Where Are You?!

Psalm 79: 9 – 10          TPT

Our hero, come and rescue us! O God of the breakthrough, for the glory of your name, come and help us! Forgive and restore us; heal us and cover us in your love. Why should all the nations sneer at us, saying, “Where is this God of yours?” Now is the time, Lord.

Asaph mourned the diminished standing of Israel. Where it once was a formidable and glorious nation, the foreign nations no longer held it in awe, no longer did they fear the prowess of the Israelites or their God.

Under David, the nations came to know the God of Israel. They learned that Israel had a defender, a mighty and powerful God who would proactively fight for Israel. Under Solomon, all the world marveled at the wealth and beauty of Israel, as well as its king’s wisdom. Israel was feared and admired. During the time of Asaph, Israel had lost its luster. Foreign nations had begun to invade the nation with increasing frequency and confidence. They taunted Israel as the would later taunt Jesus, “Where is this God of yours?”

Perhaps the most grievous aspect of this verse and its haunting question which plagued the nation of Israel throughout history, is that it is as fresh a stinging refrain today as during any other time in history. The barbs of this enigmatic taunt prick the very soul of the modern day believer, “Where is your God? Show us this Almighty, powerful God of yours!”

Does your heart seize in reflection of this question come taunt? Do you feel, as did Asaph, the ridicule of our faith and our God? Where is this all knowing, all powerful deity who is supposed to be more than a God to us; He who proclaims to be, foremost, a Father to the faithful? Where is your God? Show me!

What was it that caused the God of David and Solomon to recede into the heavens? Was God angry? Is He now? I don’t truly believe in an angry God. Yes, He has emotions and anger is one of them but He also taught us not to let the sun go down on our anger which was His way of saying, “Get over it! Deal with your anger and put it to bed.” Therefore, I do not think He has withdrawn any part of Himself because of anger? What then? Does He love us any less? Maybe David and Solomon were just special people or the nation of Israel under them showed a better class of faithfulness than do we.

David and Solomon were both flawed. Their lust for women crippled their faith so they were no more perfect than we. The people of those days struggled with faith and sin just as painfully as do we. No, I don’t believe the answer is in an angry God or a more righteous people. Then what was it?

This is a question best pondered in your heart for the question is more important than me having an answer for you. We are not perfect, but we have been called to righteousness. Jesus, though, is our righteousness so we do not even have to be our own righteousness. Therefore, the fact that we are not perfect is not the stumbling block. In fact, Jesus called himself the stumbling block. What could he have meant by that?

The question to which I really do want an answer is, “How do we show the nations of the world the glory, power and beauty of our God?” What is our answer to the question, “Where is this God of yours?” It does taunt me so even as I ask you to consider this query, I seek our beloved and His answer? Where are you, O God of my faith? Where is your glory in this generation? Have you fallen asleep? Have I failed you? At the end of all things, Father, at the end of all inquiry, I know that you are the loving God of Israel and Ivey. I know that you are alert and present. You love all the people that I represent with this Word of the Day and your compassion for them is deeper than the deepest ocean. Your love for them is ever expanding as with the universe. And knowing this Father, I ask and require of you to speak to your people. Give us hearts of understanding. Bring alive your spiritual gifts within us so that we might hear and learn. Lead us, as you have promised, in the way we should go. Bless our coming in and going out and teach us to praise you with a jubilance that would make David jealous. Shine down upon us glorious Lord as we turn our minds and hearts towards the celebration of Jesus’ birth. I pray, Father, that this year you will activate, within each of us, a new and special affection for You and Your son. Touch our spirits, Lord, and bring us into a new space with you which will forever bind us closer and closer with you. Let this be the Christmas season that changes our lives forever. I love you Lord!

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Acts 4: 29 – 31

“And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

I am very much encouraged by the number of pastors who are breaking out of restrictive molds and are preaching the Word of God with boldness. I have been meditating on this scripture for a couple of months now and I am convinced this is a word for today. It is not for pastors only and we err gravely if we think so. This prayer came out of a gathering of believers where they were all in one accord with a hunger for God and passion for His power to be made manifest in their lives, but not only in their lives but through them too. That is big. Shall we yield ourselves to speak with confidence? Note that the first thing said was the acknowledgment that they were under threat. As a matter of fact, this episode occurred when Peter and John were released from jail so the threat was real. Their response to being jailed was to pray for confidence and boldness to do more. 

Lord let your power be seen! The next thing the believers asked of God was for His hand to accompany their bold speech. So they had a picture in their minds. They envisioned speaking the Word of God with confidence while God complemented their speech with miracles of healing and signs and wonders. Can you see the image that was in their minds of what their meetings should look like? These guys were ready to take the world.

Then the best part of all. God answered and He answered in a big way. Because of their boldness in prayer, because they were passionate enough to ask God for big meetings and powerful moves, He answered them loudly. His presence came in that building and touched every person there and the whole building shook from the power and presence. Was the building just not designed to hold that much anointing, that much power or was the building rejoicing? I don’t know but what I get out of this is that God got excited! He answered them immediately. He gave them what they asked for and He did it with such personal zeal that everything shook. Man, I want to be in that meeting.

Does your heart leap at this idea? Does your spirit crave Holy Spirit encounters? Are you desperate for God to get loud in your meetings? Brother I am. Today’s passage shows us what we need, what Peter and John did that made God want to be in their meetings. Let’s do it too. Let’s get up off of that pew. Shake the building. Why not?

Dwelling in the Presence

Genesis 3: 8

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.

As I read through the Bible one thing keeps being impressed on me and that is that God has always longed for close, personal fellowship with us. That idea begins with today’s passage. Imagine living in the Garden of Eden and in the evening God comes to walk along the garden path with you. Doesn’t that sound idyllic? Well, God’s original intention for the earth was for it to be a perfect garden where we could enjoy His company. Unfortunately, we spoiled the garden.

All through the Bible you see God return to this idea of living with His people. In 1 Kings 6: 13 we witness God expressing this very idea saying, “I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.” When he saved the people from their captivity in Egypt He went along with them, leading them day and night by His presence. He was in the cloud. He was in the fire. He was their rear guard as well as their guiding light. Later He told Moses to “let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25: 8). Then He gave them the instructions for building the Ark of the Covenant. And His presence came and rested in the Ark and with the people.

Time marches on and King David sits on the throne. Finally there is peace in the land and David has a desire in his heart to build a temple for God but God forbids David from building the temple because he, being a man of war, has too much blood on his hands. So, his son, Solomon builds the temple. In 1 Kings 8 we read about the dedication of the temple. These interesting words appear in verse 10: “When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.” Again God came to live among His people.

This recurrent theme does not end with the Old Testament saints, however, nor with the Israelites because we have now become the temple of the Most High. “For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (2 Corinthians 6: 16).

God has not changed. His long held desire has been to live with His kids. Ever since the Garden of Eden God has longed to be in close proximity with us both physically and emotionally. He has made us His temple so that He can be with us everywhere we go. And again, as in 1 Kings 8, He wants to fill His temple with His presence.

Today He wants to walk in the cool of the day with you. He longs to chat with you and hear what is on your heart. He deeply desires fellowship with you. This revelation will prevent you from ever being lonely again. You have a close and abiding friend and He is the Lord of creation. So, let us all stop thinking of God as high and removed. Don’t imagine Him far away in the cosmos. He is in the room with you right now. He is as close as your next breath. Begin to talk with Him as your best friend. It will change your life.