Tag Archive | glory

Glory, Freedom, and the Ultimate Battle

In Middle School we watched the movie of the Civil War in the United States, which was called Glory. It took place during the Civil War, and showed, if I remember correctly the Northern point of view, as opposed to the Southern point of view, which Gone With the Wind seems to portray.  When I was watching this movie I was asked to define what the word “glory” actually meant.  I had difficulty coming up with an answer.  While the definition has many terms in implication in the Jewish root, and basically identifying God’s glory as the glory of the Presence of the Son – I want to take you through a journey as the Holy Spirit compels me and enables me to do so on the aspect of Glory, Freedom, and the Ultimate Battle, and the parallels between the Bible and the Civil War.

In the Bible – particularly in the Old Testament, the Israelites cried about their slavery and God heard them –

23 However, after a long time [nearly forty years] the king of Egypt died; and the Israelites were sighing and groaning because of the bondage. They kept crying, and their cry because of slavery ascended to God.

24 And God heard their sighing and groaning and [earnestly] remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. – Exodus 2:23-24

It took them a long time of trials and trusting in God to get to their Promised Land, but yet they still didn’t have freedom.

When the African slaves were taken captive in American History, they cried and sang out and they had great heroes of faith like Harriet Tubman and they sang songs of Moses in the times of their slavery.  The Battle of the North and the South was particularly a battle of ideas, the idea that people should be enslaved to make riches for the higher class verses the idea that each individual has a right to be acknowledged to an individual and has the right to Freedom.  They fought out this war with a bloody fight and it was the bloodiest fight with Abraham Lincoln leading the way seeking God through this time, and he was President.  I had to do a study on Abraham Lincoln, and I heard he suffered from depression, or maybe that was his wife, I don’t remember, but the point being that he was a man who sought God to deliver the African people freedom from slavery in the Declaration of Emancipation.

So that was the ultimate battle and that is one many Christians still face today because Christ has purchased our freedom, but through the limits of this life we are still bound, and we need to be rescued.  The beautiful thing is that Christ rescues us over and over and over again, constantly redeeming us and bringing His purpose to pass through our lives even though we may not see it.  We still have this battle of ideas of slavery and bondage to the Law, and the Freedom that is inherited by Grace.

God not only brought the Israelites out of bondage of slavery from the Egyptians, but He also brought them out of bondage to the Babylonians, and Assyrians and many times over and over again.  They waited several years for total freedom which was going to only come through the Messiah, and when Jesus came, they thought he was going to physically free them from Roman captivity, but instead He freed them from the bondage of the Law.  He became a curse so they wouldn’t have to be bound any longer anymore and when Cleopas and his companion came across Him, they were mourning, and He had not revealed Himself to them, and He was actually pretending like He didn’t know what they were thinking.  They were expecting some great physical delivery or political delivery and freedom, but they didn’t realize how much power the freedom that they did have.

Luke 24:

18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”

19 And He said to them, “What things?”

So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”

25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

So this glory encapsulates the freedom that He gives.  The freedom from the bondage of sin and death is what this freedom offers to mankind.  But people can go and take advantage of the freedom, and that’s where the issue comes up.  People can get so carried away with freedom, that they begin to live their licentious lives over again.  Look what’s happening right now in America.  The rights that were once considered valuable are now being trampled upon and the rights that are of no value to a human being are exalted and proclaimed over to the point where the rights of the people that instill values that reduce crime, and violence, are now being minimized.  So then freedom has bounds.  Bounds were set for protection, but not to bind if that makes sense.

Interestingly enough the word “boundary” comes from the word meaning “mark, or delimit” which brings up a very interesting conversation topic, the there is the Mark of God, and the Mark of the enemy.  So how does a believer know which mark is which?  When referring to the mark of the enemy, where one cannot buy or sell without the mark, it seems like it is delimiting and putting more and more control.  Whereas the Mark of God, freely grants you the right to ask from God whatever you desire, knowing that you have believed in Him, and have received.  We must remember that one of the fruit of the Spirit is gentleness and in that gentleness, Jesus is so gentle with you as to not force you into any direction, but as a loving shepherd He guides you by the still waters, but even the sheep have to go into the sheep gate so they don’t get attacked by wolves.

Getting back to the Civil War, which was anything but civil, we come again to the cost of freedom.  If you want to check out my previous post on Freedom, check out my blog on Freedom posted July 4, 2011.  Freedom means that someone has to die.  In the Christian walk, it means that Jesus has died for us.  He has set us free, and we are no longer captives.  We operate in a different kingdom, which is the Kingdom of Love and in that we find the freedom.  We find the Freedom to be able to love to the max, but through our own flaws and imperfections we fail to see what demand this love requires.  This love requires pain, emotionally, and sometimes even physically, but in the end it is Christ who frees us from the law of sin and death, and that is where the Ultimate Battle is won – on the Cross. So ask yourselves where in our lives have taken up the Cross?

God raises the dead and dry bones

Ezekiel 37 says:

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”

Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of theLord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’”

Many of our lives are in grave conditions and they are so dead.  There are so many dead Christians walking around that are dead inside.  They think they are walking right with God, but on the inside there is something that that is missing.  What is missing is the power and Presence of the Holy Spirit operating in their lives.  They are just walking around with no life and they are caught up in the sins of this world.  When the enemy comes upon them, they don’t know how to fight because they are so caught up in themselves and their own lives.  They are caught up in their own burdens, but they don’t know what God’s burden is.  I was listening to some of the praise and worship songs, that I have selected on youtube, and I find that the ones that bring me into the presence are all about me, and today the Lord was speaking to me, that there is something wrong with this picture.  We know it’s all about Him, but how can we can realize the implication of that statement.  It takes the Holy Spirit.  It’s not just the Holy Spirit hovering upon you, but we have to abide in the Presence of God Almighty through the Holy Spirit.  That is what will get us to what is missing in our lives.  Sometimes we are so concerned with finances, jobs, getting fit, and other distractions, that we refuse to take time to pray and really seek God and His presence so that His presence is made among us.  I mean, this is the God who is more immense than the universe, and He wants to spend time with us.  So in this passage of Scripture, it says, that the Lord will bring the people of Israel out of their graves, and He will put His Spirit in them, and He will place them in their own land.  All throughout the Book of Ezekiel, you see the Lord emphasizing, “Then they will know that I am the Lord.”  All He wanted was for them to realize that He was the Lord.  We know that Jesus is Lord, and that was the same thing that He experienced when He came and He was in the town of Bethany, when He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus speaks to Martha:

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25)

And then again to Mary:

32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?”

They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”

35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”

37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”

Then there is the miracle:

40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying.[d] And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

Both times in Ezekiel and the Book of John, God was trying to in essence prove that He was God, but they were stubborn to believe.  God has actually been proven so many times in the Bible and even in the world today, but people refuse to belief.  They have to an act of faith and it is something that you cannot comprehend with the mind or with logic, but it is something beyond that.  It is something that the Spirit of God has to remind you.

Doubt is a very dangerous thing.  Skepticism is a very dangerous thing.  We don’t want to be like Thomas who saw then believed, but we want to be the ones like Abraham, when all things seemed impossible, He still be believed.  Jesus said that if we believed we would see the glory of God.  We like to get into the presence of God and then we follow the tabernacle example to get into the presence of God, but if we simply don’t believe, if we don’t act out in simple faith and trust God, then the Presence or glory of God, will not be upon our lives. The Bible has warnings for us in the last days, that says that many people will fall away.  Even in books like Ezekiel and Isaiah, they say that only a remnant, or a chosen few will be left, so few that a child can count them.  It is a warning for us all.  If I’m not preaching to anyone else, I’m preaching to myself, that we need to not let anything stop us from believing that Jesus is God, despite what our emotions say, or what our circumstances are.  We have to be led by the Holy Spirit, and we must seek Him, until we find Him because we don’t want to be cast away from the One who loves us beyond measure.  We have to endure to the end and overcome all the trials and tribulations, because if we don’t there is a threat lingering for us.  Sometimes we have become so casual with God, that we lose the awe and reverence of our King.  One of the things that God hates the most is pride.  It is pride and idolatry, so if we have anything in our hearts that is exalting ourselves or anyone else before God then we need to come to the place of surrendering that idol or that self-exaltation and laying it down before the feet of our King.

Heavenly Father,

We trust and know that You are our King, and that You are exalted above the throne and that no one else is like You Lord God.  Let Your Spirit be upon us and take us to that next level of Your holiness, and repentance, and a closer walk of faith and believe that You are the very one who can raise the very dead souls who are in the graves, and let them come forth like Lazarus did, and that You have put Your breath and Your Spirit in us and upon us.  Restore us to what we were created for and not to the bondage of curses that have been applied to our lives because of sin.  Help us to glorify You in all that we do and not to seek our own fame.  Help us to surrender our lives to You each and everyday, and help us to have the God kind of faith that pleases You.  Help us to strengthen the feeble knees and the hands that hang down, but help us to walk upright and boldly to conquer every obstacle in our way that keeps us from fulfulling Your plan and purpose of our lives.  Help us to be walking breathing living testimonies of Your living power in our lives.  Touch our lives right now Lord God, and let Your presence be known among us Lord God.  Please protect those that are going under persecution and the Body of Christ in these last days that we are in.  I apply this prayer with the precious blood of Jesus.

In Jesus Mighty Name I pray,

Amen.

 

Our True Reward is in Heaven

I just spent all the morning and afternoon trying to fulfill the requirements of The Most Versatile Blogger Award and I agree that sometimes people need to be recognized for their hard work and dedication, that our true reward is in heaven.  We will be receiving crowns, but we won’t keep those crowns:

Revelation 4:9-11

9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”

Jesus said in Matthew 6:

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

So I may be doing something to get an award, but if my reward is in Jesus then all these earthly things don’t matter.  Our true treasure is in Heaven.  And those are not just the crowns that we will receive, but it is the ever present living presence of the Father God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.  We have the Emmy’s, Oscar’s, Grammy’s, Miss Universe Pageant, Miss U.S.A. Pageant, and all these things to bring glory to ourselves, but do those things really matter?  It is Jesus that deserves all the glory.  It is Jesus that deserves all the praise.  Who am I to receive any kind of award?  I am just a humble servant.  What instead we should focus on is the act of giving.

I admit that I don’t take advantage of all the opportunities I have to give, but I saw a person today, and I gave something to them, even though I am not exactly a 100% sure, with all the deceit that goes on in today’s world, but the act of giving brings great joy to the Lord.  Someone once said that God has always used people (and sometimes even animals) to spread His message through the world, and to get things done on Earth, and we are not limiting God, because we know He is an all powerful God, but He has always used people to get His job done.  That’s why He gave the Holy Spirit so that He could use Him to allow Him to minister to all the people in the world.  We are God’s Hands.  We do what God needs us to do.

The way the world has gone into the problem that it is to today, like I heard one pastor say, is that because the Church didn’t take up it’s role in giving and setting up establishments where they should have.  They let government take over and so now everything is backwards.  The Church is supposed to unite the division of classes, and the Church is supposed to meet the needs of the people and not the government.  So while there are people that are starving and hungry and can’t get jobs, they have to depend on Entitlement programs.

If the Church was united as one Body of Christ, imagine what we could accomplish.  The sick would be healed, and we would see acts like the Asuza Street Revival – so no need of disability payments from the government.  The poor would be fed.  The sinners would come to repentance.  It would be a very different world than the one we see today, but because man is fallen, and we don’t realize the power of Jesus as the Head of a united Body of Christ, we our selves become disabled.  Do we want the Body of Christ to be a disabled body?  Or do we want it to be a working body?  Jesus said there would be many “false prophets” in the last days, and this is the reason why we don’t have a functioning Body of Christ.  People don’t trust each other.  Jesus said, “Many will betray one another and hate one another.” (Matthew 24).  Jesus knew it was going to happen. He knew the nature of mankind.

So how do we begin to pick up the pieces?  Well first we have to go see the doctor.  Who is the doctor?  The Great Physician Himself is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Then we have to take the prescription, which is His Word.  If you don’t do what the doctor tells you to do, at least in most cases, then you won’t get well, and this is certainly true for ourselves trusting the Great Physician.  We have to exercise.  Exercise what?  We have to exercise our faith.  We have to wait for the healing to take place.  What is this wait?  This is waiting for the Holy Spirit.

While all this is going on we have to realize that we are also fighting a war – (See my post on Time to wake up – we are in a war).

If one part of the Body of Christ is injured or broken then the whole part of the Body of Christ is injured or broken.  We cannot have a multi-injured body and be able to survive and get things done.  This requires rest on our part as well.  We have to take our day of Sabbath, (Saturday/ in spanish (Sabbado).  Bob Harper from the Biggest Loser even said recently, that the way the people they train lose weight, is that they train all week very heavily, and just have one day of rest where they are completely sedentary.

Hebrews talks about the rest.  Don’t quote me on this, but the three types of rest I believe is mentioned:  there is Creation rest, physical rest, and a day to honor the Lord with the rest.  We have become so busy with our lives that we don’t realize that the chase for money is taking a drain out of us.  Life was so much more simpler 20 years ago because more people were living according to the Biblical model.

So when the bride has “run the course” and “ran the race set before us” then we will achieve crowning glory, but that glory does not belong to us, it belongs to the Lord, and all that we aspire in this life is meaningless without giving the glory to Jesus.  That is our true reward in Heaven.