HAPPY NEW YEAR – HOPE Continued

Bringing in the NEW YEAR

In my reading and devotions during this past week in the Book of Isaiah, I couldn’t help thinking and praying for the upcoming New Year.  This blog started out to be brief.  But the Holy Spirit kept encouraging me towards it’s purpose; getting you to think about the future events that will occur to you and I in 2012.

Isaiah 37:26, 28:

[But, says the God of Israel] have you not heard that I purposed to do it long ago, that I planned it in ancient times?  Now I have brought to pass”  [26].

“But I [the Lord] know your sitting down and your going out and your coming in”  [28].

Relax, I am not going to venture off into the Biblical Doctrine of Predestination.  God can know a matter before hand without determining the matter to the point that you and I are excluded; as far as our will and participation in the New Year are concerned.  Some religionists totally eliminate the will and role of man.

Since the theme of Hope  had been expressed by my Pastor in December of 2011, I thought I might just give some encouraging thoughts for 2012.  Let me give you a few more verses to look up in expounding on Isaiah’s words; “have you not heard”.  

The Letter of James tells us to understand and let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak” (James 1:19).  James doesn’t just leave us with just hearing from reading Scripture and listening to your Pastor on Sunday morning.  He goes on to say, with a “gentle and modest spirit” we are to “receive and welcome the Word which is implanted and rooted in your hearts; WORD POWER” (James 1:21).  How are we to use and demonstrate that POWER coming from the Word of God?

But be DOERS of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yours [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]”  (James 1:22 AMP). 

What About Finances in 2012?

Are finances a big question in you mind in the upcoming New Year?  How about job security, healthcare; you can add other items that might be in your thinking right now.  In fact, I suggest you get a pencil and paper and write down some of your unknowns or possible fears for 2012.  Then, look to corresponding Scripture regarding your thoughts, your misgivings, your fears.  If you don’t have an Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, get one a have it beside your Bible. Then pray those corresponding verses and claim the results you desire, then tear the list up or as I do, run it through a shredder.

GETTING STARTED WITH PRAYER

“And when they heard it, lifting their voices together with one united mind to God and said, O Sovereign Lord, You are He Who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything that is in them”  (Acts 4:24).

Being “one united mind” in the praying, for what might be predetermined for the New Year, does matter and can change things.  Look at the results of being united in prayer over a less than hopeful situation:

“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were assembled was shaken; and they were ALL FILLED with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak the Word of God with freedom and boldness and courage”  (Acts 4:31 AMP).

The POWER had been released as they prayed and spoke the Word of God.  And that same POWER can be released, in any upcoming burdens you might run into this next year.  If things don’t seem to be resolved in the matter, check your obedience and the POWER that comes from it!

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding (of our situations).  He gives POWER to the faint and weary, and to him who has no mite He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]”  (Isaiah 40:28-29).  I added the words in parenthesis for emphasis.

WOW, if those words in Isaiah aren’t worth praying during the upcoming year, I don’t know which verse might bring more HOPE to you!  Again, notice the POWER in it all!

“[Earnestly] remember the former things, [which I did] of old; for I am God, and there is no one else; I am God, and there is none like Me.  Declaring the end and the result from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure and purpose”  (Isaiah 46:9-10).

God keeps His promises! When you are going through some things, “earnestly remember” the former things that God has done for you.  After all, why did Jesus come into this world for?  Yes, He did come to SAVE, but He also came for us to enjoy life:

“The thief comes ONLY in order to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they [that’s you and I] may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)”  ~ John 10:10 AMP.

TROUBLED TIMES AHEAD?

If you are thinking right now or once thought that when you become a Christian, “troubled times” would not be evident in your life, you are and were mistaken.  The New Year will bring in its own trouble.  How do I know this?

“The thing that has been–it is what will be again, and that which has been done is that which will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun”  (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

That verse came from the wisest man ever. So the issue is not about whether trouble will come in 2012 but how we handle the circumstance when it arrives.  Dr. Creflo Dollar says that “wrong words lead to wrong thinking” and “the right word will lead to right thinking“.  Wrong thinking” will eventually determine the wrong destination, where “right thinking” will determine your right destination in life (8 Steps to Your Destination).  What is the right Word? The Word of the living Savior, Lord Jesus.

NEGATIVE and POSITIVE WORDS

FEAR of things that might happen in this next year, will lead you in the wrong destination and 2 Timothy 1:7 speaks to us about the destination of FEAR:

“For God did not give us a spirit if timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of POWER and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”

God doesn’t give us FEAR about “troubled times” ahead according to the apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy.  God has given us a spirit of POWER, CALMNESS, WELL-BALANCED MIND, DISCIPLINE and SELF-CONTROL in the midst of our unpleasant circumstances.  So if FEAR of things ahead didn’t come from God. Where does it come from?  It comes from the enemy; the devil.

The POWER SOURCE is the answer:  “For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage of FEAR, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!  (Romans 8:15 AMP).  FEAR will put you into BONDAGE, locked up with your troubled circumstance.

JOY and POWER is Available to those who believe!

THE LETTER OF JAMES encourages us to be not just joyful but “wholly joyful” this next year:

“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations”  (James 1:2 AMP).

James is not telling us to have joy FOR the trouble but be “wholly joyfulIN the trouble, the trialS, the temptations and not FOR the circumstances.  He even gives us reasons and solutions to the trials ahead of us:

“Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience”  (James 1:3).

You might be saying to yourself right now, “I don’t want endurance, steadfastness and definitely not patience when trouble comes. I just want it to go away!”  James gives a promise next that should give you HOPE in going through it all:

“But let the endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, SO THAT you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], LACKING IN NOTHING”  (James 1:4).

Colossians gives us another directive regarding the JOY and POWER for the upcoming year:

“[We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with ALL POWER according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with JOY”  (Col. 1:11 AMP).

If God’s Word doesn’t give you HOPEwhen“, not “if” you face trials this next year, I don’t know what will.  Trouble is going to be in our lives but we need to know God’s promise of deliverance when they occur.

“Then I shall be joyful in the Lord; I shall rejoice in His deliverance”  (Psalm 35:9).

Saying to yourself in this next verse,

“Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my exceeding joy; yes, with the lyre will I praise You, O God, my God!  Why are you cast down, O my inner self?  And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me?  HOPE in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my [sad] countenance and my God”  (Psalm 43:4-5 AMP).

The Psalmist is speaking to his trouble rather than speaking about his difficulty.  There is a big difference when troubled times show up!

THERE WILL BE “WEEPING” AND “GRIEVING” IN 2012

“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that you shall WEEP and GRIEVE, but the world will rejoice.  You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into JOY.  So for the present you are also in sorrow (in distress and depressed); but I will see you again and [then] your hearts will rejoice, and no one can take from you your JOY (gladness, delight)”  (John 16:20, 22 AMP).

HOPING FOR THE BEST IN THE NEW YEAR

“For in [this] HOPE we were saved. But HOPE [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For how can one hope for what he already sees?  BUT if we HOPE for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure”  (Romans 8:24-25 AMP).

HOPE is best defined as, “A heartfelt and confident expectation of a thing with an outstretched neck” in whatever the circumstance is.  It has to do with the unseen and not what you are seeing in the trouble now or in the future.

How difficult is hoping in the future or during the troubled times?  Turn with me next to THE LETTER OF PAUL TO THE EPHESIANS:

“By having the eyes of your [insert your name in place of the word “your” i.e., MEL’s] flooded heart with light, so that MEL can know and understand the hope to which He has called you MEL, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones).    And [so that you MEL can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His POWER in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength”  (Ephesians 1:18-19 AMP).  That makes the words personal!

YOUR PRAYER ON JANUARY 1st, 2012

Pray Psalm 86 on day one of the New Year; an example of what prayer does when you are feeling poor, distressed, needy and desiring:

“INCLINE YOUR ear, O Lord, and answer me”  Be bold when you ask God in your circumstances (verse 1).

— Remind God of who your are in Christ Jesus.  “I am godly and dedicated“; “save me” from destruction for “I trust in you” (verse 2).

“I cry all the day” for your help (verse 3).  Keep on praying in your circumstance, crying out!  I “cry all the day” in times of trouble, maybe even face down on the carpet. If the carpet gets wet…that means you’ve been crying out.  That’s called fervent prayer”.  You will need fervency during times of feeling poor, being distressed, being needy and desiring that the troubles will soon end.

— “Make me, Your servant, to rejoice, O Lord, for to You do I LIFT MYSELF UP (verse 4).  Rejoicing, regardless of how hard it seems to do in the middle of a trial; it will ALWAYS lift your spirits up!  YEP…ALWAYS!

“In the day of my trouble” is definitely the time of prayer.  “I will call on You, for You will answer me” (verse 7).

— And when you are going through it all,  claim this verse:  “Teach me Your way…that I may walk and live in Your truth” (verse 11).

Let  me leave you with an exercise for you to practice on this next year.  See how many other keys you can find in Psalm 86 that will help and comfort you in times of trouble.  Write them down and put in your Bible as a reminder.

 

 

 

 

 


Building Strongholds of GUILT and SHAME

Building A Stronghold                                            

GUILT ALWAYS BRINGS FORTH AN ATTITUDE

If you saw the above photo without the caption, how would you describe the young man’s attitude?  Guilt always brings forth an attitude that says, “I’m not fit to be used by God.  What’s the point of praying anymore?  God isn’t going to answer because I’ve totally messed up!”

Our foundations in life are extremely important; physical and spiritual:

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the [unyieldingly] righteous do, or what has He [the Righteous One] wrought or accomplished?”  (Psalm 11:3 AMP).

Making decisions based on guilt will shake our foundation or base.  When we “miss the mark”, we need to know how to handle the sin right away, not allowing ourselves to be ‘super-glued’ to guilt; a cloud of condemnation hanging over us.  Can you see a cloud in the above image?

You can devise all kinds of ways to try to get rid of your guilty feelings.  But guilt is NOT just a feeling or a personal problem”  ~By Timothy S. Lane.

Do you ever feel guilty?  That of course is a rhetorical question.  Guilt feels terrible and what ever you did keeps replaying over and over in your mind.  You are filled with regret and the “if only s.”  And if what you did is public knowledge, shame and regret increase.  The wider the circle of people who know what happened, the more you suffer.

NO ONE LIKES FEELING GUILTY OR SHAME

But what is  GUILT?  Guilt is what takes place when a person realizes their failure.  And FALSE GUILT as described by Phil Barker is, “Feeling guilt for events which are out of our control and is often unproductive and detrimental.”

Although shame is an emotion closely related to guilt, there are differences between the two.  SHAME can be defined as “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.”  Others have distinguished between the two:  “We feel guilty for what we do and we feel shame for what we are.” 

Shame is often a much stronger and more profound emotion than guilt.  “SHAME is when we feel disappointed about something inside of us, our basic area” ~ By Norman Bales.

Guilt is what takes place when a person realizes their failure.

“False- guilt” is what Satan is known to throw at us where sin has been repented of and forgiven.  But he still wants us to feel guilty by seeing ourselves associated with past events in our lives.

“TRUE GUILT” versus “FALSE GUILT”

True guilt should prompt the person to repent and turn from their sin.  Guilt is looking at the sin where shame is looking at yourself!  There is a pattern shown on the several different meanings given on this subject regarding “Building Strongholds of GUILT and SHAME”.  I did so because, if you allow yourself to hagah, the Hebrew word for MEDITATE: “to moan” as well as a variety of synonyms indicating verbal utterances (e.g., “utter,” “matter”, “growl”); “devise,” “imagine,” upon quilt, it will turn into shame.  And guilt, if not properly dealt with will turn into a “stronghold” or a “house of thoughts” called SHAME.

DEALING WITH THE “STRONGHOLD OF SHAME”

If we continue to think about our past failures; a “way of thinking”, it will wear us down spiritually.  It is the next thing the enemy aims at by getting a picture of ourselves distorted.  Have you ever been at an Amusement Park’s Fun House?  It’s where you walk in an isolated room with mirrors surrounding you on every wall.  When you move about the room and see yourself, you get a distorted view.  This is what Satan is aiming at. To get us to look at our past failures so much, we begin to see ourselves as failures.  Anybody who has been thinking about their past “shortcomings” for long, is building the foundation for a house of thoughts; a “stronghold.”  They begin to see themselves as dirty sinners and failures.  It is the complete opposite of what they really are.

To deal with guilt and shame will take knowing the appropriate action to take.  When we “miss the mark“; when we “fall short”; let’s not mix words here; when we sin.  We need to understand the righteousness of God.  It’s critical to avoiding the trap of guilt and shame; slipping into condemnation, not knowing and not understanding the love of God.  Not understanding what the blood of Jesus accomplished on our behalf.

False quilt, that leads to shame is one of those things the Bible speaks of us; an imagination, a “stronghold” that must be cast down:

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds [nourished thoughts].  [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)” ~ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 AMP).

Before a “stronghold of guilt and shame” can be established we need to meditate on the Word of God in lieu of our guilt; past or present.  Then we will be able to “lead every thought and purpose captive.”

An imagination is an image in your mind that is incorrect.  It is seeing yourself as a failure when you are actually blood-washed child of God.  That imagination needs to be dealt with and if not, it will lead to a stronghold of shame.

SHAME IS A RELATIONSHIP DESTROYER

There is a good reason Satan wants us to feel like failures and sinners.  Shame is a feeling that keeps us from confidently approaching God’s throne of grace; having an intimate relationship with Him.

The Bible tells us of the blood of Jesus shed, so we can confidently come near in an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father:

“Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), have our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water” ~ (Hebrews 10:22 AMP).

God wants us to draw near to Him with a clean conscience, freed from dead works (Hebrews 9:14).  Shame and guilt are based on deception which is opposite the truth.  Worship is an intimate way in expressing our relationship with God.  In spite of how we feel on Sunday mornings, the Bible is clear on how we should approach Him with clear conscience, purged from sin:

“Since the worshipers had once for all been cleansed, they would no longer have any guilt or consciousness of sin” ~ (Hebrews 10:2). 

WORSHIPING GOD

So how are we supposed to worship God in Spirit and truth, while imaginations keep hanging around in our minds contrary to the truth?

“God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality)”  John 4:24 AMP.

STRONGHOLD REACTIONS

Because of the differences between GUILT and SHAME (who I am versus what I did), people respond to each emotion differently.  Guilt emphasizes what someone did wrong which tends to bring forth more constructive responses.  Responses which seek to mend the damage done tied to beliefs in what is right and what is wrong; moral and immoral.  When I was a child, my mom often spoke to me about “guilty consciences”, about doing the right thing in making my decision to do it or not.  She had certainly set the guidelines! When we violate one of these guidelines given to us, it causes us to feel guilty for our actions.  The result of guilt can be an important tool; the importance of maintaining standards of right and wrong in individuals and society.  Guilt can often be used as a tool to overcome conflict.

Shame, on the other hand emphasizes what is wrong with ourselves.  It is much more of an inward focus which leads shameful parties to feel poorly about themselves rather than simply the actions they have taken.

The result is often an inward-turning behavior–avoiding others, hiding your face or removing yourself from social situations.  I once ask someone I knew, “Is everything alright? Haven’t seen you in church in a while and I miss you.”  He responded, “I got some things I’m working to overcome and when I do, I’ll be back in church with my family.”  Therefore, shame can be problematic, less constructive than true guilt.  In fact, shame can lead to withdrawal from social situations with subsequent defensive, aggressive, and retaliatory behavior.  It can exacerbate conflict which then leads to more guilt; the circle becomes unbroken and the stronghold remains.

PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOR IN COPING WITH SHAME AND GUILT

However, few get at the actual source of the stronghold; the emotions.  The following list is but a few common shame-driven behaviors:

.  Attacking or striking out at other people in an attempt to make them feel better about their shame, hoping that they will be lifted up while bringing others down.  This behavior may produce short-term relief from shame but in the long-term, the stronghold of shame is only strengthened; they remain standing in place.

.  Seeking power and perfection–trying to prevent future shame and making us feel more valuable.

.  Diverting blame–blaming our faults on others to avoid the shame involved.  This behavior fails to get at the core and fails to achieve in bringing down the stronghold.

.  Being overly nice or self-sacrificing–trying to compensate for our shame and unworthiness by pleasing everyone else and proving our worth.  However, that inevitably involves covering up our true feeling of guilt and shame, once again self-defeating and self-abasing. 

.  Withdrawal from the real world–essentially numbing ourselves of feelings of guilt and shame.  Keeping us from getting upset by these sort of things.  But the stronghold still exist; nothing has been done to address the core values and defeating GUILT and SHAME in our lives.

HOW DO WE  GET VICTORY?

First, God’s smile is upon you!  

Any pangs of guilt or fear you suffer from is simply an illusion.  Like fearing there’s an intruder in the house when it was only the sound of the wind. The feelings might exist, they might be unpleasant but they are groundless and no correspondence to reality.

Just be sure; you must believe in the Scriptures that teach that Jesus and only He can remove your sin; by the blood He shed for you and me on the cross.  Once you put your faith in God, trusting that He is infinitely wise and good and always has your best interest at heart.  Resolve yourself to follow His leading on every matter regardless of how scary it feels.  There has to be a simple decision made; a state of mind; a renewal of your mind:

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]”  (Romans 12:2 AMP).

Handling THE FAVOR of God

Enjoying God's Favor

“Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight…”  

“For He foreordained us [destined us, planned in love for us to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]–“

“[So that we might be] to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace (FAVOR and MERCY), which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”

“In Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses, in accordance with the RICHES and the GENEROSITY of His GRACIOUS FAVOR.”  (Ephesians 1:4-7 AMP)

As the writer of this blog for the past 11 months, I have become a very visual person.  I have enjoyed inserting photos related to the subject of each blog and Handling THE FAVOR of God was no exception.  I also have a great appreciation of music, both secular and Christian.  So I decided to see if I could find some lyrics written to fit with God’s favor:

“The Presence of the Lord” by Kurt Carr

It’s my time for God’s favor

It’s my time to be blessed

Step in, step in, step in and be blessed

The presence of the Lord is here.

GOD’S FAVOR “IS HERE”!  SO “STEP IN AND BE BLESSED”

Since I am writing this during the Christmas season, it was easy to find a great example of God’s favor in Scripture.  Luke 1:28 is a good place to start, where the angel Gabriel is sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth giving a message to a young girl:

“And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace~literal translation]! The Lord is with you!  Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women!”

Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Yeah, but I’m not Mary and no angel has ever said to me that I am favored.”  Well, you are certainly not Mary but Mary didn’t have access to a Bible where you and I do.  So lets look to Scripture and see if we can understand the favor of God and who He bestows it upon.

“For You, Lord, will bless the [uncompromisingly] righteous [him who is upright and in right standing with You]; as with a shield You will surround him with goodwill (pleasure and favor)”  (Psalm 5:12 AMP).  

The New Testament continues the theme of FAVOR by explanation:  “Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe”  (Romans 5:22 AMP).

God’s message in His Word says, the righteous are for all who believe, trust and confidently rely on Jesus Christ.

MARY’S STRENGTHS IN THE FAVOR OF GOD

Each on of us has strengths and weakness and Mary was no exception.  In Luke 1:28, the wording simply meant that Mary was given much GRACE (unmerited favor).  It’s a kindness from God that we nor Mary deserved.  It has nothing to do with what we have done, nor can we ever do to earn this favor.

With Christmas rapidly approaching in 2011, giving and receiving gifts is definitely on most of our minds.  The ultimate gift is of course is His Gift that God gave to us all, His Son Jesus.  And that gift keeps on giving; a divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration and rebirth.  A virtue coming from God, a state of sanctification enjoyed through His divine favor.  A preacher once explained GRACE to me with this acronym:

G od’s

R iches

A t

C hrist’s

E xpense

Even with God’s FAVOR Mary would still suffer.

MARY’S WEAKNESSES

She was first, very young (13 or 14 years).  She was probably came from a poor family and a female, making her unsuitable in the eyes of man to be used mightily of God.

However, God looked upon her qualities, her trust and obedience to the Word and not her circumstances.  He knew she would willingly serve God in one of the most important callings given to a human being.

Just like Mary, God looks at our obedience and trust– not the qualifications that man might look upon; He sees our heart.  As Scripture show us, God will often choose and use the most unlikely of choices.  Look at Jesus’ disciples qualifications, their personalities, their human potential.  From the outside, they didn’t much look like good candidates for ‘followers of Christ’.

LIFE LESSONS OF MARY’S EXAMPLE

She knew her submission to God would cost her.  She would be disgraced as an unwed mother.  Joseph would probably divorce her or worse–he might have her put to death by stoning.

But in her heart, she knew she had God’s FAVOR and she was confident on what she must do with “favor”.  Mary was a willing servant; she trusted God; she obeyed His call.

“HANDLING” GOD’S FAVOR

“[Earnestly] remember me, O lord, when You favor Your people— That I may see and share the welfare of Your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, that I may glory with Your heritage”  (Psalm 106:4-5 AMP).

In Psalm 106, I highlighted four key words for handling God’s FAVOR:

1.   SEE and recognize that you as the righteousness of God have the Blessing and because of The Blessing have FAVOR!

2.  SHARE The Blessing, your favor with others.  You are blessed to be a blessing!

3.  REJOICE in the gladness of God’s FAVOR in your life.

4.  So that you may GLORY in God’s blessing and favor.

The word “BLESSED” means to cause [empower] to prosper and make happy.  And because of the empowerment given to you in FAVOR, you are able to GLORY.  “GLORY” is the “manifestation of God’s heaviness, His “weightness”; manifestations of who He is and does in whatever way He reveals Himself.”

Did you know and realize that God’s FAVOR— the prosperity we receive “in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favor”(Ephesians 1:7), is not only given but lavished upon us in every kind of wisdom and understanding (practical insight and prudence)” for those who believe in Christ Jesus (verse 8)?  “Lavish” means “without limits”!  FAVOR without limits.

FOLLOWING YOUR HEART IN GOD’S FAVOR

So often, our current circumstances makes us forget about our heritage, our righteousness, our FAVOR.  Ephesians 1:11 says it the best:

In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained, (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will.” That is FAVOR in a nutshell.

God has already blessed us, favored us in Christ with “every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3).  In Handling THE FAVOR of God, you will have to follow your heart with trust and understanding given to you by the Holy Spirit.  You can’t let other people pressure you into being something that you’re not.  If you want God’s FAVOR in your life you must be the person He made you to be, not the person your boss wants you to be; not even the person your parents or your husband wants you to be.  You can’t let outside expectations keep you from following your own heart.

“I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful and gracious to me according to Your promises”  (Psalm 119:58),

FAVOR Verses:  Deut. 33:25, Psalm 5:12, Psalm 30:5, 2 Corinthians 4:17, Proverbs 8:34-35, Prov. 12:2, Prov. 18:22, Isaiah 60:10-11, Malachi 2:17.


PEACE Highway Under Construction

The Highway of Peace

“In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria; and the Egyptians will worship [the Lord] with the Assyrians.  In that day Israel shall be the third, with Egypt and with Assyria [in a Messianic league], a blessing in the midst of the earth”  (Isaiah 19:23-24~ AMP). HISTORICAL HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION PAVED ROADS were first introduced by the historian Herodotus which speaks of a Great Egyptian Road constructed under King Cheops employing 100,000 men for ten years to complete the project.  Strabo, a Greek historian and geographer, informs us about Babylon’s paved roads in about 2000 BC:  “There were three Great Highways that ran from there to Susa, Ecbatana, and Sardis.  The highway leading from Babylon [Iraq] to Memphis, Egypt was paved and the cities along the highway were Nineveh, Palmyra, Damascus, Tyre, Antioch, and other great cities.”

Egyptian Highway Northbound

 A CONTEMPORARY HIGHWAY

We give little thought to the roads we drive today, so to think about a highway, all the way to Assyria seems mind-boggling.  Especially with the political environment in the Middle East today.

In my detective work this week, I uncovered several ideas concerning the highway mentioned in Isaiah 19:23.  One Bible investigator believes the highway is between heaven and earth; this “highway being the Kingdom Viaduct.  A well-traveled route for many to worship in the New Jerusalem in the days to come (the Millennial Reign).  The Hebrew word “mecillah” is used for highway, staircase or viaductA viaduct is a road that is raised above the surface of ground, especially ones with a series of spans passing over a wide valley or obstruction; a bridge like structure very similar to the photo at the top of the blog page.  The investigator goes on to say, “there are two categories of people who travel back and forth by the means of the ‘mecillah“.  An Egyptian, signifies a holy city dweller and an Assyrian are considered the earth dwellers (verse 23).”  I can’t prove or disprove these thoughts so I didn’t dig further. I do know that in the prophetic, what is said in Scripture is like peeling an onion, one layer after another.  Prophecy is like that onion.  It can have multi-layers to it.  Whatever this “mecillah” is, it’s not your everyday highway or viaduct, it is about an awesome highway!

“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. Passing through the Valley of Weeping (Baca), they make it a place of springs; the early rain also fills [the pools] with blessings.  They go from strength [increasing in victorious power]; each of them appears before God in Zion”  (Psalms 84:5-7 AMP).

“Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Cast up, cast up the highway! Gather out the stones. Lift up a standard or ensign over and for the peoples.  Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the Daughter of Zion, Behold, your salvation comes [in the person of the Lord]; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work and recompense before Him.  And they shall call them the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, a City Not Forsaken”  (Isaiah 62:10-12 AMP).

THE PEACE HIGHWAY

The words, “In that day…” are spoken six times in Isaiah 19 (verses, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, and 24).  It is then clear by these three words, the ‘Peace Highway’ was a prophecy given to Isaiah.  And like that onion analogy, the peace highway might have been seen at anytime during the course of history.  From Alexander the Great to the Roman Legions and beyond to the Millennial Kingdom.  In today’s current events, we know where Egypt and Israel are located on the map but Assyria, where is that located geographically and is it the same nation as Syria today?  Getting our bearings straight, let me give you some interesting information that might surprise you:

Ancient Assyria in Bible times encompassed 4 modern-day countries in Northern Mesopotamia:

1.  Syria.

2.  Turkey.

3.  Iran.

4.  Iraq.

In that day…”, there will be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria [Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq] running through the nation of Israel;  Assyrians will come to Egypt, Egyptians to Assyria.  Israel will be one of the three with Egypt, Syria, Turkey and Iran but not the least; there will be a Messianic League of sorts.

There will be a “blessing” in the midst of the land surrounded the Peace Highway (Isaiah 19:24-25).  The Lord of hosts blesses by saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands and Israel My inheritance.”

Middle East Militants

With all that has been occurring in the middle east of late, it is really hard to imagine a PEACE HIGHWAY directed between these countries.  But God is in control, and in the midst of all the gloom and doom, the chaos happening in the world, there is God’s Grace.

THE FRUITS OF GRACE IN THE MIDST OF DOOM!

Charles Spurgeon lists The Fruits of Grace that can be applied to the conversion of Egypt “In that day…” (Isaiah 19:18-25). 

— God’s grace often comes to the very worst of men (Isaiah 19:17).

— God’s grace sends a Savior (Isaiah 19:20).

— Grace changes men’s language (Isaiah 19:18).

— God’s grace sets men on holy service (Isaiah 19:19).

— God’s grace teaches men to pray (Isaiah 19:20, 22).

— God’s grace instructs men (Isaiah 19:21).

— Grace makes even trouble a blessing to man (Isaiah 19:24, 25)

— God’s grace changes the relationships of men (Isaiah 19:25).

— God’s grace makes men to be blessed, and to be a blessing to others (Isaiah 19:23-25).

PEACE HIGHWAY: THE GENTILES FULL INCLUSION

ISRAEL will have an equal part on the PEACE HIGHWAY (Isaiah 19:24), but not third place!   Her distinctive titles being shared with her cruelest enemies.

In Isaiah’s day, the prophecy given to the listeners must have been unbelievable.  But being unbelievable doesn’t mean that God’s promises would go unfulfilled.  The nation’s sworn enemies and pagans will one day be God’s people sharing in Israel’s covenant blessings.  Having their prayers heard and answered; offering sacrifices of praise to the Lord; and receiving spiritual healing.  IT WILL HAPPEN “IN THAT DAY”!

Gary V. Smith writes,  “Knowing how the radical Muslims control much of Egypt, Iraq, Iran and Syria today, this prophecy still seems an amazing promise of the miraculous transforming power of God’s presence and grace.  This prayer of every believer should be that the people in their own nation would respond as the Egyptians will and consequently join the many nations that will worship at God’s throne some day in the future.”

In the Arab world today, only Egypt recognizes the existence of Israel as a “legal” nation.  Perhaps in this gesture shown by the Egyptians towards Israel, the Lord will remember the Egyptians.

The PEACE Highway is under construction as I am writing to you today.  There are hazards, pitfalls, roadblocks, faulty construction and engineering but, God has a plan for finishing what He started.

JERUSALEM: The PEACE HIGHWAY Focus and Hub

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion (ISRAEL)”  (Psalm 84:5 AMP).

A Current Highway Under Construction
Israel’s Highway-#1 Near Jerusalem
Middle East Map

                                                                                            

“PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM”

Pray for the PEACE of Jerusalem! May they prosper who love you [the Holy City]”  (Psalm 122:6).

Since David referenced Jerusalem as the Holy City in his Psalm, I believe that the Peace Highway, between Egypt and Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq will be the central focus  to ALL the nations, not just the ones mentioned in Isaiah 19 (Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Iran).

SHA-ALU SHALOM YIRUSHALAYIM” The beginning word, “SHA-ALU” means “To ask”; ask The Owner, Protector and Redeemer of The City of Jerusalem, the Holy City, that He would bring PEACE  to The Place, and the People through the Prince of PEACE; Heart PEACE along the Highway of PEACE. Why should you ‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem’?  What benefit is there in doing so?  The answer might be, God the Chief Engineer, has the PEACE Highway Under Construction with us not visualizing it right now. We find that the LORD has promised us something in Psalm 122:  You and I shall “prosper” that love Him and His Holy City.  The Hebrew word for “prosper” is SHALAV, “to be at rest”.  Be at “rest” and knowthat PEACE is on its way! THE COMPLETED “HIGHWAY”! “Then I saw thrones, and sitting on them were those to who authority to act as judges and to pass sentence was entrusted.  Also I saw the souls of those who had been slain with axes for their witnessing to Jesus and [for preaching and testifying] for the Word of God, and who had refused to pay homage to the beast or his statue and had not accepted the mark or permitted it to be stamped on their foreheads or on their hands,  And they lived again and ruled with Christ a thousand years”  (Rev. 20:4 AMP). At this time in eternity, the Kingdom of God and the PEACE Highway will be openly manifested worldwide; the cutting of the ‘Yellow Ribbon’ ceremony will take place and the freeway will be open to ALL traffic. This celebratory event will effect every sphere of life:— Political

Social

— Agricultural

— Law enforcement — Economics — Spiritual — Educational — Family — Media — Art — technology — athletics — environment — Social institutions, etc. THE RESULTS: — 1000-year period.— Unprecedented blessing to the whole earth.— Jesus establishes righteousness and prosperity restoring ALL things; the same conditions seen in the garden of Eden. “And at that time they shall call JERUSALEM The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, in the renown and name of the Lord, to Jerusalem; nor shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their own evil hearts”  (Jer. 3:17). They perhaps might “be gathered to it” by the completed PEACE Highway mentioned in Isaiah 19.

 

The “Inward Beauty” of the HEART

Finding Your Inner Beauty

 FOR “WIVES ONLY”

“In a like manner, you married women. be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if ant do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by [godly] lives of their wives”  (1 Peter 3:1 AMP).

“THE INWARD BEAUTY OF THE HEART”

“But let it be the inward adoring and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God”  (1 Peter 3:4 AMP).

Definitions: Outer beauty is the first impression someone gets of you.  Inner beauty is the second and lasting impression.

Rebecca St. James says, “SHEism: A truly beautiful SHE is a girl who sees her value as the whole package–through her inward as well as her outward beauty.”  She goes on to say that is a “holistic beauty“; it’s real, honest and it reveals the contents on the inside of the package that enhances the outer.  You can’t fake it.  It’s the way women look, feel, think, and act.  It’s the “whole shebang.”

IT’S A “HEART” THING!

I looked up the word HEART in Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary this morning to get a better understanding of the terms in         1 Peter 3:4:

The HEART– Greek is kardia; the chief organ of physical life. “For the life is in the blood” (Lev.17:11).

 By an easy transition, the word came to stand for “man’s entire mental and moral activity both rational and emotional elements.”  In other words, the heart is figuratively the “hidden springs of the personal life.”  The HEART represents the true character but conceals it.

Deep inside of her she is at peace.  So much so that even a fragile person is safe with her.  Do you think men, you are the only one who notices how lovely she is? NO!  God Himself sees her beauty and puts great value on it.

Now don’t get me wrong, NOT taking care of yourself on the outside doesn’t give you an excuse!  There isn’t a husband reading this that doesn’t want his wife to be attractive on the outside too!

GETTING PERSONAL LADIES

Yesterday, approximately how many minutes did you spend on your appearance (outer beauty)?  Now, the next question is, Yesterday, approximately how many minutes did you spend on your relationship with God and with your husband (inner beauty)?  Now men, don’t be thinking while reading this [even though this section is for “Women Only”], that you are off the hook.  Your part in all of this is coming.

Monitoring Your HEART Rate—

One of the goals of aerobic workouts I’m told, is to improve cardiovascular fitness.  Your heart rate becomes a motivating friend when you monitor it properly.  It allows you to objectively detect beneficial changes that you can’t otherwise see.

This exercise can also be applied to your hidden person“; improving your spiritual conditioning.  Spiritual laziness can happen to all of us without our regular aerobic exercising; spending time in the Word of God, increasing your HEART RATE, developing your inner beauty.  If you don’t check your pulse rate daily, the spiritual life source can affect your beauty; inwardly and outwardly.  No one wants to be considered ugly inwardly or outwardly.

FOR “MEN ONLY”!

“In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively]”  (1 Peter 3:7 AMP).

I want to wish my wife Happy Anniversary once more (our Wedding Anniversary was in September).  47 years. WOW!  How did I manage to make such a good choice?  Clearly, this was a work of God and every year you become more beautiful to me, daughter of God.

1 Peter 3:4 explains to us what makes a godly woman so attractive.  How is it that her beauty shines through, even when she’s wearing an old sweatshirt or her hair is a mess?

Let me tell you her secret.  Her beauty comes from deep within; “the hidden person of the heart.”  Now ladies, don’t being saying to yourselves, “I wish my husband would get that message!”  Remember, this section of the BLOG is for “Men Only”.  God isn’t talking to you here.

“HONORING” the “WEAKER VESSEL”

Men are responsible to how marriage is supposed to work.  Your prayers’ effectiveness depends on it.  It’s a HEART THING!  Honoring your wife must come from your heart.  It’s giving something from yourself (the “hidden person of the heart”); purposely[aerobic exercise] showing attention and awareness, not accidentally but on purpose.  It is treating or honoring your wife as the “weaker vessel” as a valuable priceless treasure!  Are you ready for some exercise?

Ten Steps in Practical Expressions of Honoring Your Wife:

1.  Always open doors.

2.  Offer your hand to assist her.

3.  Give her extra money in the budget to spend on herself.

4.  Tell your wife how beautiful she is often (her “inward beauty” and her “outward beauty”).

5.  HONOR her openly in front of your children.

6.  Take her out to eat and let her talk.

7.  Call her during the work day.

8.  Schedule time to be alone.  PRIORITY means value.

9.  Leave her handwritten notes.

10.  Always remember the special dates.

The ten practical expressions of the heart are part of the daily exercise.  Are you checking your pulse rate men?

THINGS THAT “DISHONOR” YOUR WIFE–Take your “pulse rate” afterwords:

1.  NEVER put her down, especially in front of people.

2.  NEVER point out her weaknesses around people.

3.  NEVER tell your wife there isn’t enough money in the budget for her to buy something for herself, then buy yourself something.

4.  NEVER tell her you don’t have enough time for her.

5.  NEVER walk in front of your wife, no matter how slow she is.

6.  NEVER, ever, compare her to another woman.

7.  NEVER make sexual innuendos in front of other people.

8.  NEVER tell her half-truths to cover your tracks.  Be honest with her.

It is time men to check on your spiritual cardiovascular inner being; the spiritual condition of your heart.  Whatever you’re not getting from the relationship is because you aren’t sowing seed.  Word seed takes root in the heart and grows.  1 Peter 3:1-8 is telling both the wife and the husband, you must make an investment in the heart.  It’s okay to look good on the outside but the inside is more important.

The Power of Aaron’s Rod

Numbers 17

 BIBLICAL EVIDENCE–The ROD of Aaron

The ROD in the hands of Aaron, the high priest, was endowed with miraculous power during the several plagues preceding the Exodus.  The ROD of Moses function was equally potent in its use.

Upon two occasions, however, the singular virtue of spontaneous power, when not in the grasp of its possesor, was exhibited by the Rod of Aaron.  One time, it swallowed the rods of the Egyptian magicians.  At another, it blossomed and bore fruit in the Tabernacle. The ROD was evidence of the exclusive right to the priesthood and the tribe of Levi.

In commemoration, it was commanded that the ROD be put “before the testimony(Numbers 17:10).  A later tradition was given in the New Testament of the Bible:

This [ark] contained a golden jar which held the manna and the rod of Aaron that sprouted and the [two stone] slabs of the covenant”  (Hebrews 9:4 AMP).

THE ROD IN RABBINICAL LITERATURE

The Rod of Aaronthe Staff of Moses had similar miraculous powers (compare Exodus 4:2 and 7:9).  The Haggadah“a homiletic passage of the Talmud” goes a step further [the Talmud is the collection of ancient Rabbinic writings consisting of the Mishnah and the Gemaru].  It identifies the Rod of Aaron with Moses.  The Midrash Yelamdenu states, “the staff with which Jacob crossed the Jordan River is identical with that which Judah gave to his daughter-in-law Tamar.  It is likewise the holy rod Moses worked with (Ex. 4:20, 21), which Aaron performed wonders before Pharoah (Ex. 7:10) and with which, finally David slew the giant Goliath (1 Sam. 17:14).”  The Haggadah goes on to say, “David then left it to his descendants: the Davidic kings used it as a scepter until the destruction of the Temple when it miraculously disappeared.  When Messiah comes, the rod will be given to Him for a scepter in token of His authority over the nations.”

“HAGGADIC MODIFICATION”

Legend has more to say regarding Aaron’s Rod.  God had created it in the twilight of the sixth day of Creation.  He delivered the rod to Adam after being driven out from Paradise.  After it had passed through the hands of Shem, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob successively, it came to Joseph. 

On Joseph’s death, Egyptian nobles stole some of his belongings and among them, Jethro confiscated the staff.  Jethro then planted the staff in his garden when its marvelous qualities were revealed.  Nobody could withdraw it from the ground; even to touch it endangered one’s life.  This was because the Indescribable Name of God was engraved upon it.

When Moses entered Jethro’s household, he read the Name and by the means of it, was able to draw up the ROD.  Zipporah, Jethro’s daughter was given in marriage to Moses for her father had sworn she would become the wife of the man who should be able to master the miraculous ROD.

It must, however, be pointed out that the Mishnah knew nothing of the miraculous creation of Aaron’s ROD.  This supposed fact, the supernatural origin of the ROD, explains the statement in Hebrews 9:4; that Aaron’s Rod, together with its blossoms and fruit were preserved in the Ark.  King Josiah foresaw the impending national catastrophe and concealed the Ark and it’s contents, its whereabouts still unknown until the Messianic Age where the prophet Elijah shall reveal then.

THE BUDDING, FLOWERING AND FRUITING OF THE ROD

The Hebrew word for ROD is “mattah“.  It’s no accident that God chose the Hebrew Language for the Old Testament.  What I uncovered this evidence in my detective search, I found God often uses words of double meaning to prove a point in Scripture. 

The wordmattahhas several meanings:

.  a rod or a branch.

.  chastisement with a rod.

.  governing, as with a scepter.

.  a walking staff.

.  represented the support of life.

“Mattah”  used in Scripture: “I will break the staff of bread [by which life is supported] in Jerusalem” (Ezek 4:16).  It can also mean “tribe“; twelve rods are chosen, representing the twelve tribes of Israel.

An ALMOND Tree

 

The ROD of Aaron in this story, contained in Numbers 17, shows two qualities:

1.  It is ALIVE.

2.  It is FRUITFUL

The FIRST QUALITY: IT’S ALIVE!

Aaron’s staff represented the tribe of Levi that buds (Numbers 17:8).  William Yates once wondered as I also did, why God chose the tribe of Levi to be the spiritual leader of the nation of Israel.

In the book of Genesis, Levi was one of Jacob’s worse sons (Genesis 49:5-7).  Seems like in this passage, Levi would have been on the bottom of the list of choices.  So why Levi?  Why not Judah or one of the other tribes? 

Today, when names are chosen for newborns, are meanings considered important in the choosing?  What is the meaning, if any, of your name?  The name LEVI means “attached“.  Choosing Levi would mean, the seeking people would be “attached” to God.

THE “TWELVE STAFFS”

What did all the twelve staffs have in common before reaching the Testimony (Numbers 17:2)?  They were ALL dead pieces of wood, broken off from their life source.

In this story, we see the staff of Aaron blooming as the picture above shows.  If a normal staff cannot bloom, it is because it has been severed from its life source.  The staff of Aaron blooms because it is attached to a life source, God Himself.

I believe with other investigators, God chose the tribe of Levi, the spiritual leader of Israel, not based on personal ability or merit but on attachment to Him!

THE “ROD” and THE CROSS CONNECTION

The CROSS at Calvary was made of wood that had been severed from a tree.  Jesus was nailed to that wood and died for us. But unlike the dead wood of the cross, He came back to life in the Resurrection; He blossomed then became the Fruit of our lives through His Spirit.  If we have LIFE (fruit bearing) in our everyday lives as believers, it’s only because we are attached; we are alive and fruitful because of what occurred on the CROSS!

In John 15:5-8, Jesus speaks of branches: “Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.  I am the Vine: your are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit.  However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing”  (verses 4-5 AMP).

God does not intend for His church, His children to be dead wood or branches but rather alive with His Son Jesus.  When the people saw Aaron’s branch, they took notice.  It was different from other rods everyone else carried.  They weren’t just dead sticks!  Aaron’s ROD was full of life!

Just as the rod resurrected with life confirmed Aaron’s position, so the Resurrection of Jesus Christ confirms Him as the true Messiah, the living God over false religious leaders such as Buddha and Mohammed.

Have some churches today become just DEAD STICKS?  They once may have been alive but somewhere in their history they were broken from their Life Source.  Such is also true of individual believers who have fallen away; allowed themselves to be broken away from the Life source.  Their appearance is like every other dead sticks in the world, UNFRUITFUL and “can do nothing”.

We need to ask ourselves the following questions: 

When people see us, what do they see?

Do we all look like the other “dead sticks” in the world?  or…

Do we manifest the life of Jesus?

GOSPEL THEMES IN THE  “BUDDING AND FRUITING” OF THE ROD

.  Moses was a type of Jesus.  Acting as a vocal intercessor between God and His People.  Taking it a step further as a parallel, Moses was rejected by men, yet still fulfilled his duty as their advocate before God.

.  When Aaron’s Rod budded, he became a type of Jesus as God’s choice for the Messiah King. who would sprout from the ROD OF JESSE (Isaiah 11:1).

.  Taking the parallel even further, notice Aaron NEVER came to his own defense.  However, God affirmed His choice Aaron for high priest.

BEING “FRUITFUL”–ISN’T GOD GOOD?

Such a Jewish un-Christian story this all seems to be.  Yet, we find Jesus amidst the events of the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New:

“But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy spirit has come upon you”  (Acts 1:8 AMP).

“But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22, 23).

“If we live by the [Holy] Spirit”, if we are notdead sticks“, separated; “let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit]”  (Galatians 5:25 AMP).

“Dead men walking”  isn’t what Jesus died for on the Cross at Calvary.  There is miraculous POWER available for us as believers in Jesus as was Aaron’s Rod miraculous with POWER.

The “GLORY CLOUD” Filled the House!

The Shekinah Glory

 

“HALAL” TYPE OF PRAISE

“And when the trumpeters and singers were joined in unison, making one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and other instruments for song and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever, then the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud,    So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house”  (2 Chronicles 5:13-14).

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WORSHIP AND PRAISE?

It has been said, ‘Worship has to do with ESTIMATIONPraise has to do with ARTICULATION.’  You can worship God without a sound.  Praise, however, is articulation of the atoning heart.  When we praise God, we give vent and voice to our heart of worship.

The Bible encourages us, exhorts, even COMMANDS US to ‘Praise the Lord’.  So, what is PRAISE?  “Oh, that’s easy.  Praise is three fast choruses we sing to start with on Sunday mornings.  Then worship is three slow ones we sing after that!”  Is that right?  No, it’s not.

In the New Testament, the words praise, worship, glory, and honour are ALL translated from one Greek word “doxa“.  Its’ base meaning is GLORY; it’s where we get the word “doxology” from.

‘MAKING A JOYFUL NOISE TO THE LORD’

Don’t say, “I’m praising silently this morning.”  You cant’ “praise” silently.  You may be “worshipful,” you may be “adoring,” but “PRAISE” requires something from us: ACTION or VOICE!

BREAKTHROUGH PRAISE  [2 Chronicles 5:13-14]

The scene portrayed here was at the opening and dedication of Solomon’s Temple and a time of celebration. There was “halal“, a higher form of praise, in the Hebrew language, was present; in one voice, in thanks and praise.  After, then the cloud of glory showed up!

Praise secures God’s manifest presence.

When was the last time you saw the glory of God in such an awesome way, that people were simply UNABLE to proceed with ‘business as usual’; doing “church stuff”, or the last time God took over the order of service?  I have been in those services and it makes me hungry for them because of what I’ve experienced.  All sense of time is lost and God orchestrates His own meeting.  I am not talking about NOT PREACHING, which always gives primary place to the Word of God.  What I am praying for and expecting is the glory of God demonstrated in such a way that our prepared song lists get forgotten, announcements are completely left out, Church runs overtime and NOBODY CARES.  It’s because the praise is so effective, the preaching is so anointed, the gifts of the Spirit are flowing that NO-ONE knows what God’s going to do next.  The glory of God is in this HOUSE!

There comes a time of breakthrough for true believers and in this passage of 2 Chronicles, we read the Shekinah glory, GOD’S MANIFEST PRESENCE is linked with people praising Him.

Don’t you know in Psalms 22:3, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabits the praises of Israel.”  PRAISE secures God’s manifest presence!

GOD TAKING HIS ‘RIGHTFUL PLACE’ IN OUR MIDST  [2 Chronicles 5:13-14]

As His people begin to praise and magnify Him in their midst, God begins to take His rightful place among them.  He becomes ‘enthroned’ as His name is exalted.  This seems to be exactly what happened in the Temple that day, ‘when the song was raised in praise to YHWH.’  The TEMPLE was filled with the cloud of God’s presence; God taking His place in the midst of His people.

What I have discerned from the Scriptures, there is no reason not to expect this sort of thing happening in the present day.  There comes a ‘big but’…,  ‘we must notice God dispensed with taking up His residence in limiting geographical locations with the advent of the New Covenant.’  Now, He comes to dwell within the true believer so that each follower is a reflection of the old tabernacle and Temples, which were built to house Him in the Old Testament.

PRAISE SECURES VICTORY [READ:  2 Chronicles 20:15-22]

On this occasion, ‘Praise became the song of the supernatural.’  Do you need a victory in some area of your life?  Instead of focussing ALL the time on that situation, on that mountain, START TO PRAISE HIM!  God inhabits our praises!

PRAISE SECURES UNBURDENING

To grant [consolation and JOY] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of PRAISE instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified”  (Isaiah 61:3 AMP).

I was pouring over my notes on the topic and my spirit was reminded of an old cartoon character, that wherever he went, there was a rain cloud over him.  Since I couldn’t remember his name, I researched [Googled the name] on the web.  His name was Joe Bfstplk from the famous “L’ il Abner” comic strip by Al Capp.  I used to read it every Sunday morning when I was a kid.

We can get a defeated attitude when we feel like that cartoon character.  The Bible tells us “put on the garment of PRAISE, for the spirit of heaviness,” or, in other words, “EXCHANGE THAT SPIRIT OF HEAVINESS FOR PRAISES.”

WORSHIP AND PRAISE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

We are living in a day in which God is inviting us to enter into a deeper dimension of His presence; beyond what we could even imagine.  JESUS said to the Samaritan woman who He met,

“A time will come…indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshippers.    God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth (reality)”  (John 4:23-24 AMP).

And Paul echoed the truth (Phil 3:3) that the Church is “…the true circumcision who worship [rather “minister to”  or “serve” – Strong’s Greek number 3000] God in spirit.”

The woman of Samaria’s emphasis was ‘where worship was to take place’ (John 4:20).  Where the idea behind her statement was the external religious right being performed through sacrifices and offerings on the ‘alternative’ hill, rather than at the Temple by the Jews.

But Jesus corrected her in the Biblical account.  Geographical location wasn’t important, neither were any external physical rites being performed if, inside man, there was no worship.  It was certainly important where worship took place but that meant true believers should depend no longer on external religious observances but on the matters of the heart.

TRUE WORSHIPPERS

To be a true worshipper of YHWH, you won’t just worship God in spirit but also in the full and true revelation of who God is; the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, the Son of God:

“He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high”  (Hebrews 1:3 AMP).

BREAKTHROUGH CAN AND WILL HAPPEN

How many of you reading this would like to see…

1.  BREAKTHROUGH in some circumstance/situation?

2.  BREAKTHROUGH in your Christian experience/life of faith?  Either feeling dry and thirsty; seem to be a ceiling over your level of worship and praise.

3.  BREAKTHROUGH in our church’s corporate expressions of praise and worship (Psalm 71:14)?

Let me leave you with the breakthrough of POWER and PRAISE, the Halal or Hallelujah Praises:

READ: Psalm 150, (The paraphrase as follows

VS 1 – Praise Him if you’re here, praise Him if you’re there.

VS 2 – Praise Him if He’s done THIS for you, praise Him if He’s done THAT for you.

VS 3-5 – Praise Him if you can play any kind of instrument, praise Him if you can just crash a cymbal.

VS 6 – Finally–if you don’t fall into any of the above categories-IF YOU’RE BREATHING WILL YOU PRAISE HIM?! He’s worthy of it!).

CONCLUSION:

1 Peter 2:10 (The very reason for the church’s being);  If we do not praise Him, the very stones would cry out.  If we do not praise Him, we won’t know the tremendous power of breakthrough that it brings.  I don’t know about you, but I’m NOT going to let any rocks out praise me!