In and Through

Ephesians 4: 6      TPT

And he is the perfect Father who leads us all, works through us all, and lives in us all!

Jesus rattled the world when he told people that he and the Father would live in us and through us (John 14: 23). He spoke of the Father with a familiarity that rankled the Jews. Truly, the familiarity with which we speak of the Father today still unsettles some. Interestingly, only the Apostle John leaned into this revelation of Immanuel, God with us. John understood that the name applied to more than Jesus spending a short time walking the earth. It is, in fact, the New Covenant in a word. Man, that is a big revelation, one we are still grappling with.

Paul came along behind the twelve disciples. Except for John, the gospel writers mostly gave an account of the life of Jesus. Paul took those accounts and Jesus’ teachings and explained them. I said last week, he seemed to understand the Apostle John well and he continued John’s teachings. This revelation that God lives in us is so big that even after both John and Paul unveiled this great mystery, it still remains cloaked for many people.

I hope you revel in the idea that God is not only with you, but in you, even if your mind cannot comprehend it. Honestly, I cannot fully grasp it either, but I do glory in the truth of it. We don’t need to pray to a far-removed deity, God in heaven. We can turn inward and find the creator right there. Isn’t that amazing?

Perhaps I am just in the Christmas Spirit, but this seems like a good Christmas message. Perhaps it is Christmas and Easter rolled up together. This “God with us” thing is central to Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth. Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father and what a job he did. He so thoroughly accomplished his task that the Father packed up and moved in with us. Can you even grasp the enormity of that? It is mind boggling!

I hope that this Christmas season, you will enjoy Emmanuel, God with us. Every time you hear a Christmas carol, I hope you are reminded of the King who came to make his abode with you. Merry Christmas!

God’s Protection

Psalm 91: 1

One who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will lodge in the shadow of the Almighty.

This psalm is the most often quoted passage regarding God’s protection, but there is something we need to understand about this protection as I find Christians are woefully mistaken about what it is and how to live in it.

This first verse tells us exactly how to live in God’s protection. It says we will lodge in the shadow of the Almighty. To lodge in God’s shadow means we live where we are hidden from trouble. However, this is not automatic. You don’t just say the sinner’s prayer and then the shadow of God follows you around protecting you from harm. No. This is a Christian lifestyle. You have to live in this and that means you make a choice to live in His shadow. To see this more clearly, you have to read the first phrase of the verse. That is where you see that this is purely elective.

Those who choose to dwell in the shelter of the Most High will be hidden in the power of the Almighty. Notice that the psalmist used names for God which reflect His awesome power. We are talking about power in this psalm. If we wish to fall under God’s awesome protective power, then we must choose to dwell in His shelter. What does that mean? We are talking lifestyle here. Where you dwell has everything to do with the lifestyle you choose. Do you live in the country, or do you live in the city? You have made a choice about where your home is. The same is true here. We must abide in the shelter of His Word, His teachings, and His guidance.

During the 911 crisis, there were stories about people who diverted from the towers that day. They had a funny feeling, heard God in their hearts, etc. They followed His guidance and didn’t go to their office. The point is that God leads us out of the path of danger. He constantly speaks giving us advice, counsel and wisdom.

Now, suppose you were one of those people headed to the twin towers that fateful day. In your heart you hear God speak, “Don’t go to that building. Turn around right now.” But you are a person of faith, right? So instead of heeding God’s advice and warning, you march on, in faith, to the twin towers. You say, “I have faith! God will protect me.” Please understand me beloved, as I say this with all the love of Christ in my heart. That is not faith. There is a word in the Bible for it, though. It is called foolishness. Faith is following God. Faith is the assurance that what God tells you is truth. If you went to the towers that day, you would be as dead as the worst heathen there. You have not availed yourself of the wisdom of God and are not abiding in the shelter of His protection.

Faith is not making a decision and expecting God to back it. Faith is only found in following Him. This psalm clearly speaks about our protection, but you cannot get past the first verse. The psalm and the protection promises only apply to those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High. We have to get out of our heads and submit to His wisdom, counsel and advice. Only those who will give their will over to God’s guidance will be under the umbrella of His protection.

Understand this clearly. God’s protection is for each one of us. Further, God gave us His Word so that we would understand how to avail ourselves of this gift. But be clear, the umbrella is there. It is your choice whether to stand under it or not. Do not blame God when you go your own way and fall into grief. If we step out of His protective measures, we may get hurt but that is our own fault. Not His. He has provided. It is up to us whether we will follow our “wisdom” and argue our positions or whether we follow the Father. Faith is not believing God will back our play. It is having the full assurance in our hearts that what He says, He is able to bring to pass. It is the complete confidence that if we listen to Him, He will guide us to safety and keep us forever in the shadow of His might. Let this be a revelation today.

The Stream of Knowledge

Proverb 14: 6

The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.

Again, this week, I find it challenging to choose only one verse from this powerhouse of a proverb. I hope you are utilizing the link at the bottom to read the entire proverb each Monday.

Today’s verse is taken, as usual, from the New American Standard Bible, my Bible of preference. However, I read many versions because sometimes the editors’ use of one different word opens up more understanding for me. Therefore, I wish to share The Passion Translation’s rendering of this verse today, “The intellectually arrogant seek for wisdom, but they never seem to discover what they claim they’re looking for. For revelation-knowledge flows to the one who hungers for understanding.”

I believe this rendition reveals much about knowledge and wisdom. First, we are enlightened as to its source. This passage shows that knowledge is “revealed.” What does that mean? It means that our God, who is the fountain of all knowledge and wisdom, passes that knowledge to us. He is the source. Second, He gives this wisdom and knowledge to those who hunger and thirst for it. Moreover, He gives it to those who seek Him for it rather than those who study and try to succeed in their own strength. Of course, when we are intellectually arrogant, we seek knowledge through our efforts and when we do, we do not seek God. That would require humility. No, instead we study and labor rather than simply humbling ourselves before our God in entreaty.

Third, wisdom and knowledge come to us as a flow. Isn’t that interesting? God downloads His knowledge to us like a stream flowing smoothly across the landscape. This isn’t a painful or labor-intensive method. Flow is found in relaxation. Picture yourself lying beside a quiet little stream and see how peaceful it makes you feel. While you lie there, the stream just bubbles along, seemingly without any energy compelling it. As you relax and breathe, you open your own channels so that the flow may enter you. It is not by striving, therefore, but rather by relaxing in the comfort of the Father that wisdom and knowledge are gained.

Yet, of all the things I ask of you, perhaps this is one of the most difficult, to relax in the presences of God. Stop everything else you are doing. Do not answer the phone or that incoming text. Just bask in the Lord’s presence in quiet, meditative peace, thinking more about your breathing than your “to do” list. If we could all do this more, we would have more answers. We would have more knowledge. Instead, we think, worry, and toil for answers. Stop for a moment. Give yourself a couple of breaths. Put your mind on Yahweh and let the answers come to you, in the name of Jesus.

Proverb 14

Seek and Receive

Ephesians 1: 17

. . . that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

A friend of mine was suffering from writer’s block. It is a most uncomfortable feeling. I thought, “I cannot afford writer’s block. The Word of the Day has to be delivered tomorrow morning at 5:00.” I have learned that our Father and His Spirit are supporting me every day in producing these “words” from Him and that I must relax and let Him lead me. Still, there are those days which present a bit of a challenge. Yesterday was one of those days. Most days I can pick up my Bible and read anywhere in it and He will show me a message. That was one of the premises of my book, Journey Through the Bible. Every book of the Bible has something to minister to us today. But yesterday, I read from Numbers, Proverbs and did a little jaunt through some of the New Testament books. Nothing. Then at 5:00 PM I opened my Bible and this verse jumped out at me. He did for me in that moment exactly what Paul prayed for us. He gave me a spirit of wisdom and understanding which revealed the Father.

My reliance is on the Holy Spirit. That doesn’t mean that I can always hear perfectly. Paul knew how we all struggle as we grow and stretch. He also knew what we need, namely the spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of the Father. So here is the wisdom that I received. Even when I cannot feel the Father, even on those days when I am not receiving as well as others, He is right here with me and He is present to reveal Himself to me. He desires to show Himself to me so that I may reveal Him to you. He wants us to know Him.

Of course, I was seeking Him and His Word. So, even though I was tired and just a little less alert, He was able to speak to my mind and my heart. I hear in my heart, “seek me so that I may be found by you.” There are plenty of scriptures about seeking Him, but the point is that He wants to be found. Therefore, He encourages us to seek Him. I can’t help but thinking that His favorite game is Hide and Seek. Perhaps, though, someone should tell Him the rules because He is horrible at hiding. In fact, He hides in plain sight. One of my favorite “seeking” scriptures is 1 Chronicles 28: 9, “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him.”

Paul started the church at Ephesus and he had a desire that his young church would grow in the things of God. Well, that is what every pastor wants. Therefore, Paul prayed this wonderful prayer, that God might give you this gift. I will tack on my prayer today to Paul’s and I pray that you might “receive” the “spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Giving is one thing but receiving is an entirely different one so I pray that you receive. I pray for you today that God will fill you with knowledge of Himself. One thing I advise, seek Him.

Shine the Light

Psalm 43: 3        TPT

Pour into me the brightness of your daybreak!
Pour into me your rays of revelation-truth!
Let them comfort and gently lead me onto the shining path,
showing the way into your burning presence,
into your many sanctuaries of holiness.

Isn’t this beautiful? Can you see Father pouring His light into you, filling you with the light of revelation truth? Wow! That is an image to ponder. That shining light leads us from the inside out. I find that fascinating but also rational. Yahweh’s light within us leads us into all truth. It leads us onto the shining path. Lovely!

It is no big surprise that the shining path leads into the very presence of God. Jesus said he was the light (John 8: 12). He also said he is the way (John 14: 6). The way to what or whom? As “Christians” we sometimes focus so much on the Christ that we forget that he is the way to the Father. He is the light which always leads us to the Father. However, God’s light and revelation truth do more for us. They comfort us.

Did you know your Dad is in the comfort and encouragement business? A friend of mine was recently teaching about angels from her book, Everyday Angels (Kayembe, What I found so interesting is how she explained why angels in the Bible so often began their encounter with people with the words, “Do not be afraid.” She explained it was because these people were in troubling, even frightening, situations so the first thing the angels did was to comfort them. Can’t you picture God on His throne, dispatching an angel saying, “Go encourage them, tell them all is okay.”  That’s because He comforts and encourages us.

The light also protects you for where there is the light, there can be no darkness. We must endeavor to let God fill us to overflowing with His light. In His light is warmth, security and revelation. His burning presence must be like sitting by a warm fire on a cold day while reading a good book. It nurtures us, inside and out.

Bask in Dad’s glorious sanctuary today. Sit with Him by the fireplace and fill up on His voice and His presence. Let His light saturate your cells and even your DNA. Be restored in His presence by the light of His glory and revelation. And have a truly Great Day!

Private Place

Psalm 25: 14              Passion

There’s a private place reserved for the lovers of God, where they sit near him and receive the revelation-secrets of his promises.

There were several verses I thought of using for today’s selection before I settled on verse fourteen. For example, in verse one, David again, declares his trust in God. I could have written a lot on these words from verse three, “For how could anyone be disgraced when he has entwined his heart with you?” I’ve written quite a bit in the last few years about being intertwined with Jesus. It seems I was not the first person to be convinced on that idea.

Verse fourteen holds such promise and paints such an encouraging picture that it eclipsed even the intertwining. Although . . . isn’t there the inference of intertwined hearts in “lovers of God.” This does not speak of a far away, detached adoration. This “private place” is a love nest where those who love God gather with Him to share our joint passion. That passion is a love for all that God loves. We will gather around His Word and He will share His passion with us. We learn what is important to Him and He reveals the secrets of His promises. His love for us abounds in gifts and the treasures of His heart. He longs to have more people with whom to share them. In this private place with Him, He reveals all. It is His desire to reveal the secrets of the universe and in this private enclave, He can do just that.

The coolest thing about this private chamber is that it is open to whom ever desires to enter in. He does not have a gate keeper whose function is to keep people out. All who love Him, whose heart is intertwined with His, may freely enter and partake of the glories of His Heart. How cool is that? Why didn’t anyone tell us about this earlier. We could have been hanging out in the secret place for years. Now we know and only our own hearts can prevent us from lounging in the private place with God.

Look into your heart. Your passport to the revelation room is right there. Enter in and find the answer to every question you have. Receive the revelation of all His promises. He wants to give you all these revelations so you can enjoy the fruit of all His benefits. Come – hang out with God in the private place of your heart. Come into the garden He has set aside just for people like you where all the secrets of the universe are being revealed daily. Your spot has been reserved.

Great and Mighty Things

Jeremiah 33: 2 – 3

Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it, the Lord is His name, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

Come on! It is time to shout! God has promised to give us revelation, to tell us of the great and mighty things. This is one of the greatest promises ever! The Amplified version brings out that He is not only going to tell us these amazing things, but that He is going to show them to us as well.

This declaration is made in the context of He who made the earth. In other words, Yahweh is many things; God, Father, healer, provider, etc. but in this statement, He wants you to hear Him from the perspective of the creator. He made the earth and hung it in the vastness of space. He understands how all the systems of earth and space work. He made us and knows what makes us tick. From that point of view He says “call to Me and I will answer you.” That is promise number one. If you seek Him, you will find Him.

Promise two is, when you call out to Him, not only will He answer you but He will go beyond answering to revealing. Don’t you like that? There are mysteries in the world, and for that matter, beyond the world. Your Father wants to show you all these great and mighty mysteries. Our Father wants to tell us how things work, to show us the intricacies of the universe. It is said of Einstein that the theory of relativity came to him while he was meditating, just pondering the way of things. Could it be that in that moment of silent musing, God showed him the great and mighty things that he did not know? Why not?

Like Einstein, the answer you seek may still be hidden in the stars, but no worries. You know the guy who made the stars and positioned them in heaven. Isn’t that just mind boggling? He not only is willing to reveal hidden mysteries to you, He actually wants to. So, what great mystery are you pondering? What question would you like to ask? Sometimes when you think in these terms, the everyday troubles shrink, and that isn’t a bad thing. Call Dad. He is waiting to talk with you. He has phenomenal revelations to give to whomever He can find to listen.