God’s Spirit

Numbers 11: 29

But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!”

The backstory here is that the Lord told Moses to bring forward the seventy elders and He would take of the Spirit that was upon Moses and share it with the elders. Moses gathered the elders at the tent of meeting and then the Lord came down in a cloud and spoke with Moses. Moses then took of the Spirit and “put the Spirit on the seventy elders” (v. 25). When the Spirit rested on the elders, they prophesied.

Well, meanwhile, back in camp, two men whose names were listed among those of the elders but who did not go to the tent of meeting began to prophesy for the Spirit of the Lord rested on them. Joshua was dismayed at this and implored Moses to stop them from prophesying. Moses’ response is today’s verse. I believe Moses’ response was God’s heart. Moses not only had God’s Spirit but he also was a man who walked with God. He knew God’s heart.

A couple of years ago I did a study on the Holy Spirit and created a spreadsheet listing every verse I could find on God’s Spirit. I discovered that there was very little known about the Spirit in the times of the Old Testament. Of the roughly 242 verses I found on the Holy Spirit only about 37 of them are from the Old Testament. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit remained yet a promise. He would rest upon people from time to time and when He did they would perform amazing feats. In today’s passage, though, we have a glimpse into the future. Moses said that he wished that every person would have the Holy Spirit. That wish is mostly fulfilled in our time. Every person today has the right to receive the Holy Spirit and have him not only rest on them but actually come live within them and be with them every minute of every day.

It is not automatic, though. You have to invite him to come live in you and be with you but asking is the only requirement. Believe and receive the anointing and indwelling of the Holy Spirit of promise.

Walk with God like Moses

Numbers 9: 8

Moses answered them, “Wait until I found out what the Lord commands concerning you.”

What an awesome lesson from the leader of the Israelites. The time of the Passover was at hand but some men became ceremonially unclean because of contact with a dead body. A conversation ensued about whether or not these men ought to be allowed to receive the Passover supper.

Isn’t that the way of the law and of small minds? There were people whose first response was exclusion. Legalistic people of all ages seek ways to exclude others from the graces of the Lord. How incredibly sad! Thank our dear Lord for Moses. You see, this was the first time this issue had presented itself so the people had no answer apart from their own reasoning. So Moses said, “Wait! Let’s ask the Lord and see what He says before we make any decisions.” Wow! Now that was a bold and faith filled answer. Oh to have that kind of response to problems today. And consider this. Moses was an Old Testament dude. He didn’t have Messiah but brother, he had a revelation. That is why we can still learn so much from Moses. If we will look at how he walked and talked with God it will inform our lives. It is especially illustrative if you will carry these verses forward and see them in the light of the New Testament.

And here is the very exciting part. God, through the work of Jesus, has sent us the Holy Spirit of promise so that we can today, in this time, walk with God the way Moses did. We can have God speak to every problem we face and every decision we make. Finally, God has come to walk with ordinary people. Glory, Hallelujah! If you can’t get excited about that you need to have your pulse checked. You can walk with God like Moses did. Truth be told, we have an even better deal than he did. We are living in the times of God with you, God in you. Inquire of the Lord in every circumstance and be blessed!

What it means to be a Christian

Galatians 2: 20

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.

I believe this is what it means to be a Christian. The life we formerly lived we have sacrificed on the altar of love to the one who gave all. It is no longer I who live … that person we knew as ourselves is dead and gone and behold a new creature is there, in her place. All things have become new. The life we now live is the life of Christ. He lives in us and through us. It is a life of faith no longer living and walking according to the evidence of our eyes, no longer living according to the flesh and the things of the world. The life we live is the expression of the love of Christ as an outflowing communication, the rivers of living water issuing from within yet reaching out to a hurting and dying world. We wear Christ’s heart on our sleeve.

Is this an easy way to live? Yes and No. It is a wonderful way to live but putting the old self on the altar and even more so leaving him there is not so easy but Christ is our strength, our Father our strong tower. The old person isn’t so great but she is familiar and therefore comfortable but that momentary comfort is in exchange for a lifetime of peace and the glory of the Lord. The old is easy and comfortable but it is death, a living death, and not the way of the Lord. Jesus said that he came to give us life (John 10: 10). Why, then, do we persist in continuing our existence through the dead former self when we could be alive to the life in Christ? Is it habit? Is it fear? Is it that we have lacked leadership? Has there been no one to show us the way?

I pray that you allow this life in Christ to fill you up to overflowing so that you fully experience this great miracle of Christ in me, the hope of glory (Col. 1: 27); that His glory will fill your days and your nights, that the glory of his life within you will permeate every cell of your body and that you may know the full breadth of his love and his guidance in every minute of every day. May the glory of the Lord fill you and settle upon you as in days of old so that you are never alone and never out of His presence. This is the hope. This is what Jesus came and died to give us. May the life of Christ within you be fully realized.

They will stand in awe

Deuteronomy 28: 10 New English Translation

Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you belong to the Lord, and they will respect you.

In the twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy God revealed the blessing and there is much good news there. We know from Galatians 3: 13 – 14 that the blessing of Abraham has been fulfilled in Christ and has become the right of every believer. So now let’s look at verse 10 of this important chapter.

God told the Israelites that the people of the world would see the blessing on them, in operation in their lives and would realize that they were the chosen people of Almighty God. Some versions read that when the people of the world saw the effect of the blessing they would be afraid of Israel. I like what the Living Bible has to say. It says that people will stand in awe.

I have noticed that when God moves He gets more than one effect. The same is true with the blessing. His purpose is to bless you but in so doing the uninformed are witnessed to. They see the effect of serving God in every aspect of our lives. The more we allow God to fill all the rooms of our hearts the more of the blessing manifests in our lives. That is good news for us but it is also good news for the world. People who don’t know God or who are marginalized get to see the love of God in a tangible way. As we allow God to minister His grace to every part of our lives, as we yield to His ministrations the world will see the overflow of His blessing and they will stand in awe.

If you do not believe that you are living in the fullness of the blessing then ask God why not. There is no aspect of the blessing which has not been fully realized in Christ Jesus. Open yourself to hear from Him so that He can bless you and the world. Then all shall see the greatness of our God.

The people don’t know Him

Hosea 4: 6 New Living Translation

My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children.

The book of Hosea was written in about 722 B.C. but it might have been written yesterday because it so clearly describes our time. The Holy tribes of the chosen people had split into two separate kingdoms, Israel the ten tribes of the north and Judah, the southern kingdom. Chaos ruled to such an extent that the northern kingdom fell.

Hosea witnessed the division among God’s people and their unrestrained ways. He understood that the people were ignorant of God and His ways and tried, in vain, to teach them that God loved them and that they should return to Him. Hosea is fighting an uphill battle, though, because even the priests had lost their communion with God.

Whenever we see churches or the church splintering we know that the love of God is not ruling there. The love of God draws people together rather than splits them asunder. God says, through Hosea, that the problem is that the people don’t know Him.

To know God is to live in the blessing. The priests no longer knew God so of course they did not teach His people about Him. The people, in turn, did not seek God and without God there is no peace.

This is a message for us today. If we want a life of peace, stability and blessing we must seek the face of the Lord, our God. Our ministers have an important role to play. They must teach about God. We are suffering and are being destroyed in this time because we do not know God. In the presence of God is security, tranquility and all provision. Without God, we suffer continually with division, strife, turmoil, lack, sickness and despair. To know God is to know love, the two are inseparable because God is love. Where love is in operation, there is peace and every form of prosperity. You have only to look around to see that we have been operating without God. Even when we look in our churches we find that many are characterized by their infighting rather than by a spirit of cooperation and affection.

We are now the chosen people of God and if we would see our children blessed and our lives anointed then we must continually turn our faces toward God. We must seek God in our private capacities but we must also insist that those appointed by God as our ministers and leaders teach us about Him and the life we are to live in Him. We are being destroyed by the lack of knowledge of God much less a personal revelation of Him so if we are to avoid destruction then we must come to know this God both personally and corporately. The gospel of our Lord is the good news. Let us preach it and receive it with open hearts.

The lemonade scripture

Romans 8: 28

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

I call this the lemonade scripture because what it means to you is that God will take the lemons that life hands you and he will add a little sugar to them and make for you lemonade. I had a rough journey coming to this understanding and I would like to tell you that story today. First, though, I want you to know that this scripture is talking about you. Do not disqualify yourself. God Himself has called you to His purpose. He is constantly calling you to Himself. You are His beloved.

Years ago, in my High School days and my freshman year of college, I went through a rough patch. Although all of my young life I had believed in God and His son Jesus there came a point in my confusion that I concluded that there could not exist a benevolent God given the pain and turmoil I was experiencing. Then I had an even greater epiphany. I decided that there was, in fact, a God because, I reasoned, it was He who was causing these problems in my life.

I ran across some really bad teaching in those years. People were actually teaching from the pulpit that God was putting hurt and anguish on people in order to make them strong. Of course that is exactly what I did not need to hear because it only solidified my belief that God was the author of my pain. There was a part of me that could not completely accept this position though so there raged within me a battle. Who is this God of ours? Is he a loving God or is He a God who strengthens us through pain?

Over the years I began to come to know this God and discovered that He is in fact Love itself. What I didn’t realize though is that in my heart of hearts there was still lodged a fear of what God would do to me if I ever drew really close to Him. I had a pretty good relationship with Jesus but to my horror I discovered that there was a definite mistrust in my heart towards God the Father. Insane! That realization was one of the most humbling and core shaking moments of my life but it opened the blinds on the window of my heart so that God’s light could shine and reveal truth to my heart.

I still hear people accuse God of putting bad stuff on them for various purposes and I even still hear ministers preach that message which grieves my spirit immensely.

Our God is love. If there is only one message that we share it must be that. He doesn’t have to put bad things on people, Satan does plenty of that. No, God can use love. There is nothing that trouble can teach you that love cannot much better reveal to you. Jesus came to show us the way and that way was not the way of trouble. God is not in the lemon business; He is in the lemonade business. He will take all of the junk the devil slings at you and He will turn it for your good. He is the one that will take the thunder cloud and turn it inside out so that the silver lining is all you see. He will take every missile of the devil which is meant to hurt you and turn it into a blessing. That is His way. Our Father causes everything to work out for our good because He loves us.

As for me, I so despised this scripture for many years and now it is a favorite. Jesus set me free from the lie. I wonder if that is why I love lemonade so much.