Our Approach to the Gate Called “Beautiful”

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Entering the Gate

ONE HISTORICAL ACCOUNTING & LOCATION OF THE “BEAUTIFUL GATE”:

In my detective investigation for this POST, I discovered many scholars seem to disagree with the exact location of THE GATE CALLED “BEAUTIFUL”.

I tend to side with Leen Ritmeyer’s Archaelogical Design and his explanations of the historical account in relationship to The “Beautiful Gate” ; connecting the description found in Acts 3:2, 10:  

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There was The Double Gate located at the southern wall of the Temple Mount.  A 210 feet (64 m) wide monumental stairway led up to this gate from the lower plaza.  Because of its monumental proportions, this gate was probably used by most pilgrims going up to worship and pray at the Temple [www.ritmeyer.com/2010/12/14/the-beautiful-gate-of-the-temple/].

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THE MAN AT THE BEAUTIFUL GATE:

Acts 3:1-2:

“[1] ONE DAY Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon.  [2] Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts”  (NIV).

Here we see a man who was crippled at birth and earned his living by begging.  In taking liberties and reading “between the lines”, I began to look closely at the facts presented by Dr. Luke.

#1.  Every day, this man was carried to and from the church (“temple”) gate.  That FACT tells me that he had friends or family that helped him.

So, why do you think they called the “temple gate BEAUTIFUL”?  

My guess is, the people might like to make their entrance here through the beautiful way and enjoyed the aesthetics of the place.  Especially the art work and engravings of Solomon’s Porch [above drawing].

A Crippled Beggar
A Crippled Beggar

But, how does the “crippled beggar” fit into this picture of perfection?  

He doesn’t fit in! Presumably this majestic and beautiful gate prepared your mind to worship an awesome God.  Then you open your eyes and your smile of contentment begins to fade as you spy the beggar lying or sitting in the dust.  Your spirit feels fingernails screeching along a blackboard.

It’s like when driving down the road to the supermarket and glancing towards the curb at a stop light.  There stands an unkempt stranger holding a sign that reads, “HOMELESS – NEED HELP”.  You try not to give him any notice, feeling that eye contact will only encourage him.  OUCH!   “Another “homeless beggar” on the street.”  And soon as the RED LIGHT turns green, you step on the gas and you’re off!  Safe and secure from all alarm!

So Why Was The Beggar There?

Why do the temple authorities permit this to happen every day at the Church Gate?  The beggar wouldn’t sit there every day unless…he was making money.

What this shows to me is that the “church goers” had a heart for those less fortunate.  Not all the attendees were going for the “beauty experience”; they were going to worship God.  No one said the beggar was there by the temple (the visible dwelling place of God) because he hoped to be healed in his proximity to God.

Was this Beggar hoping for a miracle or is he looking for help from man?

“So when he (the “beggar”) saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them to give him a gift.  And Peter directed his gaze intently at him, and so did John and said, Look at us!  And [the man] paid attention to them, expecting that he was going to get something from them”  (Acts 3:3-5 AMP).

Based alone on the above verses, it’s clear to me… the man was looking for a “hand-out” and not a “hand-up”.  He was begging for monetary relief.

Are we like this crippled beggar?  We come close to God, but look to man for help?  We come close to God, but look for temporary relief for what is really ailing us?

You might be thinking, “I’m not crippled, a beggar either.”  Maybe not physically crippled, but maybe crippled from brokenness or strife in your life over the years from all types reasons.

Mary Lowry and Buddy Greene wrote the lyrics to a great Bill & Gloria Gaither song that was popular in the 70’s:

Something beautiful, something good

All my confusion He understood

All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife

But He made something beautiful of my life.

NOTICE ALL THE DISCUSSION ABOUT WHO IS LOOKING AT WHAT AT THE GATE CALLED “BEAUTIFUL”:

(VERSE 4)  “And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him (the “beggar”) with John, said, LOOK ON US”  (KJV).

Verse 4 tells us that Peter and John looked, gazed intently, fixed their eyes, looked “straight at the beggar”.  Then Peter told the crippled man to look at them.  Was Peter suggesting that the beggar should look back at them…to receive a healing?  Did the beggar expect to get something in return for all this eye contact?

“YES”.  (See verse 5):  “And [the man] paid attention to them, expecting that he was going to get something from them.”  Peter wanted to have this man’s undivided attention!

So whose FAITH is revealed?

[6] “But Peter said, Silver and gold (money) I do not have; but what I do have, that I give to you; in [the use of] the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, WALK!  [7] Then he took hold of the man’s right hand with a firm grip and raised him up.  And at once his feet and ankle bones became strong and steady.  [8] And leaping forth he stood and began to walk, and he went into the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God”  (Acts 3:6-8 AMP).

Did this “crippled beggar” have FAITH that he would be healed?

The Bible verses makes it clear–he expected money, not healing.  However, when he was told to walk he obeyed; the man crippled from birth, who was brought every day to beg before the Beautiful Gate, made the effort to rise up!

Don’t you wish that when things aren’t going the way you expected, that God would just “Do it”?  Well, if the “crippled beggar” wasn’t obedient to Peter’s words to STAND…would he have been healed, or would God have healed him right where he sat?

FAITH IS AN EXPRESSION:

I love Creflo Dollar’s definition of FAITH:  “Faith is…the practical expression of the confidence in God and His Word.”

The CRIPPLED BEGGAR was giving his practical expression; his faith being expressed in confidence and obeying the command of the apostles AUTHORITY.

Peter said in verse 4, “what I have I give you…”  And what did Peter have?  Did Peter have power to heal?

In my detective work this past week, I came upon a commentary Interpreting Acts by Harrison (p.79), where he says,  “In himself Peter had not more power to bestow healing than he had money in his wallet.”  Is Harrison right?

Matthew 10:8 reads,  “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give.” 

The Message Bible reads,  “Tell them that the kingdom is here.  Bring health to the sick.  Raise the dead.  Touch the untouchables.  Kick out the demons.  You have been treated generously, so live generously.” 

Is this what Peter was giving in Acts 3?

According to Matthew 10:1, what Peter had, was AUTHORITY, in the name of JESUS to HEAL.

“AND HAVING summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them AUTHORITY over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and HEAL EVERY KIND of disease and every kind of sickness.”

PETER had authority to use Jesus’ name.  But he links two concepts together in Acts 3:16:

–He says, “Jesus name”.

–He says “the faith that comes through [JESUS] has given complete healing.”

Do We Who Live in the 21st Century Have the Authority to Use Jesus’ Name As Effectively?

Here is just a few Bible references that will answer that question if you are in doubt of your effectiveness as you approach the Gate Called “Beautiful”:

[ 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Ephesians 4:7-13; Romans 12:4-8 ].

The referenced verses above, all talk about “gifts” — all of us as Christians can have the same effectiveness through the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:9 specifically mentions “healing” as a gift.

Does that AUTHORITY rest only on those who are “worthy”?  Does that God-given AUTHORITY rest only on those who “have faith”?

“JARS OF CLAY”  Might Be the Answer–

JARS OF CLAY
JARS OF CLAY

What is meant by “jars of clay?”  (Us!)

2 Corinthians 4:7:  “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us”  (NIV).

I can understand on the surface why we can be called “clay” (Gen. 2:7).  But why are we “JARS”?

As I looked more closely at the apostle Paul’s words in VERSE 7, what I received was–JARS HOLD SOMETHING!  And in this situation–a “treasure”.

So what is that “TREASURE”?  

The knowledge of God reflected in JESUS (verse 6) in the POWER from God (verse 7).  “WOW”, I thought to myself.  Is “this treasure” not being shared with others?

Does the FACT that the “JAR” holds a treasure mean…the jar in and of itself is a treasure?

Peter’s Story in Luke 22: 

Peter confesses to Jesus,  Lord, I am ready to go with You to prison and death (verse 33).  

Was this true, did he really know his own heart?

In verses 49-50 and John 18:10, the words cast additional light that reveals the servant who drew his sword was…PETER; it shows that Peter was willing to stand and fight and die for his Lord!

So how did Peter get from being willing to die to repeated denial in Luke 22:55-60?

He believed in his sword with the fact that together, they could win this fight.

When Jesus allowed Himself to be taken captive, it turned Peter’s ideas upside-down.  It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.  Do you see the same parallel occurring between the crippled beggar– at the gate called ” BEAUTIFUL”– and Peter during the Luke 22 happenings?

What stuck out clearly to me was the beggar was close to God but was depending upon man and his sharp Realtor’s idea of location, location, location; how to get man to provide for his own personal welfare…every day!

Peter was close to God, but depending on his sword and his idea of how things needed to turn out.

So if Peter is much like the beggar he healed in Acts 3, why does he get to heal?

In this First Church–why this apostle, this follower of Jesus in His ministry on earth…why does he have such moral superiority that he can call God to heal the crippled beggar?

I know that this a wordy question to ponder.  The point is…Peter doesn’t have “moral superiority”.  What he has is knowledge that he’s just a “jar of clay.”  And, the “jars of clay” and their treasures are as current in today’s churches as they were in the First Church!

Unlike the beggar, unlike his ideas accumulated in Luke 22, Peter now realizes the TRUTH!

“And Peter…answered the people,  You men of Israel, why are you so surprised and wondering at this (healing of the crippled beggar)?  Why do you keep staring at us, as though by our [own individual] power or [active] piety we had made this man [able] to walk?”  (Acts 3:12 AMP).

The realization is the “authority” allows the POWER of God to work through FAITH.

“Healers in Need of Healing”

Do we sometimes get confused in our churches we attend, believing that we are part of the “treasure” instead of just the “jars” holding the treasure?

Are you a devoted Christian as long as things go the way you planned?  And if they don’t, you find yourself “crippled” by circumstances to move on?

Do you believe you should get part of the “credit” for your work in advancing the gospel?

Some soul-searching questions to ask ourselves as Christians.  God works most powerfully through JARS, who clearly understand their role and content to trust God in whatever transpires.

 

FAITH: The Ability and Gift to Survive in Difficult Times

Life  like a STAR
LIFE is like a Star

LIFE can be like a star–it has 5-Points:

1.  Journey.

2.  Adventure.

3.  Challenge.

4.  Turning points (crossroad).

5.  Teachable moments.

[I will refer back to the 5-Points from time to time].

PURPOSE:

I have been reading in Paul’s letter to the believers in the church of Galatia this past week and one particular verse almost jumped off the pages of my Bible.  It certainly wasn’t the first time I’ve read this verse…but this time, Holy spirit began to speak to my spirit; developing my thoughts in writing THIS POST:

TEXT:  Galatians 5:6

For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything…”

Let me pause here, in mid-sentence and set this bible study up; the point being made by the apostle is not about religious doctrine.  Although Church Doctrine is important, it should not be where we rest our spiritual lives; there’s no place on the 5-point star for Church Doctrine.

“…but only FAITH ACTIVATED and ENERGIZED and EXPRESSED and WORKING through love.”

**The Importance of FAITH in Difficult times–

Having FAITH in difficult times [we all had them or are going through them now] means the ability and gift (Romans 12:3; Matthew 25:15)– to survive–to win against misery, uncertainties,  and calamities:

“…each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God” ~ Rom. 12:3.

“–to each in proportion to his own personal ability” ~ Matthew 25:15.

IT’S GOING TO TAKE A KEY TO UNLOCK THE “DEGREE OF FAITH” CONTAINING OF 17-LETTERS TO MAKE IT! :

**Activate Your Faith**

That 17-LETTER KEY is stronger than the late Napoleon Hill’s Principles of Success from his book (which I read several times years ago to no avail), “Think and Grow Rich”.  THINKING about unlocking life’s successes might fit in the key-hole but it does little in opening the door to surviving in difficult times.  You are going to have to have the RIGHT KEY.

**The KEY to our FAITH found in 17-letters is found in Ecclesiastes 3:1, – “SEASON, TIME, and PURPOSE”. 

FAITH is when God is involved in our affairs and our lives (Daniel 4:17; 1 Corinthians 3:7).  And in The Book of Isaiah we see how God demonstrates His involvement:

“He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]”  (Isaiah 40:29 AMP).

**What are His intentions (purpose and attitude)? :,

“Pilate said to Him [Jesus],   Then You are a King?  Jesus answered:  You say it!  For I am a King.  This is why I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the Truth.  Everyone who is of the Truth [who is a friend of the Truth, who belongs to the Truth] hears and listens to My voice”  (John 18:37 AMP).

So, if you want the ability, the gift to survive, you are going to have to Listen to the Truth.

**All Believers Have Some Measure or Degree Of Faith–

But some believers seem to have more than others.  WHY?  The truth is, I’m not sure some Christians have more than others.  They just seem to use it more.  They have activated their faith with the Owner who not only gave it to them, He purchased it for them.

A FAITH analogy:   It’s Like a Credit Card or an iPhone:

When you receive the new credit card in the mail (or…iPhone at the Apple Store), you cannot use it until… you activate it.

Must Be ACTIVATED to Function Properly!
Must Be ACTIVATED to Function Properly!

 

It’s the same way with FAITH:  You have it, but unless it is activated it profits you nothing.

**God will never bring about any of His great works unless your personal faith is activated!!!!

How then, does one activate their faith?

Lessons learned from”The Fourth Dimension”

Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho is a Christian minister and Senior Pastor/founder of the Yoido Full Gospel Church (Assembly of God) in Korea.  It has the worlds largest congregation with a membership of over one million (2007).  He still conducts two out of the seven services held each week and people have to arrive up to 1-hour early to find a seat.  So I decided to investigate his ideas on FAITH ACTIVATED in a country other than… “Christian America”:

**4-Basic Steps to activate our faith:

STEP ONE:  Envision a clear-cut objective.

Instead of wishing for something to happen or depending on others to pray for your need, envision exactly what you want (need), then activate your faith.

Stop praying vague prayers.  Many people say, Lord, give me what I stand in need of.”  How vague can that be!

When you pray vague prayers, how do you know when they have been answered?  JESUS is on the mainline, tell Him what you want, then envision getting it!

STEP TWO:  Have a burning desire.

God does not like anything “lukewarm”!

“I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth”  (Rev. 3:15-16 AMP).

(The Message):

“I know you inside and out, and find little to My liking.  You’re not cold, you’re not hot–far better to be either cold or hot!  You’re stale.  You’re stagnant.  You make Me want to vomit.”

Are your prayers “lukewarm” in the asking?  You feel that your prayers are going unanswered?

God specializes in the “red-hot.”

GOD doesn't like anything "lukewarm"!
GOD doesn’t like anything “lukewarm”!

When you have a “real hot” desire for something needed in you life and have the FAITH to get it, resources will gravitate towards you.

A NEED is sometimes translated in the Greek language as a “DEMAND”.

In some retail establishments, when you see…lets say, a computer you want to purchase.  You pay for it at the cash-register and then directed to the pick-up counter to receive the merchandise.

A person asks, “Sir, do you have a DEMAND SLIP?”  In frustration, you reply, “I paid for it already. Just give me what I asked for!”  

The store employee, trying to be courteous states:  “Without a  DEMAND SLIP  [‘NEED SLIP’], I can’t honor your request.”

When you have a “need” in your life…

DEMAND SLIP
DEMAND SLIP

When you ASK for a specific NEED (not ‘vague’) in your life, often your desire  isn’t “red-hot”; it’s “lukewarm”; it’s not a fervent request.  A “demand slip” presented when praying specifically simply means, with honor and respect to your Heavenly Father the confidence in the “asking” ; that God WILL supply and not ‘maybe’ supply your needs.

“Red-Hot” Confidence.

“I have the strength for ALL THINGS in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]”  (Philippians 4:13 AMP).

“And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”  (Philippians 4:19 AMP).

**One definition of FAITH: “Faith is the practical expression of the confidence in God and in His Word.”

STEP THREE:  Maintain assurance.

When you have a clear goal and a burning desire, you pray (ask for) “Blessed Assurance”.  Assurance is the same as having legal papers; a title-deed for something.

In Hebrews 11, the “FAITH CHAPTER”,  I like the way The Amplified bible’s words in translation to VERSE ONE:

“NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title-deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of the things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality  [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]”  (Hebrews 11:1 AMP).

Sometimes, the assurance or legal papers come instantly and sometimes you must wait, no matter how long it takes–but it’s on the way!

STEP FOUR: Speak the Word.

**You show the evidence of your FAITH by speaking the Word:

Miracles are laws (spiritual reality), and “a LAW is a rule or action based on an established fact.” 

If you are driving down a road one afternoon and see a posted sign that reads,  SPEED LIMIT 25 MPH, that is an established LAW or RULE.  Your actions to the fact established will determine the outcome– when you see a red-light flashing in your rear view mirror.

We have endless resources available to us when we speak.  Remember, God is not going to do anything, without it coming through your FAITH!

**Claim and speak words of FAITH instead of “begging” God.

God told Moses, “Moses, Why do you cry to Me?  Tell the people of Israel to go forward!  Lift up your rod and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the Israelites shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea”  (Exodus 14:15-16). 

STOP BEGGING and command in FAITH.

“As JESUS passed on…, two blind men followed Him, shouting loudly,  Have pity and mercy on us, Son of David!  When He reached the house and went in, the blind men came to Him, and JESUS said to them,  Do you believe that I am able to do this?  They said to Him,  YES LORD.  Then He touched their eyes, saying,  According to your FAITH and trust and reliance [on the power invested in Me] be it done to you”  (Matthew 9:27-29 AMP).

Using the Four Steps in the 5-Point Stargiven to us by Dr. Cho, will start the process to ACTIVATE your faith.  Can you identify the Four Steps in the two blind men’s miracle?  Come on, the practice and application will be fun and challenging.  Get out a piece of paper and pen and see how many steps presented by Dr. Cho can you find in the above bible verses:

1.  Envision a clear-cut objective.

2.  Have a burning desire.

3.  Maintain assurance.

4.  Speak the word.

After ACTIVATING YOUR FAITH, begin to enjoy the things you’ve envisioned; the things you have a burning desire for, the things you have been assured of having and the things you have spoken the words for.  Because, THINGS DON’T JUST HAPPEN!  It comes down to, a SEASON, a TIME, and a PURPOSE.

 


Springtime Coming!

Winter Thaw

ISAIAH 58:11-12:  “And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones.  And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.  [12] And your ancient ruins will be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of [buildings that have laid waste for] many generations; and you shall be called Repairer of the Breach, Restorer of Streets to Dwell in.”

Acts 3:19-21:  “So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord.  [20] And that He may send [to you] the Christ (the Messiah), Who before was designated and appointed for you–even Jesus.  [21] Who heaven must receive [and retain] until the time for the complete restoration of all that God spoke by the mouth of all His holy prophets for ages past [from the most ancient time in the memory of man].”

“The American Church Today is not Healthy”–

Many people have agreed with this statement and other concepts such as:  “Too many churches imitate the trends of secular society.”  One respected researcher said, “Christians in America are hardly distinguishable from unbelievers.”  And on many occasions in the past, I have agreed with the consensus.

But when I was reading the two referenced verses in Isaiah and the Book of Acts, God spoke to my heart saying, Have HOPE, for Springtime is Coming even thought it looks like Winter.  His Word reveals His plans for the spiritual restoration of the Church as we know it today.

“Springtime IS Coming”–God’s Heart for His Church and His People–

NOTICE the key words that God uses:

* rebuilding…

*…the ancient ruins

* raising up…

*…the age-old foundations

* repairing that which is broken

* refreshing

* restoring

If you have fallen into the same trap I’ve found myself in, seeking a bleak future for the Lord’s Church, I want to bring the relief I found from God’s Word in this wrong thinking.

A Heart That Has Found Optimism–A Full Life in the Emptiest of Places.

I want to fill your hearts, as mine was filled by the Holy Spirit–in what you might now be experiencing in your Christian church life.

The 7- Ways the Lord wants to guide us in:

Smith Wigglesworth once said, “The heritage of the Church is to be so equipped with (the Holy Spirit’s) power that God can lay His hand upon any member, at any time to do His perfect will.”   Now that is OPTIMISM!

1.  The Lord wants to satisfy your soul.

2.  The Lord strengthens you = ‘make fat your bones’

3.  Like a well-watered garden…

4.  Rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities…

5.  Lay foundations for future generations…

6.  A Rebuild er of walls…

7.  Restorer of homes…

Spring-water in a place where the waters of the Lord flow:

–to refresh…

–to revive…

–to restore…

–to rebuild…

To make fat your bones and strengthen you for the work ahead!

TIMES OF REFRESHING:

The verses quoted in Acts 3:19-21 clearly show God’s heart for His people and for His Church with spiritual restoration.  Notice the key words and similarities God uses in Isaiah 58 and Acts 3:

* rebuilding...the ancient ruins.

* raising up…the age-old foundations.

* repairing that which is broken.

* refreshing.

* restoring.

HEART-FELT OPTIMISM IN EMPTY PLACES:

If you have fallen into the trap in seeking a bleak future for God’s Church in our time, I want to bring the same relief I experienced from ‘wrong thinking’ in what you might be seeing–to a full life in the emptiest of places.

God intends that His people participate (that’s us!)– in His plans for our lives in rebuilding and raising up age-old foundations; repairing the things that are broken down

“Your people will rebuild…and will raise up…”  (Isaiah 58:12).

“You will be called a Repairer…Restorer (vs. 12).

If you think that the Church in materialistic America lies in ruins today, then know this–GOD intends to “rebuild the ancient ruins and …raise up the age-old foundations (vs. 12).

I believe , as perhaps I’ve never before pondered, spiritual restoration is coming to the Church today!  Let’s look together at some Biblical teaching likely to be seen in God’s time of refreshing and restoration.

–Widespread, heartfelt repentance and a hungering and thirsting for righteousness and personal holiness.

“Brethren, what shall we do?”  And Peter replied, “Repent”… (Acts 2:37-38).

“Blessed and fortunate and spiritually prosperous are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be completely satisfied”  (Matthew 5:6 AMP).

EXPECT TO SEE THINGS IN OUR DAY!

–A renewed, mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit!

Multitudes being baptized in the Spirit, speaking in tongues, moving mightily in God’s power.

“And they were all filled (diffused throughout their souls) with the Holy spirit and began to speak in other (different, foreign) languages (tongues), as the spirit kept giving them clear and loud expression [in each tongue in appropriate words]”  (Acts 2:4 AMP).

Don’t let the Church be robbed of this blessing.  Contrary to what some might have been told, this is for the Church today just as it was in the first century.  Jesus Christ, the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11), is “the same yesterday and today and forever.”

“Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages)”  (Hebrews 13:8). 

EXPECT IT, BELIEVE IT, AND LOOK FOR IT!

Expect to see the manifestation of the glory of God in the Church–“To Him be glory in the church…”  (Ephesians 3:21).  Expect and believe God for dramatic manifestations and supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit which is the real sense of God’s presence in our midst.

You might be thinking right now, you just can’t believe, to grab hold of and expect that type of manifestation.  And that’s okay.  I once felt and believed in the same way.  And then one day in 2005, I was given a choice by God:  ‘Take the “Red Pill” or take the “Blue Pill” [CHOICE: I Choose “The Red Pill” –The WORD DETECTIVE blog of 05/09/11].

The early church of the Book of Acts was indeed a glorious church.  Believe along with me for the same in our day–(Habakkuk 3:2). 

The gifts of the Holy spirit are for today!   Don’t relegate them to “time has past” or only to the Pentecost recording in Acts 2.

–Anticipate a renewed hunger for the word of God, the Bible!

“Now the brethren at once sent Paul and Silas away…to Beroea…  Now these [Jews] were better disposed and more noble…they were entirely ready and accepted and welcomed the message...with inclination of mind and eagerness, searching and examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so”  (Acts 17:10-11).

In the remarkable charismatic move peaking in the 1970s, millions of young people carried their Bibles with them–to church, to coffeehouses (no Starbucks back then), wherever they went.  They joined Bible studies, many attended Bible schools and they hungered and thirsted for God’s Word.

I expect to see in our current day a restoration, a spiritual hunger renewed for God’s holy word among the youth, the elderly, in every segment of society.  Expect a new generation of “Bereans”, ‘receiving the word with ALL readiness of mind and searching the Scriptures daily.’

A Generation Rising

VISUALIZE A GENERATION ARISING:

Colossians 1:18 says in the NIV translation, “…so in everything He might have the supremacy”.

Picture a nation where JESUS is honored and His name is heard in reverence rather than in cursing and the Church bought by His blood is once again the most influential institution [“organism”, not “organization”] in the land.  “Organism” is a living and breathing thing, where as an “organization” is an “arrangement”; make-up“; “texture”.   These things have happened in time past.  Can you and I believe God to see these transpire once again in the land, our communities?

Expect to See…

Widespread acceptance of, and many moving into the full “fivefold” ministry, as well as biblically qualified elders and deacon.  God has prepared His people:

“And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers.  His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church)”  (Ephesians 4:11-12 AMP).

The Church has been handicapped for too long in rejection of contemporary apostles and prophets.  I know this personally, since this is what I had been taught by well-meaning men and had accepted the information given as fact rather than the Berean Approach: “searching and examining the Scriptures”.

It will take all five of the listed ministries to “prepare God’s people for works of service” He desires that we do.  Now are there false apostles and prophets today?  Certainly.  There were such in the early church.  But don’t let that discourage you from embracing ALL these needed ministries JESUS placed in His church and the duration of the Church Age!

ANTICIPATE A RESTORATION OF TOTALLY “SELLING OUT” TO THE LORD:

[Peter to Jesus] “Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee, what shall we have therefore?”  (Matthew 19:27 KJV).

“And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer”  (Acts 2:42 NAS).

“Revolutionaries”

Christian researchers today–George Barna–in seeing the emergence of a growing body of Christian believers, compared to the complacent with the tabbed “revolutionaries”– who are no more satisfied with the “status quo”; they want A Full Life in Christ.  They have a passion for JESUS; a determination to serve Him fully, no matter the cost.

May a renewed passion for the Lord sweep through ALL our hearts and across this land–our cities, our communities, our churches.

AS IN THE TEMPLE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT:

May it be said of the New Testament “temple” (that is, the church), that “the glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former…” ~ Haggai 2:9.

Be looking for; be on watch for; expect the spiritual restoration of bringing the Church of our day back to even surpassing the glory we read of in the first century church.  Springtime is coming!  Let this be our prayer:

“O Lord, I have heard the report of You and was afraid, O Lord,

revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst

of the years make [Yourself ] known!”

~Habakkuk 3:2~