Let All Praise

Psalm 67: 1 – 5

God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us— Selah.
2 That Your way may be known on the earth, your salvation among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You.
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for You will judge the peoples with uprightness and guide the nations on the earth. Selah.
5 Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You.

Indeed, let all the people of the world praise the Lord our God. He will judge righteously. Remember judgment isn’t just a negative. Someone wins a judgment in a lawsuit. Our God has already decided that we will win when He passes judgment because He has chosen to see us through the blood of righteous Jesus.

He will guide us all, all the peoples of all the nations. He will show himself to all the people of the earth and they will revel in His glory and majesty. All the nations will praise Him and sing of His glory. We will shout for joy at the revealing of His grace and beauty. The glory of His face will shine upon us all, for it is luminous, the light of the world. And we shall glory in His presence.

This is the description of the real end of days. When God shows Himself all the world will recognize Him as the one and only true God. They will see His beauty and majesty and will delight in His presence. There will be no unbelievers. There may be some people who choose not to follow Him but no one will be able to doubt His majesty.

He is gracious and kind and will lead all the nations in love. He will lead all people in delightful paths that will fill their hearts with joy and fulfillment. Then the people of all the earth will honor and praise Him. Selah.

Planned Exit

John 16: 7, John 14: 16-17

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away; the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth.”

As the end of Jesus’ ministry approached, he told his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and be offered up as a sacrifice. His disciples were understandably distressed by this information. But Jesus comforted them, telling them that all would be well, and He began to teach them about the promised gift of God. He even went so far as to tell them that it was to their advantage that he leave so that he could send the Father’s promise to them.

This, then, was that fixed point in time that had long been prophesied about. First the coming of the Messiah had been prophesied. But there were also the prophesies of the coming of the Holy Spirit; that he would be sent by God as a gift to all humanity. The coming of Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about the coming Messiah. And now Jesus told His disciples that the prophecies regarding the gift of the Holy Spirit were about to be fulfilled in their presence. Jesus also made it clear that there was an order to the things of God. These events had been put into motion thousands of years previous and there was an appointed time for each. Jesus said that it was imperative for Him to leave because the Holy Spirit could not be sent until Jesus ascended. But Jesus promised that when he left he would send the Spirit to us, and the Holy Spirit will remain with us for all time. We will never be without him. And that is God’s plan; for us to have His Spirit and His anointing with us always. We are never alone because God has always had a plan for taking care of us and He has always done as He promised.

Pouring

“I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind.” Joel 2: 28

“And I will pour out … the Spirit of grace and of supplication.” Zechariah 12: 10

“I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel.” Ezekiel 39: 29

Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on High. Isaiah 32: 15

I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring. Isaiah 44: 3

Father God started promising the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon us long, long ago. Here are some quotes from the Old Testament where God made this promise to us. The people of the Old Testament did not really know a lot about the Holy Spirit. In fact, there are only about twenty-nine references to Him in the Old Testament. Of these twenty-nine, a fair number of them dealt with the day that God would pour out His Spirit on all mankind. Previously, the Spirit would come upon someone and he or she would enjoy anointed success from the Lord or they would prophesy in the Lord’s name.

But God was looking forward into the future to a time when He would pour out His Spirit upon all of us and the Spirit would stay with us rather than just resting with us for a short time. He knew when this pouring out would occur for it was fixed in time. Father promised to send us His son and He did. He also promised to send to us the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit, and God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23: 19).

Prepared

Acts 1: 4

And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” he said, “you heard of from Me . . ..”

Before Jesus sent the disciples out to teach and preach the good news of the Messiah arisen and alive, he prepared them. Part of that preparation was for the disciples to receive the promise from the Father which Jesus said that he had spoken to them about. What was this long awaited promise? Jesus tells them in the very next phrase. Acts 1: 5 reads, “for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with (in) the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” In other words, Jesus told them that they were to await the promised Holy Spirit that the Father had been promising for some time. They were to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit before they left Jerusalem and started out in their ministries.

When God gives you a ministry or a job to do, He always prepares you first and gives you all of the gifts and assistance you need in order to accomplish that which He has directed you to do. It is His job to train you and to equip you with all that you need to succeed. The chief gift is the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “…you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth,” (Acts 1: 8).

We are still completing this mission that Jesus gave to the disciples on that day. We are still going into all the world spreading the good news about Jesus. And we, like the disciples of old, need God’s power working in our lives so that we may accomplish all that He has set us to. And what God has promised He is more than able to deliver.

Spirit of Promise

Luke 24: 49

And behold, I am sending forth the promise of my Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.

Jesus made this statement during the forty-day period between his resurrection and ascension. He was preparing his disciples for the ministry ahead of them. Shortly they would form the new church and would have to carry out all the administration and teaching of a brand new religion. He had to minister to them to get them from their deep sorrow to the dynamic profession of the faith. For all they knew, the whole mission died with Jesus. They were expecting a very different kind of victory out of Jesus and they were expecting him to establish the new kingdom. That did not happen though. And even though they were taught the scriptures, they just could not reason out this apparent defeat.

So Jesus visited them during this period. He lifted their spirits and he instructed them. The disciples saw, with their own eyes, the living Jesus. They heard his voice and dined with him. They went from defeated people who were probably wondering what to do, to world changing believers. They were then able to go out and proclaim the victory of Jesus with strong conviction.

But before Jesus released them on the world, he told them to await the promise of the Father. He told them that the reception of the promise would cloth them with power. They might have thought themselves ready to go proclaim the gospel of Jesus’ when they saw him. Certainly, their sorrow turned to joy and they must have wanted to run out to the streets and spread the good news. But Jesus told them to wait so that they could receive what the Father had promised. This was part of the preparation for the gospel.

Labor of Love

 

Colossians 3: 23 – 24

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

A strong society requires a strong labor force.  It is an honor to labor in the name of the Lord Jesus.  As we celebrate the role of labor in building this country, we should remember that generations of hard working Americans are to be credited for the luxuries we enjoy today.  There is joy in doing a job well so let’s keep up the good work America!

Delight Yourself in the Lord

Psalm 37: 4

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Let us look at this verse a little differently today. Let’s drop off the end of it and think about the first part, “Delight yourself in the Lord.” What do you think it means to delight yourself in the Lord? It sounds like we are supposed to make ourselves a delight to the Lord. That is not what it means, though. The language is odd but the Passion Translation clarifies this statement for us, “Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life.” The God’s Word translation reads, “Be happy with the Lord.”

This verse actually means that we are supposed to be pleased with the Lord rather than trying to get Him to be pleased with us. It is just the opposite of what many people think. The writer wants you to love the Lord with all your heart. He wants you to be enamored with God. Allow me to show you a practical example of this.

I have been thinking, and writing, about how my relationship with God has changed over the years. This verse came to my mind this week while I was praying. Let me give you a little glimpse into my prayer life, not that it is the ideal, just the example I have to offer. I no longer pray about my needs very often. Truly, I haven’t for several years. I might talk to Him about what I think I need but that is not the bulk of my prayers. Instead, I usually pray about what I am supposed to do with my time. Most of my prayer time is spent seeking God’s wisdom and counsel. Well, a strange thing happened this week. I began to talk with God about what He wants me to do. What are the tasks and priorities for today? What is the vision for tomorrow? Do you want me to do this? What about that? Blah, blah, blah. I didn’t get five words out of my mouth before I stopped and said, “You know what, I am bored with this prayer. Jesus, what do you want to do? What can I do for you today? How can I cause you to smile?” Immediately I knew our relationship had just undergone another change. No longer was he just a vending machine to me, a place where I go to get what I want or need.

I have heard other ministers talk about how they commune with Jesus and it isn’t much like the formal, seminary style prayers we think about. They chat with Jesus as a best friend the key point being, it’s not all about us. These pastors that I have admired in their relationship with Jesus talk about more than their personal issues, dreams and goals. Ultimately, I think we each need to come to the place in our relationship with the Father, Son and Spirit where our conversations become just that, a conversation. I know I got bored asking about my perceived needs. I can only imagine how bored Jesus was. Thank God, literally, that he is such a gentleman. None the less, I bet he enjoys when our relationship transcends our needs.

The more time you spend with Jesus and the Father, the less inclined you find yourself to always talk about yourself and your needs. Even asking Him for His wisdom and advice all the time, while encouraged, becomes self-centered. If you want to know what God wants you to do with your life or what vision He has for you, begin asking Him what He wants. Find out what His dreams and goals are and you will find your way to help Him. You will have found your destiny and will be sublimely happy. Make Him the delight of your life by spending more time with Him and getting to know Him. Then all the pieces will fall together for you and you may find you don’t feel the need to pray about yourself all the time.