Let Us See

Psalm 90: 16 – 17         TPT

Let us see your miracles again, and let the rising generation see the glorious wonders you’re famous for. O Lord our God, let your sweet beauty rest upon us and give us favor. Come work with us, and then our works will endure, and give us success in all we do.

This is my prayer. How can it not be? Oh, dear Lord, let your glory fall in our presence and show us the wonder of you. Revive our hearts with and by your grace. Let the radiance of your presence fill us and rejuvenate our spirits.

God is known for His glorious works. Let us praise Him for them but let us also pray for them, pray for their return to our everyday existence. Let us be the people, the generation, who lives by His Word and according to His grace. Call His fire upon us through prayer, servitude, generosity, and devotion. Beg, plead if we must, for his sweet beauty to rest upon each one of us daily and yes, dear Lord, give us your favor so that everywhere we go and everything we touch is blessed and anointed.

Let the work of our hands, Lord, be established in you. In all we do, let us first seek you and then proclaim you. We are but the dust of the earth without you Lord. Fill us with your presence so that we may live a justified and worthy life. Let me see your miracles again. Don’t let your servant die without the sweep of your Spirit through the land. Let your glory fill this place Lord. Let your might and graciousness be seen. And Lord, let them be seen in me.

Glory to God

Luke 2: 14             1599 Geneva Bible

Glory be to God in the high heavens, and peace in earth, and toward men good will.

Before we jump into verse 14, let us recall what happened in verses one through thirteen. Shepherds were near the town of Bethlehem keeping the night watch over their flocks. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the Sh’khinah glory of the Lord shone all about the angel and the shepherds. The angel’s purpose was to announce the birth of the Lord. Immediately upon telling the shepherds the good news of the Messianic coming, a multitude of heavenly beings appeared with the angel and began singing and praising God. Verse 14 is what they sang.

Glory be to God in the highest! So, the angels’ song first describes the condition in heaven since the Savior is born. This is the angels’ declaration of how things are now that the holy birth has occurred. In heaven, angels sing praises to God. Glory is to be shouted unto the Lord and praises lifted up into the highest reaches of heaven. It sounds lovely.

On earth, a different result was realized. The Lord, our God, sent the Prince of Peace to earth, to us. Therefore, peace had finally come to the earth. The Tree of Life Version rings with Jewish revelation, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth shalom to men of good will.” Shalom was sent to earth. Shalom is wholeness. It is perfect peace. It means that everything that was broken, is now repaired. Every shortage or lack has been filled. Nothing is missing, nothing broken. It does not mean “lack of wars” although that is what some people read into this verse. War is a man-made conflict. God sent His peace, His Shalom, but people do not have to receive it and they certainly do not have to reflect that love and acceptance to other humans. It does mean, though, that God has accepted us, that He loves us and that He has provided everything we need to heal, first, our own hearts, then our relationships, and even eventually our land. If we let God’s peace and love, which has been shed abroad in our hearts, multiply then there could be peace among men. Father God sent restoration, wholeness. The word Shalom brings to our understanding that in the baby’s birth God sent His peace to us on earth. He has given us the ability to be whole in every aspect of life and to be at peace in our hearts; no lack, no unrepaired emotions or bodies, just perfect, quiet completeness in all things.

The last phrase may be the greatest news of all for it tells us that the Messiah’s insertion into the earth carried with it God’s good will towards humanity. The Messiah came to restore us to God. We were estranged with no way to reach God and no way for God to live with us. We were separated, but He sent Jesus so that we could be restored to Him, so that He could have His kids back. The birth of the baby savior heralded God’s good will towards humanity. Because of Jesus, God was able to reunite with people. He was restored to us; His good will and good intentions having come to reside on the earth.

That is what the angelic host sang. Hallelujah in the heavens! All praise and Glory to the Great One. And, on earth – peace, Shalom, and God’s good will, love and good plans for all humanity.

What a Day!

Luke 2: 8 – 13           Complete Jewish Bible

In the countryside nearby were some shepherds spending the night in the fields, guarding their flocks, when an angel of Adonai appeared to them, and the Sh’khinah of Adonai shone around them. They were terrified; but the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, because I am here announcing to you Good News that will bring great joy to all the people. This very day, in the town of David, there was born for you a Deliverer who is the Messiah, the Lord. Here is how you will know: you will find a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” Suddenly, along with the angel was a vast army from heaven praising God.

This is the familiar Christmas story but from a version you may not have read before. Today we get to look at this passage through Jewish eyes. Imagine, then, what it was like to be a Jewish shepherd 2000 years ago. Everyone had been taught about the coming Messiah. They were looking for him. As God sent Moses when the nation was in slavery in Egypt, they looked to heaven for God to send His savior to free them from the occupying forces of Rome. Behold, an angel appeared from God, Adonai, announcing that the savior, the deliverer has come.

You would expect bedlam to breakout. The long awaited deliverer had come. Any message brought by an angel is sure to be important but what of this Sh’khinah of Adonai? We would usually call this the “glory” of God, but the Jews have a bigger vision of the word. It is more than a shining light. It is more than a bright glow. This is the radiant presence of the Lord. The Sh’khinah glory of the Lord is what preceded and accompanied the Jews in the desert during the Exodus. When the angel appeared to the shepherds this “glory” enveloped everyone, not just the angel. The shepherds were bathed in and encompassed about by the light which was the sheen that radiates off of the Father. He was there, in that moment, to bring the good news about His son being born. Of course, the shepherds were overwhelmed by this presence and the angelic messenger. They were in the midst of an other worldly kind of event. Many times when an angel appeared to someone in scripture their first words were “Do not be afraid,” because people can be very startled by the appearance of spiritual beings. The shepherds apparently recovered themselves, though, because they stood there and received the angel’s message. Then, as if they had not been witnesses to a most amazing event, the host of heaven joined with that angel messenger in praise to the Lord. This version tells us that suddenly there was a vast army of heavenly beings there with the angelic messenger.

What a day in those shepherds’ lives. I bet they were never the same again. I wonder what the sheep did. Could they see the angels, the glory and the huge, heavenly entourage? Imagine those sheep as the ones selected for the sacrifice. That must have been some sacrifice after the Sh’khinah got all over the sheep.

It’s fun picturing these events as we read our Bibles. It’s also a fabulous way to receive revelation. Once you begin to run the movie suggested by the words the scripture comes alive. Imagine yourself as one of the shepherds sitting out in a field, bored to tears, watching a bunch of sheep when all of a sudden an angel appears, especially the angelic herald of the Savior, Messiah, Deliverer. That was a day to remember for them and one we still marvel over all these years later.

Trust Dividend

Romans 5: 2       NLV

By putting our trust in God, He has given us His loving-favor and has received us. We are happy for the hope we have of sharing the shining-greatness of God.

What good news this is. When we invest our trust in God, we open our own path to happiness and His favor. I want you to see this verse from the Passion Translation as well, “Our faith guarantees us permanent access into this marvelous kindness that has given us a perfect relationship with God. What incredible joy bursts forth within us as we keep on celebrating our hope of experiencing God’s glory!” I like this guarantee, don’t you, a guarantee of His marvelous kindness and a perfect relationship with God. Really, what more could we want or need?

Our faith gives us access to a perfect relationship with God. Our trust in Him yields His favor and we have the promise that He receives us. Knowing that we are received and accepted by God is a huge thing. Many people live their whole lives awaiting their parents’ approval. We have our Father’s acceptance. His acceptance is that He receives us to Himself. We are part of Him, part of His family and we have the joy of sharing the glory of God with Him. I love how this verse states it, “sharing the shining-greatness of God.” Wow!

We aren’t orphaned children who have been let into the feast. We are His own pride and joy. He welcomes us in and makes us part of the celebration. The key to sharing the bright, shining glory of God’s presence is trust. We invest our trust in Him and He receives us, pouring out His “loving-favor” upon us. The favor of God is a great thing but to appreciate that His favor is colored by love makes it even more grand. His light and love are our inheritance. Actually, they are the reward, or the dividend on our investment of trust. I used to talk about “radical trust.” Maybe it is time to think on that again. What does radical trust look like? Pour out your heart to God. Bathe in His bright, shining glory and enjoy being His own beloved.

Lifted Up

Psalm 75: 9 – 10

But as for me, I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. And all the horns of the wicked He will cut off, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.

It is nice knowing the conclusion of things beforehand. It brings confidence. This verse, we should take to heart and remember God’s determination for our lives. He has pre-ordained that all the righteous shall be lifted up. Your house, your name and all that you hold dear are on Yahweh’s list of glory. And by house, I do not refer to the timber box you live in. I refer to your family, tribe, or the group with whom you associate.

The wicked will receive their due. Don’t you worry about that. On the other hand do not become part of their world because the judgment has already been rendered. They will be cut off and hell is their reward. Hell is eternity separated from God. They will be in a dark place where there is no light. It will be awful and some of them are living bits of it now. You see it in people’s lives. Therefore, live your life to Christ, who is the light. Make decisions today which move you into the light rather than into darkness. Everyone gets the opportunity to make those life altering decisions daily, actually even moment to moment. What are you deciding?

Notice that the author has made a decision to sing praises to God forever. That is a decision of the light, and it is a choice. Even as Christians, we get the opportunity to make “light” decisions or “dark” decisions. God has not made us puppets. He values our freewill, probably more than even we do.

Let your light be lifted up as you reflect the glorious luminescence of our dear Lord. Let his light shine upon you so that your life is bathed in him and all that he is. May your life be glorified in him and a praise offering in itself. Be blessed today!

Energy Drink

Psalm 63: 2             TPT

I’m energized every time I enter your heavenly sanctuary to seek more of your power and drink in more of your glory.

This is another Psalm of David’s. He did not write every psalm, but he did write a good many of them. Verse one reminds us why God said David was a man after God’s own heart. It reads, “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Isn’t that good?  From this beginning point David goes on to expressing two important thoughts. Notice though, that he begins in adoration of the Father. I believe that may be a significant fact explaining David’s success.

Verse two goes on to reveal that David believed he routinely entered God’s heavenly sanctuary. That’s quite a statement! How did he enter the Father’s heavenly sanctuary? It must be that in David’s times of meditation he visualized himself entering the Father’s haven. Selah, pause and consider that. David is matter of fact about this part of verse two. It is just the set up for what he wants to say. That tells me that to David this was routine and nothing worth commenting upon. It is just what he did. He entered into the Father’s presence regularly.

I have noted that modern Christians often pray for God to invade our space. First, it shouldn’t be an invasion. He should be welcome here all of the time. The bigger point, though, is that we seem to be keen on inviting the Father into our space but perhaps not quite as intentional about visiting him. There is nothing wrong with asking Dad into our activities. That’s a good thing. It seems clear to me from this passage, though, that we should regularly visit Him at His house.

Second, it must be okay to seek God’s power. It is right here in a psalm. Father didn’t correct David for going to the throne room seeking more of His power. In fact, He apparently granted David’s request in ever increasing amounts. David drank in the Father’s glory. He looked upon the Father in His grace and majesty and was renewed, physically, but likely spiritually, emotionally and mentally as well. David came away from His time meditating WITH the Lord, energized. Wow! Is this going off as loudly in you as it is in me? We gain energy from hanging out with God at His house. Moreover, we are allowed to go to His sanctuary to stock up on energy and seek God’s power and glory.

I find this an empowering verse and I certainly hope you do too. We don’t have to continually, nor solely, pray for God’s glory to infiltrate the earth. That’s great but any time any of us wishes to bathe ourselves in the Father’s glory, we have a standing invitation to the Throne Room of Grace which is full of mercy and refreshing. You can show up and drink in His glory. That is astounding to me. Are you thirsty? I know I am. Let’s see how God’s glory satisfies.

Literal Truth

Psalm 44: 3

Our forefathers didn’t win these battles by their own strength or their own skill or strategy. But it was through the shining forth of your radiant presence and the display of your mighty power. You loved to give them victory, for you took great delight in them.

The writer of this psalm seems confident in his statement that their forefathers’ victories were not the result of their own strength, skill or battle strategy. The triumph was not the result of their own wisdom, experience or knowledge. Instead, the psalmist would have us believe that victory came through God’s presence and might. Can we believe this? And, if their victory really was the result of Father’s presence can we enjoy the same kind of outcomes?

This is a little hard to believe, isn’t it? I mean, at a philosophical level, no. It is easy to accept philosophically. We can rationalize that it is God’s strength within us which leads to victory. It is the gift of wisdom which He gave us that results in triumph. The psalmist seems to differentiate from this analytical conclusion though. Is it possible that when he wrote this psalm he was being literal? The psalms are songs. Might he have written these lines in celebration of a literal truth?

I believe the answers to these questions can challenge us at a very deep, almost primal level. If we believe the psalmist meant for us to take these words at face value rather than as a poetic nuance of real events, then it presents for us a dilemma of faith and trust. If it really was the presence of God which carried the day, then we need to understand and appreciate this kind of faith walk. Most of us don’t have enemies shooting at us, or armies bearing down on us but we have challenges pertinent and relevant to our day and time. However, let us not forget that while most of us are safe, we do have sisters and brothers who actually are in danger for their lives and some of them, like the ancient Israelites, specifically in danger because of their faith. Selah – pause here and consider and maybe even offer a prayer of safety for them.

One might conjecture that we are better equipped to walk in the power of God’s grace, mercy and power on this side of the cross than our faith forefathers. We have the testimony of Christ and his example of a life lived in the manifested wisdom of God. We also are on this side of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit is the power of God. We are better positioned to live in his power than the generations which went before. Jesus ushered in a new way of living with God. Have we, though, actually learned what this means and found how this life is lived? Are we still stumbling in Old Testament theology unversed in the revelation of Christ?

I fear this is the case. It seems to me that we live a hermetically sealed life where our reach is stunted. Nothing seeps into our box and we do not extend ourselves in exuberant faith, risk or trust. We live safe lives but not passionate lives. We live within limited boundaries so that we do not have to extend ourselves. We are not forced to trust God because we take life in this limited capacity. We don’t listen to the voice of God within us because he may ask us to do something that is risky. We don’t believe the Bible and don’t take it at face value because we may have to face some uncomfortable truths. Best if we rationalize away these uncomfortable passages, relegating them into the province of fantasy.

We should be living above the miracles of the Old Testament. We should be experiencing works beyond what Christ did. That’s what he said anyway (John 14: 12). We should be a people unlike the world has ever seen. The mighty hand of God ought to be evident in our lives and infecting all we come in contact with. I want this life. I want to know what the life Jesus anticipated for us looks like. I want to be a Christ disciple and actually walk as he did and live according to his faith in me. The life Jesus died to give us must be grander than the life most of us Christians live today. What is necessary for us to live our destiny? Our God is so much bigger than our lives. His plan for us is full of His faith.

Our Father, be our mighty warrior; be our strength and wisdom today as we turn to you. Teach us to walk in faith and trust. Lead us in your ways and create us to be a people who bring you glory.