If These Walls Could Talk
Luke 19:38-40 They said, "How blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd told Jesus, "Teacher, tell your disciples to be quiet. “He replied, "I tell you, if they were quiet, the stones would cry out!"
Jesus said a lot more in His reply to the Pharisees than one may think. He was actually saying if praise is stopped in one place that it will burst out in another place. The language of praise was created in the universe at the beginning when God started saying, “Let there be”.
That means that everything that God created, (including rocks), has musical sounds of praise imbedded in them. On subjects like this I often go back to Habakkuk 2:14 where it says, “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea”. This is basically what Jesus was saying when He said “the rocks will cry out” … or in the case of Habakkuk, “the knowledge of the glory” will be released for all to see and hear. The rocks in creation may not be able to talk, but they can sure glorify God.
Several years ago I was invited to hold some services in a little Methodist church out in the country of central Texas. The church was a small white frame wood building that was over a hundred years old. It sat on the north side of a narrow road in what looked to be a pasture.
The grandparents of the person who invited me used to go to that church. Since those early days most of the grandchildren had moved to other cities to raise their families.
You might say the meetings that I would be holding were kind-a-like a spiritual family reunion. I asked the lady who invited me to drive me out in the country where this church was so I could pray in the church for our meetings.
As we walked in the front door I stopped so I could get a feel of the spirit in that little sanctuary, with its ill fitting wood pews. I immediately began to feel things and hear things and I turned to my host and said, “I feel the anointing so heavy in this room … and I also feel that this church was run by women.” As we walked into a room behind the platform I saw pictures of previous pastors and leaders still hanging on the wall and they were all women. My host then informed me that the great revivalist Maria Woodworth-Etter used to preach in that church. It must have been her anointing that I was picking up.
For those who have never heard of Mrs. Etter, she was so anointed that people would often fall into a trance in her meetings. One man was in a trance for three days and when others tried to help him they would fall into a trance themselves, (today we call that falling in the spirit). I would encourage everyone to read about this dear saint of the Lord. She was born in 1844 and died in 1924.
The point is, if I could still feel the anointing of Mrs. Etter over one hundred years later, how much more would all creation, (including rocks), still hold the praise of our Father God. The fact is, anointings and mantles do not go to heaven when we die, they are for the ministry here on earth. Example: Elisha picked up Elijah’s mantle when the chariot of fire came to take Elijah away.
Can these walls talk? Yes, all hard objects record sounds.
I am overwhelmed to be able to join all creation in praising Your holy name. You are worthy of all praise throughout the universe as everything, (including rocks), cry out in unison with a loud sound of Holy, Holy, Holy!
Matthew 19:16 And behold, one came to him and said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
Matthew 19:21-22 Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
I have heard many sermons over the years about the young rich ruler and have even preached a few myself. However, I was never completely satisfied because I believed the lesson that I was supposed to learn was not the obvious. My lesson was hidden in the makeup of what made this guy tick in the first place. For me to know that, I needed to study deeper into his emotions. The scripture only says that “he went away sorrowful”.
I tried to put a face on this young man and as I did I imagined him to be a forward thinker, a shrewd businessman, well educated and lived in an upper-class community. The scripture only tells us that he was young and rich.
When Jesus told him to give his money to the poor, He was not implying that he himself should become poor and penniless. God is not against us living a blessed life and having more than enough money because, (3 John 1:2) said, “Beloved, I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health ….”
This young man was a man of the law because he was quick to tell Jesus that he kept all of the law of Moses. The problem is, he asks a grace question from a law perspective and the two do not mix. Therefore, the young man walked away sorrowful.
The law has always been a stranger to grace and that is why you cannot answer a law question with a grace answer. Not only that but if you will notice, a law person usually puts a very high value on money and other possessions … like this young man.
The lesson that Jesus was teaching him was that qualifying for eternal life has nothing to do with his good deeds. The lesson was, what was he willing to give up for eternal life. As a matter of fact, when Jesus told this young man to give all his wealth to the poor … that really had nothing to do with the young man’s wealth or the poor. It had to do with the cleansing of his heart which was motivated by the spirit of stinginess or money hoarding … and that is why he walked away sorrowful.
When one really has the Lord living in their life, they are automatically a generous person because they have the author of generosity living in them. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life”.
Several years ago I met a businessman in a restaurant and he kept looking at me and finely said, “You aught to be a preacher”. The man did not know me nor what I did so I asked him, “Why in the world would you think that?” He said, “There is just something about you.” … and the man was obviously under conviction. With that, I pulled him aside and talked to him about the Lord and laid hands on him and prayed for him. He and his wife were members of a large church in San Antonio. I never saw him again.
Sometime later I met another man from the same church and I asked him if he knew the first man and he said, “Yes”. As we talked our conversation went like this. “Tell me about that man, I don’t know what happened to him but he came to church one day, (and he named the date which was right after I prayed for him), and was a completely changed man. He used to be lazy, stingy and always late. But now is involved in everything and gets to church early and he can’t seem to give enough of his time or his money. He inspires everybody”.
This is the same kind of conversion that the young rich ruler needed but he was so focused on what he had that he missed what he needed … which was eternal life.
Help us to understand when we are willing to give up our old riches that we tap into the prosperity of the kingdom. Help us Lord to never choose to walk away sorrowful when rejoicing is at hand.
God Steers Moving Ships
Matthew 16:24 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me”
The first commandment that Jesus gave to His disciples had to do with total surrender. This was not meant to imply that the disciples should become inactive. Inactivity is like saying, oh well I am just abiding in God … which is another word for laziness.
True abiding in Christ is activity that is led by the Holy Spirit because our old man is dead.
Romans 6:6-7 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
This means that denying to your self, is dying to your will, and dying to your will is dying to your decision making. This is not a natural type of death where your body becomes inactive. No, this is a spiritual type of death where your body becomes more active because you are now alive in Christ and your body belongs to Him.
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.
The problem is, there are those who want the Lord to lead them, (or steer their ship), when their ship is not moving. You cannot steer a ship that is docked.
When we offer our bodies as a living sacrifices to the Lord which is an act of worship … we do this in response to His mercies. Paul believes that we should be so overwhelmed by God’s mercies that we are willing to joyfully die to everything we are and have.
I remember so well as a young evangelist something was established in my life that lives on to this today. Every morning I would drive to a certain place in our town and park my car and read out loud Romans 12:1.
After reading this passage I would pray and ask the Lord where He was sending me today. He would always give me an address because someone was there praying for an answer. Even though these were always places that I had never been to before I would go and knock on the door and introduce myself. I would tell them that as I was praying the Lord told me they had a need. One lady was so shocked and said, “I was just praying that”, please come in. I would go in and tell her or them what the Lord had given me. I would pray for them and then get up and leave while they were praising God and thanking Him for their answer.
If the Lord sent me to a church, I would go in and sit down on the back row. Eventually the pastor would come back and say something like, “I feel the Lord has sent you here with a message for me today”. This happened many times over the years and their response was always the same.
The point is, it all started with Matthew 16:24 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me”. Romans 12:1, showed us how to do that and how the Lord can steer our ship.
I do not know how it works … all I know is that it does.
This is certainly a faith walk. Give us more revelation on these two scriptures because 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 says that, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
Loneliness Is Real
Psalm 25:16-17 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles
of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.
This is one of the saddest verses in the Bible. I have known of folks over the years who have felt “lonely and afflicted” and to them it was very real. The problem is, sometimes when one gets in that state of mind, they start feeling the same way that David felt and begin to think that even God has turned His back on them. The fact is loneliness and affliction are an open door for depression and depression is an open door for loneliness and affliction. Depression is always right around the corner waiting for an entrance.
There are probably more folks suffering from depression today than at any other time because of things like Coved-19, the country being ripped apart by riots and being shut in.
According to some studies that I have found, “loneliness is not only making us sick but is also killing us”. That same study shows that “elderly people who are without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely”. Then it says “The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking and loneliness is twice as dangerous as obesity”.
The report continues to say, “Social isolation impairs the immune function and boosts inflammation which can lead to arthritis, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Loneliness is breaking our hearts, but as a culture we rarely talk about it.”
Loneliness has doubled … 40 percent of adults in two recent surveys said they were lonely. This was up from 20 percent in the 1980s”.
I have known several people over the years who have committed suicide. One particular person was a pastor who had been a successful minister for many years. He was a very kind man and was liked by everyone. He and his wife were particularly close and did everything together … when you saw one you saw the other.
I was invited to preach in their church many times over the years which I enjoyed.
However, one day the pastor’s wife died, and because they had been so close, loneliness set in and he was never able to adjust to his loss. As a matter of fact, he acted like a man who was put on another planet and did not know what to do or where to turn. His affliction was so deep and loneliness rooted itself in his spirit to the point that he could no longer bare the pain.
With a broken heart that he believed was unrepairable, he drove out in the country and committed suicide. This whole scenario started out with a killer named loneliness.
I suppose if I had any advice to the rest of us it would be to find the lonely, (which could be closer than you think … like a family member), and become partners of faith with them. Develop a close friendship with them and carry them until they are able to stand. When they are able to stand, encourage them to pay it forward to someone else and carry them if need
be. Who knows, the one they may have to carry could be you.
Help us to be strength to the weak and particularly those who have lost hope. Help our guard to always be up to fight against the loneliness and affliction in others. The silent killer of loneliness must be defeated.
Hebrews 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not meat, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But meat is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
I have always found the teaching on milk and meat to be a very interesting one. The reason it is so interesting is because Jesus said that we should be like a little child, (which implies milk drinkers), even though our text says that we should be meat eaters. Both scriptures are true even though at first there seems to be a contradiction.
When Jesus said in Matthew 18:4 that we should be as a little child, He was not suggesting that we be spiritual dwarfs who only drink milk. What He was saying, was that we should remain as humble and trusting as a little child even though we are adults. For an adult to act like a little child when they are grown would be childish and Jesus would never suggest that.
There are those who are no doubt much deeper in the things of God than others. Even though that is the case, one should remain a learner no matter how old they are, and that is what our text is saying.
I have noticed over the years that some folks stop learning at a very early age and other folks stop learning at retirement age. As for me, I am eighty-five years old and I still have so much to learn from almost everybody. As a matter of fact, I try to do something everyday that I don’t know how to do in order to keep learning.
The reason I continue to learn things that I already know is because I have discovered that there are so many layers to learn with every subject. For example, I continue to read my Bible over and over, and each time I read it, it feels like the first time.
Some time ago a preacher told me that he had already read through the Bible one time, so he did not need to do that again. I wonder how much revelation he is missing with such arrogant thinking.
There is an interesting thing about milk and meat … or about the food of the immature and the food of the mature. If one does not drink the milk are eat the meat, then they will spoil. Spoiled milk will not hurt you, but spoiled meat will kill you. Spoiled milk is like buttermilk, or what we call East Texas eggnog. If one refuses to eat the meat, (the word), that they should eat…then they well be judged by the word that was meant to be a blessing to them.
There also seems to be a relationship between success and those who eat the meat of the word. This conclusion comes as a result of our text saying, “for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil”. One might say that a learner is a discerner.
Help our digestive system to cry out for strong meat but do not let it spoil. When you told the Children of Israel to eat all the lamb the night of Passover, You were saying the same thing as our text. Father help us to mature.
Act 12:6-7 That very night, before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, and guards in front of the door were watching the prisoners. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on his side, woke him up, and said, "Get up quickly!" His chains fell from his wrists.
One of the saddest things I know is for a human being to be chained up like a wild animal. This is especially true when the one who is in chains is a man of God like Peter. If there is anything that shows the contempt that the world has for Christians it is in this text.
Peter was going about his business doing the five things that Jesus sent His disciple out to do in Matthew 10. However, those were the very things that antagonized the religious authority so they threw Peter in prison. He was not put in prison for committing crimes, but for doing good. To make matters worse he was chained up between two soldiers. The chains were not meant to keep Peter from escaping, they were meant to intimidate Peter and break his spirit.
However, the soldiers did not count on the power of prayer for which there is no defense. When the Bible says that “one can send a thousand to flight and two can send ten thousand to flight” … that principle was proven that night. As Peter lay in pain and chains, the ordinary folks were holding a prayer meeting in his defense and calling on the name of the Lord for his release.
There was something about their unified prayer that loosed Peter’s chains, opened the prison doors, swung wide the gates and lead Peter to safety. Peter’s first stop was to give thinks to God and the folks whose unified prayer had released him.
Several years ago, when there was a scandal about some big-name televangelist … it seemed as if the media was trying to bring all televangelists down. There is no doubt that wrong had been done but the punishment and treatment seemed so severe.
One such case was with televangelist Jim Bakker. I will never get the image out of my mind of how Jim was treated. They had him chained up like a mass murderer. His wrists were in chains, his waist was in chains, his feet and legs were in chains and he was anchored by two big men as if he could actually get away. When they brought Jim out of the building to put him in the vehicle, news cameras were there from every network recording Jim as he stood there scared and weeping like a baby. I am not sure if the chains were meant to keep Jim from escaping or they were meant to break his spirit. Either way, this was one of the saddest scenes I have ever witnessed.
Our text doesn’t tell us if Peter felt like crying like Jim when he was bound with chains and guards on either side. It does tell us that he had a prayer army who were willing to bombard heaven on his behalf.
We did learn in our text that there is a power in unified prayer that is beyond our understanding … even to the point of breaking chains and unlocking doors. Our text proves that even though we live in this world, we are not of this world. This world may put chains on us but our world (the heavenly realm), is what loosens those chains.
Help us to understand our text the way we were meant to understand it. Help us to understand the lesson in our text that teaches us the difference between the two powers. The world’s power which is the power of the chains, and heaven’s power, the power of prayer.
My Dad’s Bible
John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
The apostle John gave quite an impressive introduction for Jesus. John certainly did not leave any room to question who Jesus was and how He relates to this world. As we study the life of Jesus, we see that He was no less the creator and light of this world when He was a baby in Bethlehem than He was when He was hanging on the cross at Golgotha.
A lot of things obviously happened between Bethlehem and Golgotha. Jesus started out as a sweet little baby with angels singing at His birth and wise men bringing Him gifts. He ended up thirty-three years later all bruised and battered and hanging on a cross.
The natural mind cannot understand things like this, particularly when it was His Father’s will that He pay such a price, and He obeyed. The Bible says that, “He was the lamb that takes away the sin of the world”, even the sins of those who nailed Him to the cross. That was evident when He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.
Jesus paid the ultimate price on the cross for our redemption while remaining the “light of the world”.
My dad died eighty-two years ago when I was three years old. Some thirty years after my Dad died, I went to see my Mom and she handed me this old ragged Bible and told me that it belonged to my Dad. This was a total surprise to me because I had never heard anything about my Father, good or bad.
Even though the Bible was very old it was obvious that it had not been cared for either. The pages were torn and the cover had been cut with scissors by a child.
Nevertheless, I took this treasured possession home and carefully began to look at its pages. I not only discovered that dad marked his Bible exactly the same why that I mark my Bible but that he also loved the Lord as I do.
Written in the back of the bible were dates of births, deaths, marriages and even the last words my dad prayed as he was taking his last breath before passing.
Even though my Dad’s Bible was torn and fragile it still had the light of truth on each of those worn brown pages. When I handle Dad’s bible, I do so with all the love and tenderness of a son who is handling the bruised and battered body of Jesus.
Perhaps we should all reread our text and get a fresh understanding of the price that was paid for the Light that every Christian can receive freely.
The truth is always the truth regardless if it is hanging on a cross or its story written on the pages of an uncared for Bible. Lord, I find great peace in reading that old Bible and the story of the birth of Jesus as well as the full price that was paid for my redemption. Thank You Lord for the Light of the world that is now living in me.
Exodus 29:7 Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
All through the Bible we read where people, (as well as things), were anointed. Perhaps there is a lot more to anointing than we first thought. In the following cases it seems that pouring anointing oil or perfume on one is God’s way of spiritually laying hands on us.
For example, God told Moses to anoint Aaron and his sons for the ministry. The tabernacle and the altar were to be anointed for worship. Later on, we see where Saul was anointed as king. We also read in the New Testament when a person is fasting, they should anoint their own head. We see another interesting example in the New Testament when a lady was so overjoyed by Jesus’ presence that she anointed His feet with expensive perfume and wiped them with her hair.
Anointing oil was used for many things throughout the Bible. David was anointed as king seventeen years before he actually became king. Other men were anointed to be prophets.
There is something about anointing that carries the weight of God’s endorsement that the natural mind cannot comprehend. However, we can conclude that the anointing of God falls under the category of miracles. No one can explain miracles and particularly those that come as a result of the anointing oil.
When a miracle takes place it is very easy for the Thomas spirit of disbelief to surface at that point more than at any other time.
In my many years of ministry I have seem a lot of miracles but I have never been able to explain any of them.
As I write this Meditation, I do so with the full understanding that it may cause some to wonder in regards to the following stories.
Sometime ago while ministering in Mexico to a group of pastors, all of a sudden, I felt I should call my wife back in San Antonio. She had no more than answered the phone until she started telling me this strange story about a man from Georgia named Johnny. Johnny was a friend of the prayer ministry she is involved in and he was just an ordinary man who simply loved the Lord.
One day back in Georgia Johnny opened his Bible to Psalms 39 and oil began flowing out of his Bible. Over a period of time the oil that started flowing from Psalm 39 began flowing to the end of the Bible. After a while it began to flow from Psalms 39 to the beginning of the Bible.
Since that time hundreds of people have been anointed with this miracle oil and healed of all kinds of diseases and sickness. Johnny has been on God TV as well as other media. Johnny remains an humble man with no explanation for this phenomena.
When my wife told me that story I was overwhelmed by the anointing I felt. I walked back in the room where the Mexico pastors were and said to one who was standing all the way across the room, “I release the power and effect of this miracle oil on you right now”. Even though he was several feet away he shot backward under the power of God and was out for several minutes. When he came to, he said, “something happened to me … I feel totally different”.
That night while preaching I felt the Lord stop me in the middle of my message to pray for a lady sitting on the back row. I released the same simple prayer on her as I had released on the pastor and she became mute until after the service. Her life was changed. The same thing happed the next night at another service to another lady who became mute until after the service. The people were so overwhelmed at these and other miracles that they could not stop praising the Lord.
I realize that stories like these are not for everyone. However, I do believe they will be an encouragement to others who have had similar unexplainable experiences but are afraid to share them.
Help us walk into the realm of the supernatural more and more. It is impossible for our natural minds to understand the phenomena that Jesus walked in all of His life … but we are trying.
The Unfinished Church
(Act 2:47) Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
If the Lord is adding to the church daily it is because the church is not finished. As a matter of fact, the church will not be finished until Jesus returns for His bride. Our text simply shows the progression of the church and not it’s conclusion. The reason the church is not finished is because folks are still being born again and added to it daily.
The same thing is true with each of us, we are also unfinished works. Our spiritual growth develops the same way that the early church was developed, and that is though the “testing of our faith” (James 1:3). Testing is never fun, but there doesn’t seem to be any other way of maturing us apart from testing. The fact is, one never stops growing, changing or being tested no matter what their age. According to Ephesians 4:12, our being tested is “perfecting us for the work of the ministry”
San Antonio is blessed to still have some of the old Spanish missions that were built back in the early seventeen hundreds. I went by one recently and noticed that its construction had been started but never finished. Work on the old mission had started and stopped over a fourteen-year period of time and then finally stopped altogether.
The thing that sadden me most, was them giving up their vision when they were so close to finishing it. The rock walls were very strong and thick and would have been able to withstand any invasion. However, the construction was stopped just prior to the roof going on … and with that a great vision was abandoned. They turned what was to be their sanctuary into a graveyard that lasted for the next two hundred and fifty years until it was excavated, and the bones removed to another grave site. Abandoning a great vision like this was very sad to me.
No high school graduating class plans to fail in life … they are sure their ideas will make the world better, their politics will unite the country, their science, business, and inventions will be a pattern for future generation to follow.
However, things don’t always turn out the way young minds plan. In far too many cases their visions begin to die soon after graduation. Some lost their lives, some took their lives, many are divorced, others spent their life just barely getting by. But thank God there are others who never lost their vision and completed it in style.
My encouragement is for those who reads this meditation to go back and pick up those unfulfilled visions and prophetic words that are on the shelves and complete them. Don’t be like the Spanish missionary who stopped his work just prior to putting on the roof. Don’t allow your vision to end up being nothing more than a graveyard, or another unfinished church.
Help us to be completers and not stoppers. Help our stickability to be something to be emulated. Help us to be an encourager to others who are prone to lose hope and grow weary in well doing. We want to be known as a completer just like our Father in heaven.
Sing Me a Song
Ephesians 5:19-20, Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
There is something about singing that is not only healing for our soul but also touches the very heart of God. The reason it touches God’s heart is because God is the source of music and therefore music is in all creation.
As a matter of fact, when God created Lucifer, according to Isaiah 14, He created him as a musical being. It says that he was to cover the throne with worship, but he didn’t use instruments … he was the instrument.
In the Hebrew it talks about the very pipes that were in Lucifer’s being, so therefore … he just began to be. And as he began to be, he had the ability to produce music because God created him, and God was music. That means when we were created, we were also created with music in us.
Scientist have done some studies with the human DNA and were actually able to decode it. In doing so they discovered that our individual DNA has a musical notation to it. Since we all have a different DNA that means we all have a different song in us. Your body sings a different song than mine.
Music is not only a healing agent, but it also brings peace to the soul.
When I was in the rehab center after my heart surgery, I lay awake one night until early in the morning. About two AM a nurse stuck her head in my room to check on me and I invited her to come in and sit down. She never said a word but walked in and sat down close to my bed.
She was a beautiful young black nurse from the Dominican Republic. I asked her if she knew the Lord and she said yes. I then asked her to tell me her story and she began by telling me that she was the only one in her family who knew the Lord. She said her family was steeped in witchcraft and all of them made fun of her when she got saved and went to church as a little girl.
She grew up and went to nursing college and then came to America and got a job at this rehab center in San Antonio. When she finished her story, I asked her to sing for me. Without saying another word, she began singing my favorite old hymn that I had not heard since I was a little boy. Her voice was so sweet and tender that I could barely hear her. The sound did not seem like it was in the room but was coming from a long way off. It was almost like an echo coming from her island across the water. Even though I could barely hear it I knew that God had sent her to me that sleepless night as a balm of healing. She will forever be in my heart.
When she finished singing, I prayed for her and I went right to sleep. I will never forget the little angel that God sent to me from the Dominican Republic … she will forever be in my heart.
Thank You for that young lady with the island voice that was my healer that night. Thank You Lord for putting a different song in each of us.
Exodus 40:34-35. The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tent. 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 tent.
The most awesome and unnatural thing in the world is the Glory of God. It is unnatural to the flesh, but it is natural to the Spirit. The Glory of God, (or the presence of God), in its purest form is like a consuming fire. When God came down on mount Sinai in Exodus 19 He told the people not to come near the mountain or they would die. God was so awesome and pure that the bible said that the mountain smoked like a furnace.
Apparently, there are different degrees of the Glory of God and the degree depends on how much we can handle. In Exodus 40 and Exodus 19 is one degree and in Habakkuk 2:14 is another degree. Habakkuk says, “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea”.
If you will notice Habakkuk did not say that the earth shall be filled with the Glory of God … it says it shall be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of God. In other words, the earth is already filled with the Glory of God. Depending on each person’s individual depth in God, we can actually enter into His Glory. One person may enter into His Glory at one level and another person may enter His Glory at another level.
Once while ministering in Canada at a large retreat camp, the Glory of God was so strong that one almost had to be there to believe it. Signs and wonders were taking place each night and folks were being saved, healed and set free. One night after the service a man who had lived a hard life got saved and requested to be immediately baptized.
The camp sat by a large lake and since it was the fall of the year the water was very cold, but the man didn’t care. The man assisting me said I will baptize him, and he and the new convert went out into the lake. The man being baptized took his bible with him and said, “I want my bible to be baptized too”. Down in the cold water they went, both man and bible. When they came out of that cold water the man came out shouting and giving glory to God.
After the new convert dried off he noticed that even though his bible had gone under the water with him, it did not have a water mark on it. With that the people shouted and praised God until after midnight … thanking Him for all the miracles that had taken place.
Strange and unexplainable things happen when the Glory of God is present.
This may not be exactly what Exodus 40 is talking about when it said they could not go into the Tent of Meeting. However, we can conclude that one man can be in a deeper level of Glory than another man, according to Exodus 19. On the other hand all of us are able to walk in a measure of God’s Glory according to Habakkuk 2:14.
Show us the mystery of Your Glory because we want to go deeper and deeper in Your presence. Lord, we want to grow so close to You that we can glow with Your presence as Moses did as He came off the mountain in Exodus 19.
(John 19:30) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
When Jesus yielded to the religious leaders who sought to crucify Him, caused me to stop and think. After all He could have called “ten thousand angles” to deliver Him … but He didn’t.
As I began to meditate on this terrible scene, I suddenly realized that there are many levels of yielding and Jesus showed us the ultimate level.
I also discovered that yielding is a process and not an immediate accomplishment. Perhaps that’s what Paul meant when he said that “we should die daily”. Paul seemed to be saying that yielding is a life journey … and total surrender is when we give up the ghost at the end of that journey.
In my younger days I used to work with horses that needed help. Some were only green broke and needed to learn how to rein, stop, turn and so on. In other words, they needed to learn how to yield their will to the riders will.
One day someone brought to me a beautiful high-strung, high powered thoroughbred racehorse that had only been on the racetrack. The owner loved this horse and wanted it trained to be a good saddle horse.
The horse tended to be nervous and jumped around a lot so I needed to find a way of refocusing its attention.
Next to my farm was a thick wooded area with some marshy land, so I decided to ride this horse through those woods even though he hated it. However, before long his attention had shifted from the race track to reluctantly stepping through thick brush and over fallen trees as he walked through the marsh. After a few hours of that unpleasant experience … I returned home with a very tired horse but one that had learned a valuable lesson. It was valuable because he had learned to yield his will to mine and that seemed okay with him.
He learned that his rider was something more than just a jockey how set on his back while he ran and exerted his own will. The woods, brush and marsh had definitely broadened his scope as he became one with me. From then on, I could go up to him anywhere in the pasture and jump on his back and ride him without a saddle or a bridle and he seemed to love the relationship as much as I did.
Perhaps that’s what Paul meant when he said, “that we must die daily”. In other words, we must learn to yield to the will of God even though it may require us to walk through the marsh lands of life.
Thank you for Your patience with us as we learn the art of yielding while walking over the logs and brush and through the marsh lands of our own life. We want to learn how to yield more to You knowing that yielding is a journey and not an immediate destination. Our nature is to run on the track and exert own will rather than to walk through the difficult areas of life. Be patient with us Lord.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Did you ever have the feeling that maybe you had less to do with your life’s direction than you thought? That is not to say that we do not have a free will and can make our own choices. I am only saying that maybe we had some help in making those choices. You know, a nudge here and a caution there, or maybe a strong thought that suddenly came into your mind and you wondered where it came from.
As I look back over my many years of living, I am not sure I ever had an original thought that was not sub-par. That is exactly why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
In other words, as believers, it’s not whether “we have the mind of Christ” … it is whether we submit to “the mind of Christ”. If not, all of our decisions will be based on our sub-par thinking … and that’s a scary thought.
When I read our text, I feel guided and protected knowing that God’s thinking is higher than my thinking. Because we are a child of God then Proverbs 22:6 can be applied to our relationship, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”.
We may not always enjoy our training, but the end result is good. There are many things in life that come our way, that may not be of God, but He uses those experiences to draw us closer to Himself.
One such case was when I was in the hospital. God did not put me in the hospital, but He used that time to remind me of who He is and what He had done for me.
I was in a large room on the top floor of the hospital with all windows on one side of the room. This room felt more like a resort room than it did a hospital room.
I did not want to sleep in my bed that night, so the hospital was kind enough to bring in two large recliners. One recliner was for my wife and one recliner was for me. The only light we had in the room that night was the light of the moon shining through all the windows and the occasional flashing light of a helicopter bringing patients to the hospital.
My wife pulled our recliners side by side so we could be near each other. The presence of God seemed to be especially strong that night as we reclined through the night holding hands. It was one of those unexplainable times when we felt as if we were the only two people in the world. We spent the night praising God and thanking Him for all His blessings and knowing that He had given us so much more than we deserved. I also never felt more in love, or at one with my wife, than I did that night.
God used that time in the hospital to renew my soul and remind me of Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for well-being, and not for calamity, in order to give you a future and a hope. Today I am living in that future and in that hope.
Help me to think Your thoughts knowing You have a plan for my future. Thank You Lord for keeping everyone out of my room that night while my wife and I were with You, as we were surrounded by Your glory.
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