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.