Everything Changes

Have you ever experienced the atmosphere in a room change?  Maybe someone was in a bad mood.  The color of the air seemed to change as their emotions filled the space.  The opposite can also happen when someone with gladness and joy releases peace.   One human can change the mood in a room for better or for worse.

If people can change the climate in a room – how much more can God?

One thing I will always seek after in ministry is God’s presence.  When He is present, anything can happen.  It’s like the words to the song, “When You walk into the room, everything changes.”  Healing, deliverance, restoration, and great joy abound when He is present.

But isn’t God everywhere? Yes, God is omnipresent.  However, His tangible presence is referred to in scripture as His Kabowd….or in more familiar terms, His Glory.   The Glory of God is defined as His heavy, weighty, presence.  It’s what Moses requested when he prayed, “Show me your Glory” in Exodus 33:18.  

God answered Moses’ prayer in a distinct way.  He will do the same for us as we seek and pray for the manifestation of His Glory to be in our lives, ministries, etc.

Is it important for us to make a request like Moses?  Certainly, God can crash in, even in His glory, without being asked.  But most of the time, from my experience, God is more present when His presence is INVITED.

We live in a condo.  Many of the condos around us are occupied with college students.  Occasionally, someone will walk into ours on accident.  It doesn’t happen very often, but it has happened on occasion. More often though, the only people who come into our condo have been invited in.  

Invitations are powerful.  They give access.

When we invite God’s presence ….His RSVP is affirmative.

invitation-md

We can take a couple of approaches when it comes to inviting God’s presence into our day, life, or gathering.  

First approach:

We can focus on doing our own thing and leave it all up to God whether He shows up or not. I’ve heard people say this about receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They will say, “If God wants me to pray in tongues, He will grab ahold of my mouth and make me.”

Some have the perception this is what happened at Pentecost…that God just showed up & made everyone speak in tongues. They were not asking specifically for the gift of tongues, but they were expecting an encounter with the Holy Spirit. Jesus had told them to wait for the gift that had been promised.

They were ACTIVE in their seeking and waiting.

I’m sorry, but I don’t agree with the logic that “God will make me…”  In fact, it completely removes responsibility off of the individual and puts it solely onto God. I disagree, because I believe God allows us to participate in invitation.

While preparing and planning (for whatever) we can say: “I’m not going to seek an experience…I’m only going to focus on my agenda…if God wants to interrupt me, that’s up to Him.”

Ok –  fine, but don’t expect much of an encounter with God if you’re not asking for one.

Second approach:

A second approach is to invite God into our midst. Moses ASKED and God responded.

Jesus already made the first move.  He came as a man, and sacrificed His life in a brutal death so we could gain access to HIM.  Sometimes I wonder if we’ve forgotten the veil in the temple was torn.  That means we can boldly go into His throne room.   He is personal.   God is not some distant being up in space.  He is as near as our air.  He has form, substance and personality.  He has feelings and thoughts.  He’s a real person who has invited us to intimately know Him.

I remember being taught that the “touchy feely” part of Christianity was just for new believers.  I was taught that there was a honeymoon stage in the beginning, and after that we “mature” into walking by faith and not by our feelings.  Now I understand that is mostly a lie to move us into a religious system.  Jesus paid a great price to bridge the gap between us and Him.   The truth is IT IS FINISHED.  If we must “walk solely by faith and not our feelings” then perhaps we have missed the whole point.  The point being, the finished work of the cross.  

Meditating on the finished work brings up a lot of feelings for me.  Feelings of deep gratitude, humility, and a desire to pour out my entire life for Him.  Feelings of desiring more intimacy with this beautiful Savior, and wanting Him to receive the glory due His name. Feelings are not all bad.  Jesus created us to feel stuff because He also has feelings.

Feeling HIS presence is one of the best ways to experience Him.

Revelation of the access Jesus has given us to HIM is really all we need.  Confidence knowing He will give an affirmative answer to our invitation, makes asking that much more simple.

It sounds like this:

  • Holy Spirit, come.
  • God, come.
  • Show us Your glory.
  • Lord, fill our (home, office, place of work, church) with Your tangible presence.
  • Jesus, we love You, we welcome You here.

It really is that simple.  God loves us. He’s looking for resting places in people…  individuals and families who are simply humble and open to allowing His presence to rest in them.

How about you?  Will you allow His presence to invade your spirit, soul, and mind today?  Will you be His resting place?  

It’s as simple as asking.

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Prophecies and Predictions

Some have seen the recent blood moons as an opportunity to give “prophecies” and “predictions” about current and future events.   The moons are in themselves interesting, but jumping to conclusions about what they mean is presumptuous at best.

total-lunar-eclipse-2014-video-blood-moon

I’ve enjoyed the moon this week.  I was bummed we had too much cloud cover the night of the eclipse to see it.  Last night it was beautiful, big and bright in the sky.  I find it fascinating that God knew these events would coincide with the Jewish feasts. He is big enough and sovereign enough to orchestrate something so massive that it leaves no doubt He is behind it.  It excites me that people are looking for answers, and intrigued by it all.

The important thing is to filter ALL events, prophecies, and predictions through the character of God.

Is He in a bad or good mood?  Is He angry or happy?  Is He punishing or patient?  Is He frugal or generous?  Does He withhold or does He provide?

If you’re fearful about “prophecies” and “predictions” that you are hearing, I challenge you to filter them through the goodness and kindness of God.  Always ask yourself if it sounds like Him.

I am excited about the day we are living in.

The Bible tells us:

“Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this.”
Isaiah 9:7 ASV

Let’s filter predictions and prophecies through a biblical grid.  The Bible says that His government and His peace will only increase in the earth!

Can God warn us of impending doom?  Yes, He did that in the Bible. He warned and gave clear instruction that led to protection.

What is going to happen in the future?  I have no stinking idea.  He keeps things hidden because He knows the joy we experience in chasing answers and discovering hidden treasures.  He loves to surprise us, just like we enjoy surprising our own kids. Sometimes He gives clues, and other times He gives clear instruction.  Sometimes He gives specifics about future events, but most of the time He only gives hints about how things are going happen, with the knowledge that prayer is always a game changer.

This is what I know for sure:

Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan.  As His followers, we get to be a part of the devil’s annihilation in the earth today.  It’s time for the Church to rise up in our secure identity, stomp on the Devil’s head and walk in the authority we’ve been given.

Confusion and fear about impending doom will cripple the strength we’re commissioned walk in.

Let’s rise up and be a force of prayer, restoration, and reconciliation in the earth.  No weapon fashioned against a church like this will prosper.  We will transform the world around us, as we humbly love and serve the hurting and broken.

“For this is what the Lord says— he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited— he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other.”
Isaiah 45:18 NIV

As you listen and digest people’s predictions, be careful to filter all of it through the knowledge that God is a good God.  This one thing can ease a lot of fear and bring peace and rest to your soul.