does that mean we don’t love God?  When Loving God is the very first commandment.
I’m not saying I have this down pat ~ far from it ~ but I do believe God has given me some revelation on the subject.
I’m going to start with the 2nd thing from Exodus 33:8~11.
Whenever Moses went out to the Tent of Meeting, all the people would get up and stand in the entrances of their own tents. They would all watch Moses until he disappeared inside. As he went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and hover at its entrance while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 When the people saw the cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, they would stand and bow down in front of their own tents. 11 Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.
Firstly there was a time of meeting.  For us that is our Sunday worship. The people were attentive; they watched.  They were expectant.  When you come to church are you watchful & expectant? Thirdly, they were reverent.  They bowed down & worshiped.  Self~explanatory. Thirdly, Joshua tarried. Isn’t that interesting? He lingered.  Scripture doesn’t say why but I imagine there was a residue from God’s presence & Joshua soaked in that. Smart man.  This was who God raised up to replace Moses as the leader of God’s people.

God has always designated special meeting times. If you meet with Him on Sunday mornings then you want to be here eager, reverent & expectant because God has an appointment with you. He is expecting to meet with you in the worship; in the prayer; in the preaching. Are you eager to be in & out because you have other things planned: places to go, people to see, things to do? Or do you tarry, enjoying His presence? Satan will do everything possible to dissuade you, distract you, undermine you because he knows, who better, that praise & worship & reverent expectancy attract the presence of God like nothing else.

However it was a word study that gave me the greatest insight into loving God.  The word was NOT love.  It was, of all things, meditate. I need to point out here that scriptually this NEVER means emptying one's mind! 

The Hebrew is hagah. What it means is: to moan, growl, utter, speak, mutter, muse. Joshua 1:8 for example says you shall meditate day & night [on the scriptures].

 This is how it works:  Whatever we attempt in & of ourselves is doomed to failure. If we attempt to keep God’s commandments in the flesh we fall into legalism or a religious spirit.  If we walk in grace only in our flesh we end up living in lawlessness.  However the Word is living.  It is the very embodiment of Christ Himself.  When we put the word into ourselves we put on the mind of Christ. The more word, the more of Christ, the more of Christ the more the Holy Spirit can change us from the inside out!  It is sharp enough to separate our soul from our Spirit, allowing us to get free of our minds & emotions & operate in the Holy Spirit.  It exposes our innermost thoughts & desires to the close scrutiny of God so that the Holy Spirit can correct & direct.  And what happens is we begin to love God more & more! Just as Christ loves the Father! We don’t have to do anything else.  God Himself effects the changes & positions our hearts to love Him.

And the funny thing is we were made to enjoy God & live in His presence.  God delights in meeting with us.  When we do the necessary groundwork He will build on that foundation so I encourage you to build a strong foundation, one with deep roots; to learn how to tarry in His presence.  I can promise you He will meet us there & we will never be the same.

Friday, 8 July 2016

When His Glory Appears. ~ Ganeida

We have talked before about the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  That is not what I want to talk about today but I do want to just refresh your memories so you are clear in your own minds that when I move on to talk about The Glory of God, I am not talking about the same thing.

The anointing is first mentioned in Exodus 25 referring to the spices to be used in the oil of the sanctuary. Note the 2 important things: Oil; Sanctuary. Remember those.
What was the oil used for?  It was used to anoint the head of a person or thing for service.  People would be anointed as kings, or prophets, or priests. If you remember, we said that the anointing was not a little dab; it was a drenching. You read of oil running down into David’s beard & soaking into his clothing for example.  The Hebrew word is māshaḥ.  By extension it means to consecrate.

Now look at
Revelation 5:10 - And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth

Our anointing comes from the Holy Spirit who seals us unto the day of redemption. Eph 4:30.  Our bodies are a sanctuary for the Holy Spirit. Understand that we are consecrated & set apart by the Holy Spirit unto God but we are also to consecrate ourselves by ensuring we live correctly. We are to keep our temple undefiled.
There is the anointing within ~ the Holy Spirit within us, who leads & guides, helps, reveals Christ; & there is the anointing upon, that sense of the Holy Spirit manifesting when we minister.  Many of us may experience that as heat in our hands when we pray for healing for example. It strengthens us to move with God to perform His work in the world.
We often sense a corporate anointing here when we gather together to worship God as His special people.  We sense His presence manifesting in the worship, in the prayers & in the preaching. We soak in it, sensing God’s deep & abiding love for each & every one of us.  It is a wonderful thing. However we are never to chase the anointing.  We are to seek God & Him first, Him only, & all the rest will be added unto us.
Still with me?  The anointing is not God’s glory.
I am going to give you 2 Hebrew words & the Greek word that get translated as glory.
The first is Hod.  It means majesty, splendour, glory.
The second is kabod.  You will see it spelt various ways but it means literally weight; heaviness. The extended meaning includes honour, majesty, splendour, abundance, importance; nothing hidden, nothing held back. It carries with it the implication of being loaded with power.
The Greek word is doxa from which we get doxology. It means brightness.
So you see, when we sing: Let the weight of His Glory fall, we are being quite scriptural.  Everything that makes God God, all His names, all His characteristics are contained in His Glory. When God manifests His Glory it is a weight that He must bear or we would be crushed by it. Here are two scriptural references to support that contention.
…so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.2 Chronicles 5:14
Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacleExodus 40:35

The cloud of glory is first seen in Exodus 13:21 when Moses leads the people out of Egypt. The LORD went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night.
Do you see it?  God has not just sent the cloud.  He is present with His people. John Kilpatrick points out that a whole generation grew up in the desert never knowing what it was to live without the glory of God’s presence manifest. As Nehemiah 9:21 points out For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell! To say nothing of manna & quail & rocks splitting open to provide water.
The Israelites understood something that we, as New Testament believers, often fail to grasp. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. Heb 10:31
Did you ever wonder why it was Moses who continually went up the mountain to deal with God?  It was because the people were terrified.

All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. And they said to Moses, "You speak to us, and we will listen. But don't let God speak directly to us, or we will die!" Exodus 20:19

Here is the Glory of God covering the mountain as a cloud.  God has specifically invited them to the foot of the mountain to meet with Him, though only Moses & Aaron are invited to climb the mountain, but the people aren’t keen any way.  They are perfectly happy to push Moses out to go talk with God.
We still see something of that attitude in churches today.  People want priests or pastors to go talk to God for them so that they don’t have to deal directly with Him themselves. They want a minister to tell them what to do instead of going directly to the source.  They want a manageable religion in preference to the Living God & this explains the Golden calf just as it explains why people deny the charismatic. How sad.  Paul says quite plainly we have an even better covenant than Israel did but as C.S. Lewis astutely noted: He’s not a tame Lion, you know ~ or as John Piper says: We have exchanged the Glory of God for other things.

Come with me to Exodus 33:18-23 (KJV)

18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
21 And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

Here is Moses who for a good part of his life is the intermediary between God & the people of Israel. He has seen God in the burning bush.  He has seen Him in the cloud by day & the pillar of fire by night. He has sat on top of a mountain with Him for 40 days until, when he came down off that mountain, he had to veil his face because the radiance of God’s glory was upon him. All that & still he beseeches God to be shown His glory.

The interesting thing is that God doesn’t promise to show Moses His glory.  He promises that all His goodness will pass before Moses. God equates His glory with His goodness.  What is this goodness?

Now some of us have heard Perry Stone’s teaching on this & he can say what he does because of Hebrews 1:3
The Son radiates God's own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honour at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.

In Jesus all of God’s goodness, all of His character, was made manifest in the flesh, culminating at the cross. Jesus still veiled that glory while on earth but Peter & John got a glimpse of it on the Mount of Transfiguration.
I have not given you all this information for information’s sake.  We have been praying for God to move powerfully on our islands.  We have been praying for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit to touch lives. We have been praying for every single person who lives here. We have been asking for revival.  We have not called it that.  Revival isn’t even a term I like because I think it is an inaccurate term.  Never~the~less we have been praying for revival.

If you pray for revival you are, in essence, asking God to move powerfully. You are not asking for the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  You are asking for the glory of God to be made manifest. You are asking God to be God & to move powerfully & supernaturally to change lives. Change hearts.  Display His awesome majesty because C.S. Lewis is right: God is not a tame God!

But there are some things you need to know.  We do not dictate to God. When God begins to move we get exposed to the Light of His Holiness. There will be repentance as sin gets exposed.  People will not be able to stand under the weight of God’s presence. That is just a fact. If you’ve ever experienced it you will understand ~ & I am NOT talking about what is sometimes called being slain in the Spirit.  That is something else entirely. There will be miraculous healings because to be in the presence of God is to be in the very presence of the source of life itself.  It’s why the Israelites clothes didn’t wear out, why there was no sickness in the camp. One thing is sure.  You don’t get to stay the same.

However there are things that we need to do in preparation.
One: Not sure whose quote to attribute this but it is indisputably true.
Know your Book. Live it. Believe it. Obey it. Hide God’s word in your heart. It will save your soul, quicken your body, illumine your mind.

Two: Pray.  Pray specifically.  Pray repentance.  Pray for personal revival.  Pray for community revival.  Pray for National revival. Study it.  Think it.  Dream it.  Believe it.

Thirdly, There will be grief over sin & a desire to see God glorified.

Richard Riss has written on the revivals of the past several decades.  This is the link to his web page where there is much to consider & ponder.


In closing I want to quote a story John Kilpatrick recounts from the Brownsville revival.  One of the palms on their platform was broken & they got in someone to fix it.  They directed the young woman, a non~believer, into the sanctuary & waited outside. Within 5 minutes the woman staggered out without her tool box, white~faced & shaken.

What on earth is in there? She asked.

See, when the glory of God manifests no~one can deny it.  It is not an empty boast that one day, at the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow.  When the Glory of God manifests we will be able to do no other.